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GM Is Training First Responders on Electric Car Crashes

GM Is Training First Responders on Electric Car Crashes
A firefighter from the Illinois Fire Service demonstrated how to access an electric vehicle for rescue attempts.

A firefighter from the Illinois Fire Service demonstrated how to access an electric vehicle for rescue attempts.
Image: General Motors

More firefighters and EMTs will soon be able to pry you out of your burning Prius and maybe even save the car. General Motors announced Thursday it was expanding its training program on rescues involving electric vehicle crashes.

GM said it would increase efforts to educate public emergency responders on how to approach accidents involving electric vehicles. The company says that this new push to educate is a continuation of its previous programs that began over a decade ago with the release of the Chevrolet Volt—a plug-in hybrid that first hit the market in 2010. The training will provide emergency responders with more information about battery technology while also debunking misconceptions about electric vehicles—GM cites, for example, the myth that water poses a danger to an electric vehicle’s battery and could make a battery fire worse. In actuality, water is an excellent method for extinguishing fires in lithium-ion batteries.

Emergency responders navigating the increasing popularity of electric vehicles is a growing need, even though fires in electric vehicles could be less common than in gas-powered cars. Autoinsurance EZ crunched the numbers and found that fires in electric vehicles caused by crashes are rare, with about 25 fires per 100,000 cars sold. For reference, they calculated 1,529.9 fires involving cars with internal combustion engines per 100,000 sold. Hybrids between the two types are extremely flammable, though: 3,474.5 fires per 100,000 sold.

While electric vehicles catching fire may be rare, these fires are difficult to extinguish. In April 2021, a fire in a Tesla caused by a crash apparently took more than 4…

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