Lithium-ion batteries are small and lightweight but are capable of storing a large amount of energy. As a result of these characteristics, they are volatile under stress and if damaged or incorrectly charged they can be a fire risk.
They are now a common part of everyday life, at home and at work, used in power tools, laptops, personal devices, e-cigarettes, e-scooters and e-bikes but they pose some major fire risks that many of us may not be aware of.
When these batteries and chargers fail they do so with ferocity, and because the fires develop so rapidly the situation can quickly become very serious.
There has been an increase in awareness of the risks lithium-Ion batteries pose over the last 3 years, and they are now recognised as a serious fire risk and health and safety issue by many insurance companies.
Insurers are now beginning to warn customers to take care when charging electrical items after receiving dozens of fire claims caused by chargers and batteries in recent years. Common causes being defective batteries, incorrect chargers and items being left on charge for too long. Batteries which can be bought cheaply on the internet don’t always meet safety standards and are also to blame.
"It's incredibly concerning we are continuing to see a rise in incidents involving e-bikes and e-scooters.”
- A spokesman for the the London Fire Brigade who have also renewed their warnings regarding such fires.
The Fire Protection Association has recently published revised guidance on the subject of lithium-ion battery safety. This can be downloaded from the FPA website using the links below –
Always use the charger that came with your phone, tablet, or e-cigarette. If you need to buy a replacement, always choose a branded, genuine product from a supplier you can trust.
Avoid storing, using, or charging batteries at very high or low temperatures
Protect batteries against being damaged through crushing, puncturing or immersion in water
Don’t leave items continuously on charge after the charge cycle is complete and don’t leave your phone plugged in overnight
Never cover chargers or charging devices
When you travel, avoid keeping all your items containing lithium-ion batteries together, especially on a plane
Don’t overload your sockets