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Be aware of risks with battery misuse
By: Brianna Wereszczuk
April 11, 2024

We are hearing more reports of dangerous incidents involving lithium-ion batteries. While we’re unable to manage exactly what goes in and out of our properties, education surrounding the use – and misuse – of products containing the batteries may be an important step in safeguarding lives and properties.

It would be reasonable today to assume most properties will have some form of equipment with one or more rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Most commonly, they are found in mobile phones, tablets and laptops, and are also used in e-scooters, e- bikes and power tools.

The ACCC has released warnings over the past 12 months to consumers, urging users to be vigilant in the use of these batteries. They state: “while incidents are rare, they appear to be increasing and are serious when they occur. The batteries can overheat or explode if they are used, charged or disposed of incorrectly or if they are damaged, and fires caused by batteries can be dangerous and difficult to extinguish”.

ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said “we are concerned by increasing reports of lithium-ion battery fires resulting in property damage and serious injuries, including burns, chemical exposure and smoke inhalation.”

It is a concern also held by the Real Estate Industry of Australia, which recently called on the need for the government to enact legislation addressing the safety of lithium- ion batteries.

ACCC data revealed that there have been 23 recalls related to the batteries over the past five years, affecting approximately 89,000 products on the market; with REIA President Leanne Pilkington adding that it is projected the average household will possess around 33 items powered by lithium-ion batteries by 2026.

The REIA has expressed its concern that no uniform government regulation currently exists to address this critical issue.

Guidelines are essential to help homeowners prevent costly damages and tragedies, and also allow property managers to educate tenants.

Safe use and correct disposal are critical to manage fire risk. With knowledge, education and proper use and disposal of these batteries, the risk of danger is low.

Be prepared:

  • Ensure property has working smoke alarms.
  • Batteries should be charged on a hard surface, not on beds or carpet, or blankets as the risk of overheating causing a fire is possible.
  • Large batteries, such as tool batteries or e-scooters, should not be charged near living spaces, but in garage, shed or carports.

When charging:

  • Use the correct battery and charger for the device and ensure it has the Australian Regulatory Compliance Mark Tick.
  • Don’t charge batteries while sleeping or when not at home.
  • Disconnect device when charging is complete. It’s recommended not to use the device while it is charging.
  • Do not use any damaged batteries or charging devices, but safety dispose of them. If batteries are bulging, leaking or overheating they should not be used.


  • Batteries cannot be disposed with household garbage and recycling, as there is a high risk of fires developing during collection, transport and processing.
  • Small undamaged batteries should be taken to a battery recycling drop off point.
  • Larger batteries and damaged batteries (contained in a clear container) should be taken to community recycling centre. If unsure, contact your local council directly.
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Written by
Brianna Wereszczuk
Brianna has been a valued member of the RE/MAX Advanced team since 2017 and in this time she has developed an incredible...
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