YouTube clip courtesy of Dorset Fire Service
Self-powered mobility scooters have become very popular as they help people to retain their mobility and independence. Because of this popularity, we have found residents within our high and low rise properties are purchasing them before considering the problems they may present.
Our flats, as you know, were built before scooters were invented and therefore do not have the capability to adapt to this new demand. This problem is being experienced nationally - not just in our borough.
We are asking residents to consider storage and safety when buying and owning a scooter.
It is important communal areas are kept clear from obstructions which may hinder evacuation of the block and rescue operations by the emergency services. Recently we have found that some residents have been storing their scooters outside their homes on landings or stairwells and using extension wires to recharge batteries - this is dangerous. These actions cause obstructions in the communal areas, blocking escape routes.
We recommend scooters should be stored and charged within residents’ properties in a safe manner, in a room with a door and a smoke detector. It is not safe to keep them in communal areas as they are combustible and omit toxic fumes when on fire. Charging them unattended could be a risk of ignition. If this is not possible alternative arrangements should be made. They should also be regularly maintained and serviced to make sure they are in working order and they present no risk to their owner or the block.
The Disabled Living Foundation provide free and independent advice about scooters through their helpline on 0845 130 9177, or on their website www.dlf.org.uk, where fact sheets are available. We recommend that any purchased scooter be small enough to fit through the door of your property and easily stored.
If you own a mobility scooter we suggest you take out additional insurance cover. Dudley MBC Home Contents Insurance will cover the loss or damage to your scooter in and away from the home anywhere in the UK; this is available at an additional cost. You can pay weekly, monthly or annually via a range of payment methods including Direct Debit, please telephone 01384 815051 for further details. This scheme is open to all Dudley MBC tenants and leaseholders, the council cannot guarantee that this scheme provides the cheapest insurance cover available-you are recommended to seek alternative quotations and choose the cover which best suits your needs.
If you have a mobility scooter, please ensure that you store it in a suitable are that does not cause damage to the property or inconvenience to residents. If damage should occur, you may be liable to pay for the cost of repair.
Mobility scooters pose a huge fire risk when stored in communal areas of flats as they can ignite and the fire would engulf the scooter and surrounding area quickly.