Safety

FDA warns that battery-powered mobile medical carts are a potential fire hazard

Hospital Safety Insider, January 5, 2017

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Reports of explosions, fires, and overheating in medical carts have forced some hospitals to evacuate, according to the FDA.

The FDA reports that the problems are caused by high-capacity lithium or lead batteries found in carts, including crash carts, medication dispensing carts, and carts that power medical devices. The problems are compounded by the fact that fires caused by lithium batteries are difficult to extinguish; sometimes firefighters have to bury the batteries to put them out.

There are some things you can do to reduce the risk of fires, including:

  • Regular battery inspections to find signs of damage, such as bulging or cracks.
  • Cart inspections to ensure that components are not overheating.
  • Regular cleaning to remove dust and lint around the battery chargers.
  • Replacing batteries as recommended by the manufacturer.

For more information, read the FDA’s full report.
 



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