Follow these tips to use your electronic devices safely

Holly Viers • Oct 15, 2017 at 1:00 PM

KINGSPORT — When using their cell phones, laptops or tablets, many people don’t think about the potential safety problems, such as a fire or explosion, that could occur if the device overheats.

To prevent these things from happening, George Brilmyer, co-creator of PlaneGard, provided the following tips.

1. Do not leave the device in direct sunlight or other hot areas.  Even if the device is not being charged or used, Brilmyer said the battery can still overheat and cause an explosion or fire if left in a hot place, such as a vehicle.

2. Do not charge the device on a soft or flammable surface.  Charging on a hard surface is the best option, Brilmyer said, because a hard surface won’t burst into flames as easily as a soft surface, such as a bed or sofa.

3. Never leave the device in a confined space.  Even if the device is not charging, Brilmyer said it can still overheat if it is running while under a pillow, blanket, mattress or in another confined space. Electronic devices should always be left in an open space to ensure they are properly ventilated.

4. Do not use off-brand chargers. Brilmyer said these chargers are often cheaply made and don’t have the same built-in safety components as chargers made by the device’s manufacturer.

5. Do not leave too many apps running.  Even if a device is not being used, applications could still be running in the background, Brilmyer said. When the phone is not in use, apps should be closed to prevent overheating.

6. Do not continuously charge any device.  Brilmyer said electronic devices should never be left charging all the time. This is because charging generates heat, which could overheat the battery.

7. Remove the battery when the device is not in use.  When the device is off, Brilmyer said the battery can be taken out, then reinstalled when the device is needed again.

8. Recognize the signs of an overheating device. If the device becomes very warm, emits a burning smell or releases a whiff of smoke, Brilmyer said a fire or explosion could be coming. If these warning signs occur, the device should be put in a cold place or taken outside, away from people or buildings.