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Seminole County Fire Department Prepares and Trains for Electric Vehicle Fires

By DOREEN OVERSTREET, Correspondent | July 29, 2021 | FLORIDA

Story No. 072921101

SEMINOLE COUNTY, FL - By 2025, 10% of all vehicles will be electric. Electric and hybrid vehicle fires present fire departments with new challenges as Lithium-ion batteries pose a threat of re-igniting.

For example, if an electric car’s battery is not found and the correct cooling operations are not followed, the car will most likely catch on fire again – and it will require an extreme amount of water (up to 3,000 gallons) to put out the fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, half of all fire departments are unprepared for electric-car fires. In addition, Florida ranks #2 in the U.S. in electric vehicle sales and is ranked #3 in the U.S. for the amount of electric vehicle charging stations.

Seminole County Firefighter Taylor Evans recently served as a local media resource to discuss how the Seminole County Fire Department has trained and is continuing training its personnel on electric and hybrid fires. As battery technology improves, this issue will even become more prevalent in not just vehicles – but in the home – everything from power tools to lawn mowers that have batteries and could also be potential hazards. In the near future, SCFD’s Special Hazard and Operations Team (SHOT) will also train on how to mitigate these specific potential risks.

Some takeaways shared:

-If proper cooling techniques aren’t done, electric vehicles can reignite multiple times. Batteries in electric vehicles can emit high levels of heat, which can cause them to reignite. That means firefighters may have to constantly soak the vehicle for up to 45 minutes.

-If you have an electric or hybrid vehicle and get into a car accident, make sure to tell 911 dispatchers the fact that it is an electric vehicle.

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.