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USA: First responders studying electric cars to handle crashes

Although the Chevrolet Volt has fueled heated debates in the political arena, emergency responders are more concerned about preventing fires when it and other electric cars are involved in crashes.

Paul Gurcak, hybrid technician at Sun Chevrolet in McMurray, is working to help firefighters understand dangers specific to electric cars.

“You’re working with high-voltage electricity,” said Gurcak, 54, of Finleyville. “When these guys show up, they need to know how to protect themselves when doing extractions. You don’t want to make it worse.”

Gurcak partnered with the Elrama Volunteer Fire Department in Washington County last month for a training session that drew about 60 people from seven local departments.

Elrama Capt. Frank Culver said more departments have contacted him since then seeking similar sessions.

“No one knew what to do,” Culver said.

Before extracting anyone who might be trapped in the car as a result of a wreck, firefighters must disable the low-voltage cables in the car’s trunk. Those cables control the high-voltage cables, so cutting them decreases the chance of fire.

Read more: First responders studying electric cars to handle crashes – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review More pittsburghlive.com

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