Training shows LA firefighters how to avoid shock when responding to electric-vehicle crashes

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Friday, February 17, 2023
Training shows LAFD how to stay safe in electric-vehicle emergency
First responders are learning how to avoid the risk of electric shock when responding to electric-vehicle crashes.

ELYSIAN PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With more and more electric vehicles on the road in Southern California, first responders have to learn new sets of skills to keep themselves and others safe in an emergency.

Key among those skills is knowing how to recognize and avoid the danger of high voltage at an accident scene.

General Motors offers free safety-training sessions for first responders, including one held Thursday at the Los Angeles Fire Department's training center in Elysian Park. It was attended not just by LAFD personnel but other Southern California agencies as well.

One of the keys to drivers and first responders staying safe is knowing to watch out for anything orange-colored under the hood of an electric vehicle.

"The industry has settled on the color orange to identify high-voltage components or potentially dangerous things that may be under the hood as part of the battery pack or other components that are electrified or high voltage," said Joseph McLaine, with General Motors.

"We've put that color, the color orange, as an indicator of things we don't want people to pull on, certainly customers or even first responders to cut orange cabling or orange wiring or components that may be clad in orange."

Aside from that key difference, there are many similarities in safety features between electric and gas-powered vehicles. Air bags, seat belts, crush zones, energy-absorping materials are similar in both. And electric vehicles do have automatic systems set up to disconnect high-voltage power in an emergency.

The training continues to evolve, even as the safety systems in place for vehicles does.

More information about GM's safety training program for electric vehicles is available here and here.