What are you fighting a lithium battery fire with?

Kent Faith

May 12, 2016

Two incidents over the past two weeks involving lithium battery fires, continues to worry me about the threat these batteries pose to aviation. The first     was a portable battery that self-ignited on a V Air flight from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Haneda Airport in Japan[1]. The second was a simple set of children’s light-up sneakers that caused a car fire in Katy, Texas[2].  Both of these fires are exactly what threaten the aviation industry.      

Can the airline industry ever completely outlaw the carriage of lithium batteries or can the airlines restrict the type of shoes that are worn? What’s     worse - how many thousands of other scenarios exist for lithium battery fire threats that we have not even thought about?

And yet the FAA suggests the use of a bottle of water or a can of soda to extinguish a lithium battery fire!

You just can’t make this up. The FAA suggests in SAFO 09013 that Halon followed by a passenger beverage be used on a lithium battery fire. They support  this with firefighting recommendations in their Circular; AC 120-80A. The FAA does go on to add that use of an “Aqueous-based fire extinguishing agent”  can be used in lieu of a can of POP. So why do most of the airlines use the minimum standard of bottle of water, when an agent like Firebane® is available  (Firebane is the only known Aqueous-based fire extinguishing agent to carry a Class D rating)? I am not really sure.

The answer to the threat is clearly on the market, but the FAA guidance is OLD. New documentation is available that shows water to be dangerous.

Contact SpectrumFX and we will be happy to provide you with this 3rd party evidence showing water to be dangerous on a lithium battery fire.

For further reading click on this article: The FAA Is Freaked Out About Lithium-Ion Batteries on Planes.