ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) -- After a blaze in Ithaca last week, firefighters are urging safety with rechargeable batteries.

The Ithaca Fire Department was able to keep a small fire at bay in the East Hill neighborhood.

No one was injured, but they say the rechargeable batteries we used every day have been known to catch fire.  In general, the department says, the batteries in cell phones, laptops, and toys are safe when used properly.

By taking basic precautions, you can keep yourself safe:

  • Keep lithium-ion batteries dry. Water, even moisture, can cause a malfunction.
  • Remove batteries from toys and electronics when they are not being used for a long time.
  • Batteries have an expiration date; if it has come and gone, replace it. 
  • Don't overheat the batteries or overcharge them. Pull the plug when the charge is done.

What happens when you leave a device in the charger on all the time and forget about it??

You may overheat the battery and have some chemical reactions, which could lead to a fire.

  • Use the charger that came with the battery.
  • Don't place charging batteries on beds, sofas, rugs, blankets or anything else that can catch fire easily.
  • Some newer batteries have sensors. If they detect a problem, they turn off the battery and prevent a bigger problem. But older ones may not.

What do you do with your used or dead batteries?

  • Store them in a non-metal container in a cool dry place until you can properly dispose of them.
  • Tape the terminals of used batteries with electrical tape or by placing each battery in separate plastic bags. Terminals that rub against each other could cause a spark. 
  • Never put loose batteries in a junk drawer or area where they may come into contact with metal items such as paper clips or steel wool.