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Battery Safety

Lithium ion batteries are used in all kinds of devices - smart phones, laptop computers, scooters, e-cigarettes, smoke alarms, toys and even cars.

These batteries store a large amount of energy in a very small space and sometimes can be dangerous. Like any product, batteries can sometimes be defective and can overheat, catch fire or explode.

Always purchase and use devices that are listed as tested by a qualified laboratory. Only use the battery designed for the specific device. Put the batteries in correctly and use the correct charging cord. Never charge a device under your pillow, on a bed or couch.

Stop using the battery if you notice a change in color, odor, shape or it starts leaking.

9 volt batteries can be dangerous as well. The positive and negative posts are close together and if touched by a metal object, it could cause a short circuit. This is enough heat to start a fire. 9 volt batteries should not be near paper clips, coins, pens, aluminum foil or other batteries.

Keep 9 volt batteries in their original packaging until ready to use them. If loose, keep the posts covered with masking, duct or electrical tape. Prevent the posts from coming in contact with metal objects. Do not store them with other batteries. Even if they are too weak to cause a charge, they have been known to start a fire if the posts are touching each other.

AA or AAA batteries are an important part of daily portable power. Replace used batteries in a device all at the same time. Some items may appear to work even if the battery is put in improperly, but over time the battery may "vent" or leak.

Alkaline batteries (for example, CD players, radios, television remotes and toy batteries) can be disposed of with your household garbage. Alkaline batteries were of particular environmental concern because they contained mercury. In the past decade or so, the batteries have been redesigned and no mercury added. The only mercury found in an alkaline battery is what naturally occurs as a trace element in other metals. In addition, many manufacturers are designing batteries for a longer life.

All batteries. Remember to keep all batteries out of the reach of small children and also check that battery compartments are secured shut.

Batteries should be stored at room temperature and kept out of direct sunlight. Do not store them near pills or in pill bottles as small button batteries could be mistaken for medication.

Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions on battery use, storage and disposal. Recycling is always the best option for batteries rather than throwing them in the trash.

For additional tips please contact Cinda Seamon, Fire & Life Safety Educatoremail icon, Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue, 843-682-5141.