Burns And Bangs Are Back

Posted 28th April 2017 by Dave Cross
For a minute the average newspaper reader could have been forgiven for thinking that all had been made safe in the world of lithium-ion batteries. It must have been at least a week since the last onslaught of tales of things going pop. While we do not want to downplay the seriousness of some incidents, they need to be placed into context.

In Saginaw, for example, a young boy of just 15 years has been airlifted to hospital following an incident that left him with serious injuries to his face and chest. The accident found its way into multiple newspaper outlets as they spoke of the “dozens of other reports of e-cigarettes catching on fire or exploding.”

There is no doubt that this event was deeply troubling to the boy and his family, something that can be empathised with by others in a similar situation. “To turn around and see that happening is your worst nightmare... There's nothing that can prepare yourself for that,” said the wife of a Scott Hildreth, who’s mod had exploded in his pocket. Instead of being with his family in Florida he is lying in a bed in a Las Vegas hospital.

"There was a ball of flame, the sound of explosion. I dropped to the floor, my clothes were on fire. The damage on my leg is pretty severe," said Scott. “My hand from my thumb all the way across my palm - the skin is missing and it’s a very deep burn. What if this would have happened at the Strip or at a 7-Eleven or on a plane?”

The shameful thing is that these incidents keep happening because people refuse to accept personal responsibility and look after their batteries properly. At a different time of day, who knows what could have happened on a full sidewalk when a car leapt off the road in Tempe? Another case of a vape device going off but this caused a woman to leap from her pick-up, get run over by it and then watch it crash into a tree.

Meanwhile, in Port Glasgow, another woman swears off vaping because she bought a dodgy cheap device from a Pick’n’Save store: “It almost set me and my house on fire. I had only charged it for a few minutes. It was so lucky I was there, it could have been so much worse. It just burst into flames in my bedroom, burning my duvet and my carpet. It has given me a terrible fright. I went to Pick’n’Save and they said they were selling them in good faith. I also heard that it has happened to someone else as well."

The London Fire Brigade has recently released advice for people looking at starting vaping:

  • Only use the battery and charger that’s provided with the e-cigarette and buy them from a reputable vendor
  • Keep e-cigarettes away from heat sources and uncovered while charging
  • Users are reminded to never use a damaged e-cigarette  and  never leave them on charge while they are away from the house or left to charge overnight while they are asleep
  • Never use e-cigarettes close to medical oxygen because of the danger of ignition.
  • Damaged or old batteries need to be replaced because this can lead to a fire caused by a short circuit, overheating or mechanical damage.
  • Don’t leave batteries in your car, or in your pocket with loose change or keys; always use an approved case.

We would also add that it is best to stick to quality brand names, buy from stores that specialize in vape products, read the instructions supplied with the device and don’t mix your batteries with other products.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker