Long gone are the days when home electronics were considered a cost-prohibitive scarcity; the days when prong-possessing items were relegated to the kitchen in the form of small appliances and to the den where that perpetually plugged-in centerpiece of domesticity, the television, ruled supreme. In the current era of overcrowded power strips and rapidly falling prices, gizmos and gadgets of all stripes – popular trends revolve around wireless connectivity, automation/customization, energy efficiency and high-definition everything – have taken a prominent place in the home. And with the rise of home electronics comes an increased need for product safety.

With so many newfangled must-have consumer electronic products being introduced to American households, awareness of how to properly operate and care for them has become a crucial issue. Not only does paying mind to electronic product precautions safeguard against the risk of personal injury to you and your family but it can help stamp out the risk of electrical fire. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are over 26,000 residential fires that can be traced became to electrical problems annually – these incidents claim the lives of 280 Americans each year while injuring 1,000 more.

There are basic steps you can take to stay safe while also getting the most out of consumer electronics and appliances beyond just following the manufacturer’s recommendations. These include checking for and replacing frayed or worn power cords, using extension cords only for temporary use only, paying mind to recalls and safety alerts, not overloading circuits, investing in surge protectors and only purchasing electronic products that have been tested and certified for safety and quality by third-party organizations such as UL.

For over 100 years, UL has been a trusted industry leader in safety analysis and evaluations of consumer electronic products ranging from home stereo systems to plasma TVs to space heaters. The UL certification mark demonstrates that representative samples of a product has been tested for compliance with a safety standard which may include electrical shock and fire. Check UL's online directory for more info on the scope of certification for a particular product.

Resources:

UL online certification directory

http://database.ul.com/cgi-bin/XYV/template/LISEXT/1FRAME/index.html

UL catalog of standards
http://ulstandards.ul.com/standards-catalog/.