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“Do you smell smoke”? Your everyday tech can cause battery fires

From January to September 2023, QFES recorded 47 residential structure fires, 8 non-residential structure fires, and 38 other fires that were reported as having been due to lithium-ion batteries.

Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (RLIB) powered devices can cause explosions and intense fires, leaving little time to escape.

Fast facts:

  • 60% of people surveyed by QFES said they owned an RLIB device–when in fact the average for Queensland households is six devices.
  • 78% of respondents said they sometimes leave batteries and devices charging when they go out or go to sleep, while 45% said they do this always or often.
  • Almost half (48%) of Queenslanders charge devices on soft surfaces or in direct sunlight, which is a significant fire risk.
  • Younger Queenslanders (18-29 years) are less likely to turn the charger off when their device battery is full (32%) compared to the 45–65 years cohort (47%).
  • Only 12% of respondents strongly agree they have a good knowledge of the fire risks from RLIBs.

Messages you can share to increase awareness:

  • Keep electric vehicles or scooters maintained as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Charge batteries as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Check for damage to any charging cables and plugs before use.
  • Only use manufacturer recommended chargers, cables, and plugs.
  • Check if devices need to be disconnected when charged, or only charged to a certain capacity.

Read more about using and charging electric scooters.

With thanks to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES).