(LAS VEGAS CBS KXNT)  The list of required knowledge for first responders gets longer all the time.  Now firefighters are being alerted to potential danger during rescue procedures involving hybrid or electric vehicles.

At a conference of in Las Vegas this weekend, the National Fire Protection Association provided a day of training for trainers — firefighters who will return home to share with their ranks practical knowledge about the cars.

Safely disabling the the batteries tops the list. High-voltage batteries that operate the vehicle systems carry enough juice to kill or severely injure a rescuer who incorrectly cuts a cable.  Students also spent time sorting out the varying features on hybrid and electric models, including airbag trigger mechanisms.

Silent movement is another hazard for a rescuer who might believe a motionless car is off.  The cars are silent when they’re in battery mode, and can begin to move forward when obstacles blocking their paths are removed.  The engine in a hybrid model might unexpectedly kick on when the battery has drained. The first responders are taught always to assume the systems are active.


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