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NYC fire boss asks federal gov't to crack down on substandard lithium-ion batteries and e-bikes after fatal fires
When lithium-ion batteries fail or overheat, they release flammable, toxic gases that can spark a fast-spreading fire that is extremely difficult to extinguish | via Fire Safety Research Institute


NYC Fire Boss Wants More E-bike Battery Regulations

New York City’s Fire Commissioner wants a crackdown on subpar e-bikes that could be fire risks.

New York City Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh has called upon the Consumer Product Safety Commission to take action and help prevent what it calls “sub-standard” lithium-ion batteries from entering the US. Kavanagh made the appeal to the public safety office after NYC experienced hundreds of e-bike and e-scooter battery fires – six of which resulted in fatalities – last year.
In a statement, Kavanagh advocated further measures to block the import of low-quality batteries, ban so-called “universal” battery chargers, and require e-bike and scooter companies to use only UL certified batteries. These measures would, presumably, be put in place in addition to the recalls already issued on defective e-bikes.
New York City officials take the threat posed by low-quality e-bikes seriously, and the list of citizens at risk includes delivery people on e-bikes, those who use battery-powered devices in their homes, and the firefighters who have to respond to these electrical fires themselves. One incident in 2022 even led to firefighters having to use ropes hanging from the 20th floor of a building to save people trapped by a blaze, with NBC News piling on, reporting that the increasing use of lithium-ion batteries is presenting new challenges to firefighters across the US, as the failing batteries can spark a fast-spreading fire that is challenging to put out with conventional firefighting methods.
Ofodike Ezekoye, a fire scientist and a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas, Austin, the source of the flames in a li-ion battery fire is typically contained inside a cell that’s designed to be waterproof, making it challenging for firefighters to control the fire.
The number of lithium battery fires across the US has increased significantly, and firefighters and other experts say the training required to fight them effectively is lacking in many places. Officials are also urging manufacturers to redesign batteries so that the resulting fires can be extinguished more easily. Meanwhile, the Portable Rechargeable Battery Association, an industry trade group, is collaborating with emergency response governmental agencies and industry organizations to increase awareness about the risks posed by lithium-ion batteries during handling, storage, and transportation. The group is open to working with interested parties to prevent battery incidents, increase consumer safety, and develop a consistent message on the correct lithium-ion battery emergency response and safety procedures.
Source | Images: NBC News.
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I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.


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