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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Florida Politics: Jimmy Patronis sounds alarms on dangerous mix of electric cars, storm surge

10/10/2022
For Immediate Release: Monday, October 10, 2022
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Florida Politics: Jimmy Patronis sounds alarms on dangerous mix of electric cars, storm surge

 

Jimmy Patronis sounds alarms on dangerous mix of electric cars, storm surge
Jacob Ogles
Florida Politics
October 9, 2022
Read full article HERE

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In the wake of Hurricane Ian, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is expressing new concern over electric vehicles. He penned a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sounding alarms on the dangerous mix of lithium batteries and storm surge.

Patronis, whose duties include state Fire Marshal, said the administration needs to assess fire risks associated with saltwater on electric vehicles. In the meantime, he said fire teams need more support to deal with an “inevitable” increase in fires associated with electric-powered automobiles.

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“I joined North Collier Fire Rescue to assess response activities related to Hurricane Ian and saw with my own eyes an EV continuously ignite, and continually reignite, as fireteams doused the vehicle with tens-of-thousands of gallons of water,” Patronis said. “Subsequently, I was informed by the fire department that the vehicle, once again reignited when it was loaded onto the tow truck. Based on my conversations with area firefighters, this is not an isolated incident. As you can appreciate, I am very concerned that we may have a ticking time bomb on our hands.”

Much of the existing federal guidance on disaster response involving submerged vehicles does not account for the risks associated with the exposure of lithium car batteries to saltwater, he said.

He wants the NHTSA to require electric car manufacturers of the dangers related to vehicles impacted by storm surge, and said his office will distribute that information in Florida as soon as it becomes available.

Patronis expressed urgency on whether personal protective equipment used by emergency rescue teams effectively protects first responders from poisonous gases associated with electric vehicle fires. He raised the question if rescue teams need specific missions on the removal of electric vehicles by secondary responders.

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Patronis said he wants answers to questions posed in his letter no later than Friday, Oct. 14.

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