New Tool Being Used By State To Count Lithium-Ion Battery Fires

HYANNIS – The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services is keeping better track of lithium-ion battery fires. 

In the past six months, the state says there have been 50 documented incidents.

The Lithium-Ion Battery Fire Investigative Checklist was launched last October. Previously, the state was tracking battery fires, but data was not being gathered on the specific types of batteries involved.

The old average number of lithium-ion fires in Massachusetts annually was 19. While the increased scrutiny may have led to the jump, Fire Marshal Jon Davine said it could also be due to the growing number of consumer devices that rely on ion.

Lithium-ion batteries are used in electric vehicles, e-bikes, scooters, hoverboards, cell phones, tablets, and e-cigarettes.

Davine offers the following safety tips for preventing these fires:

1. Be sure you have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home.

2. Use only the original equipment manufacturer’s batteries and charging equipment. Aftermarket or generic batteries and chargers may be cheaper but are more likely to pose a burn, fire, or explosion hazard.

3. Store scooters and e-bikes outdoors if possible. If you must store them indoors, keep them and their batteries clear of doors, windows, and stairways.

4. Charge the battery directly from a wall outlet, not an extension cord or power strip. Place it on a hard and stable surface, not a bed, couch, or pillow.

5. Charge only one battery or device at a time and unplug it when it’s fully charged. Don’t allow a charged battery to continue charging.

6. If you notice changes to the battery or the device, including damage, an unusual odor, a change in color, too much heat, change in shape, leaking, smoking, or not keeping a charge, stop using it right away.

7. If and when it’s time to dispose of the battery, don’t put it in the trash.  Lithium-ion batteries should be recycled, and you can find a location to take them at this website.

By Jim McCabe, NewsCenter

About Jim McCabe

Jim McCabe is a native of (suburban) Philadelphia who has lived in New England and covered Cape Cod news since 2016. He is also the play-by-play announcer for the Cape-based Seahawks Hockey Club .
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