What is the #ChargeSafe campaign?


    Charge Safe Campaign Blog

    The London Fire Brigade launched their #ChargeSafe campaign earlier in the year to help spread awareness of lithium-ion battery fires and share knowledge on how to prevent them.

    This comes in response to the rise in the number of E-bike fires across the capital, with the London Fire Brigade reporting that on average, they were called to an e-bike or e-scooter fire once every two days, compared to the 116 e-bike and scooter fires in 2022.

    Lithium-ion Battery Fire Risks

    The tagline of the campaign is ‘keeping your home safe when you charge your electric bike or electric scooter.’ A topical issue at the moment, a quick search on the internet can yield many results of e-scooters and e-bikes exploding in people's homes, on buses, and in the street.

    The risks were recognised early by Transport for London, who banned both privately owned e-bikes and e-scooters from their entire network in December 2021.

    Their review found that incidents that had occurred on TfL services and infrastructure were caused by ‘defective lithium-ion batteries’ and that the fires and related issues such as toxic smoke and secondary injuries by people trying to escape, posed a significant threat to staff and customers.

    The London Fire Brigade recognises these risks and the potential issues that can be caused by lithium-ion battery-powered devices in the home.

    They share the story of Sofia Duarte who was 21 years old when she lost her life in an e-bike fire on New Year's Day. Sofia was asleep after a shift at a nightclub when there was an e-bike fire at the bottom of the stairs in her block of flats. Lithium-ion battery fires can be particularly ferocious, and with it starting in the hallway of the only fire exit, Sofia was unable to evacuate when she was awoken by the smoke alarm in her home.

    This devastating incident has had a massive impact on Sofia’s family, and they warn of the dangers of e-bikes and lithium-ion batteries.

    Delivery Drivers #ChargeSafe Campaign

    As part of the #ChargeSafe campaign, firefighters across London were part of an effort to share fire and battery safety tips with delivery drivers in the capital.

    This is after a rise in fires attributed to batteries on delivery e-bikes, such as in Prestatyn, where a pizza business was gutted by a fire which was caused by a charging battery from an electric delivery bike.

    Alongside partnering with delivery companies such as Just Eat, Deliveroo, and Uber Eats to share urgent safety messages, firefighters from 102 fire stations distributed leaflets at bars, restaurants, and takeaways, with a QR code linking to important safety information.

    Deputy Commissioner Dom Ellis explained “We want to make sure employees who buy an e-bike for work are aware of how to use their e-bikes safely. We’ve attended over 158 e-bike and e-scooter fires from the start of 2022 to the end of March this year. There have been 78 injuries and some fatalities. There’s no time to waste in making sure that e-bike users know how to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

    London Fire Brigade Safety Tips

    The campaign gives multiple tips on how to spot the warning signs of lithium-ion battery fires, advice for using e-bikes, and how to reduce the risk of fire when charging an e-bike or scooter which are as follows:

    • Don’t block your exit with charging batteries or e-bikes and e-scooters. If a fire breaks out, you won’t be able to safely leave your home. Store them in a shed or garage where possible
    • Keep an eye out for warning signs that your battery might be failing and becoming a fire risk
    • Never leave your battery to charge when you are out or whilst you sleep
    • Make sure your battery and charger meet UK safety standards
    • Use the correct charger for your battery, and make sure to buy from a reputable seller
    • Let your battery cool before charging it
    • Unplug your charger once the battery has charged
    • Fit smoke alarms in the area where you charge your batteries

    The London Fire Brigade website also has a Home Fire Safety Checker which can assess your home, or that of someone you care for, and give tailored advice on how to make it as safe as you can.

    To find out more about lithium-ion batteries and fire safety, head to batteryfiresafety.com