Hybrid cars pose danger for first responders - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hybrid cars pose danger for first responders

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(NBC) -- Hybrid electric vehicles are growing in popularity.

They save energy, but what about saving your life?

Hybrids have a potential hidden danger for passengers and first responders during a crash.

When every second counts, a hybrid car could be your worst enemy.

Although most hybrids test well in crash situations according to the Insurance Institute Of Highway Safety, there are risks first responders face that could slow down a rescue.

Mechanic Troy Cummings warns the same components which makes the car fuel efficient also make it a potential death trap when involved in a serious accident.

"It could cost you your life if they can't get to you and if they don't know specifically the vehicle and how to disable the hybrid system," Cummings says.

Cummings says the issue stems from the high voltage cables running through the car's frame, which are connected to the battery. "Most of the amperage in the hybrids can be upwards of 100 amps or greater, so the potential to kill you is right there."

That's where the danger lies for first responders; they must make sure there's no electricity running through those orange or yellow cables before they can use metal tools like the Jaws of Life to get you out.

Lieutenant Gene Rogers says wrecks involving hybrids are common,  which means his crews are constantly being trained on how to act fast and appropriately when an accident happens.

While professionals may know the risks before a crash, the same may not be true for owners.

Toyota, who makes the popular Prius hybrid car said they are aware of the problem and have been training first responders since the launch of the hybrid in the early 2000s.

They stress the importance of first responder training as hybrids and electric vehicles continue to grow in popularity.

Toyota has an emergency response guide available online.


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