Accumulators and batteries require special attention during storage. It becomes particularly delicate and dangerous if a fire breaks out in a warehouse or collection point. How can you avoid battery fires best?

Accumulators and batteries: As useful as they are tricky

People and businesses are increasingly dependent on electronic devices and technologies. Many of these devices are powered by rechargeable batteries and batteries. Without question a real convenience, these energy storage devices are undoubtedly extremely practical. But they also pose significant dangers, especially when it comes to their storage and disposal. Battery fires are a serious threat that should not be underestimated. A battery fire not only causes immense property damage, but can also put human lives at risk.

Why are battery fires so dangerous?

Rechargeable batteries and batteries are made up of chemical components that can be extremely dangerous if not handled or stored properly. The main reason for battery fires is the chemical reactions that can take place inside the batteries. This is especially true if they are damaged or disposed of incorrectly. And that is what makes accumulator and battery fires so dangerous:

  • Rapid and intense spread: Battery fires develop extremely quickly and spread rapidly. The chemical reactions inside a battery generate enormous heat. Once the fire is started, it spreads with frightening speed, which significantly reduces the response time to effectively fight the fire.
  • Toxic fumes: Burning rechargeable batteries and batteries release toxic fumes that are hazardous to both the environment and human health. These fumes can cause respiratory problems, dizziness and other adverse health effects. Therefore, it is important to fight such fires in controlled environments to minimise the impact on the public.
  • Difficult firefighting: Battery fires pose great challenges to fire brigades and other emergency services. Conventional extinguishing agents are often not effective enough to fight these fires. Special extinguishing agents are needed that are adapted to the burning chemical compounds. This can lead to delayed assistance and increase the danger to emergency services, staff and possibly local residents.
  • Reignition: Even when a battery fire appears to be under control, there is still a risk of reignition. Batteries can continue to smoulder after extinguishing and catch fire again if they are not properly cooled and disposed of.

The dangers of battery storage and battery collection points

Battery fires in small and large electronic devices are not the only risk. Storing unused or damaged batteries and improper disposal at battery collection points also poses serious risks. Here are some of the most important aspects to consider:

  • Improper storage: If batteries are stored without adequate insulation or protection from damage, there is a risk of short circuits or leakage, which in turn can lead to fire. It is important to store batteries in a cool, dry place and protect them from shock or moisture.
  • Incorrect disposal: Battery collection points are designed to collect old or defective batteries and dispose of them in an environmentally sound manner. Nevertheless, batteries often end up in normal household waste or even in waste paper. When batteries end up in the rubbish and are compressed, they can be damaged and start fires.
  • Arson and vandalism: Battery collection points and disposal containers are sometimes victims of arson or vandalism. This poses a danger not only to the environment but also to those who are nearby when the fire breaks out.

How can battery fires be avoided?

There are many ways to minimise the risk of a battery fire. One of the most important measures is optimal storage:

  • Correct temperature: Store batteries in a cool, dry and well-ventilated place. Ideally, the ambient temperature should be between 15°C and 25°C. Excessively high temperatures will reduce battery life, while excessively low temperatures will affect performance. Make sure that the storage environment is dry and that the batteries are protected from moisture. Moisture will cause corrosion and damage.
  • Separation from other materials: Always store batteries away from combustible materials or other energy sources to minimise the risk of fire.
  • Non-combustible substrate: The storage should be made of a non-combustible substrate such as concrete or tiles to reduce the risk of fire or damage from leaking liquids.
  • Secure storage: Ensure that the batteries are securely placed and cannot fall over. Large batteries are heavy and should therefore be placed on a stable shelf or suitable storage area. Do not leave individual, small batteries lying around loose, for example in a drawer.
  • Disposal of damaged batteries: Damaged or defective batteries should be disposed of properly and as quickly as possible to minimise safety risks.
  • Trained personnel: Employees should be trained on proper storage and correct behaviour in case of fire.
  • Fire safety measures: Ensure that fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment are nearby. If a battery fire breaks out, keep your distance and call the fire brigade immediately.

Perfect monitoring of battery and accumulator warehouses with the Kentix Multisensor-TI

Conclusion: When storing batteries, fire prevention and early fire detection are more important than in other industrial buildings, as batteries contain hazardous substances. It is advisable to use temperature and humidity sensors to ensure that storage conditions are optimal. Excessive heat or humidity can affect the stability of the batteries and increase the risk of fire. For this reason, it is crucial to continuously monitor these parameters and take appropriate action in case of deviations. Early detection of irregularities can help prevent fires before they break out.

This is exactly where the Kentix Multisensor comes in. With its help, fires can be detected at an early stage – often hours to days before the fire breaks out. This is because its built-in sensors continuously monitor various parameters such as temperature, humidity, dew point, smouldering fire (CO), air quality, air pressure, movement and acceleration/vibration. This comprehensively protects the storage space from numerous potential physical threats – not only from a possible fire (read more on the topic of early fire detection). The Multisensor TI thus makes a valuable contribution to safety and fire prevention in battery warehouses and battery collection points.

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