Hoverboard for Christmas? Be careful charging

Published 10:18 pm Thursday, December 24, 2015

If Santa brought you a hoverboard this Christmas, beware of the possible fire dangers.

Self-balancing scooters, more popularly known as hoverboards, may not be as safe as they are fun to use, according to information from the National Association of State Fire Marshals.

The NASFM has received reports of injuries and fires involving the use and charging of these devices.

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“Please take the time to look at and research the product,” the NASFM statement said. “If it is compliant with federal standards, inspections, and certifications, it will have a mark on it or indicate such on its packaging, on the device itself, or on its charging equipment.”

However, not all users feel as if the devices are as dangerous as the statement claims.

Hoverboards first came into the spotlight in the U.S. after numerous celebrities started posting videos and photos on social media sites of them using their own hoverboards. Demand for the product then spread like wildfire, and with it, the perception that the devices were harmless.

Part of the reason that hoverboards are such a fire hazard is because they are fun to use, and with overuse it can unexpectedly catch fire.

The NASFM offers these guidelines for the charging and use of hoverboards:

When charging your self-balancing scooter or hoverboard:

• After it has been used, give the device time to cool off prior to charging.

• Do not leave the device unattended while it is charging. Someone should be able to observe the device during its recharging time.

• Do not overcharge the device; follow manufacturer’s recommended charging times and do not leave device plugged into an outlet overnight.

• Do not use imitation electrical chargers, as they may be unsafe.

• Keep to one plug per socket

When operating your self-balancing scooter or hoverboard:

• Wear appropriate safety equipment; similar to when riding a bicycle.

• Do not text or operate a cell phone while using a self-balancing scooter or hoverboard.

• Operate the device in accordance with its intended use.

• Overheating – if you notice the device is very hot, stop using it and check with your manufacturer or retailer. This could suggest a faulty battery that needs replacing.

“If you should have any fire-related incidents regarding these devices, please contact your State Fire Marshal’s Office,” the statement said.