By KLTV Newsdesk –
People that have bought e-bikes and e-scooters as Christmas gifts are being warned of the dangers following a number of fires across the UK and in West Yorkshire.
The blazes are believed to have started in homes where the device is being charged and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is urging owners to take extra care.
In December a fire at a home in Luxor View, Harehills in Leeds turned out to be caused by a lithium battery from an e-bike that had been charging. The battery was being charged overnight and crews received the call just after 2 am to the fire on the ground floor of the three-storey mid-terraced property – two men were taken to hospital with smoke inhalation.
Lithium batteries are of growing concern due to the risk of explosion because of something called a ‘thermal runaway’ where the internal temperature of the battery continues to increase making it unstable. Also, there are problems caused by the disposal of lithium-ion batteries.
Dave Walton, deputy chief fire officer, said: “E-bikes, e-scooters, and mobility scooters are becoming more and more popular each year. While these vehicles can provide a great way for people to get around, they also come with a number of risks – and one of the biggest dangers posed is the risk of fire due to the lithium batteries.
“Lithium is highly flammable and particularly dangerous because of the battery’s high energy density. Not only do people need to be careful when charging these batteries but they need to be recycled properly and not disposed of with general household waste.”
According to figures around 700 fires a year are caused by the inappropriate disposal of lithium batteries. The Environmental Services Association says resulting fires cost fire services and waste operators some £158m a year.
Across the country, there are a growing number of incidents involving rechargeable household items including E-Cigarettes, E-Scooters, E-bikes, Hover Boards, phones, power packs, laptops, children’s toys and rechargeable power tools. All of these incidents have been caused by the lithium battery failing due to issues which include damage, overheating or using an incorrect charging cable.
There are a few things that you can do to reduce the risk of a lithium battery fire.
1, Make sure that you charge the battery in a well-ventilated area and don’t cover the battery. This will help to prevent the build-up of heat, which can lead to a fire.
2, Charge batteries while you are awake and in the house, so you can respond quickly if there is an emergency. Don’t leave batteries to charge while you are asleep or away from the home.
3, When charging always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t forget to unplug your charger when it’s finished charging.
4, Ensure you have working smoke alarms, especially in the location where you are charging your lithium battery.
5, Always use the manufacturer-approved charger for the product, and if you spot any signs of wear and tear or damage buy an official replacement charger for your product from a reputable seller.
6, Do not charge batteries or store your e-bike or e-scooter near combustible or flammable materials.
7, Avoid storing or charging e-bikes and e-scooters on escape routes or in communal areas of a multi-occupied building. If there’s a fire, it can affect people’s ability to escape.
8, In the event of an e-bike, e-scooter or lithium-ion battery fire – do not attempt to extinguish the fire. Get out and call 999.
9, Buy e-bikes, e-scooters and chargers and batteries from reputable retailers. Register your product with the manufacturer and check the product isn’t subject to a product recall.
10, Finally it’s important to remember that water isn’t effective at extinguishing a lithium battery fire and can actually make it worse.