Weekly challenge: store your batteries safely for fire prevention

Did you know storing used 9-volt batteries from smoke detectors could be a fire hazard? One homeowner had a devastating house fire in 2011 that was triggered by 9-volt batteries stored improperly in a bag in his garage. He had been planning to bring them to a recycling center but before he had the chance, the bag got jostled a bit causing the battery terminals to touch, which created a spark that started the fire.

“Today we have a life lesson that we want to teach,” said Dave, the homeowner who posted the video above that has more than one million views on YouTube. “I know that throwing them in the trash isn’t the right way to dispose of them.”

His warning went viral on social media last week after themotherlist.com posted his fire safety video.

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The one safe way to dispose of these batteries: Take a piece of electrical tape and cover the ends so they if they do touch, a short will not be created, he advised.

This week, take a few minutes to locate any old 9-volt batteries you may be storing for the recycling center. Tape up the terminals before placing back in the bag.

Here are some other fire safety tips from the federal government’s US Fire Administration. Interestingly, the site has hundreds of tips—including replacing the smoke detector battery once a year—but doesn’t mention the hazard of storing 9-volt batteries loosely together with untaped terminals.