A home is supposed to be a sanctuary, a place where you feel the most safe, relaxed, and comfortable. To help us feel even more protected, we often equip our houses and apartments with all sorts of products and gadgets that are up to date and meet safety code standards. Two things that should definitely be inside of every home are a working carbon monoxide detector and a smoke detector. These devices are crucial to alerting people to danger and save countless lives every day.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) every 20 seconds, somewhere in America, a fire department gets a call and responds to a fire. Most of these calls come from family homes and residential buildings. Our homes are where we are most likely to die in a fire, with 4 out of every 5 fire-related deaths occurring at home among civilians. The main causes of most house fires are electrical, heating, and cooking related, but there are a few hidden fire dangers that may surprise you, and 9 volt batteries are one of them.
How are 9 volt batteries a fire hazard? It’s their design which makes them more dangerous than any of the other common types, like AA, AAA, C, or D batteries. Both the positive and negative posts are positioned next to one another at the top, and if these come into contact with any metal it will cause a spark, which can ignite anything that’s flammable. So when you toss an old 9 volt battery in a junk drawer and it rolls around until it eventually rubs against some coins or aluminum foil, it may just end up shorting out and burning your house down.
That was the sad reality for a family in Colorado. The homeowner in the video was shocked when his house caught on fire, but he was even more shocked when he learned that the cause of the devastation was a 9 volt battery. After replacing the smoke alarm batteries with new ones, he placed the old ones in a paper bag and put them outside in his garage. Two of those batteries came into contact with one another and just hours later the garage was fully engulfed and up in flames.
All of this probably has you wondering what you can do to protect against 9 volt batteries in your home from inadvertently catching fire. First, don’t carry them in your pocket because the terminals can rub against fabrics (like wool) and ignite. Next, keep them in the packaging before using. Don’t take them out and toss them any old place where they can come into contact with other loose materials and metals like coins, aluminum foil, and other batteries. Finally, when storing them, cover the +/- posts with electrical tape to prevent anything from touching the ends.
A little awareness, coupled with a bit of prevention, goes a long way towards keeping you, your family, and all your loved ones safe at home. Pass this information along to warn others of the risk and hidden danger that this common household item poses, and let’s all stay safe!