Just ask Santa – one of the most requested gifts this year is a hoverboard.
Hamilton Fire Chief Phil Stevens, through a statement from the National Association of State Fire Marshals, has issued a safety warning about the safety of self-balancing scooters, commonly known as hoverboards.
The Fire Marshals Association said it has received reports of injuries and fires involved with hoverboards.
The association has issued several tips for the use, care and maintenance of hoverboards.
To start, when shopping for a self-balancing scooter or hoverboard:
1) Take the time to look at and research the product and make sure it is compliant with federal standards, inspections and certifications. It will have a mark on it or indicate compliance on the 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.
2) When buying online, take the time to verify that the device meets the standards. There are many hoverboard 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, on the device or its charging equipment.
3) Buy a device with a warranty, or buy it in person at a brick and mortar store. If you are buying online, buy it from a reputable source. Also, check with the retailer about the safety of the device.
When charging a hoverboard:
1) After it has been used, give it time to cool off prior to charging.
2) Do not leave the hoverboard unattended while it is charging. Someone should be able to observe the device during its recharging time.
3) Do not overcharge the hoverboard; follow manufacturer’s recommended charging times and do not leave it plugged into an outlet overnight.
4) Do not use imitation electrical chargers because they may be unsafe.
5) Keep charging to one plug per socket.
When operating a hoverboard:
1) Wear appropriate safety equipment; similar to when riding a bicycle.
2) Do not text or operate a cell phone while using a hoverboard.
3) Operate the hoverboard in accordance with its intended use.
4) Overheating – if you notice the hoverboard is very hot, stop using it and check with the manufacturer or retailer. This could suggest a faulty battery that needs replacing.
As more details become available and research is conducted into incidents involving hoverboards, the National Association of State Fire Marshals will keep citizens informed. If you have any fire-related incidents regarding hoverboards, contact the Hamilton Fire Department or the State Fire Marshal’s Office.