A look at how Connecticut fire departments are dealing with electric car fires

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) – There is a perilous new puzzle that firefighters in Connecticut and close to the region are dealing with. Electrical automobile fires.

Suitable now, there is no hands-on education in Connecticut to discover how to struggle these challenging fires. There isn’t even an agreed system of attack.

Suitable now, 1 hearth office in our state is basically composing the reserve on what to do when EVs burn off.

Two months back, firefighters in Stamford ended up confronted with anything they’d in no way dealt with just before: a burning electric vehicle.

EV fires are really hard to place out mainly because of something termed thermal runaway, which is countless numbers of minor lithium-ion batteries that energy EVs and burn up in a tremendous-heated chain reaction.

“One of those people cells catches on fireplace, it borders numerous other cells that border most likely hundreds of other cells,” reported PJ Norwood.

PJ Norwood is the director of instruction at the Connecticut Fire Academy. He claims the difficulty of EV fires is that they are so new, and the technology is shifting so speedily. Firefighters and instructors are nevertheless seeking to figure out the very best strategies to combat these fires.           

“Trying to set some best procedures alongside one another and some advice so everyone has the exact same information,” Norwood mentioned.

Right now, firefighters use a motor vehicle fireplace prop to assist them practice. They put out the fireplace just like they would a gasoline motor vehicle hearth. They do not have the equal of that for electrical cars and trucks mainly because it would charge too much.

“Electric vehicles are fairly costly and just to get a couple of electric powered cars and to set them on fireplace to extinguish them is demanding and very price prohibitive,” Norwood claimed.

One particular point that does perform on EV fires is h2o. The difficulty is that it can take a lot of drinking water, as a great deal as ten periods a lot more drinking water than to set out a standard motor vehicle hearth.

A gas-run car fire normally takes somewhere among 750 and 1,000 gallons of water to set out. An EV fireplace can just take 8,000 gallons to extinguish.

In July, an electrical CT Transit bus caught on fire in what might be the greatest EV hearth in this region so far. Jeffrey Naples is the acting Hamden Fire Main, and his section is putting with each other EV firefighter guidelines from what they learned dealing with that major electric bus fireplace.

Hearth departments all in excess of the state have been inquiring for their assistance. Naples says his crew made terrific conclusions that working day. They pulled the burning bus out of a maintenance setting up, created positive no just one was inside of and let it burn.

“If we were to actually place this bus fire out with drinking water, you are wanting at more than 20,000 gallons of drinking water that we would will need to submerge virtually the bus in,” Naples stated. “Again, which is just one of the explanations that we’re wanting at letting these cars melt away.”

A number of providers are now testing new methods to offer with EV fires. At minimum just one department in our condition is hoping some thing known as car or truck fire blankets.

The Hamden Hearth Section suggests it will have its entire suggestions from lessons realized from their jumbo-sized EV fire prepared to assist other departments in just a couple months.

“If we can help the upcoming fireplace department that faces this identical obstacle, we want to make confident they are completely ready for this,” Naples explained.

EV fires are tough, but they are not common. Federal numbers from 2020 display gas-run cars and trucks are 60 periods extra probable than EVs to burn. As far more electric cars hit the streets, it’s very likely there will be new and improved EV firefighting strategies.