Despite the popularity of plug-in devices and rechargeables, 9-volt batteries still power smoke alarms, clocks, and walkie-talkies among other devices. As a responsible citizen, you don't just throw the batteries in the trash when they're spent. You know they contain toxic metals that shouldn't end up in landfills. Instead, you keep your batteries in a container or a drawer until you have enough to take to a battery collection station.
That's not a safe thing to do, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). If the positive and negative posts at the top of the battery touch a metal object, like paper clips, staplers, pens, steel wall or other batteries, they can spark a short circuit, which can produce a fire. Even weak batteries can start a blaze. “Some fires have started in trash when 9-volt batteries were thrown away with other metal items,” asserts the NFPA.
Always keep 9-volts in their original packaging until you're ready to use them. Don't put uncovered batteries in your pocket, where they may come in contact with your keys or metal pens. Store them upright and not loosely in a drawer, especially with other batteries.
When you're ready to dispose of your 9-volts, you can still collect them in a container. However, first cover the positive and negative posts with tape, preferably electrical or duct. This prevents a short circuit even if the posts touch metal items. Contact your local sanitation services to find out the best way to dispose of dead batteries.
For more information on preventing fire damage, or if you want to clean up after a fire happens on your premises but doesn't burn it down then please contact us.