If you're like many​, you probably changed your smoke alarm batteries when you set your clocks back Sunday, but if you tossed any unused 9-volt batteries in your junk drawer they could spark trouble.

Just this past Friday, a fire flared up in the junk drawer of a Madison, Wisconsin, home after an exposed 9-volt came into contact with a metal object.

"9-volt batteries do have the opportunity to become dangerous," said Cheyenne Fire Rescue Prevention Chief Byron Mathews. "Those positive and negative posts, they're really close together."

"Picture them in the kitchen drawer where you have all of that extra stuff," he added. "Paper clips, a spoon, a knife, whatever might be in that extra drawer, a set of keys, can arc across that battery and cause the potential for an accident and/or fire to occur."

Mathews says you should keep 9-volts in their original packaging until you're ready to use them, keep them in a safe place where they won't be tossed around and store them standing up.

He says even old 9-volts may have enough charge to cause a fire, so it's best to cover the posts with electrical tape and take the batteries to a collection site for household hazardous waste rather than throwing them in the trash.


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