Last Thursday, for the third consecutive year, the NFPA and SAE partnered to bring representatives from government, the auto industry, and emergency services together to discuss Electric Vehicle Safety initiatives.
One of the key presentations affecting first responders was given by Todd Macintosh, a GM Technical Specialist for their Global Vehicle Electrification program. Todd spoke as Chair of the J2990 Task Force - Hybrid and EV Recommendations for First and Second Responders and gave an update the groups’ work. I served with Todd on this group and see it as a significant step in addressing the concerns of emergency responder personnel with the OEMs. This document should be published soon and will act as a guiding document for OEMs on items such as identification, systems shutdown features, etc.
Other presentations such as Ken Willette’s overview of the NFPA’s analysis on OEM electrical PPE requirements and Casey Grant’s synopsis of the research that the Fire Protection Research Foundation will be conducting on the burning of high voltage batteries gave important insight on the work being done on behalf of first responders. Additionally, Ron Moore, discussed high frequency, low severity emergencies for the NFPA EV Safety Program, and I spoke about the types of obstacles we must overcome at extrication operations, HEV and EV specific concerns, and on feedback from emergency personnel as to what we would like to see included in vehicle designs. Both of these presentations were geared towards educating the OEMs on operations at the emergency scene and how vehicle designs impact those operations.
I am looking forward to next year’s summit as a way to continue building awareness of HEVs and EVs in the first responder community. The summit also serves as a way to have our concerns heard so that we can have a positive impact on future vehicle designs.