Staying Safe: Preventing Computer Fires

Staying Safe: Preventing Computer Fires

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Nadine Wimmer reportingMonday's fire at Wasatch Jr. High raises the question, could this happen at your child's school? Or to your home computer? Well, it can and does.

We should point out investigators don't know yet the exact cause of the Wasatch Jr. High fire.

But computers are like any device that uses electricity--they can get hot, throw a spark, and all that's needed is something like paper to start a fire.

Here are some things to help your family Stay Safe.

Doug Bingham/ Principal: "There were flames coming out of the server."

Computers don't come to mind as a fire hazard, but they use electricity and they're always on.

Grant Sperry/ Xmission: "We're talking about an electrical fire, really. Computers are something that areleft unattended much more often than other things that use electricity, so there's a much higher risk."

What's the risk at your child's school?

A report by the National Association of State Fire Marshalls shows newer buildings are unquestionably safer, with strict codes and sprinkler systems.

But school buildings today have far more potential ignition sources.

The bottom line here, according to Utah's fire marshall, even though Wasatch is an older building, alarms worked and drills were in place.

Ron Morris/ State Fire Marshall: "Even with a devastating frie like we have here, I believe if the school would have been occupied, we would have been able to get all of the kids out safely, and they all would have been going home tonight. That is our number one goal."

As for home computers, the first concern should be about your home's wiring. Experts don't recommend do-it-yourself.

Simple precautions around the computer can also help limit the fuel for a fire.

Grant Sperry/ Xmission: "People should not panic about this, but be careful about what they have around the computers and it should be safe."

Ron Morris/ State Fire Marshall: "The old saying, 'It will never happen to me.' Well, everyone thinks it's never going to happen to them, but it happens to someone."

To Stay Safe, keep your computer server and equipment off the carpet, don't store or stack paper around your computer, and every home should have a fully-charged fire extinguisher.

We found several computer monitors and laptops have been recalled for fire problems. For more on that, see the link in the box above.

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