SAE International Publishes Standards for Emergency Personnel Responding to Hybrid, Electric Vehicle Accidents


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WARRENDALE, PA--Dec. 13, 2012: SAE International's Hybrid Technical Committee has completed the technical standard "J2990-Hybrid and EV First and Second Responder Recommended Practice," which offers recommended practices for emergency personnel responding to incidents involving hybrid or electric vehicles.

As hybrid and electric vehicles become more prevalent on the roads and highways, emergency responders must be aware of the proper procedures for responding to accidents and emergency situations involving vehicles equipped with high voltage electrical systems.

"As electric vehicles enter the marketplace in greater numbers, it's an appropriate time to recognize best practices that facilitate a safe response when these vehicles are in an accident," said SAE committee chairman Todd Mackintosh.

Among the recommended practices contained in the standard are:

  • A procedure for OEM vehicle badging (labeling) placed at standardized, consistent locations on the exterior and/or interior of the vehicle identifying that a vehicle contains high voltage systems for first or second responders arriving at an incident. This guide would enable first-responders to quickly identify the involved vehicle powertrain type and determine if it if contains a high voltage electrical system. Parameters for the visual content of the badging are also defined in the standard.
  • A quick reference guide. "Think of this as a cheat sheet for first-responders," said Mackintosh. "This will help emergency personnel identify the location of high voltage components, high-strength steel, and high voltage and supplemental restraint system disabling procedures to ensure the safest response methods for both themselves and vehicle occupants."
  • A recommendation that OEMs follow common standards for disabling high- voltage circuits and that vehicle OEMs provide a minimum of two methods of initiating the disconnection and isolation of the high voltage system form the vehicle.
  • OEM guidelines for the creation of second responder (i.e. tow truck operators) safety instructions for the inspection and handling of damaged or inoperable hybrid or electric vehicles, with a focus on the high voltage systems. "We want to see OEMs create a set of steps to follow so second-responders use safe practices. The second responder community should be made aware of proper procedures when towing, handling and/or storing a damaged or inoperable electric vehicle," Mackintosh said.

The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA) participated in discussions and raised concerns over post-accident response. "Safety is our top priority. The entire industry wants to ensure that first and second responders are prepared for accidents involving electric vehicles," Mackintosh said.

SAE International offers the standard via, download, mail or fax. The list price is $66. Discounts are available for SAE International members.

To order "J2990-Hybrid and EV First and Second Responder Recommended Practice," visit SAE Standards. This standard was developed and issued by SAE International's Hybrid-EV Committee.

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