Montgomery County (MD) Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) is a combination department comprised of 2,700 certified and trained career and volunteer responders. The department plans to utilize the 2023 Safety Stand Down to familiarize their members with the unique hazards lithium-ion batteries present, as well as communicate safety messages to the public.
“Phase One” of their plan is to distribute an informational flyer for line-up discussion on each shift, as well as a PDF from UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute that explains the science of fire and explosion hazards from lithium-ion batteries. Embedded in the PDF are links to online courses and instructional videos for further learning. Information will be discussed by battalion chiefs and safety officers while doing station rounds.
“Phase Two” of the plan is to coordinate with their public information officer to promote the Safety Stand Down campaign. They will provide content to media partners and distribute flyers to the community on lithium-ion battery safety. View their flyer on E-Bike and E-Scooter Safety and their flyer on Lithium-Ion Battery Safety for Consumers.
The dangers of lithium-ion batteries are not an unfamiliar concept to MCFRS; they are keenly aware of the unique hazards and have even outfitted units with special tools to fight electric vehicle fires. One of those tools is the Task Force Tips Transformer nozzle, which features a 40-inch extension and can be configured as a piercing nozzle or distributor nozzle for confined areas such as vehicle engine compartments or other concealed spaces.
Beyond lithium-ion batteries, the MCFRS promotes other health and safety initiatives throughout the year. MCFRS Capitan Rick Triplett developed the concept of “Wash-Your-Hood Sunday,” which has turned into a national initiative of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network. They also have a detailed post-incident decon and overhaul process that all members follow. Finally, MCFRS actively finds ways to improve and protect the health of its members – from providing cardiovascular and cancer screenings, to offering free in-house mental health services for members and their families.