Take charge of battery safety this Christmas

WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
  • Critical warning when using rechargeable batteries
  • Number of fires caused by lithium-ion batteries rising sharply
  • Think twice before buying rechargeable devices without original charger
  • Take charge of your safety. That is the message for everyone buying or receiving a lithium-ion powered gift this Christmas.

    Consumer Protection is warning that lithium-ion battery chargers, and the way they are used, can be more dangerous than the devices they power. In some cases deadly.

    Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe says its critical people chasing a bargain and buying from the likes of eBay and Gumtree understand that lithium-ion powered devices should only be used with original or compatible battery chargers.

    “Don’t skimp on battery chargers, you can’t afford the ultimate cost,” Mr Newcombe said.

    “Without the correct charger to go with a lithium-ion battery, you are inviting trouble to Christmas lunch.

    “The complex chemical nature of these batteries can make them unstable when damaged, hot, overcharged or connected incorrectly. All too often a cheap, incompatible charger becomes an ignition switch.”

    Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ statistics show that rechargeable batteries have caused 300 per cent more fires in the first half of the financial year than occurred four years ago.

    In New South Wales, the numbers are even more alarming with 180 lithium-ion battery fires reported this year, compared to just 16 in 2021.

    Consumer Protection also warns that taking charge of Christmas requires people to remain lithium-ion battery vigilant throughout the year.

    • Charge batteries outside, but not in the sun
    • Turn the power source off once batteries are charged
    • Call 000 immediately – putting out the ‘fire’ does not stop the chemical reaction, batteries may reignite or explode several days later

    “We are talking about toys, power tools, eRideables, laptops – anything that uses a lithium-ion battery. Please remember you cannot simply set and forget when recharging,” Mr Newcombe added.

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