02-25-2014, 11:32 PM #1
The Plugged In Plug-In Out In the Streets
As the popularity of plug-in hybrids and pure electric plug-in vehicles increases, more and more fire departments will see public charging stations appear within their response districts. Some of these may resemble tall parking meters; others may be a box and power cord mounted on the wall of a parking garage, for example. Regardless, it is up to the fire service to become familiar with emergency procedures for these charging stations.
So, using the image below as our scenario, as if this public charging station were installed in a parking lot within your district, are you prepared for the variety of emergency situations you might encounter? What if the plugged in vehicle were on fire? What if the owner hit the accelerator instead of the brakes when pulling in and has mowed the charging station over?
The best practices that this author is seeing during travels across the country is that departments are contacting the installer/contractor and getting important information before an emergency ever occurs. Here are some typical questions to ask and get the answers to;
Where are the remote shutoffs? Do we have Knox Box locks to access?
Do we summon the local utility company to the scene?
What about an occupant inside the vehicle? Will they be energized during a crash incident involving the charging station?
Can I walk up to the vehicle and just unplug it without being injured?
Let's share experiences with these new additions to our communities and learn from each other about the recommended best practices we have learned thus far.
Here is a typical setting actually in the parking lot at the San Diego California airport with a Chevy VOLT plugged in. You can see the tall charging station on the left. The long power cord provides the AC power from the station to the charging port on the VOLT.
Last edited by rmoore; 02-25-2014 at 11:34 PM.Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
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