Landlords must warn tenants about e-bike battery safety, FDNY says

The FDNY is blaming nearly 200 building fires and six deaths so far this year on exploding lithium-ion batteries on e-bikes and e-scooters.

So now, the department is mandating that property owners distribute a safety guide to tenants with lifesaving advice about lithium-ion batteries.

The safety guide has important information, according to New York City Council Member Oswald Feliz.

"Including which e-bike batteries are safe, which ones are not safe, how to properly charge these e-bike batteries and also when to charge them," Feliz said. "So, for example, not to charge them overnight when you're sleeping."

Feliz has proposed a bill that would only allow the sale of batteries that are nationally certified.

"How many people are going to really pay attention and do the right thing?" said Frank Ricci, the owner of a four-family apartment building and the executive vice president of the Rent Stabilization Association.

He said the FDNY's efforts are sincere but he does not have faith in the public.

"I question how many people are actually going to read the notifications and actually do something that's safe for other residents of the building," Ricci said.

Some New Yorkers told FOX 5 NY that they support the FDNY's campaign to educate the public about the dangers of e-bike and scooter batteries but they believe that new laws and regulations are needed.

"I don't think they should be able to charge bikes that could explode in apartments," one person said.

Battery Safety Tips

The FDNY has a PSA with lithium-ion battery safety tips. Here is a summary:

  • Don't charge a device under your pillow, on your bed, or near a couch
  • Always use the manufacturer's cord and power adapter
  • Keep batteries and devices at room temperature; don't place them in direct sunlight
  • Store batteries away from anything flammable
  • Stop using a battery if it overheats, leaks, emits an odor, or changes shape or color
  • Don't leave e-bikes/e-scooters unattended while charging
  • Don't charge e-bikes/e-scooters overnight
  • Don't throw rechargeable batteries in the trash or recycling; you must dispose of them at a facility that handles batteries