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What is the best way to store lithium ion batteries?

Lithium-ion batteries can hold a charge for many months and because there are so many variations of a lithium ion battery available you should always refer to the manufacturers SDS (Safety Data Sheet) for information on your particular battery as this advice varies according to the exact “make-up” of the battery.

Always review the battery manufacturer’s technical sheet when storing

Protect the battery poles from short circuiting: use terminal covers, don’t allow terminals to contact other terminals and don’t allow terminals to contact metal shelving/walls in storage.

Prevent mechanical damage

Ensure batteries aren’t exposed to high temperatures and or heat sources directly or for extended periods of time, this includes sunlight.

Storage areas/buildings for batteries and accumulators should ideally have a reasonable separation distance from other areas or fire rated stores/buildings should be used.

Batteries should be stored separately from other products that could contribute/accelerate a fire.

The storage area should be monitored by a suitable fire alarm system linked to a constantly staffed office so as to ensure that any alarm activation can be responded to in a timely manner.

Storage containers should have some form of fire suppression system fitted and in bulk storage areas an automatic water extinguishing systems, such as sprinklers should be fitted, ideally connected to a collection tank/bund to contain the fire water run-off.

If you intend to use a storage area that is already serviced by a fire protection system, remember to check its compatibility against the SDS (Safety Data Sheet) for the lithium ion batteries you want to store.

For larger quantities of batteries/accumulators you should consider fire rated non-flammable containers, separate fire-proof rooms or fire compartments.

If the batteries/accumulators are to be stored in a production area, additional safety measures should be considered at as part of your risk assessment.

Keep the number of batteries/accumulators in storage to a minimum (shift or daily requirement as a maximum) and ideally, store them in temporary non-flammable transport containers.

Ensure there is local access to the appropriate fire-fighting equipment including water hydrants in each area the batteries/accumulators are being stored.

In areas that are not protected by automatic extinguishing systems, the batteries must be kept away from other flammable materials, ideally in a different room or building.

Damaged or defective batteries must be removed from storage or production areas immediately and stored a safe distance away in a non-flammable container or separate fire compartment until they can be proven safe and are ready for disposal.

Employees should be made aware of the potential dangers that lithium ion batteries/accumulators can pose and trained in first response. Remember that in principle, lithium battery/accumulator fires can be fought with water.

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