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TN Fire Marshal Joins Calls for Hoverboard Safety Warnings

The Tennessee State Fire Marshal's Office urges people to do some research before buying hoverboards to put under this year's Christmas tree. (earl53/morguefile)
The Tennessee State Fire Marshal's Office urges people to do some research before buying hoverboards to put under this year's Christmas tree. (earl53/morguefile)
December 14, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Hoverboards sound like a gadget straight out of the old Jetsons' cartoons, but they're being sold in Tennessee stores and many will be under Christmas trees this year.

The self-balancing scooters are the latest craze in personal transport, but a growing number of injuries and even fires related to hoverboard use are prompting the Tennessee State Fire Marshall to issue an advisory. Claire Marsalis, marketing and communications director with the state Department of Commerce, explains their concerns.

"Some of the incidents that they have reported were they're overheating; there may be some explosions while people are actually on the devices; some where the batteries are shooting out of the devices," says Marsalis.

The National Association of State Fire Marshals, as well as groups in Australia and the U.K., have issued safety warnings. If you choose to purchase a hoverboard, experts recommend after using it, you give the device time to cool off before recharging it, and be sure not to overcharge it.

Hoverboards range in cost from about $200 to $400.

Marsalis says like so many new products on the market, it's up to the user to exercise their best judgment when it comes to safety and to think about whether as a gift, a hoverboard is a good fit for the recipient.

"Research before you buy," says Marsalis. "Make sure it's compliant with federal standards and inspections. It should have a mark on it, on the packaging or the device itself, something like 'UL Listed,' where you can tell that it's been tested at a recognized laboratory."

She says it's also important for people on hoverboards to wear proper safety gear, similar to what you'd wear riding a bicycle, and only operate the hoverboard for its intended use.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN