ENFIELD — Chief Edward N. Richards would like to share the latest guidance regarding safe charging and storing practices for electric bikes and electric scooters amid a recent nationwide spike in fires.
Recently, there has been an increase in reported fires caused by lithium-ion batteries that power electric bikes and electric scooters (e-bikes and e-scooters) as the devices have become more popular.
According to the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), in New York City alone, battery-powered micromobility devices have sparked more than 130 fires so far in 2022, putting the city on pace for more than 160 e-bike or e-scooter fires this year. This number represents a roughly 50% increase over the 104 blazes the FDNY reported in 2021, which killed four people. Five people have died in such fires in 2022, including a 5-year-old girl who died in August from a blaze sparked by a charging e-scooter.
In response to this uptick in fires, Enfield Fire District No.1 offers the following e-bike and e-scooter safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association:
- Only purchase and use devices, batteries, and charging equipment that are listed by a nationally recognized testing lab and labeled accordingly.
- Only use the battery and the charger that were designed for, and came with, the device.
- Do not keep charging the device or device battery after it is fully charged. Only charge one battery at a time to prevent overloading the circuit.
- Store e-bikes, e-scooters, and batteries away from exit doors and anything that can catch fire.
- Store batteries at room temperature and do not charge them when they are below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not charge batteries in direct sunlight or inside hot vehicles.
- Stop using the e-bike or e-scooter if you notice any of these problems with the battery: unusual odor; change in color; too much heat; change in shape; leaking, smoking, or not keeping a charge.
- Do not put lithium-ion batteries in the trash. Recycling is always the best option. Take the batteries to a battery recycling location or contact your local waste department for disposal instructions.
- Only have device repairs performed by a qualified professional.
For more safety information about e-bikes and e-scooters and to download the free safety tip sheet, visit nfpa.org/ebikes.