Hoverboard Fires Prompt Safety Concern

Monday, December 07, 2015 | 12:18pm

NASHVILLE – Self-balancing scooters, popularly known as hoverboards, are undoubtedly the hot ticket item on many holiday wish lists. Unfortunately, the growing worldwide number of injuries and fires involved with these devices is prompting the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) and the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) to issue an advisory to consumers.

“Safety is our ultimate mission,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance Deputy Commissioner Gary West. “We want Tennesseans to be informed about hoverboards as the number of fire incidents involving these popular devices steadily increases.”

The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office is joining NASFM in issuing the following safety tips for the use, care, and maintenance of hoverboards.

When shopping for a self-balancing scooter or hoverboard:

Take the time to look at and research the product you buy. If it is compliant with federal standards, inspections, and certifications, it will have a mark on it or indicate such on its packaging, on the device itself, or on its charging equipment. Devices not bearing a mark indicating compliance likely have not been tested to meet minimum safety standards.

When buying online, take the time to verify that the device meets applicable standards. There are many of these products on the market, and many may not meet this country’s inspection and safety requirements. Those that do will indicate such on the packaging, and on the device or its charging equipment.

Buy a device with a warranty, or buy it in person at a brick and mortar store. If you are buying online, buy from a reputable source. Also, check with your retailer regarding the safety of the device you are purchasing.

When charging your self-balancing scooter or hoverboad:

After it has been used, give the device time to cool off prior to charging.

Do not leave the device unattended while it is charging. Someone should be able to observe the device during its recharging time.

Do not overcharge the device; follow manufacturer’s recommended charging times and do not leave device plugged into an outlet overnight.

Do not use imitation electrical chargers as they may be unsafe.

Limit to one plug per socket.

When operating your self-balancing scooter or hoverboad:

Wear appropriate safety equipment; similar to when riding a bicycle.

Do not text or operate a cell phone while using a self-balancing scooter or hoverboad.

Operate the device in accordance with its intended use.

If you notice the device is very hot, stop using it and check with your manufacturer or retailer. This could suggest a faulty battery that needs replacing.