Emergency Response to Incident Involving Electric Vehicle Battery Hazards

Fire Protection Research Foundation report: “Best Practices for Emergency Response to Incidents Involving Electric Vehicles Battery Hazards: A Report on Full-Scale Testing Results”
Authors: R. Thomas Long Jr., Andrew F. Blum, Thomas J. Bress, and Benjamin R.T. Cotts - Exponent, Inc.
Date of issue: July 2013 

Introduction

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?”

The overall goal of this project is 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 is 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.

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)
1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169-7471 USA
Telephone: +1 617 770-3000 Fax: +1 617 770-0700