Many of us will remember Samsung's Lithium Ion battery problems which resulted in its Galaxy Note 7 recall last year but even though it won’t generally mean a product recall, it’s not as uncommon for this type of battery to catch fire as you might think; which is why Fire Depot is pleased to introduce the Firechief Lith-ex, the world’s first fire extinguisher for Lithium Ion battery fires.
Why are Lithium Ion batteries used in electronic gadgets if there is a fire risk?
The main benefits of Lithium Ion batteries is that they are compact and lightweight, hold considerable charge and perform well under constant discharge-recharge conditions. And to date, they are the best option available in terms of the power the battery supplies for its size and weight, which is key to manufacturers being able to keep smartphones slim and light. That’s also why Lithium Ion batteries are now commonly found in other electronic products such as laptops, tablets, power tools, cameras, toys and electric scooters to name a few.
How to manage a Lithium-Ion battery fire
To understand why Lithium Ion batteries catch fire, it helps to understand how they work. The fact that their components have been designed to be lightweight, means there are thin partitions between the battery cells and only a thin outer covering. Both the partitions and coating are fairly fragile, so if they are punctured when the battery is damaged, a short occurs and this spark can ignite the highly reactive lithium.
Alternatively, the battery may overheat and the heat of the contents exerts pressure on the battery, potentially causing an explosion.
The advice from the Battery University, is that if you are using a device with a Lithium Ion battery and it starts to hiss or bulge, unplug it from the mains, remove the battery from the gadget if possible, and move it away from anything flammable.
The world’s first extinguisher for Lithium Ion battery fires
Should you need to fight a Lithium Ion battery fire, there’s only one fire extinguisher that will do the job. Fire Depot now stocks the Firechief Lith-ex, the world’s first fire extinguisher for Lithium Ion battery fires. The Lith-ex Extinguisher is compact, lightweight, easy to store, non-toxic and environmentally friendly. It will extinguish uncontrollable flames, quickly cool the excessive heat and prevent re-ignition, something that an ABC powder extinguisher will not be able to do.
Top tips to minimize the risk of fire or explosion
The risk of fire or explosion increases if the Lithium Ion battery is exposed to hot conditions or the battery or internal components are damaged, so simply dropping or crushing your mobile phone could cause it to catch fire. To reduce the risk of a battery fire incident:
• Avoid storing devices with lithium-ion batteries in places with high temperatures. such as in a hot vehicle or even a warm pocket.
• Avoid overcharging your devices.
• Avoid keeping all your lithium ion battery devices together. When you travel, especially on a plane, you'll likely have all your electronic items in one bag. This may be unavoidable but try to keep some space between the devices. Although having lithium ion batteries in close proximity does not increase the risk of a fire, if there is an accident, the other batteries could catch fire and make the situation worse. Lithium Battery Fires can quickly exceed temperatures of 800ºC - three times hotter than an oven!
Life is precious and property and assets matter, so at Fire Depot we make it our mission to provide quality, approved fire protection equipment and to share fire safety advice and fire equipment recommendations. Visit www.firedepot.co.uk for more fire safety product information or call us on 0330 999 2233 to speak to our friendly team of experts.