Safety reminder after e-cigarette charger overheats

Tue 20 Aug, 2019


Firefighters are keen to remind people not to leave electrical items on charge and then go to bed, after an e-cigarette charger overheated in Denham last night (Monday 19 August 2019). 

Firefighters responded to a call to a house fire in Courtfield Gardens at around 11.37pm after a smoke alarm had woken the occupants. 

One appliance and crew from Gerrards Cross and one from Hillingdon attended. There was no fire on arrival, although using a thermal imaging camera they identified an e-cigarette charger was overheating. They removed the charger from the house, ventilated the property and provided advice to the occupants.

Gerrards Cross Watch Commander, Andy Newell said: “The overheated charger had started to char the wooden surface it was resting on, and we believe this had activated the smoke alarm. The occupants had woken up and immediately evacuated the property and then called us o4ut. 

“In evacuating the house they did exactly the right thing. Always have a fire plan and make sure everyone in your household knows what it is. If you hear your smoke alarm sounding, get out, stay out and call the fire service.

He added: “Please make sure you switch off electrical chargers before you go to bed or go out. On this occasion the charger was resting on a wooden surface, and the smoke alarm alerted the occupants, giving them time to leave the house, but if the charger had been on soft furnishings or a carpet, the story could have been different.”

Andy has the following advice for anyone charging electrical equipment:

  • - Never charge electrical items on surfaces such as bedding or furniture, and do not leave them unattended.
  • - An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take, so be careful not to overload them. Try to keep to one plug per socket. Use Electrical Safety First’s online socket overload calculator to make sure that you are not overloading the sockets in your home.
  • - Check that your electrical products have not been recalled. In the last six years, more than 250 recall notices have been issued for electrical products, mostly due to a risk of electric shock or fire. Use Electrical Safety First’s online product recall checker to make sure the appliances in your home are safe. 
  • - Buy your chargers from a reputable source. Many imported chargers do not satisfy UK safety regulations and can cause serious injury or fire.
  • - Carry out a visual check in your home to ensure your safety and reduce the risk of electrical fires. It is often the simple things that you could check that lead to a serious fire – such as an appliance lead near a hot surface or an overloaded socket.
  • - Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order. Look out for fuses that blow, circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reason and flickering lights, and this will help prevent appliances triggering a fire.
  • - Regularly check for frayed or worn cables and wires. Check to see if the cable is fastened securely to the plug and check the socket for scorch marks. You should always carry out these checks before you use an appliance.
  • - Switch off appliances at the socket when not in use. This helps to reduce the risk of fire. Switch off appliances when you go to bed or when you go out unless they are designed to be left on, like freezers.
  • - Carry out a visual check in your home to ensure your safety and reduce the risk of electrical fires. It is often the simple things that you could check that lead to a serious fire – such as an appliance lead near a hot surface or an overloaded socket.
  • - Never use water on an electrical fire. Don’t take any risks with your safety. Pull the plug out or switch the power off if it is safe to do so. Get out, stay out and call 999.