A fire last week involving a Tesla Model S on a Kent, WA, roadway highlighted the importance of emergency responders knowing how to deal with incidents involving electric and hybrid vehicles. NFPA has an entire web site devoted to keeping emergency responders up-to-date on how to deal with these types of incidents.
Ken Willette, who heads up NFPA's Public Fire Protection division, says the fire service knows that responding to an electric and hybrid vehicle incident is not much different than responding to an incident involving an internal combustion engine. One difference, he notes, is the possibility of stored energy in the vehicle battery -- and care must be taken not to penetrate the battery or cut any of the cabling that could be carrying the current.
NFPA offers a Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Emergency Field Guide, newly updated with technical data and information about 32 vehicles -- all reviewed by auto manufacturers. It's your source for the latest facts on safe response to electric and hybrid vehicle incidents involving damaged high voltage batteries, battery fires, extrication challenges, submersion, and charging stations.
For more information on the recent EV battery tests, please visit www.nfpa.org/evbatterytests.