Record 73 PMD-related fires in first nine months of 2019

(PHOTOS: SCDF/Facebook)

SINGAPORE — A total of 73 fires related to personal mobility devices (PMDs) occurred in the first nine months of the year, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force in a Facebook post on Sunday morning (15 December).

That averages at about eight such fires per month over the period.

In comparison, there were 74 fires involving power-assisted bicycles (PABs) and PMDs for the whole of last year, up from 49 cases in 2017. The number for 2019 would be a record as there had been cases of such fires reported thus far in the fourth quarter.

Between 2016 and September this year, 71 people were injured by such fires, including a 40-year-old man who died in hospital two days after being rescued from his flat in Bukit Batok in July.

To underscore the fire risks from such devices, the SCDF released an advisory video along with the post. “‘It won't happen to me’, said many who ended up being victims of PMD fires. But your household items, pets, and your loved ones can be in danger when a PMD fire happens,” the SCDF said in the video.

Due to the spate of fires, the deadline for owners of PMDs to meet the UL2272 standard would be brought forward by six months to 1 July next year, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min in Parliament in August.

The UL2272 standard improves safety against fire and electrical hazards significantly, by requiring the devices to pass a stringent set of tests conducted by accredited testing centres under extreme physical conditions.

Those who have registered their e-scooters and declared them UL2272-certified will also have their devices scheduled to go through a mandatory inspection from April next year, Lam added.

From now to 31 March next year, owners of non-UL2272 devices can dispose of their devices at designated disposal points set up by e-waste recyclers appointed by Land Transport Authority (LTA) across HDB estates or at LTA’s Sin Ming office, at no cost. 

In the video, the SCDF urged PMD users to regularly examine batteries for any damage or deformities, such as bloating, corrosion or powdery residue.

“Do not leave your PMD or batteries charging for an extended period of time unattended or overnight, or immediately after use,” it added.

The SCDF also reminded users to avoid tampering, modifying or repairing their devices or batteries.

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