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Today, I came across a story about a man on a mission to make sure everyone is aware of a simple item that is in all homes and could potentially start a fire. Then, I recalled blogging on this site with a similar story (De-Junk Your Junk Drawer for Your Safety, dated September 27, 2012). Although these situations may be rare, they obviously do occur. With the closing of the holiday season when many people may store use batteries, I thought it was valuable reminder.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, if a metal object touches the positive and negative posts of a 9 volt battery, it can cause a short circuit, making enough heat to start a fire. Even weak batteries may have enough charge to cause a fire. As shown in the articles, fires have started in trash when 9-volt batteries were thrown away with other metal items or as a result of the batteries in a drawer near paper clips, coins, pens, or other batteries.

Chances are you have some 9-volt batteries in a box, bag, or junk drawer. If they are in there loose, you have the potential for a serious fire. Take a few minutes to locate your 9-volt batteries and apply these safety tips from the NFPA.

• Keep batteries in original packaging until you are ready to use them. If loose, keep the posts covered with masking, duct, or electrical tape.
• Leave plastic caps on the batteries’ terminals until ready to use. Leave these caps on during storage to prevent the batteries from conducting electricity and losing their charge.
• Always store batteries with the positive and negative terminals away from each other. If batteries are stored with positive and negative terminals touching, they may begin conducting electricity idly, which will discharge them.
• Do not store new and used batteries together. There is a risk that the newer ones will conduct electricity into the older ones, discharging them.
• Store your batteries in a dry, cool location.
• Prevent the posts from coming in contact with metal objects. Do not store common household items such as steel wool, aluminum foil, and keys near 9-volt batteries.
• Store batteries standing up and someplace safe where they won’t be tossed around.
• 9-volt batteries should not be stored loose in a drawer or container with other batteries.

• 9-volt batteries should not be thrown away with trash. They can come in contact with other batteries or pieces of metal.
• 9-volt batteries can be taken to a collection site for household hazardous waste.
• To be safe, cover the positive and negative posts with masking, duct, or electrical tape before getting rid of batteries.

Were you aware of this battery storage hazard?

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.

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