Do you pop your phone on to charge before bed?
Many of us leave ourselves open to fire risks without realising it when using everyday electrical items. See how you can use and store them safely to reduce your fire risk.
How to stay safe
- Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home.
- Always read the safety instructions that came with your device.
- Always use the charger that came with your phone, tablet, e-cigarette or mobile device.
- If you need to buy a replacement battery or charger, always choose a branded, genuine product from a supplier you can trust. There are lots of fakes out there, and it can be difficult to spot the difference.
- Charge the device on a flat, solid, and stable surface, such as a kitchen worktop. Never leave your mobile phone charging under your pillow.
- Never charge lithium-ion batteries when you are sleeping, or if you are leaving the home.
- Never charge lithium-ion batteries on your escape route. If possible, charge and store them away from your living areas.
- If the device has not been used for quite some time, be extra careful when you charge it – lithium batteries don’t like being discharged to a very low voltage.
- Don’t leave items continuously on charge after the charge cycle is complete – it’s best not to leave your phone plugged in overnight for example.
- Never cover chargers or charging devices – that includes using your laptop power lead in bed.
- Protect batteries against being damaged – that’s crushed, punctured, or immersed in water. Do not use if it looks physically damaged.
- Avoid storing, using, or charging batteries at very high or low temperatures.
- When you travel, avoid keeping all your items containing lithium-ion batteries together, especially on a plane. Check with your flight carrier for additional information or advice.
Batteries don't belong in bins
- Never put batteries in your general rubbish bin or with other recyclable materials like card, metals and plastics.
- Never leave damaged batteries in the home, make sure to dispose of them safely and correctly as soon as possible.
- Follow instructions from your local council and always keep electrical items separate from other household waste.
- If you can safely remove a battery from a product, the battery should always be recycled separately using a battery recycling point or collection service.
- If you cannot remove a battery from an electronic product that no longer works, the product and the battery should be recycled together using a waste electricals recycling service.
- If in doubt, always take unwanted electrical items or lithium-ion batteries to your local household waste recycling centre.
You can find your local recycling centre here.
What is a lithium-ion battery?
These are the lightweight, rechargeable batteries that can be found in household electrical items we use everyday, like mobile phones, laptops and e-cigarettes. The device you’re reading on right now is probably powered by a lithium-ion battery.
Be aware of the dangers
These batteries are safe during normal use, but present a fire risk when over-charged, short-circuited, submerged in water or damaged. They are a main cause of waste fires, and can be extremely dangerous when thrown away with general rubbish, or mixed with other recyclable materials like card, metals and plastics.
Lithium-ion batteries are extremely sensitive to high temperatures and inherently flammable. These batteries can cause fires that quickly spread and are difficult to extinguish, causing widespread damage.