Recommendations for vehicles with standard and alternative fuels/ engines
14 Jan 2015

Recommendations for vehicles with standard and alternative fuels/ engines


Because of new technologies and energy sources, the industry is increasingly focusing on alternative drives and fuels. These recommendations are focused on flammable gases, liquids, combustion engines with electric motors and many other combinations more.

The document was prepared together by the Hazardous materials commission and the commission on Extrication & new technology.

The new technology affects not only the type of fuel and the drive line but often the storage of those fuels (solids, liquid, gas, cryogenic, high pressure, ...).

The recognition of the different systems is one of the challenges. Currently there are no labeling and markings required (small exceptions for large vehicles). Also the emergency procedures are not the same for these systems.
Each individual vehicle model has its own specific rescue guidelines. They can be accessed via special webpages, databases or the manufactures.

Overview possible hazards during intervention:
General tactics for all kind of vehicles on fire

    Get information which kind of fuel/ engine is used
    Isolate area and remove people upwind from danger zone
    Wear always self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)
    Approach from the front and if possible from the upwind direction
    Avoid taking position in the back of the car (PRD)
    Start extinguishing fire from a safe distance or behind cover
    Be aware of gas struts (they can be an very dangerous projectile)
    Be aware of opening pressure relief devices (PRD, up to 20m gas jet-flames)
    If pressure relief devises opens: take an offensive position at a safe distance (see above) and let the pressure blow off
    Damaged PRD can lead to explosion of the reservoir or tank
    Secure the vehicle :stop the ignition, shut off possible gas valve manually or push EMERGENCY STOP button, prevent car from moving ( chock wheels)
    If necessary use ventilation/ water spray and dilute gas / air mixture
    In case of fire, cooling the systems (like gas cylinders,- tank, high voltage batteries,..) from a safe distance or behind cover 
For more information use rescue guidelines or get in contact with car manufactures/ experts
Fuel leaking with no fire
    Remove ignition sources
    Cover any leaking liquid fuel with foam
    Use explosion detector
    If necessary use ventilation/ water spray and dilute gas / air mixture
Specific tactics LPG
    Securing of wells and drain inlets: risk of accumulating gas in deeper areas
    Close the leak
Specific tactics LNG
    Securing of wells and drain inlets risk of accumulating gas in deeper areas
in the first stage.
Second stage: If LNG gas warms up it will be then lighter than air
    Use thermal imaging camera
    Do not spray water on the safety valve
    Be aware of extremely cold gas/ cryogenic
Specific tactics hydrogen/ E 100 (Ethanol)
    Burns with almost colourless flame
    Use thermal imaging camera
Specific tactics with hybrid,- electric cars/ high voltage batteries/ super capacitors 
    Deactivation of the hybrid/ battery system; the voltage drops at earliest after five minutes.
    In case of fire do not touch, open or cut through orange high-voltage cables or components. 
    The HV battery assembly cover should never be breached or removed under any circumstances including fire. Doing so may result in severe electrical burns, shock, or electrocution.
    Spill of battery/ capacitor liquid: wear self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) , chemical resistant gloves and absorb with chemicals binders.
    Be aware: super capacitors can contain the highly toxic Acetonitrile. 
    Do not use small amounts of water to extinguish batteries (forming hydrogen gases) but use always large quantities of water if possible added with 3% AFFF.
    WARNING: There is a possibility for delayed ignition or re-ignition of a lithium-ion battery fire even after it is believed to be extinguished.  This may remain an issue until the lithium-ion battery is properly handled/ managed/ conditioned by a qualified person.
    Re-ignition may appear even after a few days.
More information see: CTIF Rescue and Training manual high voltage lithium-ion batteries