December 18, 2014

E-cig alert!

Putting aside all the pros and cons regarding the safety of e-cigarettes as an aid to stopping smoking, the Fire and Rescue Services have issued warning about using them.

Fire and rescue services are attending to more e cigarettes incidents then ever in 2012 they attended 12 so far this year they have been called to 62 and they have been the cause in over 100 fires in the last 2 years many more may have gone un-reported.

A block of flats had to be evacuated and 40 fighters attended a fire which may have been caused by an e-cig charger.

These incidents are not just home related reported incidents have occurred in cars where incompatible chargers have exploded causing a fire in the car. A more serious outcome could have occurred had the car not been parked.

Fire authories are pressing the manufactures of E cigs to display a warning notice on their products with clear instructions on the safe use of chargers.

Electrical organisations are advising not to purchase incompatible cheaper un- branded type chargers.

It is of particular regret and concern that over heating chargers may have led to the death of a man.

The charger exploded and ignited the tubes to an oxygen concentrator he was using; the charger was not the recommended unit for the E cig.

A person was also injured in a bar where an E cig plugged into a charger exploded with pieces of the E cig causing minor injuries.

Pets

Animals are at risk too from users of e cigs; a recent report high lights  the need for care, a pet owner dropped a capsule and his dog quickly bit into the capsule which contained nicotine.  Although the owner managed to get the dog to the Vets very quickly the dog unfortunate died.

Nicotine is a very dangerous chemical and should be kept out of reach from children / pets.

Oxygen

Care home managers, care workers, should be aware of the risk associated with the use of e cigs and their chargers and the risk due to over heating, fire, and explosion and in particular where Oxygen Cylinders/ concentrators are used and vulnerable people are at risk.

Where residential / domiciliary care is managed staff should ensure family friends and visitors who may use outlets to charge the e cig are aware of the dangers.

Work place

It is mangers responsibility to have in place effective fire arrangements this should include identifying source of ignition.

Ensure there is a policy / arrangements on the management of chargers are in place.

Ensure staffs that use chargers are aware of the risk.

The correct charger is used for the product.

No Chargers to be left plugged in UN attended or left over night this should include phone chargers as there is also a warning for some phones / chargers overheat and a potential cause of fire.

It must also be understood that charging an e-cigarette battery in your car should never be done without proper care.

Users should routinely check the batteries for overheating during the recharging process.

Any charging device using lithium-ion batteries should never ever be left charging unattended for long periods.

Electrical chargers

The main cause for concern is the e cig chargers, the market place is full of cheap alternative chargers and people are not aware of the need to match e cig with charger.

When e-cigarettes are used according to the manufacturer instructions, there is little chance of overheating batteries.

It may seem obvious Use ONLY Manufacturer’s Equipment Ensure to only use the batteries and chargers supplied by your original brand manufacturer. Mixing and matching brings the danger of combining products that were never designed to be used together, only ever purchase replacement batteries that are specifically intended for your particular e-cig model.

Electrical organisations are advising not to purchase incompatible cheaper un-branded type charger as these can over heat or cause the e-cig to explode.

Connections can cause over heating issues if connections are not made properly. When connecting  a battery to the charger, take an extra second to make sure it is straight and secure, never over-tightened.

Lithium-ion battery, when on charge has a potential for Overheating including the very same batteries found in your mobile phone and laptop computer.

If allowed the resulting out comes over heat explodes or burn. Therefore, you should never leave any battery charging unattended. But you should also never leave any battery charging in your car – especially on warm, sunny days!

Some other practices involving chargers / batteries stacking using more then one battery to increase voltage a potentially dangerous practice that can easily lead to overheating or explosion.

Also another trick used to enhance the vaping experience is to use ‘variable voltage’ batteries. These batteries should only be used with e-cigarette devices and chargers that are specifically designed to handle a wide range of voltages.

When you buy from any large and reputable brand, your electronic cigarette, charger and batteries will be designed, certified and tested on the basis they will be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Be safe – ensure you follow those instructions. If you need workplace Health & Safety advice why not contact us.

Want a round-up of stories like this delivered to your inbox?

About the author

Eamon Griffin