Cordless Tools & Fire Hazards
December, 2014, a family acquaintance had a fire in their home caused by the charger plugged into the wall without the drill inserted. It shorted out and within 5 minutes the home was badly burned. It happens more than you think; don’t let it happen to you!
If you're selling a home and getting the property prepared, you may be making some improvements prior to listing. Or, if you're buying a home, after purchase you make want to make some improvements or changes that suit your needs; hanging drapes, installing closet organizers or putting up laundry room shelves. You may be another Realtor taking a personal home improvement hand with a recently acquired property you're going to flip or rent.
The internet has buzzed with cell phones exploding or burning people while being charged. The same scenario can occur with chargers for cordless drills and similar devices. The reason for this is stored energy. Improper storage of the batteries can cause arcing and thus start a fire. If any metal touches the battery contacts, it generates heat and can begin to melt the plastic and burn.
The Makita drill shown comes with a charging station and a battery that provides the cordless power source. Note that BOTH the battery and the charging station carry stored energy! While a contractor may replace a cordless battery every year due to heavy use, a home owner may only use the battery now and then and leave it in a tool bag with other metal items. The best place to store a battery is inside the storage container provided by the manufacturer. You can also purchase a plastic shield that covers the battery and its metal contact points. These may be found at your local Hardware store.
Here's an excellent short article about cordless tools fire hazards to be mindful of from Expert Tool Tips.