Batteries become major concern with fires, regulation to be upheld

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Batteries — Lithium-ion batteries are frequently used in electronic devices due to their high energy density and rechargeability.

However, they are prone to failure and overheating, which can result in fires and explosions.

The growth of lithium metal dendrites, which can penetrate the separator and cause a short circuit, is the most prevalent cause of battery failure.

Overcharging, physical damage, and prolonged exposure to high temperatures can all cause the battery to overheat and catch fire.

To avoid these situations, battery manufacturers use safety safeguards such as temperature and voltage sensors, protective coatings, and fire retardants.

Battery failure may be reduced by regular maintenance and proper management of electrical devices.


Several New York Democrats have lately indicated support for federal legislation governing lithium-ion battery safety standards.

The announcement followed a series of mishaps caused by faulty or overheated batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are often found in consumer electronics such as e-scooters and telephones.

They were recently investigated following reports of explosive fires caused by the batteries’ flammable components.


Following months of incidents, New York decided to implement protections.

A five-alarm fire broke out in the Bronx region of New York City in early March, injuring seven persons.

According to fire officials, the fire was ignited by a lithium-ion battery.

Almost 200 firefighters tried to put out the fire.

The cause of the fire, according to FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, was a lithium-ion battery used to power a scooter.

“In all of these fires, these lithium-ion fires, it is not a slow burn – there’s not a small amount of fire, it literally explodes,” said Kavanagh.

“It’s a tremendous volume of fire as soon as it happens, and it’s very difficult to extinguish and so it’s particularly dangerous.”

A Manhattan apartment complex caught fire after a lithium-ion battery detonated in November 2022.

Thirty-eight people were injured, including five severely injured, two gravely injured, and the rest minorly injured.

Safety standards

In the last weeks of March, the House of Representatives introduced the “Setting Consumer Standards for Lithium-Ion Batteries Act.”

The Act set federal safety standards for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in electric bicycles and scooters.

The bill also creates regulations to protect customers from potential lithium-ion battery fires.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, remarked during a press conference on Sunday afternoon:

“Without federal legislation, and so many of these batteries come from across state lines or made overseas or made in China, we will not have a complete and strong solution.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York echoed his thoughts, saying:

“We cannot allow for faulty or improperly manufactured batteries to keep causing these dangerous, deadly fires.”

During the press briefing, Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh revealed that in 2023, lithium-ion batteries will be responsible for 63 fires and five deaths in New York.

Public safety

The new lithium-ion battery safety measure was sponsored in March by Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-NY.

He described the legislation as a precautionary measure to protect people and property.

Torrid went on to warn that the current occurrence reminded him of the rising threat that lithium-ion batteries posed to public safety, saying:

“I’m grateful to the hundreds of first responders who continue to bravely respond to these incidents and do all they can to save lives and property, but the time has come for the federal government to act because this problem is not isolated to just New York.”

“We must work to create and implement national safety standards for lithium-ion batteries in order to protect people and places from unreasonable risk, serious injury or damage, and/or death.”

Two weeks earlier, officials reported two lithium-ion battery-related deaths.

According to investigators, an e-bike caught fire in a building entryway and erupted to a higher level, impeding escape.

The New York City Fire agency’s Fire Marshal Dan Flynn said the Queens incident was the 59th lithium-ion battery-related fire the agency has put out.

Furthermore, the fire service advised residents to take the following safety precautions:

  • Buy UL-certified devices
  • Keep their devices at room temperature
  • Keep the devices away from direct sunlight
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