Alarming rise in fire incidents caused by lithium-ion batteries inspires ‘Take Responsibility’ campaign

Alarming rise in fire incidents caused by lithium-ion batteries inspires ‘Take Responsibility’ campaign

Fire Safety Research Institute, FDNY, CPSC, USFA, and ATF collaborate to share safety risks and tips for safer use of lithium-ion battery-powered devices

Columbia, Maryland, November 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Fires caused by devices powered by lithium-ion batteries are increasing at an alarming rate. UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) today launched the Take CHARGE of Battery Safety campaign with a new public service announcement and tips to educate people about the safer use of lithium-ion battery-powered devices. The campaign is launched in cooperation with the Fire Department in New York City (FDNY), the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and with support from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

UL Fire Safety Research Institute (PRNewsfoto/FSRI)

With new technology comes new safety risks. Lithium-ion batteries power our lives in more ways than ever before and can be found in cell phones, laptops, power tools and electronic mobility devices such as wheelchairs, lawn mowers, electric bicycles, scooters and vehicles. Although they offer many advantages, one big safety concern is the potential for these batteries to catch fire and cause explosions.

Research by FSRI shows that fires in modern homes with synthetic furniture can have an escape time of less than three minutes from the time the fire starts. A fire caused by a larger device with an unregulated lithium-ion battery, such as an e-bike or e-scooter, can reduce the escape time to less than one minute.

Additionally, since 2017, light mobility injuries have increased each year at a rate of 23% per year according to the CPSC. in New York City Between 2021 and 2023 alone, there has been a significant increase in lithium-ion battery device fires (1,500%), injuries (686%), and deaths (2,675%). According to research provided by UL Solutions, in 2023, there were at least 445 accidents, 214 injuries and 38 deaths associated with lithium-ion battery fires worldwide. north america.

“Even when the initial cause of a fire is not a lithium-ion battery, its involvement can increase the severity and speed of the fire,” he said. Steve Kerber, Vice President and CEO of FSRI. “Lithium-ion battery-powered devices are not going anywhere and will likely be part of our society for years to come. Our goal now is to better understand how these batteries affect fire behavior and help people use this technology safely.”

To help people safely enjoy their many lithium-ion battery-powered devices, FSRI’s new safety campaign provides consumers with easy steps to take responsibility:

  1. Choose approved products: Only 25% of respondents in a recent survey said they check to see if the products they buy meet standards for lithium-ion batteries. When purchasing lithium-ion battery-powered devices, look for products listed or certified for safety by a nationally recognized testing laboratory to ensure they meet important safety requirements.

  2. Handle lithium-ion battery-powered devices with care: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use only the charging equipment that came with the product. Do not modify batteries or chargers. Store and charge batteries away from extreme temperatures, direct sunlight, outlets, and anything flammable. Charge larger devices (such as e-bikes) away from the exit path, behind a closed door, away from your sleeping area and/or outside your home, if possible. Do not charge larger devices overnight.

  3. Always be alert for warning signs: Inspect battery-operated devices often for damage or abuse such as swelling or punctures. Listen for unusual hissing or popping sounds. Beware of excessive heat or strange odor. If you notice any of these warning signs, stop using your lithium-ion battery-powered device immediately. White or gray smoke indicates an immediate danger of fire.

  4. Recycle devices and batteries properly: Responsibly dispose of old or damaged batteries and devices by taking them to the nearest battery recycling center. Never dispose of batteries, chargers, or battery-powered devices in regular trash bins.

  5. Get out quickly if there is a fire: Know the warning signs to look for, listen for, and come out if you see or hear them. Follow your home fire escape plan to leave immediately, lock the doors behind you as an exit, and Call 9-1-1.

  6. Educating others about safe practices: Help protect your friends and loved ones by sharing what they can do Take charge of battery safety.

“Lithium-ion batteries are quickly becoming one of the leading causes of fatal fires in New York City. We cannot stress enough the importance of safe use of these devices; It will save lives. “We are grateful to partner with FSRI, USFA, CPSC and ATF to raise public awareness and address an issue that we know is not going away,” said the FDNY Commissioner. Laura Kavanagh.

To learn more about lithium-ion battery safety and FSRI’s work to advance fire safety knowledge, and to watch a new public service announcement, visit

About the Fire Safety Research Institute
As part of the UL Research Institutes, UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) seeks to advance fire safety knowledge and strategies to create safer environments. Using advanced fire science, rigorous research, and extensive outreach and education in collaboration with an international network of partners, the organization provides stakeholders with the knowledge, tools and resources that enable them to make better, safer fire decisions that ultimately save lives and property. . To learn more, visit Follow FSRI on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.

About the fire department New York City
Fire Department in New York City (FDNY) is the largest fire department in United State The department’s primary goal is to provide fire protection, emergency medical care and other important public safety services to residents and visitors in the five boroughs. Since its inception in 1865, the FDNY has helped lead the effort to make this happen New York The safest big city in the country. Not only does the FDNY respond to more than a million emergencies each year, but its employees also strive to prevent them by continually educating the public on fire, life safety and disaster preparedness, along with enforcing public safety laws. Learn more at

About the US Consumer Product Safety Commission
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from accidents involving consumer products cost the nation even more 1 trillion dollars annually. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. Federal law prohibits anyone from selling products subject to a recall ordered by the Commission or a voluntary recall conducted in consultation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Learn more at

About the US Fire Department
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) was created by Public Law 93-498, the federal fire prevention and control law of 1974. The law called for the establishment of the National Fire Academy to promote the professional development of fire service personnel and other firefighting personnel. Fire prevention and control activities. The law also called for the establishment of a national system to collect, analyze, and disseminate fire data needed to help local fire departments determine research and action priorities. The USFA’s mission, as a component of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is to support and enhance firefighting and emergency medical services and stakeholders to prepare for, prevent, mitigate and respond to all hazards. Learn more at

About the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is the federal agency with jurisdiction to investigate arson and arson crimes. ATF’s mission is to protect communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, illegal use and trafficking of firearms, illegal use and storage of explosives, arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products. . Learn more at



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