Lithium-ion battery safety

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Lithium-ion battery safety

Lithium ion batteries supply power to many kinds of devices, including smart phones, laptops, e-bikes, scooters, e-cigarettes, smoke alarms, toys, and even cars. Like any product, a small number of these batteries can be defective – they can overheat, catch fire or explode.

Here’s some advice to keep you and your family safe.

Fire safety tips

  • Do not charge a device under a pillow, on the bed or on a couch – they can overheat and cause a fire
  • Don’t use or charge a battery that shows signs of swelling, overheating or damage
  • Only use the battery that is designed for the device
  • Only use the charging equipment that came with the device, and don’t use it if it’s damaged
  • Do not leave batteries or devices in direct sunlight or in hot vehicles
  • Store batteries away from anything that can catch fire

If you have concerns

  • If your device or battery is very hot, smoking or catches fire while charging, turn off the power if this can be done safely
  • Move the device away from anything that can catch fire
  • If you are in any immediate danger, get out and call 111 – see What to do in a house fire

Battery disposal

  • Do not put lithium ion batteries in the rubbish
  • Recycling is always the best option – contact your local council for a recycling location
  • In the meantime, leave it submersed in water outside until proper disposal
  • Do not leave discarded batteries in piles