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Extinguisher for Electric Car in Workshop

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I am aware that a class D dry powder is fine for lithium battery fires. 

But these specialist DP extinguishers are not suitable for use on live electrics

So what firefighting equipment would be best for a car workshop specialising in repairing electric vehicles? In such cases there may be huge lithium batteries and live apparatus with fast chargers operatiing at 62÷ amps.

Clearly class d extinguishers would not be safe here - and in the example of the premise I am considering, the charger power isolator is not readily accessible.

From a fire service strategy point of view, this workshop is in a difficult location within a large building and plenty of surrounding risk attached to either side and sleeping accommdation above

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I think you will struggle to find a definite answer to this one Messy.

The L2 Powder 'could' be sufficient so long it's passed the di-electrode test.

I am aware that there is a small extinguisher on the market that ticks all the boxes but it's one of these Halfords type throwaway ones which aren't practical in this instance.

Best practice in mind, I would recommend 1 x L2 Powder & 1 x 5kg Co2.

Failing that it would be a fixed suppression system

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Messy, are you overthinking this?

1) It is a car workshop with the nominal vehicle repair hazards... I would start here with standard ABC Dry Chems.

2) IMHO; without de-energizing the power any charging specific risk/hazards are unlikely to be controlled with a pure Class C Extinguisher until the power path is compromised at which point its a Class B, so see above.  (But Class C wont hurt)

3) I checked this quick reference which indicates:


"Since lithium-ion batteries aren’t made with metallic lithium, a Class D dry powder extinguisher would not be effective.

So, what kind of fire extinguisher should you use in this scenario? Lithium-ion batteries are considered a Class B fire, so a standard ABC or BC dry chemical fire extinguisher should be used. Class B is the classification given to flammable liquids. Lithium-ion batteries contain liquid electrolytes that provide a conductive pathway, so the batteries receive a B fire classification."

Of more concern to me is that this operation is allowed under sleeping accommodation.  Is there an existing zoning/occupancy issue?  Is there any chance of forcing an "Emergency Power Shut Off" installation that is accessible to workers/emergency services; if not the installation of a fixed fire suppression system? 

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I have been on site today and have made some progress.

The EV (electric vehicles) involved are either bespoke or custom made for either the luxury end of the market (for people that have shed loads of money and no taste) or specialist applications. Therefore the works carried on in the workshop are therefore more advanced that servicing and repairs. Each job is different and they often start from the ground up. Thankfully, they do not touch the batteries (other than storing & fitting them)

The emergency plan will basically spilt fires into two groups.

1) Electrical - isolate and co2.

2) Battery - if in stock and safe to do so, drop a class D on it. If fitted to the car, no first aid firefighting -walk away and dial 999

The power shut down equipment will be enhanced with push buttons placed above fire extinguisher points

So what SOPs have the fire service provided for EVs?

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Through my own research, and nothing official through the brigade, I have deduced that these vehicles are an absolute nightmare if the battery compartment is compromised and involved in fire. I would personally like to see some more robust training fed out to first responders as to how to make safe and extinguish EVs involved in fire. 

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