Skip to Content

Local fire department starts training to prepare for electric vehicle fires

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00
electric vehicle

HERRIN (WSIL) -- As electric vehicles become more popular, firefighters have to learn about the risks and hazards of dealing with electric vehicle fires.

Recent reports of electric vehicle fires in Texas, California and other parts of the country have made their way into firefighter publications and training programs.

News 3 spoke to the Herrin Fire Chief Shawn Priddy, who says as of Monday, they're learning more about how to put out these kinds of fires.

Experts say one in 10 cars are expected to be electric by 2025. Fire departments across the country are quickly trying to catch up with their training.

Chief Priddy says his team has been updating their knowledge about those and alternative fuel vehicle fires.

"That's actually been one of the discussion topics and I've sent it out to folks to take that class online to heighten their awareness a little bit and address some of their concerns," he says.

Chief Priddy says compared to gas vehicle fires, electric ones, like Teslas, are much harder and take longer to put out, typically using large amounts of water.

"A regular vehicle fire, we may only use 500 gallons of water. Some of these cars are saying plan on using 3,000 gallons of water. Our engines only hold 1,000 gallons," says Chief Priddy. "So we may have to connect to a hydrant or have another truck come in and help us with additional water supply, which is kind of unheard of for a vehicle fire."

Aside from the amount of time and volume of water used to put out an electric vehicle fire, Chief Priddy says firefighters are also at risk to getting electrocuted.

"It's imperative for us to try to de-energize the vehicle. Then we have to wait a little bit because it stores energy for a little while also so it's not like a light switch, we turn it off and it's done, the bulb's not going anymore. So once we de-energize it we got to wait just a little bit," he says. "A lot of them have a proximity key and we got to get that key up 16 feet away so it won't activate the vehicle."

Chief Priddy says if your electric or alternative fuel vehicle catches fire, be sure to let the firefighters know what kind of car you have right away so they can properly put it out.

Author Profile Photo

Maya Skinner

Maya Skinner is a Multimedia Journalist at News 3 WSIL. Maya joined the team in 2019 and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2018 with a Bachelor’s in Communication with a focus in Mass Media.

Skip to content