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How to Safely Handle and Store Lithium-ion Batteries: Essential Precautions for Users

Understanding Lithium-ion Batteries: Risks and Precautions

Many modern portable devices contain a rechargeable lithium-ion battery (LiB). This includes devices such as phones, tablets, power banks, computers, toys, appliances, and tools, as well as mobility equipment such as electric bikes and scooters.

Lithium-ion Batteries can come in various shapes, including cylindrical, flat, rectangular, or pouch/device-specific. Identifying them can be challenging as there is currently no standard for labelling. Look for 'Li' or 'Lithium' printed on the battery to determine if it is a lithium-ion battery.

Why Lithium-ion Batteries Catch Fire

Lithium-ion batteries are energy-dense and contain highly flammable material, making them prone to fire and explosion risks. Various factors, including overcharging, overheating, physical abuse, short-circuiting, and defects during manufacturing, can lead to fires.

Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in various devices due to their high energy density and efficiency, but they pose significant risks if not handled properly. Here are the key points regarding the risks and precautions for lithium-ion batteries:


- Highly flammable and can cause fires or explosions if damaged, overheated, overcharged, or improperly manufactured/stored/disposed of.

- Difficult to extinguish fires, which may reignite and burn for days.

- Can release toxic gases when ruptured or venting.

- Have caused property damage, serious injuries, and fatalities.

Warning Signs

- Swelling, bulging, or changing shape.

- Leaking or venting gas.

- Emitting smoke or strong odours.

- Excessive heat generation or overheating.

- Hissing or cracking noises.


- Purchase from reputable suppliers and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

- Never directly import from unreliable overseas sources.

Handling and Storage

- Store in cool, dry places away from heat/sunlight.

- Allow to cool before recharging.

- Use only recommended chargers and charging surfaces.

- Never use damaged, swollen, or failing batteries.


- Monitor and disconnect once fully charged.

- Never leave unattended while charging.


- Never dispose of in household waste/recycling bins.

- Use proper recycling facilities for lithium-ion batteries.

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Preventing Lithium-ion Battery Fires

To prevent incidents involving lithium-ion batteries, only purchase devices from reputable manufacturers. Follow proper charging and storage advice and dispose of damaged batteries carefully to avoid potential fire hazards.

Damaged Batteries or Devices

Dispose of batteries showing signs of damage like swelling, leaking, cracking, or overheating properly. Never place damaged batteries in regular waste or recycling bins, as they can cause fires in garbage trucks and waste facilities.

Reacting to Damaged Batteries

If you notice any signs of damage like smoke, odours, or swelling from a battery, do not touch it with bare hands. Act immediately by moving the battery to a well-ventilated area and following specific safety measures.

Dealing with Residential Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS)

Residential BESS containing lithium-ion batteries should not be put back into operation if damaged. Follow shutdown procedures, seek advice from the manufacturer, and store damaged BESS in a safe, well-ventilated space.

Tips for Light Electric Vehicles (LEV) and Electric Vehicles (EVs)

When it comes to light electric vehicles (LEV) and electric vehicles (EVs), one important aspect to consider is the type of batteries they use. These vehicles typically rely on lithium-ion batteries, which are known for their efficiency and reliability. To ensure the longevity and safety of these batteries, it is crucial to adhere to guidelines provided by trusted manufacturers when it comes to charging, storage, and overall usage. By following these recommendations, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of any battery-related incidents occurring.

Here are the key warning signs to look out for that indicate battery damage in light electric vehicles (LEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs):

- Swelling, bulging, or changing the shape of the battery casing.

- Leaking or venting of gases from the battery.

- Emitting smoke or strong odours.

- Excessive heat generation or overheating of the battery.

- Hissing, popping or cracking noises coming from the battery.

- Discoloration or blistering of the battery casing.

- Signs of mechanical damage like cracks, dents, punctures or crushing

It is crucial to never use LEV/EV batteries or devices exhibiting any of these warning signs, as they indicate the battery has been compromised and is at risk of thermal runaway, fire or explosion.

If you notice any swelling, leaking, overheating or damage to the battery, stop using it immediately, move it away from combustible materials if safe to do so, and follow proper disposal procedures through approved recycling facilities. Continuing to use a damaged lithium-ion battery can lead to serious fire hazards.

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