27 September 2023

Services warn against batteries in the cold

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Emergency Services has called on people to take additional precautions during the colder months and be ready to reduce the risk of life-threatening fires often started by battery-powered devices.

Minister for Emergency Services, Stephen Dawson said career and volunteer firefighters responded to residential structure fires twice a day on average, but these incidents typically spiked in July or August.

He said the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) was reporting an increasing number of destructive fires caused by lithium-ion batteries.

“Structure fires caused by a battery, power-pack or charger have nearly doubled in the past five years as products like eRideables have become more popular in Australia,” Mr Dawson said.

“If a lithium-ion device is over-charged, faulty or poorly manufactured, the batteries can overheat and start a fire that has the potential to destroy an entire home in just minutes.”

He said people often charged these items outside, in a shed or garage, with no smoke alarm present, allowing a fire to go undetected for some time.

“The DFES encourages Western Australians to put a home fire escape plan in place this winter, so all residents understand how to leave quickly and safely if disaster strikes,” Mr Dawson said.

Commissioner for Fire and Emergency Services, Darren Klemm said an exploding battery could end up metres away from where it was being charged, allowing a fire to spread quickly.

“We don’t recommend leaving devices alone to charge overnight because most residential fires that cause injury or death occur at night when people are asleep,” Commissioner Klemm said.

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