How to Put Out a Battery Fire

After the iPhone explosion inside the Apple Store, which resulted in several minor injuries, you may be wondering, “Oh shit, how can I stop my smartphone / laptop / robot dog from setting fire to my house ?” Rather than running as hard as you can or pouring spring water on the device, here are the steps you should follow to properly extinguish a battery fire (and why you should save this Pellegrino as a last resort).

Smartphone fire? Disconnect it first

A fire in a smartphone battery is only aggravated if the smartphone consumes a different source of energy during combustion. When your battery starts to hiss or billow, be sure to unplug it from whatever power source it is connected to before switching your focus to extinguishing.

Start with a fire extinguisher

Safety first and foremost means being prepared for emergencies such as fires caused by your smartphone’s self-igniting battery or otherwise. This means you will need a fire extinguisher, so add it to your shopping list. In terms of fire extinguishers, you must have one designed to extinguish Class B and Class C fires. Class B fires involve flammable liquids and gases, and Class C fires involve electrical equipment such as motors and batteries. Your standard $ 35 to $ 80 extinguisher should be able to handle Class A, B, and C fires.

There are a variety of fire extinguishers available , but looking for an ABC grade fire extinguisher will give one suitable for dowsing your new Pixel 2. If you’re on a budget, you can snag smaller firefighters’ suppression canisters , which are both cheaper ($ 20 to $ 40) and less than the standard fire extinguisher.

Class D fire extinguishers are also available, but they are designed to extinguish fires involving combustible metals. While you can certainly use it to extinguish your smartphone, the high price of a Class D fire extinguisher can make it a little out of reach, so don’t worry about spending the hundreds of dollars required to get one.

Water or sand works as a last resort

Due to the chemistry of smartphones powered by lithium batteries, there is always the possibility that pouring water onto a smartphone could cause a chemical reaction between H2O and lithium metal,converting that hydrogen into fuel for a fire . Fortunately, there is so little lithium in most smartphone batteries that the risk is negligible.

If you come across smartphone fire armed only with a pack of six seltzer water bottles, feel free to apply it in large quantities and drown your smartphone until no more smoke is visible. Needless to say, your phone is a toaster. You can dispose of a burnt battery by looking for a battery recycling center near you . If your iPhone explodes on the beach, you can also cover it with sand or other non-flammable suffocating substance such as dirt. As with most burning objects, do not inhale vapors from smoking batteries, as they are toxic, carcinogenic and downright disgusting.

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