The activity of firefighters extends far beyond firefighting. In 80% of cases, the incidents they have to face go through structures that must be disconnected from the electricity supply, rescues from high voltage cables or traffic accidents, with the added risk that electric vehicles currently present.
In this article, we are going to focus on the protection against electric vehicles and the problem of electrical risks faced by firefighters. In many cases, these types of interventions result in injuries derived from poor protection that should not be overlooked.
Electrical hazards faced by firefighters
What are the main risks that firefighters face?
Short circuits through the air of one or two conductors to the ground and the electric arc whose discharge entails the following consequences: explosive forces, high temperatures, projected residues and intense UV radiation, which can damage the vision of the professional in charge.
The consequences of these injuries can include second degree burns, lung damage, blindness, or injuries resulting from severe trauma.
They occur mainly in all interventions carried out in traffic accidents, when those involved are electric vehicles.
It is a brief and accidental contact of live electrical conductors, which involves burns at the entry and exit points, alterations in the heart rhythm and suffocation in many cases.
To be more specific about this topic, we are going to carry out an analysis on rescues in electric vehicles.
Electric vehicle rescues
The electrical systems that make up electric vehicles range from 100V to 600V, in the case of electric trucks. It is in the rear of the vehicle or under the rear seats that these battery packs are located.
The motor is powered by medium voltage cables, under the vehicle floor. During any rescue operation, firefighters must pay special attention to avoid cutting, crushing or touching these cables. It is very important that, before rescuing personnel inside the vehicle, disconnect the batteries.
There are vehicles that have an automatic system that disconnects the batteries when a collision occurs, but others don’t and in these vehicles this disconnection must be done manually.
Many electric vehicle manufacturers already offer guides describing where the service connector is in case the vehicle takes it to make this task easier for rescue personnel.