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March 31, 2014

Managing the lithium (ion) battery fire risk

While wandering the thru the interwebz highway today after seeing another mobile phone battery fire story,  I found this site that addresses Li-on batteries and how to deal with them safely.

The gist:

  • Keep them cool– avoid keeping them in pockets close to your body, especially in warm weather.
  • Keep them separated.  Once one initiates “thermal runaway” & burn/explode on anything next to it, including other batteries, your pants, your laptop, etc.
  • Keep the insides from getting outside. No crushing, puncturing, spindling or other rough play.

Suppressing a lithium ion (secondary) battery is best accomplished by cooling the burning material; lithium primaries require separate, and unique, suppression methodologies.

Another consideration is that lithium batteries should be isolated from other battery chemistries and commodities (storage, transport, etc.). They should be stored (shipped) in environments that would effectively contain fires and toxic burn by-products. This is essential to health, safety, and preservation of property. Close attention should be paid to isolating batteries from general facilities by developing external storage or “satellite” storage. Battery storage farms would allow for storage off-site with just-in-time (JIT) delivery of batteries to the organization when needed.

via Managing the lithium (ion) battery fire risk – Industrial Fire Journal – Fire & Rescue – Hemming Group Ltd.

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