A ban on the use and possession of hoverboards has taken place on the Wilkes campus due to hoverboards’ potential as a fire hazard.
The ban states that possession, use and storage of hoverboards on all university property, including university shuttles and vehicles, due to the reputation of the device’s battery to overheat and catch on fire is prohibited.
The decision to ban hoverboards from campus was made in late November before the holiday season when the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission stated concerns about the product.
Justin Kraynack, chief risk and compliance officer, researched the risks of the devices and collaborated with Student Affairs and Residence Life to establish the ban.
“If you go to Philadelphia, there’s hoverboards everywhere, but it doesn’t seem to be as common in Wilkes-Barre so the campus didn’t seem to have a problem with the ban,” Kraynack said.
He disclosed that soon after establishing the ban, a student emailed him thanking him for banning the devices.
The problem with the hoverboards lies in the lithium battery and battery casing that is used in numerous models. The battery is reported to heat up during charging and use and does not cool down, thus causing fires.
“The battery is the same one that is used in cell phones,” Kraynack stated. “However, the size of the battery used in the hoverboards creates the problem.”
Kraynack states part of the problem with the hoverboards is that cheap versions were being manufactured after the market saw there was a demand for the new devices, stating that the problem does not always occur but happens enough to need to eliminate the opportunity.
Public Safety is in charge of enforcing the new ban. If there were a hoverboard found on campus, Public Safety would contain the hoverboard in a concrete room in the offices and wrap it in fireproof blankets to prevent any incidents. The hoverboard would then be removed by outside services.
As of right now, hoverboards are not allowed on campus until the university hears the products have been greatly improved and have surpassed testing.
United States Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Elliot F. Kaye states in an offical statement about the concern of gifting and owning hoverboards, “Anyone who purchased one to give as a gift during the holidays, or who is thinking about buying one deserves to know if there is a safety defect.”
Anyone with a hoverboard is urged by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to take caution when charging and operating the product. It is advised to not charge a hoverboard overnight or when the hoverboard is out of sight. When charging, the hoverboard should be kept and stored in an open, dry area away from flammable objects.
It is also advised to not charge the device directly after operating it, giving it a chance to cool down before the battery becomes heated again due to charging.
Reported injuries to the commission include concussions, fractures, contusions and abrasions and internal organ injuries. It is advised to always wear a proper helmet and padding while using this product and to not operate the device near traffic.
Any questions or concerns about hoverboard safety on campus or the ban can be emailed or called in to Justin Kraynack at [email protected] or (570) 408-4554.