NSW firefighters to be trained on electric-car fires - SUV VEHICLE

NSW firefighters to be trained on electric-car fires


Electric-car fires are not as frequent as those involving petrol vehicles, but blazes caused by their batteries are considered harder to extinguish – prompting new training for NSW firefighters.

New South Wales fire and rescue workers will be required to complete training on how to respond to blazes sparked by lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles.

The training program – developed by TAFE NSW and Fire and Rescue NSW – is said to teach participants how to identify and reduce risks of fires from electric-car “incidents”, as well as techniques for extinguishing the flames if the battery ignites.

The free safety program will also teach emergency service workers how to safely transport and store damaged electric vehicles.

Data has shown electric vehicles are far less likely to catch fire than petrol or diesel vehicles – and they are less common, given there are fewer electric cars on the road – but fires sparked by their batteries are considered harder to extinguish.

The electric-vehicle fire response program – consisting of online modules and in-person training – is open to more than 65,000 emergency workers and volunteers residing in NSW.

“The increasing presence of EVs on our roads means our emergency responders must adapt and expand their response capabilities. This free micro skill course is a great opportunity to learn how to handle electric vehicle incidents and the challenges unique to these [types of cars],” NSW Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said in a media statement.

Since the start of 2024, Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) says it has recorded “63 lithium-ion battery fires … at a rate of 5.7 blazes a week” – however this includes all uses of lithium-ion batteries, including home or portable electronic devices, not just cars.

“There’s not a lot of [electric vehicle] fires but they are dramatic and we’ve heard stories about how difficult they are to put out,” Peter Khoury from the NRMA told The Guardian.

Ethan Cardinal

Ethan Cardinal graduated with a Journalism degree in 2020 from La Trobe University and has been working in the fashion industry as a freelance writer prior to joining Drive in 2023. Ethan greatly enjoys investigating and reporting on the cross sections between automotive, lifestyle and culture. Ethan relishes the opportunity to explore how deep cars are intertwined within different industries and how they could affect both casual readers and car enthusiasts.

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