Govt task force set up to help snuff out PMD fire risks

A fire broke out at a 12th-floor unit at Block 364B Sembawang Crescent on Aug 26, which preliminary investigations traced to a personal mobility device that was charging.
A fire broke out at a 12th-floor unit at Block 364B Sembawang Crescent on Aug 26, which preliminary investigations traced to a personal mobility device that was charging.PHOTO: SINGAPORE CIVIL DEFENCE FORCE / FACEBOOK

Group, comprising different ministries, will pool expertise to minimise such risks, including by raising awareness

In a bid to mitigate the fires caused by personal mobility devices (PMDs), a new task force comprising various government ministries has been set up.

The group, which is co-chaired by the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Land Transport Authority (LTA), will pool resources and share information and expertise to minimise fire risks from non-UL2272-certified PMDs, said the LTA in a Facebook post yesterday.

The Housing Board and Enterprise Singapore are also part of the task force.

LTA was unable to provide any further details on the task force when contacted by The Straits Times.

The UL2272 standard is a set of safety requirements covering the electrical drivetrain system of PMDs, including the battery system.

The creation of the group comes less than a month after the authorities brought forward the deadline requiring PMDs to be certified safe by six months, from its initial date of Jan 1, 2021, to July 1 next year.

The announcement came after a spate of PMD-related fires in recent months.

In addition, all e-scooters will have to go for mandatory inspections from April 1 next year to ensure that they meet specified standards, including weight and speed.

 
 

LTA's post said that during the first meeting last week, the task force discussed how it could develop and coordinate public education efforts to raise awareness on the importance of the UL2272 certification and the fire risks arising from improper charging and illegal PMD modifications.

LTA also reminded PMD owners to practise safe charging practices. "These include charging your devices in a cool area, not charging them near combustible materials and leaving them plugged in overnight or unattended."

The decision requiring all devices to be UL2272 certified was announced in September last year, and since July 1 this year, retailers have been banned from selling non-certified devices.

 
 

All PMD-related fires involved non-certified devices and could have also been caused by inappropriate charging practices, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min in Parliament last month.

He also said there are about 90,000 registered e-scooters here but around 90 per cent do not comply with the UL2272 standard.

The number of PMD fires has been on the rise. There have already been 49 such fires in the first six months of this year, which could soon overtake the 52 such fires that occurred in the whole of last year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2019, with the headline 'Govt task force set up to help snuff out PMD fire risks'. Print Edition | Subscribe