MANHATTAN (PIX11) — City officials are pounding the pavement to try to prevent lithium-ion battery fires. PIX11’S Eileen Lehpamer was granted exclusive access to go along with members of New York City’s Small Business Services as they went door to door to educate business owners in Chinatown and the Lower East Side.
Meredith Weber with the SBS told PIX11 News they are not an enforcement agency, but it is about education. They have 19 members who recently had a training session with the FDNY about best practices for charging and using lithium-ion batteries.
During the visits to stores, Mahedi Hasan with the SBS told shop owners they should always plug the charger directly into the outlet and not use an extension cord. Other advice: use only approved batteries and chargers, such as ones marked with UL; keep batteries at room temperature; don’t charge overnight.
The stepped-up effort to prevent lithium-ion batteries was announced by Mayor Eric Adams and the FDNY on June 21. New Yorkers are encouraged to call 311 if they see anything potentially dangerous with lithium-ion batteries or if they know of illegal repair shops.
The FDNY told PIX11 News they had received 81 complaints in 3 weeks about potentially dangerous situations; that’s nearly four calls to 311 a day.
According to the Bureau of Fire Investigation, so far this year, there have been 125 lithium-ion battery fires with 13 deaths.