Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) has been hitting the headlines recently, all for the wrong reason.
They have this irritating tendency to burst into fire when they’re recharging.
Earlier this year, an e-bike broke out into a fire at Toa Payoh Lor 1 on the first floor of Blk 103.
Luckily, an off-duty SCDF officer was at the scene and managed to put out the fire. A Chinese man was sent to Tan Tock Seng Hospital for smoke inhalation.
Then a couple of months later on Sep 2018, another e-scooter caught fire at Punggol. A PMD was left charging in the kitchen when it caught on fire.
Thankfully this time, there were no injuries reported and the fire was quickly extinguished.
But these two incidents have one thing in common: the fires were caused by the battery pack of the PMDs.
And now, just one month after the latest incident, yet another incident has happened again.
This Time, A PMD Caught Fire in Tampines
On 9 Oct at about 5.15 pm, a fire broke out in a flat at Blk 240 Tampines St 21.
It was revealed that the fire originated from the battery pack of an e-scooter which was left to charge in the living room.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) managed to extinguish the fire with a compressed air foam backpack. A waterjet was used on the e-scooter after to ensure there are no burning kindlings to relight the fire.
An elderly woman living in the neighbouring unit was sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
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Here’s why it’s so disturbing: the elderly woman wasn’t in the unit. And yet she was the one who’s injured.
In other words, your carelessness could affect others.
Which is The Reason Why The LTA is Setting New Fire Safety Standards For PMDs
Since 2016, there were more than 80 fire incidents with motorised PMDs. That’s a lot, by the way.
And the incidents typically happened when the devices are charging.
The LTA is looking into making PMDs safer for everybody. By making the UL2272 safety standard a requirement in all motorised PMDs from Jan 2021.
Retailers are required to stop selling non-compliant motorised PMDs from Jul next year.
Users of non-compliant PMDs, however, are allowed to continue using them until the end of 2020.
With this move, 90% of the PMDs in Singapore must be wiped out from the streets of Singapore. Unless the retailers in Singapore are able to get their current models certified with the required safety standard in time.
Which is pretty hard, considering that the UL2272 is a certification by a private company in the US and Singapore mostly imports from China.
Here’s One E-Scooter Being Sold in S’pore That Does Meet The Requirement
With the impending new ruling, one e-scooter model stood out: the Segway Ninebot ES2. It meets the legal requirement and retails at about $670 to $799, though it’s, of course, sold out.
More models that meet the requirement might come in soon, but they could cost more as getting a model to be UL2272-certified cost about $50,000 to $100,000: just imagine how many e-scooters they need to sell to cover the cost.
No doubt these costs would be passed down to the consumers, which means it’s going to get more expensive.
But while you’re contemplating the meaning of life and wondering if you should start saving up for another PMD, here are some guidelines provided by the SCDF that might just save your life.
Some Do’s & Don’t’s For PMD Owners
The SCDF would like to remind the public on the following measures to take:
- Don’t overcharge batteries, especially leaving them overnight to charge or you might just wake up to a fiery home.
- Place devices on hard flat surfaces for optimal dissipation of heat
- Don’t place devices near combustible materials or along an escape path
- Examine for damage or deformities like bloated, corroded batteries or powdery batteries
With so many news about PMD catching fire, we honestly think the new law is a right direction towards a safer Singapore.
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