Apple’s lithium-ion batteries are “inside every iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple Watch, MacBook, and AirPods.” But iPhones and AirPods are not routinely exploding, causing fires, injuries and deaths. What are overheating, overcharging and blowing up are the lithium-ion batteries powering scooters, e-bikes and motorized skateboards.
The FDNY is fighting a growing trend of these hazards and Commissioner Laura Kavanagh is sending out a national alarm.
On Sunday, a Queens e-bike store burned and 60 firefighters responded. On Saturday it was a Brooklyn e-bike store that went up, injuring two FDNY members. In less than two months of 2023, there have been more than two dozen lithium-ion battery fires, with dozens hurt and at least one person killed. In 2022, the toll was 216 fires, 147 injured and six dead, numbers that have been climbing every year.
Six months ago, Kavanagh wrote to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, asking for regulations on these batteries and she wrote again the other week. It seems that feds are listening to the biggest, best and busiest in the nation on the business of fighting fires.
The basics are never opening them and alway use the matching charger and don’t charge while you’re sleeping unless you want to wake up to your apartment on fire. The heat builds up and the battery explodes, spreading fire and igniting other batteries. Even after it’s been doused, the chemicals can reignite. Dumping them in the garbage or recycling is illegal and dangerous. Sounds like a good makeshift weapon in wartime; not something to keep in your home. Why not also store gasoline or time bombs?
There are several City Council bills pending. The two with the most teeth would bar the sale of batteries that are not approved by a group like Underwriters Laboratories. The other prohibits the sale of used batteries.
NYCHA wanted to ban these things, but then backed off. We all rely on deliverymen, but their lives are more important than a faster trip for your meal. E-bike batteries must be safer and stop hurting and killing people.
©2023 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.