Letter: Firefighters should be trained on battery fires

To the editor:

I applaud the training for dealing with hazardous materials, “Firefighters train for fire with hazardous materials,” Daily Journal, Sept. 23. To be trained is to be prepared.

I am curious however whether any training has been or will be conducted regarding the proper methods of dealing with electric and/or hybrid vehicle batteries in post-collision fires. I recall the tragedy that occurred not long ago when a Tesla crashed in Indianapolis and the battery packs were ejected from the vehicle. These batteries created a formidable challenge for the responding IFD units who were unable to reach and extract the passenger until trained and equipped units could arrive. Reportedly, over 20 minutes transpired before they could extract the victim.

Given the rapid proliferation of such vehicles, I would encourage all fire departments to train specifically on how to deal with this new hazard. The Tesla crash was just the first. More will come and to be trained is to be prepared.

Bob Siefker