London Fire Brigade (LFB) is responding to a growing number of incidents that involve electric powered personal vehicles (EPPVs), such as e-bikes and e-scooters.
While lithium batteries are used to safely power millions of devices every day, they can present a fire risk when overcharged, tampered with, submerged in water or damaged in any way. There has been a particular rise in fires involving EPPVs. In 2022, LFB attended 87 incidents for e-bikes and 29 incidents involving e-scooters across London. This is a substantial increase compared to 2021 where they attended a total of 78 fires for both e-bikes and e-scooters. Whilst incidents of this type in Bromley have been limited so far, it is an emerging risk.
LFB's #ChargeSafe campaign has been launched to make Londoners aware of how to keep themselves safe when charging or storing EPPVs in their home.
The key messages are:
- Never block your escape route with anything, including e-bikes and e-scooters.
Store them somewhere away from a main through route. Our advice is to store these items in a safe location if possible, such as a garage or a shed.
- Check your battery and charger meets UK safety standards.
Watch out for signs that the battery or charger aren’t working as they should – hot to the touch or has changed shape.
- Always use the correct charger and buy an official one from a reputable seller.
We are predominantly seeing fires where batteries have been purchased from online marketplaces and when they've been sourced on the internet, which may not meet the correct safety standards.
- Let the battery cool before charging.
Batteries can get warm during their use and it is advisable to allow them to cool down before attempting to re-charge as they could be more susceptible to failure. If you are charging batteries indoors, please follow our advice on safe charging.
- Unplug your charger once it’s finished charging.
Always follow manufacturers’ charging instructions and we advise not to leave it unattended or while people are asleep.
- Fit alarms where you charge.
Ensure you have smoke alarms fitted in areas where e-bikes or e-scooters are being charged and make sure they are tested regularly. You can quickly and easily check your home by visiting our free online home fire safety checker tool by visiting Home Fire Safety Checker | London Fire Brigade (london-fire.gov.uk)