Blankets among new tricks for fighting electric vehicle fires, says Rogers fire chief

Blankets among new tricks for fighting electric vehicle fires, says Rogers fire chief
Blankets among new tricks for fighting electric vehicle fires, says Rogers fire chief

ROGERS — The fire department is on a mission to find the best ways to fight electric vehicle fires, according to Fire Chief Tom Jenkins.

While such fires have not yet become a problem in the city, they are a concern with more parking lots and more electric vehicles in northwest Arkansas, Jenkins said.

A new method the ministry will use to fight the fires is the use of extinguisher blankets, which would be stretched over the vehicle to limit oxygen reaching the fire.

The city council in July approved the expenditure of $15,000 for eight fire blankets for the department.

The blankets won’t entirely extinguish an electric vehicle fire on their own, but will be one of many tools the department will use, Jenkins said.

The department is also experimenting with making a specialized nozzle, which could help water reach the lithium-ion battery under the car.

Additionally, the department plans to respond with two fire engines rather than one at the site of each electric vehicle fire, he said. According to Jenkins, firefighter tanks typically store between 500 and 1,000 gallons of water, enough to put out a burning vehicle with an internal combustion engine.

Electric vehicle fires require the equivalent of a swimming pool, more water than a truck can carry, he said. According to the Tesla Model S Emergency Response Guide, approximately 3,000 to 8,000 gallons of water should be applied directly to the battery to completely extinguish and cool a battery fire.

In the first responder guide, Tesla, an electric vehicle maker, says battery fires can take 24 hours to cool down completely. Fire, smoke, heating and audible banging must be clear of the battery for 45 minutes before firefighters leave the vehicle, according to the electric vehicle manufacturer.

According to the Emergency Response Guide for the 2022 Nissan Leaf, an Electric Car, large amounts of water are needed to extinguish electric vehicle fires.

Water is the best method of controlling a battery fire, and finding large, durable water supplies of at least 3,000 to 8,000 gallons is recommended, according to the International Fire Chiefs Association.

“Fighting vehicular fires is inherently dangerous,” said a 2021 association bulletin on the subject. “When responding to an electric or hybrid vehicle fire, response teams face additional challenges.”

According to Jenkins, one of the biggest safety issues with lithium-ion batteries is thermal runaway. Thermal runaway is a process caused by cell faults or mechanical damage that can lead to “a state of uncontrollable self-heating”, according to the independent safety science organization UL Research Institutes. The phenomenon can lead to extremely high temperatures, smoke, fire and ejections of gas or shrapnel, according to the organization.

Any vehicle with a lithium-ion battery — including e-bikes and e-scooters — would present similar challenges, Jenkins said.

“It’s a totally different game,” he said. “Across the country, I would say there’s a lot of trial and error. This is not unique to Rogers.”

Some fire departments in Europe are using cranes to lift burning cars and plunge them into water, he said.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 2,390 all-electric vehicles were registered in Arkansas in 2021, an increase of about 1,500 since 2019. The number of electric vehicles in the U.S. has nearly doubled in those years. two years, according to the federal department.

As the region sees an increasing number of electric vehicles, the question is on the minds of many fire departments. The topic came up at a recent meeting of northwest Arkansas fire department chiefs, according to Jenkins.

Springdale Fire Chief Blake Holte said his department had considered specialized nozzles, but hadn’t purchased any new equipment to deal with electric vehicle fires. The department hasn’t yet had to grapple with the issue as much as other departments, he said.

The Bentonville department ordered a $320,000 rapid response vehicle more than a month ago, the result of a risk analysis of the problem, according to Deputy Chief Kevin Boydston.

“Our primary concern is an electric vehicle fire in a parking lot,” Boydston said. An elevated parking structure can only sustain fire for so long, which eventually results in the concrete folding or collapsing, he said.

The department expects Bentonville to have 18 parking lots by 2025, according to Boydston.

The rapid-response vehicle, which is expected to arrive in November, will be equipped to maneuver in tight spaces, help contain a fire with an ultra-high pressure pump and pull a burning vehicle out of a parking lot, it said. he declares.

“Each fire department needs to assess their community and their needs,” he said. “It will probably be different from city to city.”

Drive the electric RNF

An event this month will focus on educating the public about electric cars and trucks and electric bicycles.

Drive Electric NWA will be held from noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 24 at Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers, according to a press release from the Northwest Arkansas Council.

Drive Electric NWA seeks to address all aspects of transportation that complement an electric load. Auto dealers will be on hand to answer questions about the vehicles they sell and new models expected in the future, and power utility representatives can provide information on how the cost of charging the car compares to full gas. Event attendees can enter a raffle to win a Vvolt Alpha e-bike, provided by Moosejaw, according to the release.

Source: Northwest Arkansas Council

. The covers among the news tips for fight against the fires electric vehicles according to chief of the firefighters Rogers

. Blankets among tricks fighting electric vehicle fires Rogers fire chief

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