Service members getting ready for a move will need to look a little more closely at their battery-operated household goods

Service members getting ready for a move will need to look a little more closely at their battery-operated household goods starting on Monday when a new Department of Defense policy takes effect. The policy places limitations on certain lithium batteries, when included as part of a service member’s personal property shipment, due to the potential for “chemical, flammable and electrical hazards” they pose, according to Daniel Mayfield, with the Movements Branch of the Fort Leonard Wood Personal Property and Passenger Travel Office. The policy affects two common types of lithium batteries. Lithium metal batteries are usually found in items, such as cameras, watches, remote controls, and handheld games. They are non-rechargeable and come in various shapes, including cylindrical and button. Lithium-ion batteries are found in items, such as cell phones, power tools, laptops, and robot vacuums. Mayfield says the size, type, serviceability, and quantity of the batteries are factors to consider, as not all will be prohibited by the new policy. Lithium-ion batteries rated at 100 watt-hours or less (20 watt-hours or less per lithium-ion cell), and lithium metal batteries containing 2 grams or less of lithium content (1 gram or less per lithium metal cell) will be allowed, assuming they are not damaged and are in working order.
The stated limits are unrelated to the total number of lithium batteries allowed in a shipment, Mayfield stressed. Under a new Department of Defense policy that goes into effect on Monday, certain lithium batteries can no longer be shipped or stored with a service member’s personal property.
In addition to restrictions on shipping lithium batteries, Mayfield said airlines that do allow these batteries limit them to two per shipment at the above size limitations.
Mayfield asked individuals to identify all lithium batteries in their household goods ahead of the packing date — and ideally, have them removed from devices for the movers. Identifying these batteries and their watt-hours or total grams of lithium content is usually as simple as looking for certain identifying marks and numbers on the product or battery. If a battery can’t be identified as lithium, then the mover is not required to pack it, Mayfield added, and lithium batteries over the size limit are prohibited from being shipped in personal property at government expense. The new policy also covers storage situations, Mayfield said. All types and sizes of lithium batteries are prohibited from long-term, non-temporary storage. They are allowed in short-term, in-transit temporary storage, however.
Electric and hybrid vehicles are unaffected by this policy. The contractor that ships and stores vehicles for service members here confirmed they would continue to store these types of vehicles, and ship them, as long as there are no restrictions in the destination country, Mayfield said. Call 573.596.0077 or 6977, or visit the Fort Leonard Wood website for more information.