It was one of the hottest gifts during the holiday season, and then it caught on fire. Literally.

Hoverboards, also known as “Smart Boards,” are electronic self-balancing scooters that are now banned from Plattsburgh State because of the various safety hazards.

The University Police sent emails to the PSUC community before the semester started, prohibiting the use of hoverboards on campus stating “These devices have been related to many fire incidents across the United States.”

There have been at least 40 reports of hoverboard fires in 19 states according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“I think the college has made a wise decision in prohibiting hoverboards from campus,” University Police Chief Jerry Lottie said. “Particularly, if you look at the number of PSUC students living in the resident halls, it poses a pretty significant risk of fire hazard.”

Patrice Jean a junior communication disorders and sciences major said the ban was necessary because hoverboards aren’t a necessity.

“They can be harmful to the students and faculty of Plattsburgh, so why take that risk?” she said.

Senior PSUC history major Shaeed Ali Sellers wished that authorities would find out more details before prohibiting hoverboards on campus. He also agreed that there should be restrictions if hoverboards were not banned from universities. Hovertrax and IOHawk were two of the first brands to make hoverboards available to the U.S. market according to an article by NBC News. Both brands are two of the most expensive hoverboard companies, but they’re also two of the most reputable.

Since the hoverboards have heated up in popularity, dozens of other brands have appeared in the U.S., but many are cheap with lower-quality motors, smaller batteries and less sturdy construction.

Sellers said that there is a controversy surrounding hoverboards, but they are similar to skateboards and shouldn’t be banned entirely.

“I kind of feel like people should understand that it is a safety hazard, but it’s unfair that it is banned,” he said.

Jordan Langley, a junior English major said that she wouldn’t ban the hoverboards from campus entirely, but instead, she would set some rules if she were part of the university’s administration.

“Just like skateboards, you shouldn’t ride hoverboards inside a building or even ride them in the streets. You are not a car,” Langley said.

People should consider background information, such as the hoverboard’s brand, according to the New York State’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

The NYSDHS recommended that consumers should not charge in an area that has combustible materials. The unit may generate heat while charging or even catch fire.

The state also suggests that consumers should make sure that the device has been tested by a “proper listing agency such as UL” or assume that it has not been tested and that it is safety hazard.

However, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is concerned that there is no safety standard in place for hoverboards as they are actively investigating hoverboard-related fires across the country.

“I think that hoverboards are a really cool invention but once again they’re not that necessary,” Jean said.

Email Ashley Jovine at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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