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Facilities News

Fire Safety Conducts Lithium Ion Battery Training for Greek Life Students

Posted in: Facilities Updates, Fire Safety Updates

Fire Safety personnel conducting training for 150 Greek Life students in Dickson Hall.
Fire Safety personnel conduct training on lithium ion battery safety for Greek Life students on March 21.

On Thursday, March 21, Fire Safety staff held a training event in Dickson Hall to provide 150 Greek Life students with information regarding lithium-ion batteries and the harmful or deadly fire safety hazards they pose. Led by Fire Safety Specialist John Keane, student employees Michael Weisberg, Justin Weisberg, and Michael Coyle engaged their peers in a discussion about how lithium-ion batteries are now part of our everyday lives, why they are susceptible to fire, and presented evidence of the unique dangers they pose.

Lithium-ion batteries present a heightened fire safety hazardThey store a lot of energy in a small amount of space. When that energy is released in an uncontrolled manner, it generates heat, which can turn certain internal battery components into flammable and toxic gases. Lithium-ion battery fires happen for a variety of reasons, such as physical damage (e.g., the battery is penetrated, crushed or exposed to water) or electrical damage (e.g., overcharging or using charging equipment not designed for the battery). Some of the dangers associated with lithium-ion battery fires include heat, smoke, the release of toxic gases, and the potential for explosions.

The Fire Safety presenters gave advice to the capacity audience and offered tips about buying products with lithium-ion batteries, such as purchasing products that are only listed by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory (and labeled accordingly), stopping the charge once it is full, and only using the charging equipment that is supplied with the device. Students were also advised to stop using their devices if the battery shows signs of damage, such as an unusual odor, excessive heat, popping sounds, swelling, or change in color; and to have all repairs performed by a qualified professional.

This presentation also covered in detail the Campus Guidelines on Personal Electric Vehicles adopted by the University on March 21, 2023, which state the limitations and permitted areas where an EV can be utilized on campus. Storage of EVs within academic buildings and residence halls on campus is strictly prohibited due to their increased fire hazard.