A new technology aims to address electric car fires

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) – With the ongoing shift toward electric vehicles (EVs), fire safety concerns have emerged as a focal point for fire departments across regions.

The Montgomery County Fire Department aims to address the challenges posed by extinguishing electric vehicle fires, which require significantly greater resources than traditional combustion engine vehicles.

Firefighters highlight that fighting an EV fire requires thousands of gallons of water, sometimes as much as 40 to 50 times more than a regular car fire, primarily due to the lithium batteries that power these vehicles.

Carrie Brennan, a firefighter with a doctorate in chemistry, studied the need for proactive measures to address potential EV fire incidents.

“As firefighters, it is our responsibility to anticipate and prepare for such scenarios rather than react,” Brennan said. “We need solutions that are ready in advance.”

While conventional car fires can often be extinguished with water within minutes, electric vehicle fires require lengthy efforts, often extending for hours.

“The challenge with electric vehicle fires is that they catch us by surprise; there is minimal warning before the situation escalates,” Brennan said. “Dumping water on such fires becomes a monumental task.”

Aside from the firefighting aspect, there is also the critical issue of containing the toxic chemicals released during an EV fire.

That’s why Brennan and the fire department suggest electric vehicle fire blankets.

They are designed to mitigate the spread of hazardous materials and protect against exposure to toxic fumes.

“These blankets serve to contain the danger rather than extinguish the fire,” Brennan said. “It acts as a barrier that prevents the release of toxic chemicals into the air or water.”

The Montgomery County Fire Department has placed a formal request for four electric vehicle fire blankets as part of its budget allotment. These blankets, whose prices range between $1,200 and $1,800 each, represent a proactive step towards enhancing firefighting capabilities in the face of new technologies.

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(tags for translation) Electric vehicle fires

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