E-cigarette explosion sparks fire service warning

February 26, 2016

FIREFIGHTERS are issuing a warning to e-cigarette users after a man from Tamworth was left with second and third degree burns when an e-cigarette battery exploded in his pocket.

E-cigarettes have rocketed in popularity and according to ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) an estimated 2.6 million adults in Great Britain use the devices.

E-cigarette batteries can ignite when carried in a person’s pocket if they come into contact with spare change or keys which complete the positive and negative charges of the battery, potentially causing serious injury.

E-cigarette users should also take care not to leave the batteries on charge for too long as there is a danger that the lithium ion battery can overheat and explode.

Northern Service Delivery Group Manager Paul Shaw said:

“E-cigarettes have become a popular alternative to smoking tobacco and we are seeing a rise in the number of incidents related to them.

“I would urge people never to carry e-cigarette batteries in their pockets. Loose batteries should be transported separately in non-conductive containers such as plastic. They should never be allowed to come into contact with metal items that can cause a short circuit such as a pocket full of loose change or keys.

“E-cigarette users should never leave their e-cigarette on charge while they are away from the house or asleep as this poses a fire risk.

“People should always take care when charging electrical items and buy them from a reputable source.

“Never drop a lithium battery as this may damage its components resulting in an explosion. Any damaged battery should immediately be thrown away and replaced.

“E-cigarette batteries should be handled with as much care as most people would afford their smart phones.”

E-cigarette users are advised to follow these safety tips:

  • Always buy from a reputable vendor
  • Check that the product displays the correct CE safety markings and that the distributor can prove their authenticity
  • Do not store, use or charge batteries in extremes of temperature, high or low
  • Always use the correct charger and follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Never leave a battery in charge unattended or charge them overnight
  • Always charge batteries away from flammable materials
  • Remove the battery from charge when complete – don’t over charge
  • Transport loose batteries properly separated in non-conductive (e.g. plastic) containers, and never where they can come into contact with metal items that can cause a short circuit (e.g. pockets full of loose change or keys)
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe charging, use and disposal
  • Don’t use if wet or exposed to water
  • Do not over tighten the atomiser or when connecting to charger
  • Specialist fire retardant bags can be bought for around £5 which can be used when batteries are being charged. The bags are designed to contain the battery and charger whilst on charge
  • Always keep the device away from flammable or combustible materials such as a bed or soft furnishings
  • If you have any concerns contact Trading Standards for more information

Click on the link below to watch an e-cigarette safety video http://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/422.asp

In an emergency dial 999. For all other non-emergency enquiries contact: 08451 22 11 55 or log onto: www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk or www.direct.gov.uk/firekills