Home » Questions » Goods and Services [ Ask a new question ]

What should you do if you have a Lithium ion Battery Fire?

What should you do if you have a Lithium ion Battery Fire?

I remember my science teacher throwing lithium into the pool at school, the reaction was ferocious, which got me thinking about how I would deal with a fire in my van when I am repairing iPhones.

Asked by: Guest | Views: 265
Total answers/comments: 5
bert [Entry]

"In addition to the great contributions already here, here is something directly from Battery University which has tons of great info on Lithium batteries.

If a Li-ion battery overheats, hisses or bulges, immediately move the device away from flammable materials and place it on a non-combustible surface. If at all possible, remove the battery and put it outdoors to burn out. You may also put the device outside and keep it there of a least 6 hours.

A small Li-ion fire can be handled like any other combustible fire. For best result use a foam extinguisher, CO2, ABC dry chemical, powdered graphite, copper powder or soda (sodium carbonate). Halon is also used as fire suppressant.

FAA instructs flight attendants to use water or soda pop to extinguish a fire in the cabin. Water-based products are most readily available and are appropriate since Li-ion contains very little lithium metal that reacts with water. Water also cools the adjacent area and prevents the fire from spreading. Research laboratories and factories use water to extinguish small Li-ion fires.

A large Li-ion fire, such as an EV, may need to burn out as water is ineffective. Water with copper material can be used, but this may not be available and is costly for fire halls. When encountering a fire with a lithium-metal battery, only use a Class D fire extinguisher. Lithium-metal contains lithium that reacts with water and makes the fire worse. Only use the Class D fire extinguisher on lithium fires.

''CAUTION Do not use a Class D fire extinguisher to put out other types of fires; make certain regular extinguishers are also available. With all battery fires, allow ample ventilation while the battery burns itself out.''"
bert [Entry]

iFixit’s Techwriting team whipped up this document a while back which might have some useful tips: What to do with a swollen battery
bert [Entry]

"Stick it in a bucket of sand. Old Boy Scout solution ;-)


When camping, we always kept a bucket of sand just out side the tent just in case.

The kitty litter box would also work. I keep a nice looking small stainless steel trash can by my soldering and hot air bench just in case I start an unwanted fire. Some sand in the bottom might be something I want to add."
bert [Entry]

"“For best results dowsing a Li-ion fire, use a foam extinguisher, CO2, ABC dry chemical, powdered graphite, copper powder or soda (sodium carbonate) as you would extinguish other combustible fires. Reserve the Class D extinguishers for lithium-metal fires only. “

bert [Entry]

"While you are all burying your disgraced battery pack at the beach you might want to think about what was in that vented gas and where it went. Hexafluorophosphate a main ingredient in most lithium ion (not metal) batteries. When it is heated and catches fire it vents phosphoryl Floride (POF3). Toxic stuff (bad) when it reacts with water; POF3 + H2O → HPO2F2 + HF. That HF is the very toxic hydrofluoric acid. It absorbs calcium ions in the body, is hyper corrosive, and causes pulmonary edema and cardiac arrest. It is (Breaking Bad. Seriously, it is the acid our questionable heros Walter and Jesse use to dissolve bodies in the show)

Putting water on the fire gives the POF3 the reactant to manufacture HF and cools the reaction so it takes longer and gives it a better atmosphere to cause the reaction it.

Get it outside to vent and burn if possible. But do it on one breath. Vent the smoke/gas. Wash everything down with sodium bicarbonate and water."