Training for the hazards of hybrids - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Training for the hazards of hybrids

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Technology has changed the way we travel and because of that, it's also changed the way rescue crews respond when there is an emergency on the road.

They may be good on gas and good for the environment, but when it comes to car accidents and pulling someone from the wreckage of a hybrid they can pose a danger to rescuers.

The Eau Claire fire department is learning a simple three step approach to hybrid car rescues.

"Identify the vehicle as a hybrid, we want to immobilize the vehicle so that it won't move on its own and we want to disable the vehicle," says Eau Claire Fire Department Lieutenant Bob Pratt.

Pretty straightforward steps until you take into consideration the thousands of volts pumping through these cars.

"Ultimately if you do cut high voltage, there's potential that you will have a high voltage displacement of energy," says Pratt.

In other words, electrocution or even death, making it vital to know what these cars are made of.

"How the vehicle is designed and where the high voltage cables run and are located throughout the vehicle, as well as the high voltage battery," says Pratt.

The car industry doesn't follow a hybrid safety standard for rescuers, but they are beginning to make changes from firefighter feedback.

"They are assisting us by labeling the vehicle as a hybrid and labeling where we need to be cutting," says Pratt.

Because firefighters are there to save a life, not put another in danger.

"Now a hybrids different because that's why again, we need to know how the high voltage cables are running underneath the vehicle because we don't want to start cutting away and cutting into that stuff," says Pratt.

The department also trained on the city of Eau Claire's new hybrid buses and specialized handicap accessible vehicles.

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