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USA: L.A. County Fire Training Focuses on Electric Vehicle Safety [Video]

Firefighters from Malibu, Agoura and Calabasas trained on several types of hybrid and electric vehicles, which provide new and unique challenges to first responders.

Firefighters serving the cities of Agoura, Calabasas and Malibu trained Thursday on how to safely cut open electric and hybrid vehicles during rescues.

The training, which was organized by firefighting specialist Markus Voegler of Station 125 in Calabasas, featured a dozen cars from an array of manufacturers including Nissan, Ford, Toyota, Porsche, Mercedes, BMW and Hyundai.

Dealerships from Calabasas and Thousand Oaks provided the cars so firefighters could “look at the components and get the lay of the land,” Voegler said.

Younger firefighters were also able to practice extrication techniques on a totaled vehicle at the station during the training.

With green vehicles like the Toyota Prius, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt growing in popularity, they present new and unique challenges to firefighters as they respond to crashes.

“Operationally we approach all the vehicles the same, but the main points on the hybrid and electric vehicles is they have electric power and it is quiet so the vehicles can move without any warning. We may think the vehicle is not turned on, but it is,” Voegler said.

Most firefighters are able to use a smartphone app that guides first responders on how to perform an extrication on a vehicle.
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