FDA Warns Battery-Powered Mobile Medical Carts Lead to Hospital Fires

January 11, 2017

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about lithium battery or lead acid battery fires caused by mobile medical carts including crash carts, medication dispensing carts, and carts that carry and power medical devices for point of care, barcode scanners, and patient monitoring.

The FDA regulates medical carts which can function as an accessory to medical devices for dispensing medication and performing services on patients. The events reported range from smoke and equipment overheating to explosions resulting in equipment and facility damage, hospital evacuation and patient or staff injury. Lithium batteries store a lot of energy and the fires are difficult to extinguish. In some FDA reports, it states firefighters had to bury the medical cart batteries to extinguish the fire.

The FDA recommends that you inspect the batteries for any signs of damage, inspect battery chargers for overheating components, vacuum to remove dust and lint around battery chargers and carts containing chargers. Do not use batteries if they are not charging properly and replace batteries according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. In order to best prevent a fire, do not install chargers or charging carts in confined spaces, keep them away from flammable and explosive objects, do not block charging station vents, do not tape or attach any object or material to a battery charger, and store the battery charger and cart with charger outside of patient rooms and in non-patient care areas. See the full FDA warning here http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ResourcesforYou/HealthCareProviders/ucm534566.htm.

AIV is committed to providing quality and safe alternatives for power distribution in your hospital and operating rooms. AIV’s PowerMATE® is a pole or cart mountable special purpose relocatable power tap (SPRPT) that is approved for use in patient care areas. The IsoMATE® contains a medical grade isolation transformer to control current leakage in patient care areas. They offer six outlets to accommodate multiple types of power plugs and adapters. Learn more about AIV’s power solutions at http://aiv-inc.com/powermate.html.

About the Author

Laura Collier

Laura Collier

Laura Collier has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of North Florida. She is the Marketing Manager at AIV, Inc.

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