Lithium Battery Fire Safety

What are Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries are rechargable batteries which are found in vaping devices, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, e-bikes, electric toothbrushes and scooters. Torches, cameras, toys and some medical devices may also use lithium batteries.

Lithium batteries can cause fires and explode if managed incorrectly.

What can cause a lithium battery fire?

  • Overcharging
  • Damaged batteries
  • Exposure to high temperatures

Lithium Battery Safety Measures

  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Regularly check the condition of the battery, Look for damage or signs of overheating. Stop using/charging the battery if you notice any damage and replace any damaged battery.
  • Only use the charger supplied with the battery. It is designed to steadily charge the battery at a predetermined rate, it will monitor the charge and avoid overcharging.
  • If the original charger is not available, obtain a replacement from the original manufacturer. Counterfeit and substandard chargers can be deadly.
  • Disconnect the battery and unplug your charger when the charge is complete. Don’t leave items on charge continuously, particularly overnight.
  • With e-cigarettes, check that the output voltage and ratings marked on the charger and the electrical device (battery) are the same
  • Keep batteries / devices in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.

Charge your batteries in a safe place;

  • Do not charge batteries where they may prevent you from escaping in the event of a fire
  • Do not charge batteries close to combustible materials or hazardous substances.
  • Do not charge lithium batteries where high temperatures or sunlight are to be expected.
  • Do not cover lithium batteries when charging. 

Fire Protection

A great way to protect you, your home, and your workplace is to invest in a portable fire extinguisher. We would recommend the StaySafe All-in-One - an extinguisher that’s built to tackle multiple types of fire, in seconds.

The StaySafe All-in-1 Fire Extinguisher is a compact, lightweight recyclable plastic aerosol fire extinguisher.

It’s designed to use anywhere a fire might start. It’s easy to use too – just remove the cap, point at the fire and spray until the unit is fully discharged.

  • Suitable for multiple types of fires – including electrical, cooking oil, textiles, petrol/diesel, paper/card, motor oil, and bio-ethanol
  • Extinguishers dangerous lithium-ion battery fires (batteries found in phones, laptops, e-scooters and more)
  • Keep on anywhere a fire might start, or carry it with you

staysafe portable fire extinguisher

Training for your Business

Health and Safety law now obliges employers to identify and assess hazards, and to implement suitable protective measures for staff and customers. These measures include providing information and training on use and safety of lithium batteries.

Online training is available to make you and your employees aware of the dangers of lithium-ion battery fires and provide the understanding of how to deal with these types of incidents.

The use of lithium-ion batteries in the most varied devices is becoming widespread throughout the UK and the world. It is often the case that people that handle or store such devices in both domestic and professional settings, or people working in the vicinity of lithium-ion batteries, and oftentimes those that have responsibility for firefighting, are not aware of the potential hazards. Or indeed, what precautions to take in the event of an incident involving lithium-ion batteries.

  • Lithium battery fires can be disruptive to a business, and very high profile.
  • The risk is real, even if it is sometimes exaggerated in the media.
  • Lithium battery fires occur at random and are extremely difficult to extinguish - preventing them or dealing with them at a very early stage makes good commercial sense.

Wavetrain offer three levels of course, which you can take depending on your position within your business. Entry level for staff (users of mobile phones, laptops and all lithium-ion battery devices) and level two and three for more senior management staff who are involved in fire risk assessments and have overall responsibility for the site.

The courses have been developed with Professor Paul Christensen,  the leading academic in the UK on the dangers of lithium-ion batteries and advisor to the UK Fire Chief's Council, and are recognised for Continuous Professional Development (CPD).


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