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Lithium Batteries

A British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) Flight Safety Specialist recently said:

'Pilots have been calling for greater awareness of the potential dangers of lithium batteries for some time now.  While we appreciate these batteries power a majority of devices we use to stay connected, the recent issues with some mobile phones highlight how dangerous these devices can be.  However, the problems are not confined to a specific device and can affect laptops, tablets, cameras and much more.

When a lithium battery fails it will get extremely hot and may end up in a condition known as 'thermal runaway' which in essence means that it is creating its own fuel and it will burn at extreme temperatures until it has completely destroyed itself.

In this condition it is almost impossible to extinguish with conventional firefighting equipment, and that is a major concern on board aircraft.  During this process it will also produce large amount of explosive gases and that it why it is so important for airlines and their passengers to ensure that batteries are not carried in the hold where an unconfined fire could prove disastrous; lithium battery fires have been cited in the accident reports of at least two fatal aircraft crashes ...'

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