CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Department of Fire Services (DFS) is now tracking fires caused by lithium-ion batteries.

According to the DFS, due to the increase in fires caused by lithium-ion batteries, the state will now distinguish the type of battery that caused the fire for the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System. The information obtained by the Massachusetts State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit will include the make and model of the device, where it was purchased, whether it was charging at the time of the fire, and information on the battery itself.

Rechargeable devices such as power tools, cellphones, laptops, e-bikes, and even electric toothbrushes use lithium-ion batteries. These products should be unplugged after they are finished charging to prevent a fire or explosion.

“Across the country, and most visibly in New York City, fires caused by or involving lithium-ion batteries are on the rise, and often with deadly consequences,” State Fire Marshal Davine said. “One of the greatest challenges in addressing the increase in these fires is quantifying them. We are launching a new effort to gather more and better data on lithium-ion battery fires in Massachusetts.”

“We believe these batteries are underreported as a factor in significant fires,” said State Fire Marshal Davine. “More comprehensive data will help the fire service gauge the true scope of the issue and help guide future regulations and legislation.”

Lithium-Ion Battery Safety Tips

  • Purchase and use devices that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Only use the battery and charging cord that is designed for the device
  • Do not charge a device under your pillow, on your bed, or on a couch
  • Plug the charger directly into a wall outlet, not a power strip or extension cord
  • Do not keep charging the device or device battery after it is fully charged
  • Keep batteries at room temperature when possible
  • Do not charge them at temperatures below 32°F (0°C) or above 105°F (40°C).
  • Do not leave them in a hot car, in direct sunlight, or in freezing temperatures
  • Store batteries away from anything that can catch fire
  • Store scooters and e-bikes outdoors if possible. If you must store them indoors, keep them away from doors, windows, and stairways
  • Have working smoke alarms and a home escape plan that includes two ways out

It is illegal to throw away lithium-ion batteries in the trash. For a location near you visit, some places include Staples, Lowe’s, and Home Depot.

Common devices that have a lithium-ion battery

  • Cell phones
  • Tablets
  • Laptops
  • E-Bikes
  • Bluetooth headphones
  • Electric toothbrushes
  • Tools
  • Game controllers
  • Smartwatch
  • Hoverboards
  • Scooters
  • Solar power backup storage

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