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Hints From Heloise: Handle batteries with care when traveling

DEAR HELOISE: I want to share an important safety travel tip. When packing to fly, with the Transportation Security Administration in mind, I place anything with batteries, like a clock, a face-cleaning brush, etc., in a zippered plastic bag on top of my clothes, so they can see them right away.

I used to remove the batteries and leave them in that bag. However, I learned that loose batteries can cause a fire if they touch each other. (Heloise here: It’s extremely rare.) So, on my last flight, I left the batteries in the appliances. When I was unpacking after the short flight, I noticed that my face brush was very warm. I opened the battery compartment, and the batteries were so hot that I could not touch them! (Heloise here: The switch inadvertently could have been moved to the “on” position.)

Karen In Oxnard

DEAR KAREN: Thank you for bringing up this subject.

Yes, when flying it’s vital to do the right thing when carrying batteries. Here are some suggestions from the TSA:

▪ Keep batteries and devices with you or in your carry-on luggage.

▪ Bring spare batteries in original packaging, if possible. If not, place each battery in its own bag, case, etc., so that it cannot touch any other batteries, coins or metal objects.

▪ Place tape across the battery terminals for better protection.

▪ If you have to leave batteries in a device, make sure it is turned off. Tape it in the “off” position to keep it from turning on.

Send a great hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 79500, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

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