Massachusetts fire officials are cautioning against a TikTok trend that could spark an electrical fire, reports New York Post.
The fad involves sliding a penny behind a partially plugged-in phone charger, as seen in multiple viral videos circulating on YouTube and TikTok.
The coin can strike the metal prongs, causing “sparks, electrical system damage, and in some cases fire.”
Along with Massachusetts fire officials who have issued fire alerts about the dangers of this activity, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is urging the public not to participate in this challenge.
“Electricity is ubiquitous in our lives, so much so that we often take for granted its power and potential for danger,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA. “This video challenge reinforces that electricity can inflict serious harm if used improperly.”
Called the #outletchallenge, the video shows how to partially insert the plug of a cellphone charger into an outlet and slide a penny down the wall onto the exposed prongs. The results include sparks and damage to the electrical system, and in some cases, fires, injuries, and even electrocution.
“Our hope is to communicate the true dangers of this activity so that we can prevent anyone else from being harmed by it,” said Carli.
NFPA offers resources to help protect teens from trends that have primarily emerged on social media in recent years, helping them identify risky behaviors and make safer decisions. Mainly designed for parents, caretakers, and fire departments, these resources can help anyone have an open dialogue with teenagers and discourage dangerous behavior.
NFPA is also the developer of the NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC) , which serves as the benchmark for safe electrical design, installation, and inspection to protect people and property from electrical hazards, and is used in all 50 states.