Calgary fire department warns against mishandling lithium-ion batteries

According to the Calgary Fire Department, fires caused by lithium-ion batteries have jumped by 150 per cent over the last year. Tate Laycraft has more on battery dangers.

By Tate Laycraft

Lithium-ion batteries have become a staple of technology, powering phones, tablets, and laptops.

However, Calgary fire chief Steve Dongworth is warning of the risks of mishandling the batteries.

“We’re starting to see more fires that are involving these, and as always we want to get some public messaging out,” Dongworth said.

“The problem sometimes is … the equipment is not being used as per the manufacturer’s specifications, it’s not being used with the right charger. It’s being overcharged.”

The department says the number of fires caused by lithium-ion batteries has jumped by 150 per cent in Calgary, and according to Dongworth, improper device storage is a leading hazard.

“We see cell phones sometimes being charged, where the cell phone is in bedding or is covered up where there’s no ventilation,” he said.

Charging electric vehicles is another concern. Dongworth says the fire department has noticed a trend.


“A lot of the lithium-ion battery fires we’ve had are in garages. And I can’t break that down for you right now, but that might suggest that some people are charging their e-mobility devices or their car in the garage, and maybe not doing that properly,” he added.

The fire department recommends using a device-specific charger, keeping airflow to your device open, and avoiding the use of damaged hardware.

“This isn’t at all about saying you shouldn’t be using lithium-ion batteries. It’s about taking care of those batteries,” Dongworth said.

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