How CFD safely performs emergency extrications from electric and hybrid vehicles

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF)-Electric and hybrid vehicles are viewed as the way of the future. However, with new technology comes potentially new challenges. Such as how does a vehicular extrication team cut into an electric car safely.

“First and foremost we have to ensure that the vehicle is safe to work around. Depending on the manufacturer there are different ways that we can ensure the vehicle is safe. The hybrid or electric system is shut down so that we can go to work,” said CFD Senior Firefighter Clint Montgomery.

Different vehicle manufacturers have different ways of setting up their cars, so CFD special ops need to continue to practice, research, and use safety resources.

“Web-based apps we also have those phones and tablets in the computers inside the fire trucks as well as just general working knowledge. We’ve had several training opportunities with vehicle manufacturers where they have been able to teach us how to appropriately save the vehicles to workaround,” said Montgomery.

If the firefighter isn’t fully prepared it could put the firefighter or person inside at risk.

“If you rupture the battery packs, electrical shock, fire just like any other high-voltage hazard,” said Montgomery.

“On old hybrid electric batteries are in the trunk there’s always a big power switch with we called big Orange lines are the big blue line that runs around the frame rail underneath the car and we don’t cut that because that was the high voltage system itself Tesla’s now got it to where the whole floorboard is the battery cell.

“Once we get the vehicle safe, not only for us but for the occupants that are still trapped it’s pretty much any motor vehicle. There are some places that we can and cannot cut. We cannot cut in those high-voltage lines just in case they are still energized,” said Montgomery.

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