LTA considering bringing forward deadline for PMDs to meet safety standards: Report

·Editorial Team
One of the fires occurred at Block 301 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3. (PHOTO: SCDF)
One of the fire incidents caused by PMDs short-circuiting while charging. (FILE PHOTO: SCDF)

SINGAPORE — The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is considering whether to bring forward its deadline for all motorised personal mobility devices (PMDs) to meet fire safety standards, which is currently set at the end of 2020.

CNA reported that an LTA spokesperson responded to media queries on Tuesday (23 July), in the light of recent fire incidents related to the charging of non-UL2272-certified PMDs, that “LTA is reviewing if the deadline for user device compliance should be brought forward”.

Currently, PMDs which have not conformed to the UL2272 standard – a certification system that evaluates PMDs on the safety of their electrical systems – are banned from being sold since early this month.

However, those who have already bought such devices before the ban are still allowed to ride them on public paths until 31 December, 2020.

Eight recent fires in flats involving PMDs

At least eight fires in flats involving PMDs, often left to recharge, were reported over the last three-and-a-half months.

More than half of the incidents occurred this month, including a blaze in Bukit Batok caused by multiple PMDs on 18 July. A 40-year-old man died in hospital two days after the fire, and he is likely to be the first PMD fire-related fatality in Singapore.

The most recent incident occured on Monday, when a PMD left to charge in the kitchen of a HDB unit in Ang Mo Kio caught fire. One adult and three children from the immediate neighbouring unit were rescued, while about 60 people from the affected HDB block were evacuated.

Switch early, urges LTA

According to official figures from the Singapore Civil Defence Force, the number of fires involving such devices and power-assisted bicycles spiked last year at 74 cases, increasing by more than 50 per cent from the year before.

None of the devices involved in the fires last year were known to be certified to their compliant standards, said Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan in a written reply to a parliamentary question in March.

CNA reported that the LTA spokesperson urged PMD owners to switch out early "for their own safety as well as those around them".

"Conformity with UL2272 requires a PMD to pass a stringent set of tests which significantly improves safety against fire and electrical hazards," the spokesperson added.

3 hospitals ban charging of PMDs on premises

Meanwhile, The Straits Times reported that three hospitals in Singapore have banned patients, visitors and staff from charging PMDs and motorised wheelchairs on most areas of their premises.

The restriction was implemented for fire safety, and only in certain closely-monitored areas equipped with fire extinguishers would charging be allowed.

The three are the National University Hospital, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Alexandra Hospital.

Related stories:

At least 8 PMD-related fires in flats reported in recent months

4 rescued, 60 evacuated after PMD-related fire in Ang Mo Kio flat

3 conveyed to hospital after fire in Bukit Batok flat, 2 e-scooters likely cause

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