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Airline Industry Safety Standards for Lithium Battery Fires

Daniel Blaho - Saturday, March 09, 2013

What happens if a passenger’s laptop catches fire during flight? The FAA has created procedures for safely extinguishing lithium battery fires in a small number of rechargeable items such as those found in portable electronic devices (laptop computers, cell phones, pagers, audio/video data recording or playback devices, messaging devices, personal digital assistants, and two-way radios).

Under the FAA’s guidelines, airline crew members are instructed to use Halon or Halon replacement to control these fires. Immediately after the fire knockdown or extinguishment, crew members should pour water or other water-based liquids (such as coffee, juice, or soda) over the cells to provide cooling and prevent re-ignition. The FAA says that this combination will “usually” cool the fire.*

Halon extinguishers have been proven to create an oxygen-deficient environment that can cause suffocation, frostbite, skin and eye irritation, irregular heartbeats and an increased heart rate in response to adrenaline which in extreme cases can lead to heart attacks. Furthmore, Halon has been banned by treaty because it depletes the ozone layer. It is no wonder that airlines are looking for a safer and more effective solution to these dangerous fires.**

So, what’s the alternative? The Lithium-ion Fire Extinguishing (LIFE) Kit with Firebane®. Firebane can extinguish a laptop fire in 2.05 seconds, is safe for humans and EPA-qualified safe for the environment. Airlines can easily train cabin crew members in the use of the LIFE Kit by adapting the existing FAA protocol - instead of water, airlines can use Firebane® to extinguish and cool the fire.