State Fire Marshal warns parents of new “Social Media” Challenge

News Release, Office of the State Fire Marshal

STATEWIDE (January 23, 2020) – State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci would like to warn parents of a new viral teen video, which may result in fire incidents and cause serious injury.

While the Office of the State Fire Marshal has received no reported incidents within Maryland thus far, the agency has been notified by authorities of two incidents in Massachusetts. 

The “challenge” seen on the popular video app, TikTok, involves using the plug part of a phone charger, partially inserting it into the wall outlet, and then sliding a penny down the wall onto the exposed prongs. The result is sparks, electrical system damage, and in some cases, fire.

These videos are a concern and similar to past viral videos that encourage unsafe behavior.

State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci stated: “We are alerting parents to this challenge, and advise them to not only look for signs of fire play like scorched outlets but to have conversations about fire and electrical safety with tweens and teenagers.” 

As a reminder, please follow the electrical fire safety tips:

  • Insert plugs fully into sockets
  • If you have young children, install tamper-resistant electrical outlets
  • Replace wall outlets if plugs do not fit tightly, or show signs of damage.
  • Do not overload outlets
  • Never force a three-pronged plug into a two-slot outlet.

In addition to electrical fire safety, the Office of the State Fire Marshal would like to remind parents and children to discuss the dangers of particular online “challenges” and recognizing the dangerous activity on the internet.

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