‘Hoverboards’ were on sale at a kiosk in Jersey Gardens mall. The kiosk closed by the end of January. (Photo: Rebecca Panico)
By: Rose Marie Kitchen | Published Feb. 10, 2016
A new way of getting from point A to point B has officially become extinct for all students on Kean University’s campuses.
All faculty, staff and students were notified by email, at the conclusion of winter break, on Jan. 14, that due to fire safety concerns all hoverboards are prohibited on campus. Any hoverboard brought onto campus will be confiscated and returned to the owner at the end of the semester.
The boards are described as a two-wheeled, self-balancing electric scooter. The board is controlled completely based off where the body weight is positioned while standing on the board. A person can travel up 10 miles per charge.
The max speed of the board ranges from 6.2 to 9.2 mph. There are different styles, features and colors of every board. During any given moment the boards could easily be spotted on campus. Some were even spotted being rode on in buildings.
Hoverboards have become increasingly popular with adolescents but the uprising safety concern has caused a ban at over 20 N.J. colleges and universities, including Kean University. The ban was set in place beyond the risk of falls and collisions but more so because of the fire safety concern.
Hoverboards were the cause of several documented house fires in N.J.
“The hoverboards are definitely a fire hazard, there is some kind of defect in some of them and they can catch fire at any time whether they are being operated or are sitting on charge,” said Len Dolan, Managing Fire Safety Director at Kean University. “There [have been] multiple documented instances of these things [hoverboards] catching fire and they were clearly a safety hazard if we had those on campus.”
Upon hearing about the safety concerns regarding hoverboards, Dolan explained that he immediately conducted research in regards to the fire safety concern. He then recommended the concern to his supervisor, who is head of the public safety. In a mutual agreement, the ban was then officially put into effect before the start of the spring semester.
“I hate the idea, yet I understand it,” said William Asante, sophomore accounting major at Kean University and a proud hoverboard owner.
Dolan has confirmed that the hoverboard ban has in fact been successful on campus thus far and, at this point, there have not been any reports of hoverboards on campus.
The ban was put into effect with the safety of the Kean community in mind. Since the Seton Hall fire in the year 2000—which affected 600 freshman residents—colleges and universities are well aware of the dangers that a fire entails.
Kean University has an active and updated emergency action plan, including building drills that run throughout the semester for the entire campus. For more information on fire safety you can visit: http://www.kean.edu/offices/fire-safety.
Detailed evacuation map and emergency action plans can also be found on this site.