A safety warning on the use of lithium-ion batteries is being issued by Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) following several battery related fires this month.

A safety warning on the use of lithium-ion batteries is being issued by Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) following several battery related fires this month.

Lithium-ion batteries, or li-ion batteries (sometimes called LIBs) are commonly found in many items including mobile phones, laptops, e-bikes, hover boards, vaping devices and scooters. 

KFRS has seen an overall increase in battery fires in the last two years, with over 20 believed to be caused by batteries in the last three months. In May, crews were called to fires caused by battery disposal, e-bikes left on charge, a power-bank left charging on a bed, and batteries left on charge.

Firefighters are now urging the public to take care when storing and using these types of batteries, and to think twice before purchasing items from non-reputable suppliers. 

KFRS Assistant Director for Response Matt Deadman said: “Lithium-ion batteries are becoming more and more common in everyday items, and a majority of the time these types of rechargeable batteries are safe, but if used incorrectly or if faulty items are purchased, fires can happen,

“There are a number of reasons why batteries may ignite or start fires in the first place, with things like overheating and incorrect storage among the common causes – so please remember to follow our safety tips whenever you purchase, store or use a lithium-ion battery or any other electrical item:

  • buy from a reputable retailer – if the price is too good to be true it probably is
  • refer to manufacturer’s guidance on charging and storing
  • only charge during the day when you are at home
  • always unplug after use
  • register electrical items at https://www.registermyappliance.org.uk/
  • avoid storing, using or charging batteries at very high or low temperatures
  • avoid charging batteries on flammable surfaces like beds or cushions
  • Remember to protect batteries against being damaged, such as being crushed, punctured or immersed in water

Matt added: “It’s also important to have working smoke alarms fitted on each floor of your home, so you’re alerted if there is a fire. If you hear the smoke alarm remember to get out, stay out and call 999.”

By Ed

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