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Electric car batteries can catch fire days after an accident

Aleanna Siacon, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

--Keeping the car away from structures after the incident, because of the danger of re-ignition

Still, fighting electric vehicle car fires can be tricky

Auburn Hills Assistant Chief Antonio Macias said a big part of responding to roadway accidents is recognizing the vehicle and knowing where to access and how to cut the car's power source.

For example, Macias said electric car batteries are often placed in "inconspicuous places," which can be difficult for first responders to access. He added that firefighting foam isn't effective unless it's able to penetrate the car battery's case.

Royal Oak Fire Chief David Cummins said first responders use mobile apps that can help them quickly learn how to locate and properly disable a car's power sources. Among them, he said, is the NFPA/Moditech AFV EFG (Alternative Fuel Vehicle Emergency Field Guide).

Alfie Green, chief of training for the Detroit Fire Department, said mobile apps are a huge help, especially because the color of the wiring in cars hasn't been standardized.


Green said the city focuses on training to keep firefighters up to date on the latest "idiosyncrasies" with various car models.

Copious amounts of water

The biggest tool in fighting electric vehicle fires is the most basic: Water.

But it takes lots of it -- "copious amounts," Macias said.


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