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Planes Forced to Land – Lithium-Ion Battery Explosions Mounting

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You may have read the headlines about lithium-ion batteries exploding and catching fire on commercial flights. Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 smartphone, which was recalled because it would suddenly burst into flames, was the most widely reported on story regarding these defective lithium-ion batteries. However, potentially dangerous lithium-ion batteries are still used in a variety of electronics today, including e-cigarettes, laptops, vacuum cleaners, tablets, and phones. While flying is one of the safest forms of transportation, airline safety consultant John Cox says that lithium-ion explosions comprise “one of the few rising risks in aviation,” according to Consumer Reports. The dangers of being exposed to a lithium-ion explosion include severe burns and even potential plane troubles. Planes are forced to lane frequently due to lithium-ion battery fires. The dangers of a lithium-ion fire is greater than a normal fire because batteries burn incredibly hot, they emit toxic chemical byproducts, and even when victims think they are put out, they flare back up again.

What Are  Your Chances of Being Injured?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reports that one of these lithium-ion fires occurs every 10 to 11 days in the U.S. alone. There are around 26,000 passenger flights within the U.S. every day, according to the FAA. Because there are only around 30 U.S. lithium-ion battery explosions per year, your chances of being on one of those flights is rare. However, these incidents are increasing in prevalence. There were twice as many in 2016 as there were in 2015. Consumer Reports suggests taking precautions to protect yourself from one of these incidents.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

Even though there are strict guidelines for spare batteries and lithium-ion batteries on commercial and cargo flights, passengers are routinely ignoring them. Consumer Reports suggests following these precautions:

  • Know and follow the FAA guidelines regarding in-flight spare battery storage:
    • Batteries should be stored in carry-on bags, not loose in checked baggage.
    • Electric terminals must be taped or covered to prevent contact with any random pieces of metal that could cause a short circuit.
  • Notify crew members immediately if you notice that your electronic device or spare battery begins to smoke and quickly get away from a smoking or overheating device or battery. Lithium-ion batteries reach a temperature of 1,000 degrees. Dumping one glass of water on it will not put the fire out. The fire needs to be put out by a Halo fire extinguisher, and the battery needs to be cooled down using copious amounts of water. However, electric shock can occur if using water. Another method is to put the burning battery in a metal container, get away from it and its toxic fumes, and let it burn itself out.

Call Maryland Personal Injury Attorney Tara K. Frame

Whether you were injured by your own or another person’s electronic device, you deserve compensation from the manufacturer. For lithium-ion burn injuries or any other type of injury, call the Pasadena attorneys of Frame & Frame today at 410-255-0373.

Resources:

faa.gov/air_traffic/by_the_numbers/

consumerreports.org/product-safety/whats-behind-the-increase-in-lithium-ion-battery-fires-on-planes/

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