Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Lithium-Ion battery safety advisory issued

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OLYMPIA – The ubiquity of lithium-ion batteries in devices such as smartphones, laptops, e-scooters, and even vehicles brings convenience alongside a risk of fire or explosion if mishandled or damaged. A concerning report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission highlights the potential dangers, citing 208 fire incidents related to these batteries from 2021 to November 2022, leading to 19 fatalities.

An uptick in such incidents across the nation correlates with the surge in battery-powered devices entering the market amid the push for clean energy. In Washington State, these incidents are tracked under the "Heat Source" category in the National Fire Incident Reporting System, with more than 1,200 battery fire incidents reported from 2022 to 2023.

To mitigate risks, the State Fire Marshal's Office recommends adhering to the following safety guidelines:

  • Utilize devices and batteries certified by reputable testing laboratories.
  • Employ only the charging cables provided with the device.
  • Avoid charging devices in potentially hazardous locations, such as under pillows, on beds, or sofas.
  • Cease charging once the battery reaches full capacity.
  • Use only the manufacturer-recommended battery for each device.
  • Store batteries away from flammable materials.
  • Insert batteries correctly into devices.
  • Maintain batteries at room temperature, avoiding charging in extreme temperatures.

For additional safety information, the State Fire Marshal’s Office can be reached at 360-596-3929, offering guidance on safe lithium-ion battery usage.

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