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First responders ‘at risk of electrocution from hybrid and electric cars after serious accidents’

SAE International said in a report that hybrid and electric cars need industry-wide identification that first responders can use
After an accident, hybrid cars can be extremely dangerous to rescue workers because of increased battery size combined with electricity

By Beth Stebner

PUBLISHED: 11:03 EST, 29 December 2012 | UPDATED: 11:03 EST, 29 December 2012

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Firefighters and other first responders are putting themselves at a serious risk for injury or even death when responding to hybrid and electric car crashes, an industry panel revealed this week.

The danger comes with the increased size of those vehicles’ battery packs and becomes potentially deadly for those dealing with wrecked vehicles.

Members of SAE International, formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers, said in a report that hybrid electric cars must be installed with industry-wide safety measures and warnings so rescue workers know ahead of time what they’re dealing with.
Protection: SAE International said that there must be industry-wide changes in labelling hybrid and electric vehicles in order to protect first responders (file photo)

Protection: SAE International said that there must be industry-wide changes in labelling hybrid and electric vehicles in order to protect first responders (file photo)
Danger: Hybrid and electric cars are more dangerous after severe crashes because of the risk of electrocution from the battery

Danger: Hybrid and electric cars are more dangerous after severe crashes because of the risk of electrocution from the battery

Todd Mackintosh, the chairman of the SAE technical committee that led the report, said that it is imperative to develop technology that will help emergency workers as well as the cars’ passengers.

‘As electric vehicles enter the marketplace in greater numbers, it’s an appropriate time to recognize best practices that facilitate a safe response when these vehicles are in an accident,’ he said in a release.

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