Communities urged to Buy Safe, Charge Safe this Christmas
Our Christmas message this year is Buy Safe, Charge Safe, as we issue a reminder about the serious risks posed by lithium-ion batteries.
These batteries are used to power many electrical appliances, including e-bikes and e-scooters.
Lithium-ion batteries can catch fire, or even explode, when they create more heat than they let out. This can be the result of a manufacturing defect or owner negligence.
Watch this video to see just how a quickly and strongly a fire caused by a lithium-ion battery can take hold: Buy Safe. Charge Safe. - YouTube
That's why we are calling on anyone thinking about purchasing an e-bike or e-scooter to Buy Safe and Charge Safe. Here are two ways to minimise any risk:
- Only buy e-bikes, e-scooters, chargers and batteries from reputable retailers. It might cost you a little bit more, but your life is worth more than a few pounds saved on a fake charger.
- Check your battery regularly for any signs of damage. This should especially be done if the battery has been dropped or if you have crashed your e-bike or e-scooter. Even if you think there is a slight chance that your battery is damaged, you should not use or charge it, and you must replace it immediately.
Once your device is in your home, we are urging you to be aware of SANTA:
Smoke - Is smoke coming out of your device or battery?
Aroma - Is there a strong or unusual smell coming from the battery?
Noise - Can you hear your battery hissing or cracking? Is your device making any other unusual sounds?
Temperature - Does your device or battery feel extremely hot to touch?
Appearance - Does the battery look swollen? Has it drastically changed shape?
If you notice any of the above, you must immediately:
- Turn off the device
- Unplug it from the power source
- Call the device manufacturer or retailer for further instructions.
In the event of smoke or fire coming from your device, you must:
- Raise the alarm
- Vacate the building
- Call 999.
Ian Read, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service's Head of Prevent, Protect and Partnerships, said: "No electrical appliance comes without risk, but when devices are powered by lithium-ion batteries, that risk is significantly heightened.
"The contents of faulty batteries cause fires and explosions that spread rapidly and are difficult to extinguish. These fires can cause serious injury or even result in a fatality.
"As firefighters, we can only do our best to tackle a blaze once it has already started. That is why these preventative measures are vital in ensuring your safety and that of those around you.
"Please do your research prior to purchasing and make sure that you are vigilant at all times once the device is in your home.
"By using SANTA, we hope that people will be able to spot the signs of a defective battery before a more serious situation develops.
"The destruction of homes and lives can be avoided if you remember to Buy Safe and Charge Safe."
For more information, please visit: Buy Safe. Charge Safe (staffordshirefire.gov.uk)