“The problem isn’t going away”: FDNY targets uncertified lithium-ion batteries in Brooklyn store

April 17, 2024

FDNY commissioner outlines safety risks and enforcement actions at Brooklyn e-bike shop

On Monday (15 April), FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh reported the arrest of individuals connected to the sale of uncertified lithium-ion batteries at a Brooklyn electric bike shop.

The action followed a series of inspections by the FDNY E-Safety Task Force at the store located at 1239 Flatbush Avenue.

Despite multiple prior visits, the latest inspection revealed persistent non-compliance with safety regulations.

Commissioner Kavanagh emphasized the hazards associated with uncertified batteries, which are known to pose significant fire risks, particularly when stored under residential units.

“As we have tragically seen, lithium-ion batteries — especially those that are uncertified — have the potential to explode and rapidly trap residents in a fire,” Kavanagh said.

“This store was operating below residential apartments. The safety of New Yorkers and our members is our top priority.

!Our FDNY Fire Marshals and the Bureau of Fire Prevention will continue to crack down on the sellers of these uncertified and dangerous devices, and we will continue to remind people of the dangers they pose.”

Increased incidents of battery-related fires prompt urgent safety warnings

The need for stringent enforcement has grown as incidents involving battery fires become more frequent.

Over the past weekend, five fires were directly linked to lithium-ion batteries, with a total of ten battery-caused fires reported in the last week alone.

“The problem isn’t going away,” Commissioner Kavanagh said. “If you use them, you must follow our safety tips. Where possible, please store and charge them outside.”

Ongoing FDNY efforts to mitigate risks from uncertified e-bike batteries

The FDNY remains committed to reducing the risks associated with uncertified lithium-ion batteries, which are commonly used in e-bikes.

Their efforts include public education on safe storage and charging practices, as well as rigorous enforcement of safety standards to prevent future incidents.

The recent operations at the Brooklyn store underscore the challenges faced by fire safety officials as they work to keep pace with the proliferation of battery-powered devices in densely populated urban environments.

FSJA comment

The FDNY’s recent actions in Brooklyn highlight the ongoing challenges city officials face in regulating the safe use of lithium-ion batteries, especially in densely populated areas.

The presence of uncertified and potentially dangerous batteries in residential areas is particularly concerning due to their propensity to catch fire and cause rapid and severe fire incidents.

This situation underscores the need for continued vigilance and strict enforcement of safety standards to prevent future tragedies.

Education on safe battery use and storage is equally crucial to ensure that the public is aware of the risks and takes appropriate precautions.

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