Fire service issues a warning ahead of Black Friday purchasing

Concerned firefighters have warned shoppers across the region that they could be putting their family’s lives at risk by buying cheap electrical goods this Black Friday.

Many of us may be looking for a cheaper way to buy Christmas presents this year due to the rising cost of living.

E-scooters and e-bikes are high on many wish lists this festive period and are expected to be a popular purchase during this week’s Black Friday sales.

But Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have today shared their concerns on the hunt for cheap deals and the dangers of buying E bikes and E scooters

This type of electric vehicle, normally powered by rechargeable lithium ion batteries, has led to an increase in the numbers of serious incidents across the country have attended.

And one such incident took place in Sunderland last week, after an e-scooter was left charging in the kitchen.

Thankfully, firefighters from Rainton Bridge and Farringdon Community Fire Stations were on scene in just a matter of minutes to extinguish the fire.

Although the kitchen was almost completely destroyed, the family managed to escape without serious injury.

Prevention Manager at TWFRS, Shaun Kelly, said lithium ion batteries can be “extremely volatile” if they are damaged or overcharged.

He said, “Lithium ion batteries inside many common electrical items can be extremely volatile making them prone to overheating and causing fires in the home.

“We would always encourage people to buy their electrical goods from a reputable source, don’t leave them plugged in and items can overheat if left charging for too long”

“Make sure you only ever charge any electrical items with the approved battery charger that comes with it, as others might not have been tested to handle the power output and do not overload your sockets.

“As we approach the sales, it can be tempting to identify a cheap deal on your electrical goods but corners might be cut, so please do some research into where you are buying your items from, as this could lead to a tragic event close to Christmas.

“You can always visit our website to arrange for a home safety check via our website where you can get home fire safety advice from our staff.

“And remember, if you hear noises from any electrical item or it starts to smoke, do not tackle the fire, make sure you get everyone out of the house and call 999.

Due to their batteries, you cannot dispose of vapes, electric toothbrushes, and other handheld electrical items in your kitchen bin; they must be taken to your local recycling centre.

When they are put in the kitchen bin, they can start fires in refuse vehicles when they are thrown in on bin day.

You can read the comprehensive fire safety, charging and storage advice around e-bikes and e-scooters on the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) website.