Fire Safety Advice as Lithium Battery Fires Spike in Units

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Caution as Lithium Batteries the Fastest Growing Fire Risk in NSW Units

The message from Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) regarding the rise of lithium-ion battery-related fires across NSW is ‘be alert, cautious and proactive’.

It’s important that strata managers, strata committees and strata residents understand the fire risks related with lithium-ion batteries and to be prepared if things go wrong.

FRNSW has Published these Statistics

  • 63 lithium-ion battery fires so far this year
  • An average of 5.7 blazes per week
  • Of those, there have been 2 deaths and 7 people injured
  • On 14 March, 4 injuries occurred on that day, including due to a faulty battery discarded in a garbage bin that later ignited in a rubbish truck
  • During 2023 injuries rose from 14 to 38 and have continued to rise
  • In 2023, lithium-ion battery fires increased by 60% on the previous year

Sydney’s East Most Notable E-bike Fire Incidence

The most notable incident was in Sydney’s east in the highly dense suburb of North Bondi in late January 2024, with a faulty e-bike battery was left to charge overnight in a bedroom, and ignited, sparking a fire.

The four occupants were awoken at 4am by an explosion, and a fire alarm sounding, and luckily all escaped just in time, but one required treatment for a burn.

Lithium-ion batteries can be found in many household appliances and portable electronic-devices not only in e-bikes and e-scooters however with the increase of e-vehicles this has been the main cause for the increase in lithium battery fires.

FRNSW has expressed that greater awareness and education is needed about how to select, use, charge, store, and dispose of lithium-ion batteries, to reduce the risk of fire.

Important Proacative Safety Advice

  • Never sleep or leave your home while lithium-ion batteries, or devices powered by them, are still charging
  • Disconnect them from the charger once charged
  • Avoid charging or storing them near exits and near flammable materials
  • Never dispose of them in your rubbish, bins or recycling bins
  • Used lithium-ion batteries can be taken to your nearest BCycle battery recycling drop-off point, often located in major retailers and supermarkets
  • It’s important to always buy lithium-ion batteries and chargers from reputable brands and refrain from mixing different components
  • You should have an e-bike/e-scooter by-law in place to manage residents and fire safety
  • For more information visit FRNSW Lithium-ion Battery Safety
  • If such a fire occurs, evacuate immediately, and call 000
Adrian Mueller Partner JS Mueller & Co Lawyers specialising in Strata Law

Adrian Mueller I BCOM LLB FACCAL I Partner

Since 2002 Adrian has specialised almost exclusively in the area of strata law. His knowledge of, and experience in strata law is second to none. He is the youngest person to have been admitted as a Fellow of the ACSL, the peak body for strata lawyers in Australia. Profile I Linked

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For all strata law advice including by-laws, building defects and levy collections contact our specialist NSW and Sydney strata lawyers here or call 02 9562 1266, we’re happy to assist. 

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