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FDNY commissioner celebrates U.S. House passing Li-ion battery legislation

The bill mandates that the U.S. establishes safety standards for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in devices like e-bikes to prevent fire risks

By Bill Carey

NEW YORK — FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh is applauding the successful passage of lithium-ion battery regulation in the House of Representatives, thanks to joint advocacy with local, state, and federal partners.

“This bill is the first step in what must be a long-term, nationwide conversation,” Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said in a press release. “Technologies like these are evolving rapidly, and public safety agencies must be part of those conversations. We need to work together, share information and ideas.”

H.R. 1797, the “Setting Consumer Standards for Lithium-Ion Batteries Act,” mandates that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission establish safety standards for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in devices like e-bikes and e-scooters to prevent fire risks.

Kavanagh has visited Washington, D.C., four times in the past two years to advocate for legislative changes. On her latest trip, she met with bipartisan lawmakers on May 7, attended the inaugural World Fire Congress on May 8 and participated in a panel with global fire experts to discuss lithium-ion battery safety.

“This is not just a New York City issue,” Kavanagh said. “Municipalities outside of New York have begun to see an uptick in fires caused by lithium-ion batteries. This legislation will make it much more difficult for dangerous batteries to enter our country, and we are glad it has bipartisan support.”

Kavanagh also testified before the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissioner in July 2023.

“We reached a point of crisis in New York City,” she said. Lithium-ion batteries have caused approximately 500 fires and killed 24 people in the last two years and continue to be among the top causes of fatal fires in New York City.

Responding to lithium-ion battery fires:
Li-ion batteries are here to stay and it’s on firefighters to keep up with advances in battery technology

Lithium-ion Battery Fire Resources