A slimline power bank has been recalled after one reportedly caught fire on a flight, injuring four crew members.
The urgent warning comes from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and involves a charger made by Chinese company VRURC.
According to the Commission: “VRURC has received one report of fire during a commercial flight which resulted in four flight attendants being transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
“Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled portable chargers and contact VRURC for a free replacement product.”
No details have been given about when and where the incident on the plane happened.
The power banks are model number OD-B7 which have built-in cables and a built-in wall plug. The model number is printed on the back of the recalled chargers which were sold in black, blue, green, orange, pink, red and white.
In a safety recall statement VRURC states: “We have discovered that due to a manufacturing condition a small number of our VRURC power banks may overheat and pose a fire safety risk. The safety of our customers is VRURC’s highest priority, and we have issued a voluntary recall of all VRURC OD-B7 power bank devices.”
Customers should go to https://www.vrurcpower.com/pages/safety-recall to find out more.
The power bank was sold exclusively at Amazon.com from July 2021 to May 2023 for between $30 and $40.
VRURC is the trading name of Shenzhen Chuangli Jiacheng Technology Co Ltd.
Incidents involving lithium batteries overheating or catching fire on planes are happening quite regularly worldwide and involve mobiles phones, laptops, iPads, vapes and even headphones.
There have been 446 incidents reported in US airspace from March 2006 to May 2023 – 24 recorded so far in 2023 alone - but figures for UK airspace are not made public.
One of the main dangers is if a mobile phone is lost in a seat and the passenger then moves it to try to find the phone but crushes it and damages the battery.
Damaged or faulty batteries can go into what’s known as thermal runaway. This happens when one cell in a battery overheats it can produce enough heat – up to 900°C (1652°F) – to cause adjacent cells to overheat. This can cause a lithium battery fire to flare repeatedly and, because they burn at such a high temperature, they are very difficult to put out.
Some passenger planes have lithium thermal fire containment bags such as the award-winning AvSax designed to deal with the emergency quickly and effectively before the aircraft can be filled with heat, fire, and toxic smoke.
AvSax, devised and made by Environmental Defence Systems based in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, are now on more than 16,750 aircraft operated by over 100 airline companies worldwide.
They have been used 33 times to deal with emergencies since the start of 2017 and every time they have been deployed the aircraft has been able to complete its journey safely with no need to divert or make an emergency landing.
AvSax, which won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for its pioneering innovation, is made from military grade material so can withstand the force of a blast if the device does explode.
For more information on AvSax go to www.avsax.com