Deputy chief fire officer Dave Walton

Fire chief issues safety warning for new micromobility users after Christmas 

A fire chief has issued a safety warning over lithium-ion batteries for new micromobility users, following the Christmas period. 

People that received e-bikes and e-scooters for Christmas are being warned of the dangers posed by faulty micromobility batteries, by deputy chief fire officer Dave Walton of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. 

In December, a fire in Harehills, Leeds was caused by a charging lithium-ion battery from an e-bike. The battery was being charged overnight, and fire crews were called just after 2am to the three-storey terraced property. Two men were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. 

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.”

Fire safety in micromobility is becoming an increasingly publicised issued as e-bikes and e-scooters continue to grow in popularity, following a number of widely-reported fire incidents caused by faulty batteries. 

West Yorkshire fire service said that lithium battery fires are often caused by damage to the battery, overheating or using an incorrect charging cable. 

Micromobility fire safety tips from West Yorkshire fire service:  

  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.

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