How a toy could burn your house down

A European country has seen a big increase in fires caused by lithium-ion batteries … and even toys are causing serious house fires.

The Dutch Association of Insurers in Holland has revealed it has recorded 100 fires caused by lithium batteries last year compared with 72 in 2017.

And it’s warning that battery fires are happening in everything from toys, mobile phones and tablets to electric bicycles.

Online news website NL Times reports that of the battery fires reported in 2017 and 2018 around 40% were in either a spare battery or a charger. About 16% were e-bike fires, surpassing the 14% represented by mobile phone fires. Toys, computers and power tools were involved in 8%, 6%, and 3% of fires respectively.

The increase in the number of battery-related fires goes hand-in-hand with the increase in the number of powerful batteries in homes.

Lithium batteries can catch fire for all sorts of reasons such as if they are powered by a cheap charger, are dropped or damaged.

This can cause them to go into what is known as thermal runaway and this happens when one cell in a battery overheats it can produce enough heat – up to 900°C (1652°F) – to cause adjacent cells to overheat. This can cause a lithium battery fire to flare repeatedly.

Incidents of thermal runaway are on the rise.

Lithium-ion battery fires on board planes are rarely publicised but a fire in a device could emit toxic smoke and potentially the battery may even explode, causing damage to the aircraft and putting lives at risk.

AvSax are the world’s best-selling aircraft fire containment bags by far and are now on more than 15,373 aircraft operated by 75 airline companies across the world and have been used 31 times to deal with emergencies since the start of 2017.

AvSax won the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the UK in 2018.