London Fire Brigade

Avoid Christmas hoverboard horror

03 December 2015

We are warning people to think carefully about buying self-balancing scooters - or hoverboards - as Christmas presents.

Major safety concerns have been raised about the batteries, plugs, cables and chargers within some of the hoverboards on sale.

National Trading Standards said today it had detained over 15,000 self-balancing scooters being imported into the country after they were assessed as being unsafe.

In October, two men were lucky to escape alive from a fire at a house in Morden that started while a hoverboard was on charge.

The men escaped via a first floor window after being alerted to the blaze by a ‘banging’ noise and were lucky to have not have suffered serious injury.

Destroyed: the charred remains of a hoverboard / Image © London Fire Brigade

'Could be unsafe and pose a fire risk'

Charlie Pugsley, Head of Fire Investigation at the Brigade, said: "Hoverboards might be the 'must –have' present this Christmas but we have serious concerns that some products on sale which are non compliant, could be unsafe and pose a fire risk.

"We'd recommend using the National Trading Standards product safety checklist and keeping an eye on the Electrical Safety First's recall list.

Hoverboard on fire: footage from Mashable of an American man's hoverboard on fire

"If you already own a hoverboard or are going to buy one as a present this Christmas, never leave it charging unattended and do not charge it overnight.

"It's also important to ensure your home is fitted with a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and the safest option is to have those linked together.

This will give the earliest warning if there is a fire in your home."