Be Aware of Lithium Batteries!

Be Aware of Lithium Batteries!

June 17, 2022

Lithium batteries can be found in many of our everyday electrical items from mobility scooters to e-cigarettes to mobile phones to laptops and many more.  They are usually recognised as the  lightweight, rechargeable  batteries.

Startling statistics from London Fire Brigade who attend on average 24 fires per week that have been started by chargers, batteries and cables!

London Fire Brigade reported 8 fires caused by e-bikes and e-scooters in 2019.  This rose to 24 in 2020 and 59 by December 2021.

So what are the risks of such batteries? Batteries can present a fire risk when over-charged, short-circuited, sunk in water or if damaged.

The recent use of lithium iron phosphate (LiFeP04) batteries instead of lead acid batteries to power mobility scooters has increased risks due to their unpredictable and adverse reaction when subjected to fire. All batteries can give off hydrogen when charging.

On occasions batteries can fail catastrophically, ‘explode’ and/or lead to a rapidly developing fire.

Tips for staying safe when charging your electrical items

  • Separating the battery from the mobility scooter can reduce the risk, by removing the source of ignition. It should be noted that some mobility scooters are not designed to have the battery removed and may be difficult for some users of these scooters.
  • Always use the charger that came with your phone, tablet, e-cigarette or mobile device.
  • If you need to buy a replacement charger, always choose a branded, genuine product.  There are lots of fakes out there, and it can be hard to spot the difference.
  • Avoid storing, using or charging batteries at very high or low temperatures.
  • Protect batteries against being damaged – that’s crushed, punctured or immersed in water.
  • Don’t leave items continuously on charge after the charge cycle is complete – it’s best not to leave your phone plugged in overnight for example.
  • Never cover chargers or charging devices – that includes using your laptop power lead in bed or placing those mobile phones under your pillow!
  • Don’t overload your sockets.
  • If you charge or store your e-bike or e-scooter in a garage or kitchen ensure you install heat alarms for those areas, not smoke detectors.
  • Do NOT charge your e-bike, scooters or mobility scooters in escape routes this includes in front of your front door – in the event of a fire your escape route & door have been compromised!
  • In the event of a lithium battery fire do NOT attempt to extinguish the fire. Get out, stay out & call 999!

Disposing of Lithium Batteries

The incorrect disposal of lithium-ion batteries in general household and recycling waste can lead to significant waste fires when they are punctured or crushed.

Check with your local authority for suitable battery recycling in your area.

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