Firefighters Release Multi-Point Training Bulletin On Electric Vehicles

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 5

First Of Three Model S Fires Happened In Early October 2013

First Of Three Model S Fires Happened In Early October 2013

Fisker Fire

Fisker Fire

Courtesy of Yakima Fire department, we present this simplified, multi-point bulletin on electric vehicle safety as it applies to emergency first responders:

  • Identify every vehicle to make certain it is not an electric or a hybrid vehicle. Many times identification labels can be found on either the front or rear fenders.
  • Approach vehicles from the side until they are confirmed off. This can be difficult to identify due to the lack of engine noise. All vehicles need to be stabilized when working around them. Place the engine in park, set the parking brake, chock the wheels, and disconnect the 12V positive (red) cable.
  • When fighting fire, manufacturers recommend using copious amounts of water. If the fire involves the high-voltage battery, defensive attack is suggested until the battery pack has burned itself out. If firefighting is absolutely necessary, again, they suggest using copious amounts of water.
  • If a vehicle is connected to a charging station, treat it as an energized electrical fire and shut down the electrical circuit supplying the charging unit before applying water. Class C extinguishers can be used.
  • Never blindly pierce the vehicles hood with tools such as a halligan. This can cause an electrical shock due to the inverter/converter, which is typically found in the engine compartment.
  • Do not cut or disable any high-voltage components (marked in orange). These can hold more than 360 volts of electricity.
  • Be careful removing the roof on certain vehicles. The Toyota Prius emergency response safety guide strongly advises against this procedure.

A complete guide on how to handle most electric and hybrid vehicles emergencies can be found at the afvsafetytraining.com website.

Here are some additional resources courtesy of Fire Engineering.com:

Source: Fire Engineering

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5 responses to "Firefighters Release Multi-Point Training Bulletin On Electric Vehicles"

  1. Mark H says:

    You really need to know what you are doing when dealing with high voltage, and such training is going to be important due to the extremely low numbers of EV fires.

    With gasoline vehicles catching on fire at a rate of 90 per billion miles and EVs not even scratching 10 percent of that and that is with the 3 Tesla fires prior to their upgrade and Fisker which went bankrupt with no small portion of bad engineering.

    Not saying there will not be more EV fires, and knowing this information is necessary just dealing with crashed vehicles, but the “lack” of EV fires is a just on more indication of their safety and one more reason to own one.

  2. pete g says:

    Another great article Eric Thank you! for your continued hard work.

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      Welcome…but if it weren’t for you (our readers) we wouldn’t be here, so our thanks to you too!!!

  3. CptE311 says:

    A nice summary from Yakima. Just different tactical parameters…

    More evidence that responders will come to the conclusion that we would much rather deal with a battery than gasoline.

  4. io says:

    Nothing surprising, save for that last point, which worries me: “The Toyota Prius emergency response safety guide strongly advises against [removing the roof]”.

    Why?? Doors, pillars and roof would seem like the safest parts to remove or cut through.

    If I’m stuck in an electrified vehicle after an accident, the last thing I want is emergency response delayed because Toyota had the infinite stupidity of suggesting they might have run high-voltage lines over the cabin.

    Please don’t tell me that’s the case…