Hoverboard Fires

      Not only are people falling and getting injured from hoverboards left and right, but they are also literally the hottest Christmas item of the year. On Monday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission noted that it is investigating 22 reports of hoverboard fires that have occurred in 17 states. Many of these fires are due to lithium-ion batteries. Even though smartphones, laptops, electric cards, and Boeing 787s use these batteries, there are two key factors to why they are causing fires in hoverboards. The batteries are much more powerful than that of a smartphone or laptop, and some of the manufacturers are suspected to be using second-tier battery sources.

     Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a safety alert stating that transporting hoverboards as cargo that don’t comply with hazardous material regulations is illegal. Most major airlines have banned hoverboards. Amazon also removed some hoverboard brands that have caused safety issues. Major news outlets have shown coverage of a hoverboard that caught on fire at a mall in Texas, and in a New Jersey home. As of last week, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported 164 seizes of hoverboards with fake batteries or other counterfeit parts. Also, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration reported seizing 32 cargo shipments of the boards that violated federal hazmat transportation regulations.

     Some tips for preventing hoverboard fires include charging them outside, ensuring they are not overcharged, and being present when the board is charging. Most importantly, being an informed consumer and doing research on the manufacturer before purchasing to ensure you’re making a high-quality purchase could prevent some of these problems.