Charge Smart, Stay Safe: The importance of charging e-bikes and e-scooters safely

Think it won't happen to you? E-bikes and e-scooters cause fires Download Image

This December, we are launching a campaign to highlight the importance of charging e-bikes and e-scooters safely.

Lithium-ion batteries are found in many electrical devices from phones and laptops to larger items like e-scooters and hoverboards. They are lightweight, rechargeable batteries and are used safely by millions of people every day.

There are some things you need to know when it comes to fire safety, chargers and batteries. The batteries are not dangerous when they are used properly, however they can present a fire risk if they are overcharged, short circuited, damaged or submersed in water.

We have seen a rise in incidents involving rechargeable batteries over the last three years as products like hoverboards, e-bikes and e-scooters become increasingly popular. 70% of lithium battery fires we attended in the last three years occurred when the battery was being charged.

We believe many of these fires are being caused by faulty or counterfeit products which are purchased second-hand or from online marketplaces. This includes chargers, batteries and conversion kits for e-bikes and e-scooters.

Our Charge Smart, Stay Safe campaign encourages you to stay safe by following this advice:

  • Always buy electrical items and chargers from a trusted retailer.
  • Buy replacement batteries and chargers from the manufacturer.
  • Never charge lithium batteries on an escape route. If possible, charge and store them away from living areas.
  • Never charge lithium batteries when you are sleeping, or if you are leaving the home.
  • Always dispose of defective batteries by recycling them at waste recycling centres.
  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms on every floor.

Prevention Group Manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, Liam Wilson says:

“In the past few years, we have seen an increase in fires involving lithium-ion batteries, which tend to start and develop very quickly. Many of these were close calls which could have been much worse, including a family in Lancaster who were lucky to escape after a bike, bought online as a gift last Christmas, burst into flames while charging under the stairs.

Another fire occurred when a man was charging the battery of an e-bike he bought second-hand the day before, a standard bike which had been converted to an e-bike by someone else.

“Rechargeable electrical items should only be purchased from reputable retailers and should always be used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Always charge batteries whilst you are awake using the charger supplied with the product and do so in a place that is well away from your escape routes. As ever, it is vitally important to have working smoke alarms, ideally one per floor.

“We hope that our campaign will help to raise awareness of safe charging practices and the fire risk of incorrect use, so you can enjoy your devices and ultimately stay safe.”

For more information visit www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk/batteries

To find out how to recycle your batteries safely, visit: www.lancashire.gov.uk/recycle