Know how to manage your device batteries

Fire safety authorities are becoming increasingly concerned at the risk lithium-ion batteries are posing to our health.

And it is not just electric bikes that we have to worry about: most modern portable devices contain rechargeable batteries, often containing lithium iron.

Childrens’ toys and e-cigarettes as well as mobile phones, laptops and scooters are objects that we use and recharge without giving much thought to safety.

While most of the known-brand products have proved to be well designed and sturdily manufactured, other brands and replacement parts of unknown quality are crowding into the market.

As well, many damaged products are popping up for sale second-hand at bargain prices.

Now we are seeing fires and injuries caused by charging failures, overheating and explosion of batteries, their improper storage and disposal.

Fortunately, our local fire and emergency services authorities are now providing, sound, easy to understand advice on how to manage these issues.

Fire and Rescue Victoria have a useful webpage up with all the detail you need.

Among the recommendations:

  • Purchase products from a reputable supplier and follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Only use chargers and cords that are originally supplied with that device. Using chargers with incorrect power delivery (voltage and current) can cause damage to the battery or overheating that can lead to fires.
  • Only use batteries that are designed for that device.
  • Check that chargers have the Regulatory Compliance Mark, to show that they meet the relevant Australian Standards.
  • Avoid charging LEV batteries overnight or leaving devices unattended while charging. Once the indicator shows that a device or battery has been fully charged, disconnect it from the charger.
  • Devices should always be charged on non-combustible surfaces.
  • Avoid locations such as couches, beds and carpets.
  • Where possible, LEVs should be stored and charged away from living spaces. Keep them away from any exit doors, escape routes, and other combustible materials. We recommend installation of a smoke alarm where LEVs are charged.
  • Only have device repair, battery replacement or upgrades performed by a qualified professional.

And many more that you should make yourself familiar with.

We’d like to think that friends of Bicycle Network will understand the importance of this issue and lead the way in insuring that the community is properly prepared as more and more electrically powered devices enter our communities.