National Fire Protection Association urges teens not to participate in dangerous social media challenge

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Photo by Bryan Bedder/ Getty Images for Vulture Festival

According to news reports, high school students in Massachusetts have been imitating a dangerous viral video circulating on the social media app TikTok.

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.”

– Lorraine Carli, VP of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA

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.

For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research and resources, please visit the NFPA press room. For other information, please contact us at 617-984-7275 or publicaffairs@nfpa.org.

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