West Virginia fire department trains on electric car fires

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Huntington Fire Department is taking steps to prepare for emergencies involving electric vehicles.

The fire department became the first career department to receive electric vehicle fire and incident training from the West Virginia University Fire Extension Service. It is also the first to require all firefighters to take the training, Fire Extension Service instructors said.

The training began Thursday. Mutual aid departments, such as volunteer fire departments in Barboursville, Ceredo and Proctorville, will be offered the training Saturday.

Tom Miller, an instructor with the Fire Extension Service, said the program has been worked on for about seven months and was piloted by the National Volunteer Fire Council.

Requests are coming from fire departments across the country for the training. Miller said the program is planning to expand to include information about other chemicals and bring on more instructors.

The training includes a classroom component and demonstrations. On Thursday, firefighters saw a live burn that used batteries representing 1/300th of an average electric or hybrid vehicle. They also explored a model hybrid vehicle’s components.

“We want every firefighter to go home,” Miller said.

The Huntington Fire Department has already responded to battery fires. Recently, an electric scooter damaged after a flood caught on fire. Firefighters were able to stop it.

Electric vehicle fires may take between 3,000 and 8,000 gallons of water per passenger vehicle to extinguish. That number goes up with commercial vehicles. Lithium batteries found in electric vehicles can also release toxic gases when they catch fire.

Huntington Fire Chief Greg Fuller said the department will adopt information taken from the training as its standard operating procedure and post quick reference information around stations.

“We will refresh ourselves from time to time (on the training),” Fuller said, adding that some of the firefighters who took the training are instructors and training may change as vehicles evolve.

It’s important for the public to know about the training because some responses may require nearby evacuations due to toxins, Fuller said. In the event of an electric or hybrid vehicle fire, he advised to tell a dispatcher when calling 911 that it is that kind of vehicle. He added to be familiar with the vehicle and make sure that a home charging station is installed to the manufacturer’s recommendations and by a licensed electrician.

As fuel prices increase, some drivers are turning to a different power source. The chief of the Williamson Police Department proposed adding electric vehicles to the department’s fleet in a City Council meeting last month. According to the Williamson Daily News, Chief Grady Dotson estimated an annual savings of $10,000 in fuel costs.

In March, federal officials announced plans for an electric battery plant in West Virginia along with a battery workforce training initiative and $2.2 million in federal funding for a coal waste-sourced manufacturing project in Bluefield.

Source link

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply