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Laptop fires threaten public safety and cause hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage each year.  In today’s mobile society, laptops are no longer just for students.  They are everywhere, with a high concentration in single family homes, multi-unit housing and academic institutions.  We use our computers for everything and have become comfortable working, reading, shopping or studying on sofas, beds and other soft furnishings.   This can become problematic if machines are left running unattended.  Taking a few simple precautions will save lives, property, time and money.   Turn off your computer and unplug the power cord when you leave your room or home.   Place your laptop on a hard surface away from combustible materials.  Do not leave it running on beds, couches or carpeting and keep it free of paper clutter.   Listen for the fan!  A fan that continually runs is a warning sign that your device may overheat.  Keep vents and fans clear of anything that could block air flow.   Laptop coolers & noncombustible stands can help keep devices cool.   Batteries can cause fires if damaged or faulty.  Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission regularly for recalls.  Damaged or frayed cords can spark and ignite fires.  They must be unplugged and replaced immediately.   Keep a can of compressed air handy to clean lint and dust.   Use UL approved surge protectors with computer equipment and never piggyback power cords. We’d like to extend a special thanks to Pamela Fatland and Mitzi Hithe from Tulane University Office of Environmental Health & Safety (OEHS) for theirpermission to reprint some of the tips outlined in their newsletter featuring laptop fire safety. ServiceMaster by Gilmore responds to area university after laptop fire forces evacuation.  Local new team catches crews in action.