The winning project of the 2014 Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal is “Best Practices for Emergency Response to Incidents Involving Electric Vehicles Battery Hazards: A Report on Full-Scale Testing Results.” The Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal recognizes a project completed in 2013 that best exemplifies the Foundation’s fire safety mission and the collaborative approach to execution that is the hallmark of all its projects. The winner is recommended to the chair of the Foundation’s Board by an awards committee made up of members of the Board, Research Advisory Committee, and NFPA technical staff members. Exponent, Inc. employees R. Thomas Long, Jr., Andrew F. Blum, Thomas J. Bress, and Benjamin R.T. Cotts, authored the report.
This project was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (the Idaho National Laboratory), the U.S. Department of Transportation (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. In addition, three groups of panelists (main panel, emergency responder panel, and battery technology panel), provided guidance and expertise to the project. The purpose of the project was to conduct a research program to develop the technical basis for best practices of emergency response procedures for electric drive vehicle battery incidents. Additionally, the research considered certain details, including suppression methods and agents, personal protective equipment (PPE), and clean-up/overhaul operations. Full-scale testing of large format Lithium-ion batteries used in these vehicles was also a critical component of the project.