The National Auto Body Council (NABC) announced that Palm Springs, Calif., first responders recently learned new rescue skills, including on extricating people from electric vehicles (EVs), at a recent NABC First Responder Emergency Extrication (F.R.E.E.) event.
California leads the nation in EVs on the road, and with that come thousands of accidents involving EVs and their high-voltage batteries. However, the first responders whose duty it is to rescue these drivers rarely get to train on these advanced vehicles.
Nearly a dozen first responders from the Palm Springs Fire Department joined in for a demonstration of the latest techniques in emergency vehicle extrication on electric vehicles, preparing them to provide the best response for car accident victims in Southern California. The demo, which featured Tesla 3 and Tesla Y models, focused on disengaging the electric battery, proper cutting points and safe extrication processes.
“At this event, I learned a lot about the National Auto Body Council and their efforts to, as they say, ‘Change and Save Lives’,” said Matt MacClean, training chief for the Palm Springs Fire Department. “The NABC First Responder Emergency Extrication Program is the program that will help us in the future to help first responders and Palm Springs drivers.”
Today’s vehicles are equipped with numerous airbags, advanced technology and innovative safety systems that keep drivers safer in case of an accident. But these same safety advantages make it harder for first responders to rescue those drivers and passengers. Add to that the potential challenges presented by electric and hybrid engines, and first responders need a whole new arsenal of rescue tools and procedures.
“Around the country, we are seeing growing numbers of electric vehicles on the road, especially in markets like California,” said George Avery, program manager for the NABC F.R.E.E. program. “This was a great opportunity to provide an entirely new education curriculum to first responders and help make drivers safer on the road. Thank you to our partners Hertz and HURST/Jaws of Life for making this possible.”
For more information on the NABC F.R.E.E. program, click here.