Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023
    Lack of State Regulations for Safely Storing Lithium-ion Batteries Raises Concerns

    A recent investigation by News 6 has revealed that there are no state regulations in place for safely storing lithium-ion batteries, despite their widespread use in powering various devices such as cell phones, scooters, and electric cars. These batteries have a history of overheating while charging and catching fire, leading to potentially dangerous situations.

    Several incidents have highlighted the risks associated with lithium-ion batteries. In January, a lithium-ion battery was blamed for a fire that destroyed a garbage truck in Seminole County. In July, a man lost his life after a Tesla car crashed and caught fire on SR-417. In February, four people died in New York when a fire erupted at an e-bike repair shop, with investigators determining that lithium-ion batteries were the cause of the fire.

    JoAnne Rice, the director of the Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office, expressed her concerns about the lack of regulations and safety measures in place. Rice emphasized the urgent need to address these safety risks, stating that lithium-ion fires burn hotter and faster than any other type of fire. She worries that without proper tools and regulations, firefighters and citizens will continue to be put at risk.

    The Florida State Fire College recently hosted a Lithium-Ion Battery Symposium where firefighters from across the country and even Brazil gathered to learn about the latest techniques in extinguishing fires caused by these batteries. However, Rice stressed that preventing these fires is as important as fighting them, but currently, there are no state regulations for safely storing lithium-ion batteries.

    New fire code recommendations specific to lithium-ion battery storage are set to be approved later this year. These recommendations include guidelines such as charging batteries according to manufacturers’ instructions, ensuring safe charging practices, not storing combustible materials near charging areas, and maintaining an 18-inch space between each battery during charging. Additionally, businesses will be required to file a fire safety plan and have adequate fire alarm or sprinkler systems in place.

    International guidelines for lithium-ion battery storage are expected to be updated next year, and it is hoped that the Florida legislature will incorporate these recommendations into the state fire code. Some businesses, like Wheel Works E-Bikes in Winter Garden, have taken it upon themselves to implement their own safety rules for storing lithium-ion batteries.

    As the use of lithium-ion batteries continues to grow, it is crucial for regulations and safety measures to keep pace with emerging technologies to ensure the safety of communities and firefighters.

    – News 6 (source article): ORLANDO, Fla. – They power everything – from cell phones and scooters to electric cars – but a News 6 investigation reveals there are no state regulations for safely storing lithium-ion batteries…
    – Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office