Blanket for extinguishing electric car fires: 116 fire departments in Schleswig-Holstein put Norwegian solution to use
With the growing number of electric cars on German roads, the danger of car battery fires is also increasing. A special car fire blanket developed and tested in Norway has recently been made available to German fire departments.
In Germany, the number of electric cars is increasing slowly but steadily. As a result, fire departments are confronting more and more battery fires that are difficult to control. Therefore, 116 voluntary fire departments in the Segeberg district of Schleswig-Holstein each received a car fire blanket from the Norwegian company Bridgehill in September. These special blankets contain the spread of fire and smoke development in seconds.
Compared to Germany, the proportion of electric cars in Norway is huge: 61.5 percent of newly registered passenger cars in September 2020 were fully electric. Together with plug-in hybrids, electric cars currently account for more than 80 percent of new registrations in Norway.
No wonder, then, that the innovative fire blanket was developed and tested in Norway, where battery fires have long been an issue. In its quest for a solution, Bridgehill, a company based in Larvik in Southern Norway, developed a 6x8-metre fire blanket made of quartz sand that can withstand more than 1 000 °C heat for 48 hours. The blanket is pulled over the burning vehicle by two people, thereby containing and eventually extinguishing the fire.
In Norway, the professional version of the car fire blanket is already being used by around 70 percent of the country's fire departments, as well as by the Norwegian Fire Protection Association in Oslo. Both the professional and the standard versions of the blanket contain the fire and stop toxic fumes from developing.
When lithium-ion batteries first catch fire, they ignite again and again through a kind of chain reaction. Therefore, the Bridgehill blanket does not extinguish the fire immediately. It does, however, significantly reduce the danger to emergency responders and to other cars, for example in parking garages. The blanket also reduces the amount of water used by firefighters and resulting seepage of toxic substances into the groundwater.
The professional version for fire departments can be used up to 30 times. The fire blankets are made entirely of natural materials and can therefore be disposed of as normal waste. They can also be used to extinguish fires in petrol or diesel vehicles.
Facts about the Bridgehill car fire blanket:
- Size: 6 x 8 m.
- Weight: 40 kg.
- Easy to use.
- The blanket is pulled over the car by two people, isolating the fire in seconds.
- A fire in a lithium battery cannot be extinguished but must burn out. This takes 12-24 hours. The blanket limits the fire to the burning car, stopping spread outside the battery.
- Environmentally friendly, as toxic fumes are contained.
- Two versions: Standard for single use, e.g. for parking garages, hotels, ferries, shopping centres and hospitals. Professional for multiple use, e.g. for fire departments.
TV report on the fire blanket on NDR, public broadcasting:
How to-video, Kreisfeuerwehrverband Segeberg:
Handover of the fire blankets to Kreisfeuerwehrverband Bad Segeberg:
Manufacturer Bridgehill: https://bridgehill.com/
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