Citing safety concerns about fires and explosions linked to lithium-ion batteries in hoverboards, university officials have banned the devices from campus, effective Jan. 8.
In a broadcast email to the campus community, Donald Robinson, executive director of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S), said hoverboards have been blamed for fires in 12 states and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating another 22 reports of fires and 70 emergency room visits for associated burn injuries. The campus-wide ban includes residential facilities and other university buildings.
“We urge everyone, particularly students returning from winter break, to leave hoverboards and similar devices at home. This includes self-balancing scooters, battery-operated scooters and hands-free segways,” said Robinson.
Last month, a number of retailers stopped selling hoverboards amid reports of fires and explosions caused by poor quality lithium-ion batteries in the devices that are prone to malfunction and overheating. Many airlines have banned hoverboards on flights.
In addition, New York City has banned hoverboards from city streets and sidewalks and the United Kingdom has prohibited their use in public.
With the ban on hoverboards, the university joins a growing number of institutions, including the University of Connecticut, Quinnipiac University, American University, George Washington University, Emerson College, Louisiana State University and the University of Denver, that have barred their use.
EH&S staff will continue to monitor news and regulations regarding hoverboards, said Robinson. “If these products become safer, we will reevaluate this decision and update the campus at that time.”