Lithium Ion batteries are safely used in literally millions of devices every day. However there are some risks associated with such high energy devices that users should be aware of. Batteries can present a fire risk when short-circuited, over-charged, submerged in water or if their cases are damaged. Although many Lithium Ion batteries are “protected”, the following cautions are still relevant, as the protection circuit is a potential safety mechanism rather than something that should be relied on. Li-Mn batteries (“IMR”) present safer chemistry and less fire-risk, but are capable of delivering very high power in a short burst. If short-circuited the metal causing the short can get hot very quickly, which may lead to other damage or secondary fire-risks.
Following the points below should lead to long battery life and extremely low risk to personal safety:
- Always buy from a reputable vendor that is proud of the quality of their goods.
- Check that the product or packaging displays the correct CE and ROHS safety markings and that the distributor can prove their authenticity.
- Do not store, use or charge batteries in extremes of temperature, high or low. Only use charging equipment in good condition and specific to your battery type. Never mix batteries from one manufacturer with a charger from another without specific confirmation of compatibility.
- Always charge batteries specifically as directed in the product instruction manual.
- Do not leave charging batteries unattended, and always charge batteries away from flammable materials.
- Transport loose batteries properly separated in non-conductive (e.g. plastic) containers, and never where they can come into contact with metal items that can cause a short circuit (e.g. pockets full of loose change or keys).
- Do not use batteries with visible leaking or mechanical damage to the case, insulation or terminals.
- Do not continue to use batteries that have ceased to function normally.
- Do not submerge batteries in water. Batteries should be disposed of and recycled in accordance with your country’s appropriate legislation.