A gift to refuse this Christmas

Concerned firefighters are issuing a fresh warning about the dangers of popular Christmas presents in the run up to the big day.  Firefighters are concerned about the dangers presented by faulty lithium ion batteries often found in e-scooters and e-bikes.  Today (Friday) Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have revealed figures showing a dramatic increase in fires linked to the goods.

TWFRS have responded to seven serious fires at people’s homes involving e-bikes or e-scooters in 2023.

That includes a fire that left a family in Sunderland homeless last month when a fire involving an e-scooter destroyed their kitchen.

Nationally, emergency services have responded to some incredibly sad incidents where people have lost their lives due to fires caused by faulty lithium ion batteries.  Ahead of the festive season, TWFRS’s Area Manager for Community Safety, Paul Russell, is urging the public to listen to the Service’s advice.


He said “Some of the fires linked to faulty lithium ion batteries have had tragic consequences across the country and we don’t want to see that in our region.  “The batteries are commonly found in e-scooters and e-bikes, but are also found in other common electrical goods, including disposable vapes.  “Issues have arisen when the batteries have been damaged in some way, either they have been over-charged, or they were powered using cheap chargers which do not match or carry different voltage ratings.  “The biggest concern with these batteries is that a small spark can lead to a sizeable fire, which engulfs a home, in a matter of seconds.


“We are not trying to spoil your Christmas but we do want you to take cautious measures when it comes to the presents you buy and the aftercare of these presents.  “Always buy from reputable traders, don’t buy cheap incorrect chargers and make sure you don’t overcharge any electrical product.  “Some of the fires we’ve attended this year could have been avoided and that’s what’s most worrying.”

TWFRS have issued some top tips to keep you safe, relating to e-bikes and e-scooters in particular, this Christmas:

  • Charge batteries whilst you are awake and alert so if a fire should occur you can respond quickly.
  • Don’t leave batteries to charge while asleep or away from home.
  • Always use the manufacturer approved charger for the product, and if you spot any signs of wear and tear or damage buy an official replacement charger.
  • Do not cover chargers or battery packs when charging as this could lead to overheating or even a fire.
  • Do not charge batteries or store your e-bike or e-scooter near combustible or flammable materials.
  • Do not overcharge your battery and do not overload socket outlets or use inappropriate extension leads.
  • Avoid storing or charging e-bikes and e-scooters on escape routes or in communal areas of a multi occupied building. If there’s a fire, it can affect people’s ability to escape.
  • In the event of an e-bike, e-scooter or lithium-ion battery fire – do not attempt to extinguish the fire. Get out, stay out, call 999.


Remember, avoid disposing of batteries or electrical items in household bins.  They can ignite if not disposed of correctly and should be taken to the local recycling centre, this includes vapes and small handheld devices.


You can read the comprehensive fire safety, charging and storage advice on the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) website.

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