Fire departments in Rhode Island are preparing for EV fires, although they have only dealt with one such incident to date, when a crashed Tesla caught fire in Exeter in June 2022. The primary reason for EV battery fires is damage to the battery, and the battery going into “thermal runaway”, where components mix and ignite. Firefighters are encouraged to unplug the vehicle and remove it from other EVs before using large amounts of water to try to cool the battery down, which can be located underneath the vehicle. Other solutions include fire blankets, which can contain EV fires, and training memos developed by multiple stakeholders, including firefighters, tow companies and state police. Small lithium-ion batteries in e-bikes and scooters also pose a risk, with aftermarket replacement parts and chargers presenting a particular danger.

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