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Are you doing enough to avoid lithium-ion battery fires?

Shauni Lyles

County of San Diego Communications Office

Lithium-ion battery fires are at an all-time high, according to the San Diego Fire Hazardous Materials Team.

You can find rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in cordless power tools, cordless vacuums, laptops, cell phones, cameras, electric bicycles and electric scooters, to name a few.

These batteries store a large amount of energy and pose a threat if not disposed of properly. They can overheat, catch fire, or even explode.

"Lithium battery fires can be extremely hazardous to firefighters for several reasons. These fires can produce a large amount of heat, flames and toxic gases," said Cal Fire Capt. Brent Pascua. "The fact that these fires will have a sometimes-violent reaction to water, make these fires extremely dangerous and unpredictable."

Disposal of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in the trash or recycling is illegal. Improper disposal of these batteries causes many trash truck and recycling facility fires.

When disposing of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, remember the following:

• Buy used devices listed by a qualified testing laboratory.

• Follow the manufacturer's instructions for charging and storage.

• Do not charge any device under your pillow, on your bed, on a couch, in a closet or out of plain sight.

• Do not keep a battery on a charger if it is fully charged.

• Always use the manufacturer's cord and power adapter made for that device.

• Keep batteries and devices at room temperature.

• Do not place batteries in direct sunlight.

• Keep batteries away from anything flammable.

• Store batteries in an area that has a smoke detector.

• Store batteries in an area that is well ventilated and away from entry and exit doors.

With these helpful tips, you can raise awareness about the safe ways to charge, store and dispose of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

To help the environment, dispose of lithium-ion batteries at a recycling location, recycling event or contact for more information.

Have a recycling question? Email [email protected] or call the Recycling Hotline at 877-713-2784.

To learn more about hazardous waste materials, visit the Department of Environmental Health and Quality website at


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