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Electric car and "green accidents" demand police training

Accident scenes can be dangerous for response crews, including roadside emergency personnel, firemen and police officers. New York police officers are now training to respond to accidents involving electric cars that carry sensitive components, including the battery pack. Collision investigators have joined the growing number of forces nationwide to develop the special knowledge necessary to handle a potentially hazardous car accident scene.

According to officers, the new electric and hybrid vehicles are characterized by high voltage electric propulsion systems which are different than those found in conventional vehicles. Despite the safety systems, electric and hybrid vehicles present unique concerns for emergency responders. When a green car battery pack is compromised, emergency responders as well as passengers are at risk.

Usually firefighters will receive this special training, which has been developed alongside the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The NFPA originally developed the training to prevent fires, but then realized that law enforcement officers also needed the training when responding to crash scenes and during subsequent investigations of the vehicles.The state investigators will go on to train all New York State Troopers.

According to officials leading the training, the officers are being trained in the new technologies and the special features of these vehicles. The agency hopes to prevent future injuries on New York roads and highways and to prevent explosions, burns, and other catastrophes that can cause additional injuries or death at a crash scene.

Source: Earth Techling, "EV Accident Handling Training a Focus of New York Police," Nino Marchetti, Oct. 26, 2012