Residents advised to review fire risks with lithium ion batteries

Firefighters are reminding residents across Staffordshire to ensure they are aware of the risks involved with their electronic devices.

Modern-day technology has become integrated in a wide range of devices and gadgets around the household, with increasingly powerful hardware used to power these components.

Whilst the vast majority of phones, cameras, tablets, electronic vehicles, vacuum cleaners and power tools are safe to use, the batteries used in modern day tech – namely lithium ion batteries – have the potential to accelerate fires should they come into contact with flames.

Their popularity stems from their ability to hold considerable charges, whilst remaining compact and lightweight – an ideal component for use in mobile and electronic devices around the household.

Despite these batteries being unlikely to cause fires directly, their combustibility has the potential to cause significant damage to surrounding properties and people.

Glynn Luznyj, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said: “Rechargeable batteries are used in a wide range of contexts within today’s society – in the form of portable devices, power tools, vehicles and larger scale power supplies.

“Newer high-energy density batteries, such as the lithium ion (Li-ion), are very common and may constitute a growing risk if they are involved in a fire.

“Fire and Rescue Services across the country are aware that traditional types, such as nickel metal hydride and older style lead acid, are still in use and that future developments could see the introduction of newer kinds, like lithium iron phosphate.

“Firefighters are developing their understanding of these hazards and the tactical considerations needed to resolve any emergency incidents, should they materialise.”

Ben Adams, Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime, said: “New technologies can bring new risks and new challenges for firefighters. An important aspect of my Fire & Rescue Plan is for the service to stay ahead of these new developments so they can continue to respond safely to incidents.

“We all have a part to play in keeping ourselves safe, and by taking a few simple precautions, people can reduce the risk of fires caused by their household devices.”

Residents can mitigate the chances of their devices igniting by ensuring they are stored in cool areas, making sure nothing is covering them or blocking their extractors from working.

Never store electronic devices in hot vehicles or areas prone to high-temperatures.

Don’t use counterfeit chargers and attachments and avoid leaving your devices to charge overnight.

To read more on electrical fire safety, visit: https://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/your-safety/safety-at-home/electrical-safety/

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In an emergency call 999. General enquiries call 0300 330 1000.

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