Inside the wake of Hurricane Ian, Chief Monetary Officer Jimmy Patronis is expressing new cas quickly asrn over electrical automobiles. He penned a letter to the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Safety Administration sounding alarms on The damaging Combination of lithium batteries and storm surge.
Patronis, whose duties embrace state Hearth Marshal, said the administration Should assess fire hazards Associated to saltwater on electrical automobiles. Inside the meantime, he said fire teams want extra assist to Deal with an “inevitable” enhance in fires Associated to electrical-energyed automobiles.
He despatched A duplicate of the letter to Rep. Frank Pallone, Chair of The house Power and Commerce Committee.
He said The drawback turned particularly apparent all by way of journey-alongs after Hurricane Ian. He responded with North Collier Hearth Rescue on Oct. 6, eight days after Hurricane Ian made landfall on Sept. 28. The storm delivered The biggest damage to the north in Lee County, however Collier County withstood primary flooding as Greater than six ft of storm surge flooded populated spaces with seawater from the Gulf of Mexico.
One primary drawback Patronis described was that even after lithium battery fires have been extinguished, continued publicity to saltwater triggered new ignitions.
“I joined North Collier Hearth Rescue To evaluate response actions related to Hurricane Ian and noticed with My very personal eyes an EV continuously ignite, and regularly reignite, as fireteams doused the car with tens-of-hundreds of gallons of water,” Patronis said. “Subsequently, I used to Be informed by The hearth division that the car, as quickly as as quickly as extra reignited when it was loaded onto the tow truck. Based mostly on my conversations with space firefighters, That might not an remoted incident. As You will Have The energy To understand, I am very involved that we might have a ticking time bomb on our palms.”
A lot of The prevailing federal steerage on disaster response involving submerged automobiles Does not acrely for the hazards Associated to the publicity of lithium automotive batteries to saltwater, he said.
He wants the NHTSA to require electrical automotive producers of The hazards related to automobiles impacted by storm surge, and said his office will distrihowevere that information in Florida as quickly As a Outcome of it turns into out there.
Patronis expressed urgency on whether or not private defending gear Utilized by emergency rescue teams effectively protects first responders from poisonous gases Associated to electrical car fires. He raised the question if rescue teams want particular missions on the eradicating Of electricalal automobiles by secondary responders.
He additionally requested for any out there evaluation on timelines for corrosion Ensuing in these Kinds of automotive fires, and for steerage on the place To maneuver compromised electrical automobiles In the event that they Need to be allowed to burn out. Tow truck drivers particularly want course, he said.
Patronis said he wants options to questions posed in his letter no later than Friday, Oct. 14.
“In my expertise, Southwest Florida has An monumental Quantity of EVs in use, and if these EVs have been left behind, uncovered to storm surge, and sitting in garages, There is a hazard of fires,” he said. “As a Outcome of the State Hearth Marshal, I want to guarantee native fire teams have entry to All of the gear wanted for these operations, collectively with Tender Strike Teams, Engine Strike Teams, PPE and thermal imagery. Your responses Might be the distinction between life and demise.”
There’s a ton of EVs disabled from Ian. As these batteries corrode, fires start. That’s A mannequin new problem that our firefighters haven’t confronted earlier than. A minimal of on This Sort of scale. #HurricaneIan pic.twitter.com/WsErgA6evO
— Jimmy Patronis (@JimmyPatronis) October 6, 2022