Increasing Trend Sparks Lithium-ion Batteries Campaign

SA Gov

A year-on-year rise in MFS callouts sparked by lithium-ion batteries has prompted a new safety campaign, outlining steps to minimise risk and identify warning signs.

Lithium-ion batteries – commonly found in household products – are used in rechargeable devices such as mobile phones, e-scooters and other mobility devices, appliances, power tools and toys.

From 2019-2023, related incidents increased by 650 per cent – from four to 30 – with the MFS projecting this year’s figure to climb to nearly 40 callouts if the current trend continues.

Of the 13 callouts so far in 2024, the most common causes of fires are mobility devices (six incidents), portable batteries (two incidents) and tools (two incidents).

The batteries pose a safety risk if not stored, used or disposed of properly, with the potential for reignition and fires releasing toxic gas.

South Australians can help prevent incidents by:

  • Storing lithium-ion batteries in cool, dry places out of sunlight.
  • Disconnecting products as soon as they are fully charged.
  • Charging batteries on non-combustible surfaces.
  • Using compatible chargers and avoiding mixing and matching brands.
  • Always purchasing replacement batteries and charging equipment from reputable suppliers or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Regularly checking the batteries for signs of damage including cracking, denting, swelling and leaking, as well as heating up or emitting smoke.
  • Not building their own batteries.
  • Safely disposing of any damaged or used batteries at a battery recycling drop-off point.
  • Having a working smoke alarm in rooms where batteries are stored.

    For more tips visit the MFS and Consumer and Business Services websites.

As put by Andrea Michaels

With more electronic devices in our homes than ever before, it is so important to be vigilant and understand how to safely use lithium-ion batteries.

I know firsthand that these batteries can be dangerous after I had a fire sparked by an electric scooter charging in my home a few years ago.

I urge South Australians to be careful when using these batteries and follow the safety advice.

As put by Dan Cregan

This is a trend the MFS wants to reverse.

These batteries’ growing popularity has coincided with more emergency responses to fires that put lives and property at risk.

Adopting simple steps means the technology that so many of us rely on is used safely.

As put by MFS Chief Officer Jeff Swann

The MFS continues to see an increase in incidents caused by lithium-ion batteries, that have been damaged or not used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, which are becoming a regular household item, due to their widespread and diverse use.

Safe use of these batteries is critical and can prevent these incidents from occurring.

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