Verizon mobile hotspots sold to schools recalled after beds, floors and people burned

©Miami Herald

Verizon logo seen at one of their stores, on November 12, 2020, in Perrysburg, Ohio. - Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire/TNS

Mobile hotspots should connect people to the internet — not the local fire department. That's why Verizon recalled 2.5 million Ellipsis Jetpack mobile hotspots Thursday.

The exact problem, as stated in the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall alert: "The lithium ion battery in the hotspots can overheat, posing fire and burn hazards."

And this has happened, as the notice says, "Verizon has received 15 reports of devices overheading, including six reports of fire damage to bedding or flooring and two reports of minor burn injuries."

The alert includes the rare safety tip if you have to use the product. Consumers should turn it on, plug it in and get an automatic software update that will allow the device's ID number to be viewed on the scrolling screen and one that keeps the hotspot from charging while it's on and plugged into a power source. After getting that update, turn the hotspot off when it's not being used and unplug it.

Other suggestions from Verizon, most of which are common sense in the electronic generation, include use only approved charging cables; put the hotspot on a flat and solid surface; don't cover it, to allow ventilation; keep it at room temperature when using it; and don't expose it to extreme temperatures (i.e., a window sill, a hot car) for extended periods of time.

This hotspot was available at Verizon stores, online and sent "to school districts nationwide" from April 2017 through last month. The alert claims Verizon has given the school districts instructions on getting replacement hotspots and returning the recalled devices. Parents who got them from the school districts should contact their schools for replacement instructions.

Other consumers should call Verizon at 855-205-2627, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Eastern time or get their replacements through the Verizon website.