Lithium Ion Battery Safety Corner

Did you know a growing cause of fires today are from lithium-ion batteries?

Lithium-ion batteries supply power to many kinds of devices including smartphones, laptops, tablets, scooters, e-cigarettes, smoke alarms, toys, and even cars.  Lithium-ion batteries store large amounts of energy and can pose a threat if not treated properly.  Like any product, a small number of these batteries are defective. We want you to take care when using them because in rare cases, they can overheat, catch fire or explode.

Safety Tips When Using Lithium-Ion Batteries:

  • When purchasing devices, be sure that the equipment has the Underwriters Laboratories Mark. The UL mark shows that the product has been safety-tested.
  • ALWAYS follow the manufacturers recommended instructions.
  • Only use the battery that is designed for the device.
  • Place batteries in the device the correct way.
  • Only use the charging cord that came with the device; the power adapter is made specifically for that device. Do not buy cheaper chargers for replacement.
  • Do not charge your device under your pillow, on your bed, on your couch, or armchair.
  • Keep batteries at room temperature; do not place them in direct sunlight or keep them in hot vehicles.
  • Always charge your batteries at room temperature, too hot or too cold can cause damage.
  • Store batteries away from anything that can catch fire.
  • Never leave devices charging unattended.

Signs of a Problem:

Stop using the battery if you notice these problems: odor, change in color, too much heat, change in shape, leaking, or if you hear odd noises coming from the battery.  If it is safe to do so, move the device away from anything that is flammable.

Battery Disposal:

  • Putting lithium-ion batteries in the trash or recycling at home is illegal.
  • Recycle batteries by taking them to a battery recycling location. In Westchester, batteries can be taken to the Westchester County Household Material Recovery Facility (H-MRF). Residents are reminded they need to individually bag batteries or tape ends before disposing.

Lithium-Ion Battery Safety Sheets

Smart Safety Tips for Devices with Lithium-Ion Batteries (PDF)

Smart Safety Tips for Devices with Lithium-Ion Batteries - Spanish (PDF)