On Friday (30 June) we heard the tragic news from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service where a woman in her 30s and two children aged 8 and four-years old died in a house fire.
Yesterday (3 July) it was announced the probable cause of the fire was a charging electric bike.
As we want to keep you safe, we wanted to share some important information about the use of these vehicles.
Over recent years, electric vehicles, such as bikes and scooters, have gained vast popularity but, like all electric appliances, they need to be used, charged and stored appropriately.
E-scooter, e-bikes and mobility scooters are really useful way of travelling for many people.
We want to help you identify these and hopefully prevent a fire.
The main fire risk is the lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery used to charged these appliances.
There is a heightened risk of explosion because of something called a ‘thermal runway’ where internal temperatures of the battery continue to increase making it unstable.
lithium-ion (Li-ion) is highly flammable and particularly dangerous because of the high energy density.
E-bikes and e-scooters are not the only appliances which use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. They are also found in mobility scooters, mobile phones, power-packs, laptops, children’s toys, power tools and e-cigarettes.
Station Manager for Prevention, Adam Farrow, said: “The news from Cambridgeshire is deeply upsetting and our thoughts are with the family and friends of all those involved, including our colleagues who responded to the incident.
“Tragic events such as this, often remind people to review their own safety and look at potential risks in their own home – this is something we strongly encourage you to do by looking at the points below.
“Did you know you can also review the fire risk in your home by using a helpful and interactive tool on our website. This will take you through each room in your property and will identify any potential risks. You may also be eligible for a visit from your local fire station.”
Risks can be reduced, by taking note of the following:
- Buy e-bikes and e-scooters, chargers and batteries from reputable retailers.
- Register your product with the manufacturer and check the product isn’t subject to a product re-call.
- 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
- Do not charge batteries or store your e-bike or e-scooter near combustible or flammable materials
- Avoid storing or charging e-bikes or e-scooters on escape routes or in communal areas of multi-occupancy buildings. If there is a fire, it can affect people’s ability to escape.
- Never leave your appliance charging overnight or when you are away from the property – always keep it in sight
- Make sure you charge your appliance in a well ventilated area and do not cover the battery
- When charging always follow the manufacturers instructions.
- Always unplug your charger when it is finished charging
- Ensure you have working smoke alarms, especially in the area where you are charging your lithium battery
In the event of a fire involving an e-bike, e-scooter or lithium-ion (Li-ion) NEVER attempt to tackle it yourself. It is important to remember water isn’t effective at extinguishing a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery fire and can actually make it worse – Get out, stay out, and call 999.
Please remember, when disposing of a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery, this can’t be done in your household waste – you must take this to a household refuse and recycling plant or contact your local authority for more information.
More information on safe battery use can be found at http://www.batteryfiresafety.co.uk
To carry out an online home fire check, please follow this link Book a Safe and Well Visit – North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service (northyorksfire.gov.uk)