This past July there was a fire involving a Low Speed Vehicle (LSV) while it was being charged at a residence. St. Johns Fire Department (STJFD) responded within six minutes, and the fire was under control seven minutes later. There were no personal injuries, but the LSV was completely destroyed. The condition of the LSV afterward made it impossible for STJFD to determine the specific cause of the fire.
We do know that the fire was related to the charging process. We investigated several online owners’ manuals, and the following are considered best practices for safely charging LSVs:
- Do not charge batteries without adequate ventilation. Hydrogen gas is formed when charging batteries. Failure to provide adequate ventilation while charging batteries can result in an explosion.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting the LSV into a charging mode.
- Always connect the charging cord to the vehicle’s charge receptacle first, and then plug the cord into a wall receptacle.
- Always disconnect the charging cord from the wall receptacle first, and then disconnect the cord from the vehicle.
- Three-prong (grounded) charging cords should only be connected to outlets providing a connection for the grounding pin.
- Do not use an adapter to plug the charger that uses a three-prong plug into a two-prong outlet.
- Never use a damaged extension cord. Never connect a damaged charger cord.
- Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions concerning the use of extension cords for charging.
Both Owners and Renters of LSVs should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operation and charging. Renters should have the vendor go over the safety guidelines for charging the vehicle with them before taking possession of the LSV. The guidelines differ by manufacturer. If in doubt, you can often find owner’s manuals on the manufacturer’s website.
Owners should pay careful attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintaining batteries.
-Submitted by The Public Safety Committee, Town of Seabrook Island