The importance of using and recycling lithium-ion batteries safely

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is launching a three-week campaign to highlight the importance of using and recycling lithium-ion batteries properly.

Lithium-ion batteries are found in many electrical devices from phones, laptops, cameras and e-cigarettes. They are lightweight, rechargeable batteries that are used safely by millions of people every day.

The batteries are not dangerous when they are used properly but they do present a fire risk when they are overcharged, short circuited, damaged or submersed in water. However, there are some things you need to know when it comes to fire safety, chargers and batteries. Using our very own Barry the battery, we will be bringing these safety tips to life in various scenarios over the next three weeks.

Our Recharge & Recycle campaign encourages you to stay safe by following this advice:

  • Always buy electrical items and chargers from a trusted retailer.
  • Never charge lithium batteries on your escape route. If possible, charge and store them away from your living areas.
  • Never charge lithium batteries when you are sleeping, or if you are leaving the home.
  • Batteries don’t belong in bins – never dispose of batteries or electrical items with other household waste.
  • Sell or donate working unwanted electrical items and take used batteries to your local recycling centre.

This comes after a spike in fires caused by lithium-ion batteries in recent years, including an incident we attended in August where an occupant was rescued by fire crews from a bedroom window after a hoverboard caught fire in the home.

Station Manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, Sammy Preddy says:

“In the past few years, we have seen an increase in fires involving lithium-ion batteries, which tend to start and grow very quickly. This has increased the risk of fire at many of our high-risk waste sites across Lancashire due to products containing these batteries being disposed of with general waste.

“As these rechargeable batteries power electrical items we use every day like mobile phones, laptops and e-scooters, it’s important people are aware of the steps they can take to help reduce the risk of fire.

“Rechargeable electrical items should only be purchased from reputable retailers and should always be used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Always charge batteries whilst you are awake using the charger supplied with the product and do so in a place that is well away from your escape routes. As ever, it is vitally important to have working smoke alarms, ideally one per floor.

“We hope that our Recharge & Recycle campaign will help to raise awareness of the devices that contain these batteries and how to dispose of them, so you can enjoy your devices and ultimately stay safe.”

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