Mar 13th, 2024
4 mins

Almost half (48%) of UK employers have already installed electric vehicle (EV) chargers, while a third (32%) are planning to invest in charging infrastructure over the next 12 months, new research suggests.

Fire industry guidance mentions considering the provision of portable firefighting equipment at EV charging points. We have identified that on the back of this guidance many fire extinguisher providers are promoting the new Lith-Ex fire extinguishers, these can cost circa £400/unit.

The question raised from within BFFF membership is in fact, would you really want your employees attempting to tackle a EV fire?

We all know that Lithium-ion batteries pose a significant risk if damaged or exposed to high heat, as the subsequent chemical reaction produces a flammable gas which can cause the batteries to catch fire or explode. The gas serves as fuel for the fire, enabling it to spread rapidly and in a very unpredictable way.

Looking at the technical specifications for a large 9KG Lith-Ex fire extinguisher, it states these are safe to use on up to 1000wh electrical equipment (large e-scooter/e-bike), with a Tesla Model ‘S’ fitted with 5000wh batteries, this in itself possibly answers the question.

At this stage, we at BFFF believe this fire industry guidance is being drastically misinterpreted for the purpose of selling the very expensive Lith-Ex fire extinguishers into the industry. The bottom line is that in the event of an EV fire, you would never ask your employees to tackle this anyway. In addition, by having Lith-Ex extinguishers at EV charging points, this may also suggest to some people that they should attempt to do this.

We believe, the guidance (if interpreted correctly) relates to a sensible approach of having a fire risk assessment completed and the provision of standard extinguishers (Powder or CO2) located near EV charging points to tackle a small electrical fires which may start at the charger itself.

To give absolute advice of this subject we have passed this information onto our Primary Authority Essex Fire and Rescue who intend to raise this within the fire industry. Please watch this space for further details. Please see below FPA/RISC Authority guidance – Fire Safety when Charging Electric Vehicles:


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