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Missouri responders learn about electric car high voltage dangers

When someone thinks about serious injuries that can occur in a car accident, most people only think about the period when the vehicles physically collide. In fact, the period immediately after the car accident can pose as much of a danger to accident victims. Extracting victims from the mass of twisted metal is not risk free.

More and more car owners are purchasing electric or hybrid vehicles, which means that the number of car accidents involving the gas-saving technology is increasing as well. First responders in Missouri are being trained on the differences between the traditional gas vehicle and the new electric ones and how to identify them in order to avoid further injury to accident victims.

Electric vehicles use a high voltage circuit to provide the required energy to propel the vehicle down the road. However, these high voltage circuits can pose a serious injury risk for not only the first responder but the accident victim he or she is trying to extract.

Missouri first responders began attending the courses that will be conducted in all 50 states across the nation. The courses will help responders quickly identify when high voltage circuits are a danger and teach them how to disable the circuit.

Preparation for and implementation of the courses are being funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in the amount of $4.4 million. The course information will not only be available in printed guides but will be accessible in electronic form as well.

When a person is injured at the hands of a negligent driver, the negligent driver can be held responsible for the damages they caused. These damages include not only the original injury, but the further injuries that result during extraction from the vehicle.

Source: Columbia Missourian, "Missouri first responders attend Electric Vehicle Safety Training," Jon McClure, Jan. 28, 2012

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