In recent years, the use of devices that are powered by lithium-ion batteries has increased in popularity but unfortunately so has the number of fires they have caused.
Found in electric bicycles and electric scooters, phones, tablets, e-cigarettes, or other mobile devices, these batteries are safe when in normal use.
However, when overcharged, short circuited, submerged in water or damaged, they can get hot and potentially cause fires.
They are a regular cause of waste fires and can be extremely dangerous when thrown away with general rubbish, or mixed with other recyclable materials like card, metals and plastics.
General tips to keep lithium-ion batteries fire safe
- Always use the charger that came with your device and follow manufacturer instructions.
- If you need to buy a replacement, always choose a branded genuine product from a supplier you can trust.
- Fit smoke or heat detection in the room or garage where you charge or store your electric bike/scooter.
- Avoid storing, using, or charging batteries at very high or low temperatures.
- Protect batteries against being damaged – that’s crushed, punctured, or immersed in water.
- Don’t leave items continuously on charge after the charge cycle is complete. For example, it’s best not to leave your phone plugged in overnight.
- Charge the device on a flat, solid, and stable surface, such as a kitchen worktop. Never leave your device charging under your pillow or on your bed.
- Do not overload your sockets.
Fire safety tips for e-bikes and e-scooters
- Do not charge batteries or store your e-bike or e-scooter near combustible or flammable materials.
- Do not overcharge your battery – check the manufacturer’s instructions for charge times.
- Store e-bikes and e-scooters and their batteries in a cool place. Avoid storing them in excessively hot or cold areas.
- Do not store or charge e-bikes and e-scooters on escape routes or in communal areas of a multi occupied building. If there is a fire, it can affect people’s ability to escape.
- Do not overload socket outlets or use inappropriate extension leads (use un-coiled extensions and ensure the lead is suitably rated for what you are plugging in to it).
- In the event of an e-bike, e-scooter or lithium-ion battery fire – do not attempt to extinguish the fire. Follow the building’s evacuation policy and immediately call 999.
What to do in the event of a fire
- Do not attempt to fight a lithium-ion battery fire.
- Leave your property immediately.
- Close all fire doors behind you
- Ensure you evacuate to a place of safety.
- Call 999 and inform the fire service of the fire. Tell them that a lithium-ion battery is involved.
Disposing of lithium-ion batteries
- Never put batteries in your general rubbish or recycling bins.
- Follow instructions from your local council and always keep electrical items separate from other household waste.
- Sell or donate working, but unwanted, battery-powered electronic items instead of throwing them away.
- If in doubt, always take unwanted electrical items or lithium batteries to your local household waste recycling centre.