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Are Vapes a Fire Risk?

Are Vapes a Fire Risk?

In 1964, it was estimated that as many as 70% of men and 40% of women were smokers. Today, it is believed that no more than 13% of the adult population indulge in the habit, a significant reduction by any standards. 

There is so much to be delighted about when you think of how many people have given up smoking cigarettes. Quite apart from the well-publicised and very significant health risks of inhaling nicotine, smoking has also for many years been the biggest cause of domestic fire fatalities. Despite being the direct cause of only 6% of domestic fires in 2016-2017, smoking nevertheless caused almost 36% of fire-related deaths.

One way many former smokers are staying off the tobacco is by using vapes instead, but that doesn’t mean that the risk from fire has gone. This article will examine whether vaping devices also represent a fire risk and, if so, how this risk can be reduced and managed.

Are vapes a fire risk?

Are vapes a fire risk?

The simple answer to this question is that, while nowhere near as much of a danger as cigarettes, vapes can still be a significant fire risk because of the fact that they use lithium-ion batteries to work.

We’ve examined previously the dangers of lithium-ion battery fires, and these are as real for vapes as they are for mobile phones, laptops and other devices. If the batteries do overheat or become damaged, they can create a ‘thermal runway’ – a chain reaction that can quickly and easily get out of control.

There are a number of ways you can minimise the risk of a lithium-ion battery fire in your own vaping device. These include:

  • Avoiding suspiciously cheap products bought from non-legitimate sellers 
  • Keeping your vaping device away from direct sunlight and other extreme temperatures whenever possible
  • Buying vapes with built-in safety features
  • Removing batteries if damaged or wet
  • Charging only in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines
  • Making regular checks on the condition of the battery in your vape
  • Disposing of the batteries properly
  • Preventing the metal parts in your vape and battery from coming into contact with other metal items, such as keys, coins and mobile phones

You can read more about how to minimise the risks of lithium-ion battery fires in this previous article.

Dealing with a vape fire

If the worst should happen and your vape does catch fire, what can you do about it?

The fastest and safest way to extinguish a vape fire is to use a fire extinguisher specially designed to deal with the particular issues they – and other devices using lithium-ion batteries – pose.

Lithium-ion battery extinguishers – identified by a green band – use a non-toxic compound to extinguish such fires. They are available in sizes as small as 500ml, ideal for use on vapes, or in much bigger sizes of up to 50 litres for larger devices using lithium-ion batteries.

Trust the team at Scutum South East with all your fire safety needs, including a full range of reliable, high-quality fire extinguishers. Our experienced advisors and engineers are here to help businesses in and around London and Surrey, as well as the wider South East area, keep their premises, staff and visitors safe, and meet their obligations under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Get in touch with us now to find out more.

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About Scutum South East

Scutum South East is a leading expert in fire safety and security solutions for businesses and organisations located across South East England, including London and Surrey.

From fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire risk assessments to access control, CCTV and intruder alarm systems – and a lot more besides – we offer a comprehensive range of products and services designed to keep you, your business and your staff and visitors safe.

With decades of industry experience to call on, we’re proud to hold accreditations from leading trade associations and bodies such as British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), the British Fire Consortium, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).

If you’d like to find out more about Scutum South East, get in touch with our friendly team or explore our products and services on our site.