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Mechanics address firefighters’ electric car concerns

Houma Fire Department firefighters Raymond McGuire (left) and Bradley Galeana, fire equipment operator Heath Davis and captain Tyrone Davis are shown the inner workings of a Toyota Prius by Greg Leblanc Toyota technician Barry Boudreaux.

If an electric car flips during an accident, how can first-responders at the scene turn it off?

How many volts of electricity run through these cars?

If one crashes into the water, will first-responders be electrocuted if they touch it?

These were some of the questions addressed at a Houma Fire Department training session Wednesday when technicians from Toyota and Chevrolet walked firefighters through the basic mechanisms of electric cars.

“At least we have the awareness, and we’ll step back and take a look first” when responding to an electric car crash, said Chief of Training Vernon Applewhite, who was also trained in responding to electric car crashes at Louisiana State University.

Applewhite said he wanted the firefighters to have some sort of hands-on experience because they have not yet responded to any crashes involving electric or hybrid cars. Still, the most valuable learning experience will be actually doing so.


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