New Jersey’s firefighters and emergency medical technicians may soon receive additional training on how to safely and effectively extinguish electric vehicle fires thanks to legislation recently introduced by Senator Edward Durr.
New Jersey’s firefighters and EMTs may soon receive additional training on how to safely and effectively extinguish EV fires thanks to legislation recently introduced by Sen. Ed Durr. (SenateNJ.com)
“As electric vehicles become more common on our roadways, it is important for firefighters and EMTs to be educated when responding to accidents involving these vehicles,” said Durr (R-3). “While the risk of an EV fire is low, managing such a fire requires specialized training since a lithium-ion battery can burn hotter and for a longer period of time than a gasoline engine. My legislation will make sure our first responders receive the necessary funding and training they need so that they are prepared to confront these challenges in the future.”
A gasoline powered car fire typically requires less than one hour to safely extinguish while electric vehicle fires require much more effort. Batteries need to cool and burn out, which could take up to two hours, or a fire department must continuously pour water on the car for six to eight hours.
Durr’s legislation, S-2881, requires the Division of Fire Safety to adopt a training course for firefighters on the management of electric vehicle fires. A similar program will be developed for EMTs in consultation with the New Jersey State First Aid Council.
Under the companion bill, S-3237, the training program established by S-2881 would be credited with an annual appropriation from the Universal Service Fund.
Durr’s legislation was inspired by the ongoing recovery effort in Florida, which is experiencing an increase in electric car fires due to flooding from Hurricane Ian.
“As we have seen with the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian, electric vehicles, like all vehicles, are susceptible to salt water corrosion, which can damage the lithium-ion battery and cause a fire that can take several hours to extinguish,” added Durr. “This wasn’t much of a concern in New Jersey a decade ago, when there were under 400 electric vehicles registered in the entire state—but now there are over 80,000. The sheer volume of EVs will make these fires more common and we need to make sure all of our firefighters and EMTs are armed with the latest knowledge on how to tackle these situations.”