The use of the popular recreational device known as a hover board has been prohibited in all buildings on Montclair State’s campus as of Jan. 6. This decision has stemmed from recent reports about the new technology being a potential fire hazard.
Two recent house fires in New Jersey were reportedly caused by faulty battery harnesses in hover boards. Similar incidents have surfaced in the news, creating concern about these electronic devices.
Montclair State has joined surrounding schools like Kean and Rutgers Universities on the decision to ban hover boards.
Robert Ferrara, Director of Campus Fire Safety, sent out an email to all students alerting the campus of the change in policy, explaining that the new rule “is in the best interest of the life safety of all college campus students.”
Ferrara introduced this topic to Residence Life before winter break, when the media was beginning to bring attention to the potential safety risks of these products. He said that the main issue with the rise in popularity of hover boards is that, because they have been mass-produced and remade by other companies, knock-off brands have not been properly tested or manufactured.
“The cheaper models have issues in how they are constructed,” Ferrara said. “At this time, [Fire Safety] has no way of telling the difference between an original or imitation unit.”
Ferrara believes that the possibility of personal injury or damage to buildings is high.
The New Jersey College and University Fire Professional Association has been in contact with the NJ Division of Fire Safety, which is looking into taking action on placing a statewide ban on these electronic devices.
As far as Montclair State is concerned, Ferrara has voiced his apprehension and interest in protecting the community.
“If there wasn’t so many issues with this item, I would not have posted a ban. I would have kept the warning in place,” he said.
Ferrara also described his worry over a fire causing damage to buildings and personal items or injury to residents: “How do you think I would feel [having] known the issue and not relaying it to our community?”
Sophomore Chiara Bachrach does not own a hover board, but feels that the ban was a smart decision. Bachrach lives in Machuga Heights and justified her position because of the many videos surfacing on social media showing the dangers of the product.
John Delate, Director of Residence Life at Montclair State, said that signs will be posted by entrances of buildings on campus to remind students of the new policy. Hover boards will now be included on the list of items not allowed in dorm rooms in accordance with room inspections done by Fire Safety and the Office of Residence Life.
Delate said of the repercussions of the policy being violated. “At this time, I do not know the specific sanction for violations of this new policy, but it will most likely parallel other policies for prohibited items. I am confident that our residents will abide by the ban and not bring hover boards to campus.”
To help reduce the risk of a fire-related incident, avoid buying hover (“balance” or “smart”) boards at a mall kiosk or website. Don’t charge your hover board overnight or directly after riding it. Look for the mark of a certified national testing laboratory. These are only a few of the safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.