In recent years, the use of Personal Electric Vehicles (PEVs), such as e-scooters, e-bikes, and hoverboards, has surged, providing an alternative mode of travel, especially in urban areas. Using lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries, PEVs have gained popularity but also pose a growing risk of fires due to damaged or failing batteries. 
According to a 2023 report from the London Fire Brigade, they responded to e-bike or e-scooter-related fires approximately every two days, marking a significant increase from the 116 PEV-related fires attended to in 2022. The primary cause of concern is unsafe or damaged batteries, with many public spaces, including shopping centres and transport services, imposing bans on these PEV items due to the potential fire hazard. 
A study commissioned by Electrical Safety First, a leading UK charity, highlighted the dangers of lithium-ion batteries, emphasising the risk of thermal runaway when internal temperatures surpass safe limits. Factors such as flawed design, low-quality components, or improper charging can contribute to this dangerous phenomenon, making these fires particularly perilous. 
Recognising warning signs is crucial to reduce the risk of PEV-related fires. Signs such as extreme heat, bulging, strange noises, unusual smells, performance issues, or smoke emanating from the device indicate a failing battery. Immediate action is necessary - turn off the device and unplug it, evacuate the area if smoke or fire occurs, and contact the manufacturer or retailer. 
To promote safer use, various organisations, including Electrical Safety First and regional Fire and Rescue services, have issued guidelines. Recommendations include storing charging batteries and PEVs away from main access points, ensuring batteries and chargers meet UK safety standards, avoiding cheap alternatives, and monitoring signs of malfunction. Users are advised to use the correct charger, let the battery cool before charging, follow manufacturers' instructions, and avoid using extension leads or charging strips. Additionally, the importance of fitting smoke alarms in areas where charging occurs is emphasised. 
By adhering to these guidelines, PEV owners can enhance safety, reduce the risk of fires, and contribute to the responsible use of personal electric vehicles. 
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