Fire Protection Company Exposes the Danger of 9-Volt Batteries
February 28, 2017
Hard to believe? Most people upon hearing this for the first time are shocked to know about the danger of house fires caused by improperly stored or discarded 9 volt batteries. After an e-mail-circulated rumor stating that 9 volt batteries can cause a house fire, Snopes determined that the rumor was partially true. There are two reported occurrences of house fires caused by 9 volt batteries.
In the summer of 2012, in New Hampshire, there was a kitchen fire which started in a “junk drawer”. When the fire department was called, it was found that the origin of the fire was a bag full of extra batteries, including a 9 volt battery, that had been stored in the drawer along with various other items. Following this event, the New Hampshire Department of Safety’s Fire Division issued a warning about about safety concerns regarding 9 volt batteries.
Another instance of a battery-caused fire happened in Fort Collins CO, where again, used 9 volt batteries had been stored together in a paper bag prior to recycling. The bag got bumped by another object, causing the battery terminals to touch. This incident was cited by KCTV5 in Grandview, MO in video about the dangers of storing 9 volt batteries in an improper way. The owner of the house in this instance got out safely, but the house was total loss.
Snopes states that the extensive reporting of these two incidents has created the belief that fires started by batteries is a common occurrence. This idea is false. A recent statistical study by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) has shown that fires started by 9 volt batteries are not among the ten most common causes for house fires.
Although battery-caused fires are rare, it is a good idea to know how to prevent such fires. The way 9 volt batteries are stored is an important part of fire prevention. The reason that a 9 volt can create a fire hazard is that, unlike other batteries, the positive and negative posts are on the top of the battery. If the battery comes into contact with a metallic substance, it can spark. If there is fuel present, a fire can start.
The NFPA has published guidelines for storing 9 volt batteries in order to reduce the likelihood of a fire:
Do not store 9 volts loose in a drawer or in a container with other batteries.
Keep batteries in their original packages until ready for use. If they are out of their packages, keep the posts covered with electrical tape or other non-conductive tape.
Don’t keep batteries in your pocket where they can be in contact with keys and loose change.
Store batteries standing up and keep them in a safe place away from the possibility of being jostled around.
For disposal of batteries, check with your local authorities. There are some states that do not allow batteries to be thrown out with the trash In this case, they should be taken to a site for hazardous waste. And again, when disposing of or storing the batteries, cover the positive and negative posts with electrical, masking or duct tape.
Never dispose of batteries in or near a fire.
It's important to do what is possible to reduce fire risks within the home and when traveling. Energizer recommends on its packaging that when traveling, you should cover the terminals with insulated tape. Batteries can also be stored in plastic bags, one battery per bag.
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