Containing EV battery fires with aerosol units: a guide for fire fighters
A common way to extinguish or control fires in lithium batteries is water. Lots of water. Extreme amounts of water. However, we are not aware of a single incident where the use of a lot of water has resulted in completely extinguishing or even reducing the flames. Thousands of gallons of water have been used by fire crews, water that completely contaminates the ground and creates a mini environmental disaster there as well.
It is for this reason that the Fire Isolator concept works with a high-temperature blanket and aerosol units to knock down the flames.
How do aerosol units work in a burning electric car?
Fire Isolator Aerosol units were originally developed as an alternative to Halon. Unlike Halon, aerosol units are environmentally friendly. The active substances of the Aerosol are solid micro particles that fill the compartment completely and attack the combustion process at a chemical level. As a result, the flames are instantly knocked down and the energy removed from the fire.
The aerosol units are deployed as follows:
- Size: the Fire Isolator Aerosol unit, the professional intervention tool for first responders, is small, light and quickly deployable.
- Assess and decide: make sure you have a clear picture of the situation, follow the safety procedures and decide, based upon the given criteria, where to deploy the Fire Isolator Aerosol unit under the Fire Isolator blanket, as close to the burning battery as possible.
- Activation of the Fire Isolator Aerosol unit: pull the pin out and throw the Fire Isolator Aerosol unit directly inside. The Fire Isolator Aerosol unit doesn’t have to be deployed into the seat of the fire. Most importantly you do not have to enter the confined space created by the blanket over the car, but you simply throw the unit under the car.
- The extinguishing substance of Fire Isolator unit is aerosol. Aerosol acts similar to gas, so it will expand volumetrically and reach even the most difficult places.
- Close the space off where the unit is active: make sure the blanket touches the ground all around the car, so the aerosol is contained. When a confined space is created, the aerosol will be more effective.
- Effect & aftermath: after 30 to 60 seconds the flames are knocked down. During our tests, we did not manage to completely extinguish the fire in the lithium battery but we did manage to reduce the flames to a minimum and, with that, brought the temperature of the fire down to around 200 degrees. Enough to win time and think about a plan to extract the burning EV.
The advantages of the Fire Isolator aerosol units over water:
- Can be deployed quickly and easily
- Can be deployed without entering the space
- Knocks the fire down, flames are gone in seconds
- Saves crucial time & money
- Prevents a great deal of equipment and property damage
- Considerably reduces water damage
Fire Isolator aerosol units:
- Do not deplete oxygen levels
- Are friendly to the environment
- Are harmless to humans and animals
- Do not cause any overpressure