MAVFC Hosts Battalion Training on Lithium Ion Battery Emergencies
By Past Chief Ivan Browning
February 4, 2023

On Saturday morning February 4, members of the MAVFC, Winfield VFD, Sykesville VFC and other Carroll County personnel convened at the Mt Airy Station, and virtually, for a presentation on lithium-ion battery emergencies. These batteries are a relatively newer hazard that have been at the forefront of the fire service over the past year or so. Places like New York City have seen a tremendous amount of battery related fires and small communities are not immune from the dangers presented by these batteries which are located in everyday home devices (i.e., cell phones, laptop computers, RC toys etc.) personal mobility devices, electric vehicles and energy storage systems.

Past Chief Browning presented a classroom session going over the make-up of batteries along with strategies and tactics to handle the different emergencies firefighters may encounter. Personnel also reviewed medical care for citizens and firefighters exposed to the toxic vapors when a battery enters thermal runaway. The information and tactics for these emergencies are ever evolving and personnel now will need to keep up with changes.

After the classroom portion, members went outside in the cold for some small scale thermal runaway demonstrations using small rechargeable batteries and charging equipment. Personnel were able to see first hand what happens when a battery goes through the runaway process off-gassing flammable vapors and igniting into a small jet flame type fire.

Our community is urged to follow manufacturer recommendations for batteries and charging. We also want our government agencies and officials staying involved in the code process for personal mobility devices, electric vehicles and energy storage systems to stay ahead of the curve and keep firefighters and civilians safe from the dangers presented. Many thanks to Commissioner Guerin for attending another Battalion drill with Carroll County fire companies.