A recap of 2023 Safety Stand Down
Safety Stand Down, which is a joint initiative by the IAFC, NVFC, NFPA and FDSOA, is held during the third week of June each year and encourages fire and emergency service organizations to suspend all non-emergency activities and focus on how they can increase their safety efforts. This year, the event focused on lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.
Why Li-ion batteries are a possible threat to responders and their communities
These rechargeable batteries are extremely common—found in cellphones, power tools, cars, micromobility devices (like e-bikes, scooters and hoverboards), lawnmowers and more—and if they're not stored, used or disposed-of correctly, they can overheat, catch fire or explode and present unique fire mitigation risks.
Keeping Li-ion batteries risks top-of-mind
Whether or not your organization recognized Safety Stand Down in 2023, it’s vital to continue to (or begin to) focus on the evolving risks of Li-ion batteries. Because, if you haven't responded to your first battery fire yet, that time is likely coming soon—and it's time to prepare.
Here are examples of 4 everyday Li-ion battery risks that could pose unique challenges to your firefighters:
- Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming prevalent and firefighters who respond to EV incidents should follow specific precautions. Check out these pre-incident, response and post-incident recommendations from the IAFC
- Micromobility devices are common in many cities, partly due to the popularity of mobility rental services (like the ability to rent an e-bike for an hour). These devices can present unprecedented response challenges, including being stored in users’ lobbies or doorways which blocks their emergency exits (and your response entrances) if they ignite. Watch this PSA from the FDNY, NYC Mayor Eric Adams and Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh to learn more
- Warehouse battery storage and energy storage systems (ESSs) can pose thermal runaway risks—which the UL Research Institutes explains as a situation where lithium-ion cells enter an uncontrollable, self-heating state. Learn about bulk battery and ESS risks and sprinkler recommendations for these facilities
- Personal devices aren't only near us all day, but a survey by Common Sense Media reports that 29% of teens and 12% of adults sleep with mobile devices in their beds, too. Educate your community on fire safety best practices, including never charging devices under pillows, on beds or near couches, with resources like this
We thank you for taking the time to learn more about this evolving risk, prioritizing your members' well-being and continuing to address your everchanging risks!