FDNY, officials raise awareness about dangers of lithium-ion batteries

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Wednesday, November 15, 2023
FDNY join forces to raise awareness about lithium-ion battery dangers
Anthony Carlo has more on the new awareness campaign.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Officials from the FDNY, federal agencies, and national organizations are joining forces to raise awareness about the potential dangers of lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are responsible for 239 fires, 124 injuries, and 17 deaths in New York City this year.

"This is absolutely a crisis facing New York City. We are absolutely going to hold the folks who are responsible or can do something about it, to do something about it. But we also need to remember that this is a larger issue, it's an issue of technology, of changing cities, of changing density, and of an electric future," Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said at an event Wednesday announcing the new campaign.

The new campaign is called 'Take CHARGE,' an acronym which stands for:

"C" for certified products only buy inspected items.

"H" is for handle with care, which means follow the manufacturer's instructions.

"A" is for always staying alert for issues.

"R" means you should recycle responsibly.

"G" urges people to get out immediately when there's a fire.

And, "E" stands for educating others.

The announcement of the campaign comes days after three members of one family were killed in a fire in Brooklyn that was caused by lithium-ion batteries.

"They seemed to be doing everything right. This was not one of these illegal battery charging stations. This was a single family home. That really drives home for us why this is extraordinary," Kavanagh said.

Fire officials say, "What you don't know about buying uncertified lithium-ion batteries can kill you."

"The most problematic issue is our community, individuals, are not aware of the fire risk. In fact we're seeing less than half of people who purchase these products have any concept," U.S. Fire Administrator Lori Moore-Merrell said.

On Wednesday, officials called on Congress to create federal safety standards for batteries being imported from other countries.

MORE NEWS: Lithium-ion battery sparked deadly fire in Brooklyn, FDNY says

Tom Negovan has more on the investigation.


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