A small blaze last week in East Hill has Ithaca Fire Department urging residents to remember that rechargeable batteries in cell phones, laptops, and toys can be dangerous. There are several precautions to keep in mind when using these devices.
Keep lithium-ion batteries dry. Any moisture can cause a malfunction.
Remove batteries from toys and electronics when they aren’t in use.
Batteries have an expiration date, just be sure to replace it upon expiration.
And most important of all, don't overheat the batteries or overcharge them. Pull the plug when the charge is done.
Leaving a device in the charger can overheat the battery, leading to chemical reactions which could lead to a fire. Be sure to use the charges that comes specifically for that battery. Also, don’t place the batteries on beds, sofas, blankets, rugs, or anything that could catch fire easily. Newer batteries have sensors which will detect a problem if they turn off the battery to prevent a bigger problem. Older batteries may not, though.
Store them in a non-metal container in a cool dry place until you can properly dispose of them.
Tape the terminals of used batteries with electrical tape or by placing each battery in separate plastic bags. Terminals that rub against each other could cause a spark.
Never put loose batteries in a junk drawer or area where they may come into contact with metal items such as paper clips or steel wool.
By taking a few precautions and using some common sense, you can protect yourself from a potential fire.