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FDNY: “Taking CHARGE” of Battery Safety

ebike on fire

FDNY announced they are endorsing a national battery safety campaign to educate the public about the dangers of lithium-ion battery fires.

Following yet another fatal micromobility battery fire, FDNY hosted a press conference at the Department’s Training Academy at Randall’s Island. The purpose of the event was to announce the “Take CHARGE” campaign. FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh was joined onstage by U.S. Fire Administrator Dr. Lori Moore-Merrill and representatives from the Consumer Product Safety Commission; Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Underwriters Laboratories. “Take CHARGE” was created by FSRI and has been endorsed by FDNY.

Delivering the Battery Safety Message

Kavanagh noted that there have been 239 ebike battery fires in New York this year alone, resulting in 124 injuries and 17 deaths. The message is clear: micromobility batteries are already a danger in our cities, and the risk is growing.

“This is absolutely a crisis facing New York City. But this is a problem that every major city is facing, and I really want to emphasize this,” said Commissioner Kavanagh.

The speakers clarified that lithium-ion batteries that are damaged, improperly stored, or incorrectly charged can easily catch fire. Furthermore, the nature of these fires makes them especially difficult to mitigate. They can spread quickly and do extensive damage. Moore-Merrill called for a dramatic increase in research around managing lithium-ion battery fires. She also underscored the need to train firefighters and other first responders in best practices to manage these fires.

What Does “Take CHARGE” Mean?

“Take CHARGE” is described on the FDNY website as “a campaign to further educate people with safety tips, best practices, and a new PSA.” As for the “CHARGE” acronym, here’s what it means:

  • “C” is for Certified products; only buy inspected items.
  • “H” is for Handle with care, which means follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • “A” is for Always stay alert for issues.
  • “R” means Recycle responsibly.
  • “G” urges people to Get out immediately when there’s a fire.
  • “E” stands for Educate others.

Highlighting the Dangers of Battery Fires

During the event FDNY staged a dramatic demonstration of an e-bike in thermal runaway. If you need further proof of the destructive power of these batteries, watch the video below.

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