Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office issues safety tips for lithium-ion batteries

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The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office is raising concerns about potential fires linked to lithium-ion batteries, which are widely used in products like smart phones, laptops and e-scooters.

A report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found 208 fire incidents occurred in the past two years, resulting in 19 deaths linked to lithium-ion battery fires or overheating of batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries supply power to many kinds of devices including smart phones, laptops, e-scooters, bikes, cigarettes, smoke alarms, toys and even cars. If damaged or used incorrectly, these batteries can catch on fire or explode, the state fire marshal’s office said in a press release.

The number of battery fires is growing as the number of battery-operated devices increases. The fires can cause extensive damage and, in some cases, be fatal, the press release said.

Take the following precautions when using lithium-ion batteries:

– Purchase and use devices that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory.

– Only use charging cords that come with the device.

– Do not charge a device under your pillow, on your bed or on a sofa.

– Do not keep charging the device or device battery after it is fully charged.

– Only use the battery that is designed for the device.

– Store batteries away from anything that can catch fire.

– Put batteries in the device the right way.

– Keep batteries at room temperature when possible. Do not charge them at temperatures below 32°F (0°C) or above 105°F (40°C).

 

  1. Understanding both the concern of potential fires and the value of lithium sitting around unused at your home, the Rotary Club District 5030 is holding a district-wide (King and Snohomish Counites) collection of lithium batteries on this year’s Earth Day – April 20th. We will accept all forms of lithium including cell phones and computers. But think toothbrushes and little Bluetooth earbuds. Anything that has a battery that can be recharged is a potential lithium battery concern and ripe for recycling. We will be publishing more information as it becomes available.

  2. Thank you for this article.
    Robert, thank you for the recycle information. I will be watching for more.

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