Fire safety guidance for e-scooters and e-bikes
The popularity of e-scooters and e-bikes is increasing and with it comes a corresponding fire safety concern associated with their charging and storage.
Lithium-ion batteries, similar to the technology in our mobile phones, are used to power many of these new modes of urban transport. If these and associated charging equipment are substandard, damaged or misused then there is a risk of the batteries overheating. This may lead to an unusually intense fire that can give off toxic gases and large amounts of smoke with very little prior warning.
An investigation by the consumer safety charity Electrical Safety First discovered nearly 60 listings on popular online marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, Wish.com and AliExpress, were found to be highly dangerous e-bike chargers. All 60 failed to meet UK safety standards.
It is important when charging e-bikes and e-scooters, you do so safely to avoid a risk of a fire starting and putting your families and homes at risk.
In the event of an e-bike, e-scooter or lithium-ion battery fire, do not attempt to put it out. Get out, stay out and call 999.
To help protect yourselves and others from the dangers of e-bike, e-scooter or lithium-ion fires, please follow this guidance:
- If possible, avoid charging e-bikes and e-scooters indoors.
- Avoid storing or charging e-bikes and e-scooters in communal areas as this can affect people’s ability to escape.
- Charge batteries whilst you are awake and alert and do not charge them if you are away from home.
- Avoid charging near combustible or flammable materials.
- Ensure your smoke alarms are working. If you charge or store your e-bike or e-scooter in a garage or kitchen ensure you install the correct detection equipment. We recommend heat alarms rather than smoke detectors for these areas.
- Always use the manufacturer approved charger for the product and carefully follow the instructions.
- Unplug the charger when you have finished using it.
- Check your battery regularly for any signs of damage.
- Do not cover chargers or battery packs when charging as this could lead to overheating or a fire.
- Do not overcharge your battery. Check the instructions for charge times.
- If you need to dispose of a damaged or end of life battery, don’t dispose of it in your household waste or normal recycling.
- Responsible Persons (RPs) should consider the risks associated with e-bikes and e-scooters regarding where they are left being charged such as common areas, bike stores and mobility scooter charging rooms. Escape routes should be kept clear at all times and RPs may wish to advise residents on the safe use, storage and charging of these products.
- E-bikes, e-scooters and their batteries should be stored in a cool place, avoiding excessively hot or cold areas.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the storage and maintenance of lithium-ion batteries, particularly if they are not going to be used for extended periods of time.
Further advice on the purchasing of e-bikes and e-scooters, along with how to safely dispose of lithium-ion batteries can be found on the NFCC’s website.
Further information regarding the legal use of e-scooters is available from Thames Valley Police’s website.
Hampshire House Fire
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service released the following video as reported in the media recently, showing a fire to a car port caused by an exploding e-scooter battery pack in November 2022.