According to a Facebook post by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on Sunday (15 December), its statistics revealed that the number of fires involving personal mobility devices (PMDs) has reached its highest in five years.
In the post, SCDF said that 73 PMD-related fires occurred between January and September this year, and this number is almost close to 74 fires involving these devices for the whole of 2018.
Based on SCDF’s statistics, TODAY stated in its article that only 40 of such cases were recorded in 2017, nine in 2016 and just one in 2015. Prior to 2015, no fires involving PMDs were reported.
A total of 71 individuals were injured by these fires from 2016 to September 2019, and one person even died due to the fire.
“There were 73 PMD fires between Jan and end Sept this year. Between 2016 and Sept 2019, a total of 71 persons were injured by PMD fires, including a fatality,” SCDF wrote in its post.
In July this year, a 40-year-old man passed away in the hospital after being rescued from his burning flat in Bukit Batok. It appeared that the fire was linked to the three e-scooters found burnt in his unit.
Besides him, another man and an infant were rushed to the hospital on 8 October due to a fire that happened in a Bukit Batok flat, suspected to have been caused by a PMD.
Since September this year, more fires involving PMDs have broken out.
On 28 October, two fires involving PMDs happened on the same day, with one incident forcing 40 residents of the affected block in Bedok North to be evacuated.
Just recently, on 5 December, a PMD that was left to charge in a Clementi Housing Board common corridor caused a fire which resulted in three residents being evacuated.
Many victims have the impression that these fires would not happen to them, SCDF noted in its post. “But your household items, pets, and your loved ones can be in danger when a PMD fire happens.”
Looking at the rise of such incidents, Singapore banned the sale of PMDs that do not comply with the UL2272 fire safety standard in July this year.
For those who are not aware, UL2272 is a safety standard that will reduce the risk of fire. UL2272 assesses devices at the “system level”. This means that it looks at the full spectrum of use conditions, instead of evaluating only individual parts, hence remarkably reducing the risk of fires. Certification involves a series of electrical, mechanical and environmental tests.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min announced in Parliament in August that the deadline for PMDs to be certified safe was brought forward by six months to 1 July, 2020. He did so following concerns about the risks they have towards the public.
He also noted that starting 1 April next year, all e-scooters will have to go through mandatory inspections to check if the device complies with the UL2272 certification, as well as width, weight and device speed limits.
Additionally, an early disposal incentive scheme, where S$100 is given for those who dispose their non-UL2272 registered e-scooter, is also being conducted till the end of this year.
In a video posted along with the Facebook post, SCDF advised all PMD users to dispose their devices that are not UL2272-certified soonest possible.
SCDF also highlighted that PMDs should not be tampered or modified. The devices or batteries should also not be repaired.
In addition, the police also pointed out that the devices should not be left charging for an extended amount of time unattended or overnight.
The batteries must also be regularly checked for damage and deformities such as bloating, corrosion or powdery residue.