Don’t let lithium-ion batteries ruin your Christmas


Release date: 20 December 2023

Residents are being urged to shop safely when giving electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and e-scooters, as Christmas gifts this year, and to dispose of their old devices and batteries safely. 

The warning comes after lithium-ion batteries found in common electronic devices are thought to have caused 187 fires in West Sussex over the past three years. Most of these were caused by electronic devices being thrown away in household bins.

Darren Wickings, Station Manager for Policy (Strategic Risk and Improvement), said: “Lithium-ion batteries are becoming increasingly common in our everyday lives. They are safe during normal use, but present a fire risk when over-charged, submerged in water, or damaged. Using faulty or poorly manufactured devices and chargers further increases the risk.

“To help prevent a fire in your home, always use the correct charger for your device and never leave it charging unattended or overnight. Don’t forget to unplug the device when it is fully charged.

"Never charge large lithium-ion batteries, such as those found in electric bikes and scooters, in hallways or stairwells where it could block your means of escape. Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them regularly.

“Always choose reputable retailers when shopping for electronic devices and look out for the UKCA or CE mark to ensure the products are safe. There are lots of counterfeit devices out there, particularly online, which are often cheaply made and don’t comply with recognised safety standards. 

“Finally, if you’re having a clear out over the Christmas period, remember to dispose of electronic devices and batteries safely. Never throw them away in your household bins where they could start a fire.”

Councillor Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “Many people will be unaware of how many lithium-ion battery powered devices they have in their homes and the potential danger this poses. 

“Following this advice will help to reduce the risk of fire in your home and ensure you and your family have a safe and happy Christmas.

You can find more electrical fire safety advice on our website, as well as guidance on how to recycle electronic devices and batteries safely.”

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