How to Protect Against Fire from Lithium Batteries

The use of lithium-ion batteries in household items has increased due to their ability to store more energy, providing longer usage times. While these batteries are generally safe when used properly, there can be serious consequences if they are not handled correctly. Here are some key points to consider regarding the care, and potential dangers of lithium batteries in household items, as provided by Zurich.

Fire risk

When lithium batteries are over-charged, short-circuited, damaged, submerged in water or exposed to extreme temperatures, they can pose a fire risk. Incorrect charging or using non-compatible chargers can also lead to battery failure and potential fire hazards.

Increase in claims

Failure of lithium batteries in household items has resulted to increase the fire claims over the years. Incorrect chargers, defective batteries and leaving devices on charge unattended become causes of such fires.
Electrical Safety First are campaigning against the unlawful sale of dangerous electronics. This provides useful guidance on ways to stay safe when buying electrical goods. Martyn Allen, Technical Director at Electrical Safety First, says: “We urge people to be extremely careful in where they buy e-scooters and e-bikes, as well as the batteries and chargers for them. The lithium-ion batteries that power these vehicles can cause explosive fires if they are of poor quality or misused, so exercising real care in how they are used and stored is also essential. Our main takeaway is firstly, buy products like these from a reputable retailer you know and trust and secondly, always follow the manufacturer's guidance on using them, including safe charging.”
To reduce the risk of lithium battery-related fires in your home, consider the following tips:

Charging precautions

Avoid continually charging lithium-ion batteries or leaving devices on charge overnight. Do not use "after-market" batteries that may not be compatible with the appliance and charger.

Use genuine chargers

Always use the charger that came with your device. If you need a replacement, choose branded, genuine products from trusted suppliers. Be cautious of counterfeit or low-quality chargers available online and avoid the temptation to purchase them.

Safety regulations

Only use chargers that meet UK safety regulations. Overseas chargers may not charge the battery safely, even if they have a similar plug.

Avoid overheating

Do not cover chargers or devices while they are charging, as this can accelerate overheating. Avoid using laptop power cables in bed.

Unblock emergency exits

Do not leave devices or mobility vehicles on charge in a way that blocks emergency exits. This can hinder your ability to exit the building quickly and safely in case of a fire.

Follow manufacturer's guidelines

Use devices in accordance with manufacturers' guidelines to reduce the risk of breakdown. Some devices may not be designed for continuous long-term usage or certain temperature extremes.

Product recall awareness

Register lithium battery-powered devices with the manufacturer or supplier to stay informed about product recalls.

Handle damaged batteries properly

Do not use batteries that have physical damage, are swollen or deformed. Take such batteries to your local recycling centre rather than putting them in general waste bins.

Avoid extreme conditions

Do not leave devices in direct sunlight or exposed to hot temperatures. Also, take care to ensure items like vapes and smaller devices are not accidentally included in the laundry, as these actions can lead to battery failure.
By following these precautions and guidelines, you can reduce the risk of lithium battery-related incidents and ensure safer usage of household items containing lithium-ion batteries.

Other blogs that may be of interest:

Important changes in the home claims market
Why insurers may refuse claims from your company
Safety Practices Regarding Lithium-Ion Batteries

Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact one of our team. Telephone: 01245 499 060

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