Lithium-ion Battery Safety

San Francisco has seen a dramatic increase in fires caused by lithium-ion batteries in recent years. These fires can be particularly devastating due to the chemical hazards that make up the batteries, their tendency to flashover and grow quickly in size, and the difficulty of extinguishing them.


- As of March 7, 2024, new fire code legislation around the charging and storage of lithium-ion batteries for Powered Mobility Devices will take effect in San Francisco.

- Powered Mobility Devices (PMDs) are defined as devices powered by a lithium-ion battery with the primary purpose of transporting people, such as electric bikes, scooters, hoverboards, or skateboards. PMDs do not include wheelchairs or other devices used by persons with disabilities.

- All PMDs in San Francisco must be Safety-Certified, which is defined as compliance with one of the following certification requirements: 

  • Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards UL 2849 or UL 2272
  • European (EN) standards EN 15194 or EN 17128
  • Other safety standard of an accredited laboratory, approved by the San Francisco Fire Department
certification logos

- San Francisco Fire Code Requirements

  • Up to four PMDs will be allowed to be stored and charged within a single dwelling unit, provided that they are Safety-Certified.
  • If charging more than five PMDs, additional fire safety systems are required, such as sprinklers, a smoke detection system, and 3-feet spacing between PMDs while charging.
  • All PMDs, removeable batteries, and their chargers must be plugged directly into a wall outlet to charge; extension cords and power strips are prohibited.
  • All PMDs must be charged according to the manufacturer’s standards using the original chargers and batteries.
  • All PMD batteries that are dropped, cracked, or involved in an accident must be self-inspected for damage. Damaged batteries are not permitted to be used on PMDs.
  • Reassembled or reconditioned lithium-ion PMD batteries are prohibited.
  • It is prohibited to dispose of lithium-ion batteries in landfill, recycling, and compost bins; all lithium-ion batteries must be recycled through one of San Francisco’s battery recycling programs.

- For more detailed information please reference SFFC Section 325: