Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Minister for Emergency Services; Innovation and ICT; Medical Research; Volunteering

    Lithium-ion battery fires spark winter home safety plea

    19/07/2022 11:30 AM
    • WA residents encouraged to make their home fire safe this winter
    • Increasing number of devastating fires caused by lithium-ion batteries

    Emergency Services are urging Western Australians to take precautions this winter and reduce the risk of life-threatening fires started by battery-powered devices.


    Career and volunteer firefighters respond to residential structure fires twice a day on average, but these incidents typically spike in July or August as WA enters the depths of winter.


    Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson said many of these incidents were preventable, and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) was reporting an increasing number of destructive fires caused by lithium-ion batteries.


    Structure fires caused by a battery, powerpack or charger have nearly doubled in the past five years as products like eRideables have become more popular in Australia.


    If a lithium-ion device is overcharged, faulty or poorly manufactured, the batteries can overheat and start a fire that has the potential to destroy an entire home in just minutes.


    People often charge these items outside, in a shed or garage with no smoke alarm present, allowing a fire to go undetected for some time.


    DFES encourage Western Australians to put a home fire escape plan in place this winter, so all residents understand how to leave quickly and safely if disaster strikes.


    For further information on fires in the home, visit https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/site/fire-in-the-home/prevent.html


    Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson:


    "Winter presents a risk for a high increase in structure and household fires. Losing precious family possessions and having to rebuild your home is a devastating and traumatic experience.


    "I strongly encourage homeowners and tenants to take the time to invest in some simple steps this winter to help avoid catastrophe and ensure they have a home fire safety plan.  


    "There is growing evidence that battery-powered devices can pose a serious fire risk, so we are warning people to exercise caution when charging these batteries.   


    "If people are charging devices, such as a lithium-ion battery, then make sure you charge them in a safe place while you are home and only purchase reputable products."


    Comments attributed to Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM:


    "Our fire investigators have identified a rise in the number of structure fires being started by lithium-ion batteries and that's largely due to their increasing prevalence in everyday household items.


    "Once the batteries explode, they can end up metres from where they were charging. These fires then spread incredibly quickly and have the potential to completely destroy homes.


    "We don't recommend leaving devices alone to charge overnight because most residential fires that cause injury or death occur at night when people are asleep."


    Minister's office - 6552 5800