Firebags Can Snuff Out Onboard Li-ion Battery Fires
The fiery failure of a lithium-ion battery powering an Apple iPhone 4 aboard Regional Express Flight ZL319 last Friday raises the specter of potential fire hazards because of the many li-ion-powered devices carried on aircraft. Ship It AOG and Aircare Access Assistance offer fire containment bags that can render harmless an overheating, burning li-ion battery, simply by placing the device inside the special bags. Ship It AOG’s Fire-Fighter bag costs $975, and includes the bag and fire gloves. Aircare’s $339 Firesock also includes gloves and comes in a packing tube that can hold 80 ounces of water for use to help douse the fire. The FAA recommends using Halon first then water. The Regional Express incident took place after the aircraft landed in Sydney, Australia, “when a passenger’s mobile phone started emitting a significant amount of dense smoke, accompanied by a red glow,” according to the airline. “In accordance with company standard safety procedures, the flight attendant carried out recovery actions immediately and the red glow was extinguished successfully.” Some tech media outlets have noted that the incident iPhone appears to have been modified with a non-Apple-manufactured case backing. In 2009, the FAA issued a SAFO about fighting lithium-ion battery fires.