Commentary‎ > ‎


Safety consciousness gone haywire

What is it when a product feature that is designed for superior safety
turns out to be a bigger hazard in some situations?

Replacing smoke dectector batteries every 6 mo

Flash: you can start a fire by connecting two 9V batteries together.
Leaving for now the inherent safety defect in the design of 9V batteries,
there was an e-mail with subject: "Fire threat in homes"
with the assertion that

"fires can be started because of the way you store simple batteries.
Especially 9 volt batteries.
Simple thing to remember is to NEVER store batteries in a metal container or file cabinet.
Never store them in drawers with other metals (paperclips, staples, pens etc...) 
Batteries making contact with metal can "arc" and start a fire.

This may be another case of safety-consciousness-gone-haywire: 
A gentleman in the video had a fire at his house caused by 9V batteries being collected for recycling and having shorted out on some kind of freak jostling causing 2 two of them to have positive-negative ends connected to each other. 
My first thought was:
there had to be lots of electric energy left in those batteries to generate enough heat to cause a fire! 
I would guess that the gentleman also followed the practice of replacing the batteries in smoke detectors 2x/yr (at daylight savings onset and end). 
I always thought that was way overkill--the 9V batteries should last way longer than that.
Maybe the 1/2 yr "dead" ones were nowhere near dead after all.
How ironic if that was the case: that by being acutely safety conscious and storing 1/2 yr old batteries, a fire hazard was created.

Excessive air bags

Almost as ironic as the accident where the pedestrian was in the blind spot of the driver of the car with side-windshield airbags that were so wide they created the blind spot. That would be a case of safety for the automobile drivers at the expense of safety for pedestrians.