by Steve Beasant on 13 July, 2015
A nationwide safety alert is being issued by fire authorities after a “highly disturbing” spate of fires caused by dodgy e-cigarette chargers which explode.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents all 49 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, fears that these are the “tip of the iceberg” and many cases go unreported. The LGA has called for e-cigarette manufacturers to do more to warn of the dangers. This includes displaying prominent safety warnings, highlighting this issue, on e-cigarette packaging.
Fire chiefs say many blazes are taking place because some smokers are not using compatible chargers. This means too much current goes into the batteries and they overheat and eventually explode. Battery material shoots out – up to two to three metres in distance – and can cause a fire if it lands on anything combustible.
E-cigarettes have rocketed in popularity and are used by over two million Britons each year. Recent blazes involving e-cigarette chargers have been reported across the country. They include:
Latest reported figures from fire services up and down the country reveal that since 2012 they have attended 113 calls to e-cigarette-related blazes. There were just eight call-outs in 2012 but this soared to 43 in 2013 and there were at least 62 in 2014. This means firefighters are now dealing with e-cigarette related incidents at more than one a week.
Cllr Jeremy Hilton, Chair of the LGA’s Fire Services Management Committee, said: “The recent spate of fires connected with e-cigarettes is highly disturbing and we are issuing a nationwide alert to users to be vigilant at all times. We are warning them that it is simply not worth risking their lives to save a few pounds by buying dodgy, dangerous or incompatible chargers.
“Fire authorities all over the country are being called out more regularly to these types of incidents. Alarmingly, there is no way of knowing the true figure as we understand many cases are going unreported.
“Tragically, at least one life appears to have been claimed and more fatalities could follow unless users become more aware of the risks and take sensible precautions.”
E-cigarette Safety Tips
E-cigarette users are advised to follow these safety tips when charging: