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Under Fire & Potential Fires

I’m down in my weather shelter as the morons have started the barrages of fireworks and occasional firearms with no regard for the clock. This is normal on the Panhandle. While Florida has restrictions on fireworks, a quick trip to Alabama can provide you with near military grade explosives.

Another threat is on the rise this year: lithium ion batteries. There are a lot of electric scooters and bicycles zipping around. They have to be charged, and if you don’t watch them closely when charging you may be in for a nasty surprise as the batteries ignite and burning down your house or apartment. Lithium is an inflammable metal that is surrounded with an inflammable electrolyte in the battery case. Normally nothing bad happens with the smaller batteries in phones, tablets, and laptops. The charger for my battery operated tools shuts down automatically but things involved in transportation, like Teslas, e-bikes, and e-scooters apparently aren’t as well regulated.

This produces the next problem, putting out a metal fire. Water is your worst choice. Water may separate into hydrogen and oxygen in the presence of some burning metals and cause an explosion. Copper powder and soda ash are the best solution for lithium fires. Local fire departments are not likely to have what they need for class D [metal] fires, unless they have a manufacturing plant in their jurisdiction.

Get and use a timer for your chargers to ensure they don’t overcharge your batteries. Don’t get too worried as you will probably be flattened by an SUV before your battery ignites.


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