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Watch Those Lithium-ion Batteries This Christmas

Christmas shopping is well underway and Fire and Emergency New Zealand is reminding people to be cautious around lithium-ion batteries.

"These batteries are used in a lot of the presents people buy each other for Christmas, including toys, tools, devices and phones," says Fire and Emergency’s Community Education Manager, Adrian Nacey.

"Lithium-ion batteries provide a large amount of power in a small package and are safe if used correctly. But, like any product, can sometimes fail and overheat, catch fire or explode," he says.

"It’s important to take care when using these batteries as they are a fire risk when not stored, charged, used or disposed of correctly.

Make sure you charge them on a hard, flat surface not under a pillow, on a bed or couch - they can overheat and cause a fire."

If you notice anything unusual with your battery, stop using it straight away.

"This could be anything like a strange smell or a change in colour, too much heat, a change in shape, swelling, leaking, or odd noises," says Adrian Nacey.

People also need to be careful when disposing of lithium-ion batteries. Do not put them in the rubbish - contact your local council to find out where they can be recycled.

As always, make sure to have working smoke alarms installed and have a three-step escape plan that you have practiced with a first escape route, second escape route and safe meeting place.

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