Electric Vehicle Safety Standards Summit Set for October

NFPA is joining with SAE International to co-sponsor the event. NFPA published an article recently about the hazards emergency responders may face when responding to electric vehicle accidents, and the association is developing a responder safety training program with a $4.4 million DOE grant.

Making an emergency run to assist accident victims who were in an electric vehicle can be dangerous, but the extrication of the victims might be even more hazardous. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Fire Protection Research Foundation are studying the issues involved, and NFPA is currently developing a responder safety training program with a $4.4 million DOE grant, according to an article published in the NFPA Journal's March/April 2010 issue.

The program will include a Web site, classroom training courses, and possibly webinars and handbooks, according to the article, which says key concerns for responders in such incidents include electric shock, vehicle movement, and how to extinguish fires.

NFPA announced April 9 that it and SAE International will co-sponsor the U.S. National Electric Vehicles Safety Standards Summit on Oct. 19-20, 2010, at the Cobo Convention Center in Detroit. The summit is meant to support the development of appropriate fire and electrical safety standards as these vehicles become popular in the United States.

"Preparing for the growing number of hybrid-electric and electric vehicles arriving on U.S. roads in the next few years requires an understanding of how fire and electrical safety standards apply to them and how they may need to be adapted to support specific needs of the auto industry, while ensuring that safety is addressed," said Christian Dubay, PE, NFPA's vice president codes and standards and chief engineer. "The knowledge shared at this summit will guide the future of codes and standards for electric vehicles and their supporting infrastructure."

"Introducing Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Battery Electric Vehicles within an established infrastructure requires a prudent deployment of standards and strategies by all stakeholders," said Dave Baxter, SAE Motor Vehicle Council chair. "SAE is pleased to collaborate with NFPA in hosting a summit that brings together key stakeholders to identify the necessary standards development activities and associated deployment strategies."

The summit's first day will include presentations about both vehicle types, electric infrastructure, first responders, and how they relate to safety standards affecting electric vehicles. On the second day, representatives from key stakeholder groups will be invited back to participate in breakout sessions on each specific topic area and perform analyses that will be used to develop action plans to address gaps between each topic area. NFPA said registration information will be released at a later date.

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