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The BIG Breakfast Show

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Buy Safe Charge Safe Says SFRS, Counterfeit Operation in Hanley

Written by on 4 December 2023

The Christmas message from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service this year is Buy Safe, Charge Safe, as they issue a reminder about the serious risks posed by lithium-ion batteries.
These batteries are used to power many electrical appliances, including e-bikes and e-scooters.  These batteries can catch fire, or even explode, when they create more heat than they let out. This can be the result of a manufacturing defect or owner negligence.
Shoppers are encouraged to only buy e-bikes, e-scooters, chargers and batteries from reputable retailers.  And Check your battery regularly for any signs of damage. This should especially be done if the battery has been dropped or if you have crashed your e-bike or scooter. Even if you think there is a slight chance that your battery is damaged, you should not use or charge it, but replace it immediately.Watch this video to see just how a quickly and strongly a fire caused by a lithium-ion battery can take hold: Buy Safe. Charge Safe. – YouTube 
That’s why we are calling on anyone thinking about purchasing an e-bike or e-scooter to Buy Safe and Charge Safe. Here are two ways to minimise any risk:Only buy e-bikes, e-scooters, chargers and batteries from reputable retailers. It might cost you a little bit more, but your life is worth more than a few pounds saved on a fake charger.Check your battery regularly for any signs of damage. This should especially be done if the battery has been dropped or if you have crashed your e-bike or e-scooter. Even if you think there is a slight chance that your battery is damaged, you should not use or charge it, and you must replace it immediately.Once your device is in your home, we are urging you to be aware of SANTA:
Smoke
Aroma
Noise
Temperature
Appearance
Smoke – Is smoke coming out of your device or battery?
Aroma – Is there a strong or unusual smell coming from the battery?
Noise – Can you hear your battery hissing or cracking? Is your device making any other unusual sounds?
Temperature – Does your device or battery feel extremely hot to touch?
Appearance – Does the battery look swollen? Has it drastically changed shape?
If you notice any of the above, you must immediately:

Turn off the device

Unplug it from the power source

Call the device manufacturer or retailer for further instructions.

In the event of smoke or fire coming from your device, you must:

Raise the alarm

Vacate the building

Call 999.

Ian Read, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Prevent, Protect and Partnerships, said: “No electrical appliance comes without risk, but when devices are powered by lithium-ion batteries, that risk is significantly heightened.
“The contents of faulty batteries cause fires and explosions that spread rapidly and are difficult to extinguish. These fires can cause serious injury or even result in a fatality.
“As firefighters, we can only do our best to tackle a blaze once it has already started. That is why these preventative measures are vital in ensuring your safety and that of those around you.
“Please do your research prior to purchasing and make sure that you are vigilant at all times once the device is in your home.
“By using SANTA, we hope that people will be able to spot the signs of a defective battery before a more serious situation develops.
“The destruction of homes and lives can be avoided if you remember to Buy Safe and Charge Safe.”
For more information, please visit: Buy Safe. Charge Safe (staffordshirefire.gov.uk)

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A property is under investigation as Trading Standards officers seized fake goods during a recent operation.

Trading Standards conducted an operation recently, at a house in Hanley following information that counterfeit clothing was being sold from the property. A range of counterfeit apparel, sportswear, and fragrances were being offered for sale via a social media platform account.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Trading Standards officers executed a warrant at the property with the assistance of Staffordshire Police and seized £5,000 street value of counterfeit items including coats, hoodies, tracksuits, trainers, boots, aftershave and perfume. Preliminary investigations and a gathering of intelligence revealed that the confiscated items included a wide range of popular and well-known brands, raising concerns about the potential impact on both consumers and legitimate businesses operating online and in the area. A formal investigation is now underway.

Councillor Amjid Wazir, cabinet member for city pride, enforcement and sustainability said:

“Dealing counterfeit goods harms the prosperity and growth in our city and affects consumers and undermines the hard work of legitimate businesses. This action sends a clear message to those who engage in illegal trading that this will not be tolerated.

“The city council’s diligent efforts to maintain the integrity of local commerce and protect consumers from fraudulent goods will continue to ensure the protection of buyers from online marketplaces and on social media.” As the investigation progresses, the city council reassures that measure are being taken to address this issue and encourages anyone with information related to the production or distribution of counterfeit goods to come forward.

Anyone who wants to report the sale of illegal goods in the city can report it to the trading standards team on 0808 223 1133, visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or call our Trading Standards hotline on 01782 238884.