Use caution with 9-volt batteries

Humans have been using batteries to power their lives for centuries, and it seems innovations are made in this method of energy almost daily. Because they have become so common, however, people can sometimes forget the danger that can be inherent in batteries – particularly when they are misused.

The Russellville Fire Department is encouraging people to be aware of the risks that can be present surrounding 9-volt batteries – those commonly used to power smoke alarms, household items and even children’s toys.

These batteries can be a fire hazard if not stored or disposed of safely. Because the positive and negative posts are close together, if a metal object touches the two posts, it can cause a short circuit – creating enough heat to start a fire.

A few points to keep in mind:

–       It is unsafe to store 9-volt batteries in a drawer near paper clips, coins, pens or other batteries, and they should not be stored near steel wool, aluminum foil or keys.

–       Even weak batteries can have enough charge to start a fire.

–       Batteries thrown away with household trash can come in contact with other batteries or piece of metal and ignite.

Here a few safety tips for dealing with 9-volt batteries:

– Keep batteries in their original packaging until ready to use them; or, if batteries are loose, keep the posts covered with masking, duct or electrical tape.

– Store batteries standing up.

– For disposal, take 9-volt batteries to a collection site for household hazardous waste.

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