Scottsdale Fire tests new technology to combat electric vehicle fires

The 'fire blanket' is made of graphite and a silicon polymer to help isolate the flames and reduce oxygen to the fire.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 4:52 PM MST
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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Lithium-ion batteries power the lives of millions of people each day, from our laptops, cell phones, hybrids and electric cars. While this technology is growing in popularity, it’s also causing more fires, which can be very difficult to put out.

Since the start of June, Scottsdale Fire said 37 Lithium fire incidents have been recorded. Seventeen of them were house fires. These fires take up a lot of resources and can emit extremely toxic gas. “Lithium batteries are unfortunately becoming our new hazmat. When these things off-gas, the off-gas is toxic,” said Captain Dave Folio with Scottsdale Fire.

That’s why Scottsdale Fire and other agencies are putting a new technology to the test. Fire agencies in the Valley hope they can use what is called a ‘fire blanket.’ The blanket is made of graphite and a silicon polymer to help isolate the flames and reduce oxygen to the fire. The company, Bridgehill, charges upward of $3000 for the fire blanket, but it can be used multiple times. The shelf life of the car fire blanket is ten years, and it can be reused up to 30 times.

All firefighters have to do is lay the blanket over the car and wait until the flames are out. The hope is that this will help contain these large fires, prevent toxins from spreading, and protect our first responders. “It’s another tool in the toolbox right? That’s what we’re looking for,” Folio said.

Folio also urges people to be aware of their lithium batteries. Don’t charge them for too long, and if they are bulging or omitting a weird gas, recycle them.

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