This tip sheet provides information on the vehicles that transport discharged lithium-ion batteries from rented mobility devices within the city. These vans contain as many as 60 batteries in a small, confined space, presenting significant hazards and extinguishment challenges.
Brooklyn units recently encountered a Revel e-bike van transporting numerous lithium-
ion batteries. According to the van’s driver, this is one of approximately 15 vans citywide that drive around the city replacing batteries on these e-bikes when they are showing a low charge. The vans hold approximately 60 batteries. All members should recognize these vans and understand the dangers posed by lithium-ion batteries.
- Tech companies Lime, Bird and Veo were picked for a pilot program involving 3,000 e-scooters for rental from selected sidewalks in the Bronx. It can be assumed that these companies have similar battery transport vans for the scooters.
- Use water to extinguish a lithium-ion battery fire. It will take a large quantity of water to fully extinguish this type of fire.
- Immediately request a Hazmat response. The IC should then contact Hazmat 1 or the Hazmat Battalion via cell phone for further instructions.
- Wear full PPE, including a donned SCBA facepiece, whenever near a damaged/smoldering lithium-ion battery.
- Popping noises or white smoke from a battery may be an indication of thermal runaway. Thermal runaway begins when the heat generated within a battery exceeds the amount of heat that is dissipated to its surroundings, creating a domino effect within the battery until failure and fire. The white smoke from the battery is toxic and highly flammable.