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State Fire Marshal

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Do's and Don'ts of Battery Safety

By Kathi Osmonson
SFMD fire and life safety educator

Everyone needs batteries for all the technology out there. But fires caused by improper battery use are on the rise, so here are some safety tips to share with your family and community.

Do keep all button batteries out of sight and reach of children. If you think your child has swallowed a battery, go to the hospital immediately.

Do follow the manufacturer’s instructions, using only the proper size and type of battery indicated.

Do store them individually. If you must store them together, place electrical tape over the terminals to prevent short circuiting.

Do use the proper charger for electronics and rechargeable batteries.

Do make sure the contacts on the batteries and chargers are clean.

Do replace all batteries in battery-operated products at the same time.

Do use batteries from the same manufacturer.

Do insert batteries correctly with regard to polarity (+/-).

Do dispose of batteries properly. Single-use carbon zinc and alkaline batteries may be thrown away. Take the others to your local household hazardous waste center.

Do wash your hands with soap and water after handling batteries, or use gloves.

Don’t over-charge your batteries.

Don’t charge non-rechargeable batteries.

Don’t expose them to extreme temperature changes.

Don’t quick-charge batteries.

Don’t keep many fully charged batteries together.

Don’t use damaged batteries.

Don’t keep them in your pocket with coins or keys; they could short-circuit and explode.

Don’t use a device while its battery is charging.

Don’t modify non-replaceable batteries.

Don’t mix batteries of different types, such as alkaline, non-alkaline, rechargeable and non-rechargeable.

Tips for purchasing batteries

If you are buying batteries, either in a store or online, check with the manufacturer’s website if the batteries are:

  • Sold with solid-color wrapping and only have serial numbers on them.
  • Sold without packaging.
  • Sold without logos or branding.
  • Marketed as “OEM” (original equipment manufacturer).