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Cellphone Battery Safety: Avoiding Fire

July 25th, 2014 by

KDFW-TV, Channel 4, in Dallas-Fort Worth gives us this important reminder about cellphone battery safety. A teenager slept with her phone under her pillow. The phone overheated, and the battery caught fire.

Watch their important report below, then read on for more information into what happened and how to avoid a similar situation.

According to Larry Jenkins, Senior Training Manager at Interstate Batteries and one of our battery experts, this problem isn’t limited to cellphones.

“All devices that use lithium batteries need to be allowed to breathe,” Larry said. “This includes iPads, other tablets and laptops. Blankets and covers of a bed can block the air that circulates across the battery, which keeps them cool.”

What most likely happened in the above case is called “thermal runaway,” a kind of chain reaction. The battery overheats, releasing energy that causes it to further increase its temperature.

Prevent This from Happening to You

If you use electronics in bed, Interstate Batteries recommends you place them on the nightstand or another flat surface to avoid blocking the air circulation.

Don’t leave your battery-powered items out for long periods in direct sunlight. Also, never leave them on the dashboard of your car. The concentrated heat along with limited air circulation can cause a major increase in temperature.

If the battery in your device puffs up like a pillow, do not pierce or squeeze it. This is a sign that there's major danger ahead.

If the battery in your device puffs up like a pillow, do not pierce or squeeze it. This is a sign that there’s major danger ahead.

Know the Warning Signs

Sometimes, your device’s battery may “puff up” like a pillow. This is a sign that it’s in the beginning stages of a very bad situation. Here’s what to do:

  • Stop using your device immediately.
  • Don’t squeeze or attempt to puncture the package because it could explode. A battery fire is both a metal fire and chemical fire (a double whammy) that can put out about 1,200 degrees of heat and toxic fumes.
  • Carefully bring the battery to those who can properly dispose of it and replace it: your local Interstate All Battery Center or to your cellphone provider.

Got a battery question? Ask Mr. Battery or ask us in the comments below. We’re here to help!

By James Pecht (177 Posts)

James Pecht writes about franchising, battery technology, tips, racing and company culture for Interstate Batteries.


Posted in All Battery, Tips, Video
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Interstate Batteries® sells more than 16,000 kinds of batteries—from AA alkalines and automotive batteries to critical power solutions, and everything in between. Combine professional battery services, recycling programs and the largest battery distribution network in North America, and you’ll find Interstate has EVERY BATTERY FOR EVERY NEED®. Learn more about Interstate Batteries or shop online!

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