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A holiday reminder to seek independent laboratory testing

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By Meredith Hawes

The rash of recent fires sparked from hover boards in the U.S. reminded me of the importance of being vigilant with checking products for the stamp of an independent testing laboratory. As international markets have become stunningly efficient at taking blue prints to retail shelves in record time, U.S. shoppers have grown accustomed to easy on-line access to knock-off products that can be offered at an attractive lower price point, however many of these products are lesser quality and not built to the same safety standards as in the U.S. This is exactly the case with the thousands, if not millions, of trendy hover boards that have been purchased this year for the holidays. Reports of hover boards bursting into flames have caused numerous fires, including devastating home fires in Louisiana and Alabama.

I spoke with Ken Willette, Division Manager for Public Fire Protection at NFPA, on the Christal Frost radio show about the dangers of these hover boards. Ken pointed out the specific risks associated with inferior lithium ion batteries and internal components. And just as the huge on-line retailer Amazon has recently demanded, Ken urged consumers to take care to look for that seal from an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL), when purchasing a hover board from any site. And for those consumers who have already purchased a product, we covered the NFPA safety tips to help prevent future fires and injuries that may lurk with some of these hover board devices.

Whether it’s a hover board or any electronic or electric product, it pays to utilize the expertise of an independent testing laboratory to help navigate the complexities across the supply chain from compliance to regulatory issues. While the holidays may be the season of peace, it’s always the season for peace of mind.

Source:: NFPA – Safety Information


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