Monday, October 7, 2013


It pays to invite
Emergency Services
To visit before need

A Wall Street Journal article on its Corporate Intelligence page titled A Note to Firefighters: How Not to Extinguish a Flaming Tesla showed a photo of a crumpled Tesla with flames coming from beneath the vehicle followed by the following text:

“In trying to put out that stock-market fire (caused by the accident and fire), Tesla founder Elon Musk has let real-world firefighters know that standard operating procedures aren’t going to work when dealing with a flaming electric luxury sedan. From Musk’s blog post on the incident.”

According to the blog, “When the fire department arrived, they observed standard procedure, which was to gain access to the source of the fire by puncturing holes in the top of the battery's protective metal plate and applying water. For the Model S lithium-ion battery, it was correct to apply water (vs. dry chemical extinguisher), but not to puncture the metal firewall, as the newly created holes allowed the flames to then vent upwards into the front trunk section of the Model S. Nonetheless, a combination of water followed by dry chemical extinguisher quickly brought the fire to an end.”

Unfortunately the blog failed to state how firefighters should have attached the fire.

In days of yesteryear (Hi Yo Silver!) I worked for a company that made automotive airbags. The airbags were inflated using a small dose of Class A explosive.

Like most organizations that store hazardous materials on site, the company had worked closely with the local constabulary and fire brigade so that if something DID go “boom in the night,” all responders would know what to expect and how to proceed.

Almost every organization has something that can be “hazardous to your health” at one time or another. Cleaning materials may seem innocuous as they sit in their containers in a normal environment. But add fire and there is the potential for both a poisonous gas and an explosion. Fire fighters need to know (a) what is used/stored on site and (b) where it is used/stored on site.

Firefighters, and police, too, need to know the layout of all facilities: the entrances and exits, the power panels, the water stand pipes, and any fuel lines with the related cutoff valves.

    Just a thought: If the Emergency Services people are expected to come to the site via the parking lot, it might be wise to have people assemble for a post-evacuation nose count somewhere other than the parking lot. Just a thought.


If I wrote it, you may quote it.

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