Fires involving cars, trucks and other highway vehicles are a common concern for emergency responders. Fire Service personnel are accustomed to responding to conventional vehicle fires, and generally receive training on the hazards associated with vehicle subsystems (e.g., air bag initiators, seat belt pre-tensioners, etc). For vehicle fires, and in particular fires involving electric drive vehicles, a key question for emergency responders is: “what is different with electric drive vehicles and what tactical adjustments are required?”
A new report has just been published by the Fire Protection Research Foundation titled, “Best Practices for Emergency Response to Incidents Involving Electric Vehicles Battery Hazards: A Report on Full-Scale Testing Results.” This report was authored by R. Thomas Long Jr., Andrew F. Blum, Thomas J. Bress, and Benjamin R.T. Cotts with Exponent, Inc.
The overall goal of this project was to conduct a research program to develop the technical basis for best practices for emergency response procedures for electric drive vehicle battery incidents, with consideration for certain details including: suppression methods and agents; personal protective equipment (PPE); and clean-up/overhaul operations. A key component of this project goal was to conduct full-scale testing of large format Li-ion batteries used in these vehicles. This report summarizes these tests, and includes discussion on the key findings relating to best practices for emergency response procedures for electric drive vehicle battery incidents.
By NFPA's Lauren Backstrom