Friday, January 22, 2016

Hoverboards. Banned?

There was a report a couple of weeks ago on WSB-TV's site (with absolutely no attribution or official sources) that says UGA has banned hoverboards in the dorms for safety reasons. Don't get me wrong. I have no love for the things, but whenever I see no attribution I begin to wonder. On Thursday The Red & Black repeated the WSB story with again no attempt to independently verify the info. It simply named the WSB story (with no damn link to it. I had to find it myself). Yes, it's there. My computer doesn't run such links without me agreeing, so I missed it.

So I, ya know, called Housing. Many students don't realize their smart phone has this capability. The person I needed was out for a while and I needed to call back, but I got busy and emailed. They nicely sent me wording of the new policy and I pasted it at the bottom. Makes perfectly good sense to me, a reasonable response.

About ban as a description. It's as good a word as any. Below, it tells residents that UGA is still looking into the hazards of the hoverboards and in the meantime "do not ride it inside residence halls." So ban? Yeah, though somehow it seems softer than that. A directive?

So why did no one bother to call Housing or, if they did call, use actual attribution in the story? No idea. Perhaps the R&B is suffering from a pixel limitation on stories. Here's what Housing sent me (much appreciated, by the way): I have highlighted what strikes me as key phrases.

Dear Resident,
Welcome (back) to University Housing and best wishes on a new year and new semester.
In light of some recent news reports across the nation regarding fire-safety issues with self-balancing scooters (more popularly known as hoverboards), many colleges and universities have banned the use and storage of these devices in their campus facilities. University Housing staff members are concerned for the safety and well-being of our residents. Therefore, we are currently gathering and reviewing data regarding this potential fire hazard and will be consulting with several university partners in order to determine an appropriate action or policy for our campus and residence halls.
In the meantime, if you have a hoverboard, do not ride it inside the residence halls. We encourage you to follow the National Fire Protection Associations’ and the National Association of State Fire Marshals’ recommendations for the safe use of these devices, including:
• Take the time to look at and research the product you buy.. If it is compliant with federal standards, inspections and certifications, it will have a mark on it or indicate such on its packaging, on the device itself, or on its charging equipment. Devices not bearing a mark indicating compliance likely have not been tested to meet minimum safety standards.
• Do not overcharge the device; follow manufacturer’s recommended charging times and do not leave device plugged into an outlet overnight.
• Do not leave the device unattended while it is charging. Someone should be able to observe the device during its recharging time.
• If you notice the device is very hot, stop using it and check with your manufacturer or retailer. This could suggest a faulty battery that needs replacing.
• After it has been used, give the device time to cool off prior to charging.
Should you have any questions regarding this email, please contact 706-542-1421.
Gerard J. Kowalski, Ph.D.
Executive Director for University Housing
University of Georgia


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James Smith Brown said...

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