Technical UL's FSRI panel presentation with electric vehicle charging station background

Technical Panel for Fire Safety of Batteries and Electric Vehicles Holds First Meeting

May 31, 2023

The Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI), part of UL Research Institutes assembled a technical panel to advise the direction of the Fire Safety of Batteries and Electric Vehicles research project which seeks to characterize the hazards of thermal runaway in electric vehicle (EV) fire incidents. Members of the technical panel have extensive knowledge and expertise on hazardous materials incidents, EV and battery pack construction and rescue operations. The panel provides input to experiment plans and data analysis that leads to the development of pragmatic and effective tactical considerations for the fire service.

Led by FSRI research engineer Adam Barowy, the technical panel convened its first virtual meeting on May 2, 2023. During the meeting, Barowy reviewed the research project background, objectives, and resources available to the project team. Preliminary research was conducted through literature reviews and surveys to determine the most common questions and concerns from the fire service as they relate to EV battery fires. Barowy reviewed these findings to guide the group toward research priorities that will form the foundation for experiment plans.

As part of a three-year study, experiments for the Fire Safety of Batteries and Electric Vehicles project are conducted in two phases beginning in 2023. The first phase gathers baseline data on EV burning characteristics. The second phase compares firefighting approaches against the baseline data acquired through the first phase in order to measure the effectiveness of specific suppression tactics. Using the preliminary research data shared during the meeting, technical panel members will help determine the existing research gaps that can be used to draft the first phase of experiment plans.

“With EV suppression, there is a lot of speculative information about when the fire service should and should not be performing certain tactics. There currently is not a lot of data to provide effective decision aids. While it will take an incredible amount of data to develop a complete set of decision aids, we can start in high priority areas through our experimentation approach.”

—Adam Barowy, research engineer, FSRI

Next up, the technical panel members will rank research priorities based on first responder concerns. This process will help the FSRI research team scope and plan the first phase of experiments. The group will meet again virtually to review an experiment plan draft, provide feedback, and determine next steps with the first phase of experiments.

Technical Panel

Name Organization
Michael Abraham Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
Evan Balcombe Fire Department of the City of New York
Thomas Barth National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Craig Blake Ford Motor Company
Ivan Browning Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service
Sean DeCrane International Association of Fire Fighters
Jasen Dodson Loudoun County Department of Fire and Rescue
Patrick Durham Troy (MI) Fire Department
Christina Francis Tesla
Chris Greene Seattle Fire Department
Michael O'Brian International Association of Fire Chiefs
Mitch Petterson General Motors
Anthony Putorti National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Marc Scott Los Angeles County Fire Department
Gary Sharp Hazard3
Paul Shoemaker Next Level Extrication
Ola Willstrand RISE Research Institutes of Sweden
Fire Safety of Batteries and Electric Vehicles