Volunteer Fire Departments Receive Electric Vehicle Battery Disabling Equipment
Category: Emergency Services
With the growing usage of electric vehicles, local emergency services organizations are faced with a unique challenge- how to provide emergency response when lithium batteries are involved.
That is the question 85+ local firefighters aimed to answer at a recent training on lithium batteries. During the training they discussed the growing usage of electric charging, what to do in case of a battery fire, and how to properly respond to an incident that involves an electric vehicle.
In most vehicle related emergencies, emergency responders are trained to turn a vehicle off to avoid any further incident or injury to passengers, bystanders, or emergency staff.
“In the case of gas-powered vehicles, responders can easily tell when a vehicle is running due to the noise of the motor and vibrations. Battery operated vehicles on the other hand, are much quieter,” stated Phil Starkey, President of the Talbot County Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association. “This can make it difficult for responders to tell if the vehicle is running or turned off, leading to potentially hazardous situations, including fires. In addition, electric vehicles, especially during an emergency can be difficult to turn off.”
While consistent training is an important step in keeping emergency personnel safe, technology can also play an important role in this scenario.
At the January Fire Chief’s Committee Meeting, each of Talbot County’s Volunteer Fire Departments received “Emergency Plug” equipment, paid for by the County.
When the Emergency Plug from Total Safety Solutions is plugged into an electric or hybrid vehicle, it simulates the charging process, switches the gear to park, and can even apply the electric parking brake. It essentially tricks the battery into turning off, disabling the system and allowing emergency personnel to take control of the vehicle’s functions and continue to work at the incident without risk of additional incident related to the vehicle’s battery. The Electric Plug is universal for all commercially sold EVs and comes with an adapter for Tesla vehicles.
“The Talbot County Council recognizes the importance of safety for both county citizens and our first responders. This equipment can help reduce the chances for battery related incidents,” said Council President Chuck Callahan.
The County provides funding for the seven local volunteer fire companies each year through the annual budget appropriation process. Funding is provided to the Talbot County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, which it then distributes to each individual fire department.
The Emergency Plug can easily be used by fire departments, law enforcement, Emergency Medical Services, roadside assistance companies, or other emergency services providers.
“Firefighters can use it to stop an electric vehicle related fire or crash. Medical personnel can use it to respond to vehicle calls without the risk of the car moving and causing further injury to a patient or bystander,” said Brian LeCates, Director of Emergency Services. “We plan to purchase more plugs in the future, so that we can have one on every emergency response vehicle in the county.”
Page last modified Friday, May 26, 2023 11:22:37 AM