Lithium Battery Safety
With Christmas and Boxing Day coming up, I wanted to remind residents the risks of lithium batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are used in many items, including smart phones, laptops, e-scooters, e-cigarettes, toys, smoke alarms, cars, and energy storage systems. While these batteries are extremely safe, we know that when these batteries are not used or charged properly, they can start a fire or explode.
In Calgary, fires caused by lithium-ion batteries have increased by 150% from 2021 to 2022. As these batteries store a large amount of energy in a small space, they can overheat and pose a fire hazard if they are not used correctly.
- When considering purchasing a device, choose those that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
- Only use the battery that is designed for the device and put the batteries in as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Only use the charging cord that came with the device.
- If the device is damaged, take it to a qualified inspector for service before using or charging.
- Do not charge a device under your pillow, on your bed or on a couch. Place the device on a hard surface to allow airflow around the device.
- Keep batteries at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. Do not store batteries in hot vehicles.
- Store batteries away from heating equipment or anything that can catch fire.
- Avoid crushing, bending, or dropping a device and charger.
- Never leave mobility devices unattended and charging in narrow exits such as doorways and hallways. In the event of a fire, this will block your escape.
Signs of a Problem:
Stop using the battery if you notice these problems: odour, change in colour, too much heat, change in shape, leaking or odd noises. If it is safe to do so, move the device away from anything that can catch fire and call 9-1-1.
In Case of Fire:
Lithium-ion battery fires give off toxic gases and burn extremely hot, making them difficult to put out.
For small batteries: If you have a class ABC or BC fire extinguisher and are trained on using it, attempt to extinguish the fire. If you are not trained or do not have a fire extinguisher, get out of your home and call 9-1-1.
For large batteries: Due to the way the batteries are encased and the toxic nature of the gases, do not try to put them out. Leave the building or area and call 9-1-1.All
Many residents may also be unaware that batteries of all sorts should never go in your blue, green, or black carts. Batteries contain metals like lead, lithium, cadmium, and mercury that can be dangerous to human health and the environment.
If they end up in any of your carts, batteries can get crushed and cause fires at the recylcing, composting, and landfill facilities.
Please remember to take batteries to a participating retailer for free recycling. *Do not take household batteries to fire stations.
You can find a list of recycling retailers at Call2Recycle. To learn more about how and where to properly dispose of batteries, visit How to recycle rechargeable batteries.
Categories: Calgary Fire Department, General, Safety, Tips