May 15, 2013 2:07 PM by Rachel Cole - firstname.lastname@example.org
CORPUS CHRISTI - Hybrid cars are be driven off the lot more often and according to General Motors, they're getting into more accidents. As a safety precaution, a local car dealer held a training session for all emergency crews in the Coastal Bend.
Sinton Fire Chief Tommy Sanchez says safety is #1 when showing up at a car crash and even more so now that car engines are changing.
"Safety first before we do anything to these hybrid cars," Chief Sanchez said.
Safety goes beyond fastening a seat belt when riding in a car, it's what's under the hood that EMS and first responders need to know when it comes to the differences in regular cars and hybrid vehicles.
Eric Martin is the parts manager at Allen Samuel Chevrolet, the sponsor of the free training session. Martin says educating crews will help alleviate confusion between different engines.
"We trying to show them under the hood and around the doors and around the passengers of the vehicle, what to look for and what to stay away from," Martin said.
Martin says this session was to allow crews from different parts of the Coastal Bend to familiarize with new hybrid models like the Chevy Volt.
"It has about 300-350 volts that power this vehicle, the main battery pack is in the center of the vehicle," Martin said.
That high voltage can be deadly to emergency crews that show up to a crash and Chief Sanchez says these training courses are key.
"The new cars are coming out in hybrid are showing new details like what color cables not to cut and what cables to cut, making it a little more simple for us so we won't get electrocuted or hurt," Chief Sanchez said.
One of the main differences between a standard vehicle and the new hybrids are the safety features that point out the high risk and high voltage areas for first responders.
"It's a whole lot easier with the equipment we have like the jaws of life for us to cut in certain areas and be safer," Chief Sanchez said.
Overall, crews say to be mindful on the roads no matter what kind of car you drive.