Fires involving PMDs hit record high; 73 from January to September this year

Fires involving PMDs hit record high; 73 from January to September this year

Charging PMD sparks fire in Sembawang Crescent flat
The charred contents of a living room at Block 364B Sembawang Crescent. (Photo: Singapore Civil Defence Force)

SINGAPORE: The number of fires involving personal mobility devices (PMDs) has reached a record high, with 73 such incidents between January and September this year.

This compares with 50 PMD-related fires in 2018, 40 in 2017, nine in 2016 and just one in 2015, according to Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) statistics. No fires involving PMDs were reported prior to 2015.

During the fires in the first nine months of this year, one person died while 36 others were injured, SCDF told CNA in response to queries on Monday (Dec 16).

In comparison, 34 people were injured in PMD-related fires between 2016 and end-2018.

40-year-old man died after a fire caused by e-scooters broke out in a Bukit Batok flat in July.

READ: Preventing PMD fires: Tips on charging your device safely

Since September, more fires involving PMDs have broken out. On Dec 5, three people were evacuated from a Clementi flat after an e-scooter left charging in the common corridor caught fire.

On Oct 28, two fires involving PMDs broke out on the same day, with one incident forcing 40 residents from the affected block in Bedok North to evacuate.

Earlier that month, a man and a baby were taken to the hospital after a fire in another Bukit Batok flat, and an elderly man was taken to hospital after a fire broke out in a flat at Marsiling.

bedok pmd fire
A fire broke out at Block 106 Bedok North Ave 4 on Oct 28, 2019. (Photo: Facebook/SCDF)

In July, Singapore banned the sale of PMDs that do not meet the UL2272 fire safety standard. The UL2272 standard is a set of safety requirements which cover the electrical drive train system of PMDs, including the battery system. 

The deadline for PMDs to be certified was brought forward by six months to Jul 1 next year.

An early disposal incentive scheme - where S$100 is given for the disposal of non-UL2272 compliant registered e-scooters - is in place until the end of this year. 

READ: Ban on personal mobility devices? 'The battle is always against errant use'

READ: E-scooter ban on footpaths: 5 things you need to know​​​​​​​

From April 2020, all e-scooters will have to go through a mandatory inspection to check that they comply with the UL2272 certification, as well as width, weight and device speed limits.

Fire safety tips on preventing PMD fires
Fire safety tips on preventing PMD fires. (Graphic: Facebook/SCDF)

In a video on its Facebook page on Sunday, SCFF advised PMD users to dispose of devices that are not UL2272-certified. 

PMDs should also not be tampered with or left charging for an extended period of time, and their batteries should be regularly examined for damage and deformities such as bloating, corrosion or powdery residue, SCDF said.

Source: CNA/aa(cy)

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