MONROE, La (01/27/20) — First there was the cinnamon challenge, then the tide pod challenge, now, it’s the outlet challenge. Although it’s not becoming as big of a challenge as the others, local fire departments around the country are making statements about outlet safety and the electrical problems it can cause.
It started on the social media app “Tik Tok”, where teens in Massachusetts were partially inserting the plug of a cellphone charger into an outlet, then sliding a penny down the wall onto the exposed prongs.
The result caused sparks and damage to the electrical system with the possibility of electrical outlets being scorched.
“It’s that metal on metal contact that’s creating that arc and that spark and you’re talking about high voltage also that’s being dispersed and that’s where they’re gonna get that electrocution if they come in contact with that,” said Antonio Smith, Public Information Officer for Monroe Fire Dept.
Now, local fire departments around the country are speaking out about the dangers this challenge can pose.
“That fire may smolder behind the wall or in a crawl space for an extended period of time or hours before someone discovers it,” said Smith.
Smith has one message to parents and teens who participate in these viral trends.
“They’re looking at oh, I can be popular or I can be accepted by this group or they’re trying to build their audience on social media or something like that. I would encourage parents to be involved. Monitor what the kids are doing on social media.” said Smith.
There haven’t been many public cases of teens doing the challenge, but fire officials are urging parents and teens to be cautious so that more cases of the outlet challenge don’t make headlines.