Towers Preparing for Electric Vehicles (EVs)

The focus on electric vehicles (EVs) in the towing industry continues to grow as more and more electric cars appear on our roads and highways. And rightly so, as they pose a unique risk to emergency responders and the public. Many of you will remember our emails on the subject last year after a study conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), on which a TRAA representative serves, concluded that vehicle manufacturer response guides for emergency personnel were inadequate and gaps are present in safety standards and research-related to high-voltage, lithium-ion batteries involved in high-speed, high-severity crashes (NTSB/SR-20/01). 

One of the best ways to protect yourself and your employees is to ensure they are trained on electric vehicles. TRAA strongly recommends enrolling your operators in NFPA’s Alternative Fuel Vehicles Training Program for Emergency Responders Online Training. It’s targeted at fire, EMS, and towing responder disciplines and covers identifying, disabling, and disposing of EVs. It’s self-paced, easily accessible, and inexpensive at only $25.95 USD.  

Additional resources for responders include NFPA’s emergency field guides. The field guides are available from several sources including the NFPA website, smartphone applications, and other commercial platforms. Another option is FHWA’s Interim Guidance for Electric and Hybrid-Electric Vehicles Equipped with High Voltage Batteries