Making Sure the Chevy Volt is Safe for First Responders
A friend of mine works part-time as a firefighter in a small town, and one of the things that he's often talking about is how dangerous airbags can be if you are a first responder. They might save the life of a car's passengers, but if they go off while you are crawling inside a car, or if you cut up the car in the wrong pace and hit an unexploded airbag, that can cause big problems. But first responders are trained for this and are adjusting their techniques to minimize risk. The same is true with electric cars and plug-in hybrids, with their big battery packs and high-voltage lines.
No Car is Safe if You Don't Know What You're Doing
GM writes: "Along with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), Chevrolet and OnStar revealed the first automotive manufacturer-sponsored training program to educate first responders nationwide about electric vehicle technology."
The video below shows some of this in action, with a Volt pre-production model getting cut up really good in the name of safety.
Over the last few months, we've worked together with first responder representatives from national safety organizations to develop educational materials that will answer the questions their colleagues are likely to ask. As a result, we've developed training sessions that will raise awareness and understanding of electric vehicle technology to be shared with fire fighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians and emergency dispatchers.
I hope that other makes of plug-in hybrids and electric cars will do the same. We're coming up on a transition period in the automotive world, and first responders need to be formed to deal with new hazards (gasoline cars are dangerous too, but everybody's used to them -- the same will eventually happen with EVs).
Manufacturers also need to design cars that are as safe as possible for both the passengers and the first responders. There are many ways to do that: battery packs that are more robust and can handle bigger impacts, mechanisms that disconnect the battery after a big enough impact, etc.
More Chevy Volt PHEV
The Chevy Volt Will Get 50 MPG When the Battery is Drained
The First Pre-Production Chevy Volt Rolls Off the Assembly Line
More Electric Cars
Can Electric Cars Survive the Canadian Winter?
Los Angeles, Without the Cars (Video)