Many people received gifts which contain lithium ion rechargeable batteries during festival.
These batteries supply power to many kinds of devices including smart phones, laptops, scooters, e-cigarettes, toys, power tools and even cars.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s national fire risk advisor Pete Gallagher says lithium ion batteries provide a large amount of power in a very small package.
“But they do come with some risks so it’s important to take care when using them,” he says.
“In rare cases, they can cause a fire or explosion”.
“Sometimes batteries are not used the right way and this can increase the risk of a fire. Batteries not designed for a specific use can be dangerous. Like any product, these batteries can fail. They can overheat, catch fire, or explode.”
Staying safe with lithium ion batteries:
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Only use the battery that is designed for the device.
Put batteries in the device the right way.
Only use the charger that came with the device.
Keep the battery contacts away from metal objects that could cause a short circuit
Don’t charge a device under your pillow, on your bed or on a couch.
Keep batteries at room temperature.
Don’t place batteries in direct sunlight or keep them in hot vehicles.
Store and charge batteries away from anything that can catch fire.
Pete Gallagher advises people to stop using the battery if they notice either a strange smell or a change in colour, too much heat, a change in shape, swelling, leaking, or odd noises.
“Always make sure you have working smoke alarms to give you the earliest possible warning that something has gone wrong,” he says.
“If it is safe to do so, move the device away from anything that can catch fire. Call 1-1-1.”
Disposing of lithium ion batteries:
Don’t put lithium ion batteries in the rubbish.
Recycling is always the best option – AT a battery recycling location or contact your local council for disposal options.
Don’t store large piles of discarded batteries.