Hoverboard safety advice following fire in Crewe
Firefighters are warning people to be vigilant after a popular electronic children’s toy caused a fire in Crewe.
Shortly before 3pm on Thursday 21 July crews were called to reports of a kitchen fire in Smith Grove.
On arrival they found that the fire had been caused by a self-balancing electronic scooter, which are commonly known as hoverboards.
Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus extinguished the fire with a hose reel jet.
A 72-year-old woman was treated by paramedics at the scene as a precautionary measure and the fire caused extensive damage to the kitchen.
Station Manager Colin Heyes said: “Hoverboards have become extremely popular among children in recent years and there have been instances of the electric scooters hitting the headlines nationally and internationally for causing fires.
“There are three main causes of fires involving lithium ion batteries such as those used in hoverboards: the wrong charger being used, mechanical damage to the battery and a manufacturing defect.
“The lithium ion batteries used in hoverboards and other rechargeable items contain chemicals which are flammable. In the event of a short circuit or an over-charge situation they can heat up very quickly and burst into flames. The resulting fire, although relatively small, can be very intense and will produce dense smoke.”
Hoverboards do not have handles. Riders balance on the platform and are propelled by two wheels.
Anyone planning to buy a hoverboard or other rechargeable electrical devices such as laptops, e-cigarettes and mobile phones is urged to:
- Make sure that it has a British or European safety mark on it and carries CE certification – all electrical equipment must comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
- Only buy from a reputable retailer you know and trust – that way if something goes wrong you can contact the retailer or manufacturer to deal with any problems
- Never purchase through unknown sellers on online marketplaces, social media or from a market stall
- Check that it has a three pin plug which states it is made to BS 1363 and that there is a fuse fitted inside the plug – with no fuse there is a risk of a fire caused by overheating
- Ensure that the input voltage range of the charger includes 230/240V, 50Hz (the UK’s nominal voltage)
- Never buy unless it has instructions on how to charge it safely
- Look out for signs that of it coming from an untrustworthy source, such as poor quality construction and finish, misspelt brands or product names or instructions with poor English translations
- Check that the packaging is of good quality – avoid plain cardboard boxes not marked with a manufacturer’s name or trademark and always check for contact details on the packaging or instructions
- Check that the instructions are for the product in the box
- Ensure that details of the manufacturer, including its contact details, are provided
- Be aware that faulty products will often be missing warranty cards, instructions and other associated literature.
Anyone with a hoverboard in their home should follow this safety advice:
- Never leave the hoverboard charging unattended – there have been a number of incidents nationally and internationally in which they have overheated while charging and caused a fire
- Do not charge a hoverboard when you go to bed
- Never leave a hoverboard on charge for extended periods as the charging cut-off device can fail, causing the battery to overheat
- Be careful where you charge the hoverboard – follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on charging and never charge it near soft furnishings or other combustibles
- Only use the charger supplied with the hoverboard – connections of other chargers may seem similar or even identical but the power rating may be different, which can cause a fire
- If possible, charge the hoverboard in a garage on a concrete floor
- If the hoverboard’s battery is damaged in any way make sure you dispose of it immediately
- If you suspect you have a sub-standard or faulty hoverboard stop using it immediately and report the fault to the manufacturer or retailer (if known) and the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.
For more information visit Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s website, www.cheshirefire.gov.uk.