How to extinguish an EV car? (pro tip: it’s not just water)
When it comes to extinguishing fires, most people think directly of water. Water is often cold and, most importantly, makes sure the burning object doesn’t get more oxygen. This is why firefighters have been controlling and stopping fires with lots and lots of water over the years. However, just water is not always the solution.
Lately fire-fighters are facing a new challenge: controlling and stopping electric vehicles from burning. We have seen firsthand that these vehicles with lithium ion batteries, are not that easily controlled. Only recently, it took fire-fighters over 4 hours and 16,000L of water to stop the batteries on a burning Tesla. Eventually, they had to dig a pit filled with water to extinguish the blaze. And you can imagine the mini-environmental disaster that this contaminated water causes in the soil. At Fire Isolator, we have seen the same results in our tests with burning EV cars. Our tests have confirmed that putting out an EV car fire with just water, is simply not enough.
Why water is not enough to control a burning EV car
So we have established the fact that burning EV cars need more than just water to be controlled. But why? Lithium ion batteries react fierce to water, and in addition, large amounts of hydrogen fluoride are released when the lithium-ion battery is burning. Even a fire of a small lithium-ion battery produces an amount of hydrogen fluoride that is hazardous to the health of people near the fire. To make sure that these toxic gasses don’t reach any bystanders, the fire needs to be controlled quickly. Using only water (and lots if it) will take hours and hours, and the toxic water will run into the ground as well.
How to control an EV car fire with FireIsolator
At Fire Isolator, we have done several test with burning EV cars. With years and years of experience in the Safety sector, we came up with the Fire Isolator concept. This concept with several products to control EV-car fires, will make it a lot easier for fire-fighters to control EV car fires in a safer and more environmentally friendly way.
The Key Elements of the Fire Isolator consist of several tested and proven elements that, when used together, deliver the best results when fighting EV-fires in car parks or garages:
- The use of a high temperature resistant car Fire Blanket (up to 1600 degrees C°) in order to take away the oxygen, slowly smothering the fire.
- The use of aerosol units, which interrupts the chemical chain reactions occurring in the flames and suppresses the fire resulting in further temperature reduction.
- The use of a water mist lance for direct insertion into the battery of the EV car.
So we don’t need water anymore?
Actually, that is not true. Water is still an important factor when it comes to controlling EV car fires. However, water alone is simply not enough. We do advice to wet the fire blanket when it’s over the car. This can be done with the Water mist Lance or with normal fire hoses. After controlling the fire, we also advice to put the car in a dipping container with water to be submerged. Leave it in here for a few days to make sure the batteries will not reignite.
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