comscore What to do if your smartphone catches fire

What to do if your smartphone catches fire

With innumerable reports of smartphones catching fire recently, it is important for every user to know how to react if such a thing happens with them.


Last one month has been an absolute nightmare for Samsung fans, and especially for users of the Galaxy Note 7. But it’s not just Samsung’s phablet, we have also come across devices from other companies catching fire as well. For example, there have been a couple of reports about Apple iPhone 6 Plus catching fire in the past two weeks. While some of these instances just left their owners in shock, there were some which ended up causing some serious injuries as well. The point is, although the discontinued Galaxy Note 7 was unusually vulnerable to explosions, but that does not mean that other smartphones could never catch fire. Also Read - Common marketing gimmicks that brands should avoid to exploit consumers

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Considering how bad the situation can get with the smartphone batteries exploding, there are some Dos and Don ts every smartphone user must know. If you look up videos on the internet of smartphones heating up, most videos show people tossing the hot phones from one hand to the other like it was a hot plate. However, what they do not realize is that a heated smartphone is dangerous and is capable of exploding and causing injuries. Hence, in case any smartphone you own, heats up to extreme levels that you are not even able to clutch your phone in your hands, here are a few thing you can do and some things you must not do, to avoid injury.

Must do

The first thing you absolutely need to do the moment you notice any fumes or sparks coming out a smartphone, is to get away from it. Don t keep tossing it, or try to cool it down yourself, immediately step away from the phone. Once the phone begins to spark or burn up, there is nothing you can really do to stop it, so it is only wise to keep a distance from the phone and let it fry.

Also, if you have that much time before you notice your phone running fumes, try to throw the phone in an open space like a garden or outside, keeping it away from pets and children at home. If a phone is flaming up, inside the house, there are chances of other things catching fire as well. After losing a phone, you certainly wouldn t want to lose your house to the fire as well. Most importantly, when a smartphone battery explodes, it releases toxic gases, and throwing the phone out would also ensure you don t inhale them.

TechnoBuffalo spoke to Larry Kurtz, a Fire Captain for the Orange County Fire Authority. He said, Your best bet is either a foam, carbon dioxide, or dry chemical extinguisher (you should have a small one of these in your home; they can be picked up at any hardware store). If you don t have any portable extinguishers lying around, baking soda is also an effective extinguishing agent. Another good plan is to grab a pot lid and smother the flames, similar to a grease fire, Kurtz explained.

After you manage to douse the fumes, please ensure you wear appropriate gloves and cover your face properly, before going near the device.

Must not do

This cannot be stressed enough, but contrary to how you feel when you see your phone catching fire, in any given situation, you must not try to put out the flames like a normal fire. Don t try to pour water on it, because that might exacerbate the battery’s chemical reaction. “It’s a little bit like a grenade, once you pull the pin it’s going to do something. The only thing you can do is get out of the way,” electrical engineer John Drengenber told Mashable.

Also, it is very important, that you don t pick up the phone will it s catching fire because you could be injured by a chemical burn, which can be really bad. Therefore, once you see sparks and fire, do not attempt on moving it, and if the phone is left in an enclosed space, it would be the wisest to leave the place, to avoid inhaling the toxic fumes.

Samsung recently discontinued the production and sales of the Galaxy Note 7, after the replacement units also started catching fire. The situation got so out of hand, that now the company has not only discontinued the model, it is recalling all the devices, and refunding the money paid by all its customers, consequently incurring massive loss. To ensure user safety, Samsung is also sending fireproof boxes to all consumers, to return all potentially explosive Galaxy Note 7 phablets in them. The box is being sent along with gloves and safety instructions. ALSO READ: The fault in Samsung s Galaxy

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  • Published Date: October 13, 2016 4:00 PM IST
  • Updated Date: October 13, 2016 5:04 PM IST

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