Dangers of 9-Volt Batteries





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Published on Mar 3, 2015

(WPMI) Chances are we all have a few 9 Volt batteries laying around our house right now, maybe in our junk drawers or in boxes in our garage.

In fact, we are encouraged to stockpile these batteries ahead of hurricane season, but what we might not realize is just how dangerous this common household item can be if not handled properly. This little item that we count to keep our families safe can do just the opposite by setting your house ablaze.

That was the hidden danger Dave Miller, a Colorado resident, did not realize before flames engulfed his home.

After frantically calling for help, Miller barely made it out alive. Investigators later determined that two 9 volt batteries were the cause of the fire.

"If it can save one person's life, then everything my family has gone through has been worth it," said Miller, in a video he released on a website called Kids and Character.

Miller says he thought he was doing the right thing by changing out his smoke detector batteries and then recycling them in a paper bag.

"I put a laundry basket on the shelf next to it. It bumped the bag. The two batteries touched and shorted the terminals," he explained.

His house was a total loss. This could have been prevented, and that's the lesson that our local fire departments hope no one else has to learn the hard way.

"In anyone's home it can happen," said Gulf Shores Fire Chief, Hartly Brokenshaw.

Chief Brokenshaw said he first discovered the dangers years ago, when he changed his smoke detector's batteries and threw used 9 volt batteries in his pocked. He said the batteries started heating up rapidly when they came in contact with loose change.

"It's 9 volted, the voltage is fairly high, and the positive negative poles are at the same end, that if they are crossed, that's where the heat comes from and that's when it starts heating up," explained Brokenshaw.

In a carefully supervised and safe environment, Gulf Shores fire crews showed Local 15's Kristina Zverjako just how easy it is for flames to form when two 9 volt batteries are tossed in a bag with other metal items.

"We probably went 0 to a fire in 30 to 35 seconds, with the proper conditions and it doesn't take much at all, it sure doesn'," said Brokenshaw.

Proper conditions that could exist in your junk drawers at home. Keys, paper clips, receipts, loose change- a fire can start if any of those objects come in contact with an exposed end of a 9 volt battery.

To ensure your home is safe, simple steps can be followed to ensure you dispose of your batteries properly.

Chief Brokenshaw encourages everyone to put the plastic cap back on the battery once used, and also to put tape on the ends of the batteries.

This is especially important as we are less than a month away from daylights savings time, when we are encouraged to check and change our smoke detector batteries.


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