A national alert has been issued by UK fire services warning of the dangers of fires caused by exploding e-cigarette chargers. More than 100 fires have been blamed on the devices over the past two years, according to fire service figures.
The Local Government Association (LGA), representing the 49 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, wants e-cigarette manufacturers to display warnings on packaging about the fire risks associated with the misuse of e-cigarettes and associated equipment. Fire chiefs say many blazes are caused by the wrong chargers being used when re-charging e-cigarettes, and it is believed that many users are using cheaper, unregulated chargers in an effort to save money.
If a charger is not compatible with the e-cigarette that it is connected to, too much current can go into the batteries, meaning they can overheat and eventually explode.
Emergency services received eight call-outs to fires related to e-cigarettes in 2012, according to data from 43 of the 49 fire authorities. That number rose to over 40 in 2013, and there were more than 60 callouts in 2014. Concerns have also been raised that many charger fires are going unreported and that the true number of e-cigarette related fires could be much higher.
To safely charge an e-cigarette:
- Always use the correct charger and follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Never charge a battery that has been damaged, dropped or struck
- Never plug a charger into an unapproved mains power transformer
- Check your battery has overcharge or overheat protection
- Don’t overcharge the battery. Remove the battery from charge as soon as charging is complete
- Never leave a charging battery unattended
- Don’t use your charger if wet
- Don’t overtighten the atomiser when connecting it to the charger