Lithium ion battery safety tips

Defective or misused lithium batteries could cause a fire

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Lithium ion batteries power many of today’s most popular gadgets, including smart phones and laptops.

The National Fire Protection Agency says in rare cases, these batteries can cause a fire or explosion. Recently these types of explosions have happened with e-cigarettes, hover boards and the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which was banned from all flights by the Federal Aviation Agency in October due to its explosion risk.

Mark Wineburg of Yes Computers in Northampton says that the good news is, it’s unlikely you will do something to your device to make it catch on fire.  Any fire these products cause is the producer’s fault nearly every time.

“It’s very inexpensively produced products, like the hover board is a good example. It’s exclusively a problem with manufacturing,” Wineburg said.

The NFPA reports that the following signs may indicate a problem with your batteries:

  • Odor
  • Too much heat
  • Leaking
  • Change in color

According to the NFPA, risks for fires and explosions can be reduced by following these tips:

  • Only use the battery that is designed for the device.
  • Only use charging cords that come with the device.
  • Keep batteries at room temperature.
  • Do not charge devices under your pillow, or on your bed or couch.
  • Do not store batteries in direct sunlight or keep them in hot vehicles.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, residents should wait for hazardous waste collection day to dispose of lithium batteries or bring them to a disposal facility.

Click here to view a list of disposal facilities in Massachusetts.

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