There are several things that should never be plugged into a multi-strip outlet or extension cord, and they should go directly into the wall instead.  Do you know what they are?

Now that thousands of students are back on campus living in a tight radius, unfortunately, the risk of fire goes up.

September is Campus Fire Safety Month on college campuses and fire marshals want you to know there were more than four thousand fires reported between 2013 and 2016 at residence halls, fraternity and sorority houses, and apartment complexes.  This month, they're sending reminders about fire hazards, so we don't end up with a fire-related tragedy at Texas A&M, Kilgore College, or UT-Tyler.

Some fires start when cooking equipment is unattended, and of course, candles shouldn't be burned unless you're right there.

And this next bit of advice seems simple enough, but in a small dorm room or apartment, where you're trying to make the most of the space, it can be tempting to plug a small appliance into a power strip. Don't! Home improvement experts say plugging a big item into a surge protector is a huge mistake that can cause sparks and flames.  Appliances should never be plugged into power strips or extension cords, and instead, items like microwaves, toaster ovens, small refrigerators, and humidifiers should be plugged directly into wall outlets.

It's not the first thing on a student's mind we know, but firefighters also want everybody to know and practice evacuation plans. Elevators usually stop working when sprinkler systems activate, and that means most evacuation plans in dorms involve the stairs.  Knowing where to go saves time when every second counts.

It's going to be a great year at our East Texas colleges, with great grades, good parties, and football wins, and nobody wants anything to get in the way of that. Just a few smart moves now can eliminate risks later, and September is a great time to set the tone for safety.

Residence halls, by the way, have the highest number of fires in September and October. Switch the microwave to a wall outlet if you need to, and have an awesome year!