Lithium batteries in electric vehicles could pose life-threatening risks in the event of an accident. Here’s how to stay safe.

Electric vehicles are exploding in popularity these days, but when accidents do happen – as they often do – first responders are faced with challenges they’ve never faced before, it could prove deadly.

News 12’s Tara Rosenblum has the information you need to stay safe in electric cars.

When a car catches fire, most firefighters react to a science. They know exactly what to do and when.

But, if that car happens to be an electric vehicle, they have to pivot quickly and take a whole new approach because of the lithium batteries that power them.

They are not easy to access – they consist of 1,000 cells in a compartment under the vehicle.

So when they catch fire, access can be very difficult, allowing the batteries to burn faster and faster and even reignite, requiring a lot of water to extinguish them.

A typical standard car gets 300 to 500 gallons of water, but EVs use thousands – which was the case when bad weather sent a Tesla crashing into a tree on the Palisades Parkway earlier this year , instantly killing the driver. The vehicle’s lithium battery also ruptured, sparking a fire that responders struggled to contain.

A standard fire engine holds only 500 to 750 gallons of water.

Electric vehicles are exploding in popularity, with just under 52,000 of them on the road in New York, nearly 48,000 in New Jersey and just over 13,000 in Connecticut.

Despite, National Transportation Safety Board data discovered by the Turn to Tara team shows that a third of the nation’s fire departments are ill-prepared to respond to electric vehicle fires due to a lack of hands-on training, leaving many responders training to help intervention guides published directly by car manufacturers.

While Tesla did not return News 12’s calls for comment, it’s important to point out that despite the challenges firefighters face, so far, Highway Loss Data Institute research shows that drivers are not less careful driving a Tesla than a regular. auto.

To reduce the risk of fire, follow these tips:

– Determine where your main electrical stop switch is – don’t wait for an accident.

– Always be on the lookout for strange smells coming from the car.

– Don’t forget to charge your vehicles outside your garage – you’d rather have the vehicle or fire outside your house than inside your garage.