Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has issued a warning in response to a large number of fires they have attended involving e-cigarettes. Following investigations, it was found that the majority of these fires were caused by the failure of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery whilst it was on charge.
There are a number of reasons why lithium-ion batteries can fail, such as overcharging, physical damage, poor manufacture and the use of incompatible charging methods or devices.
The following guidance was issued by the ‘Chief Fire Officers Association’ following a serious fire caused by the failure of an e-cigarette battery:
- Always use the correct charger and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Never charge a battery that has signs of damage, has been dropped, or has been subjected to impact.
- Never plug a charger into a non-approved mains power transformer.
- Check that your e-cigarette battery has overcharge or overheat protection.
- Remove the battery from charge when complete – don’t over-charge.
- Never leave a battery on charge unattended.
- Don’t use it wet or exposed to water.
- Do not over tighten the atomiser or when connecting to charger.
- Ensure that you dispose of batteries correctly.
Users of e-cigarettes are encouraged to purchase specialist fire retardant charging bags which can be bought for as little as £5.00 from retailers. It is advised that these bags should be used whenever e-cigarette batteries are being recharged. The bags are deigned to contain the battery and charger whilst on charge.