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Tesla electric vehicle fire highlights importance of responder training and resources

Blog Post created by mikehazell Employee on Oct 4, 2013

A vehicle fire this week in Kent, WA involving a battery powered vehicle highlights the purpose of NFPA’s Electric/Hybrid Vehicle Safety Training and other resources we provide.

Based on preliminary reports, on Wednesday (2/Oct/2013) a Tesla Model S caught fire after a portion of the battery, mounted under the passenger compartment, was struck by a metal object in the roadway. The driver was uninjured as he immediately pulled off at the next off-ramp when the warning lights went off in the car. As flames began to come from the underside of the vehicle, the Kent Fire Department arrived on scene, deployed a hose line, and called for a second engine company. The two companies were successful in extinguishing the Lithium ion battery although conventional car fire tactics needed to be adjusted for the electric vehicle.

EVEFG-2013-Cover_Page_1The NFPA, through a grant from the Department of Energy awarded in 2009, developed first responder training for electric and hybrid vehicles. Also in July 2013, the Fire Protection Research Foundation, along with Exponent, Inc., conducted a research project to develop “Best Practices for Emergency Response to Incidents Involving Electric Vehicles Battery Hazards: A Report on Full-Scale Testing Results.”

In addition to the training, a Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Emergency Field Guide was created in order to assist all emergency responders in identifying and utilizing proper procedures for these types of incidents. The guide has specific response information directly from each manufacturer’s Emergency Response Guide for all current hybrid and electric vehicles, including the Tesla Model S.

For more information about EV Safety Training, visit our website at http://www.evsafetytraining.org/.

-Matthew Sears

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