Do not use dry chemical or powder of any kind – @gruastransporte
Compiled and translated by Gustavo Zamora*, Buenos Aires (Argentina) for gruasytransportes.
Image from Shutterstock.
Today, cars, buses, trucks, cranes, ships and industrial facilities equipped with a large number and variety of lithium-ion batteries already exist on the market. Boeing has written recommended procedures for fighting lithium battery fires in its 787 aircraft. (2)
787 Lithium-ion Battery Events A Guide for Fire Fighters
The Response Hazard
The box containing the lithium-ion battery cells is secured inside a reinforced stainless steel enclosure capable of containing a lithium-ion battery event.
Venting of vapor during a battery failure event may be visible from an exterior vent on the bottom of the airplane under the forward or aft Electrical and Electronic (E&E) bay.
During active venting, there is no reason to make access to the E&E bay.
Recommended Procedures: Fire Fighting Tactics for E&E bay events containing Lithium-Ion Battery Packs
1. A battery failure reaction should be fully contained within the stainless steel enclosure with any gasses vented overboard.
2. Passengers and crew are safe inside the airplane. Passenger evacuation is not expected for a battery failure.
3. Evacuate area around exterior of the airplane upwind to at least 18m/ 60 ft. from airplane.
4. While venting, make no attempt to access E&E bay.
5. Confirm airplane power is shut down by communicating with the flight deck prior to making access.
6. Don all fire fighting Personal Protective Equipment including Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) when entering the Hot Zone (9m/30 ft).
Recommended Procedures (cont.)
7. If battery is not venting or venting is complete, access the E&E bay to ensure there is no other visible fire source.
a) In the event of visible flame Halon (or Halon replacement) is the recommended agent to suppress a fire. If Halon, or Halon replacement is unavailable, then CO2 would be the recommended agent.
Do not use dry chemical or powder of any kind..
b) Flood the E&E bay with appropriate agent for approximately 20 to 30 seconds and then close the bay hatch for at least 60 seconds.
c) Open E&E hatch to confirm fire is out. If flame is present repeat step #7b.
8. Make no attempt to disconnect the battery pack from the airplane’s electrical system using the quick disconnect or by cutting the battery cables.
9. Use heat detecting equipment to monitor temperature of reinforced box. Temperatures may reach as high as 338 degrees Celsius/640 degrees Fahrenheit.
10. Once the external temperature of the reinforced box is below 49 degrees Celsius/120 degrees Fahrenheit and atmosphere is clear of hazardous vapors, then the airplane can be turned over to maintenance.
Contact Information Additional questions regarding issues related to Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) and Boeing aircraft can be directed to the following: Boeing Fire Department Attn: Robert Mathis, Assistant Chief – Training & Safety P.O. Box 3707, MC 17-WE Seattle, Washington USA 98124 206-491-4005 (Cell) firstname.lastname@example.org (1)
Note from gruasytransportes:
The volume of gases produced by the cell increases with the temperature of the cell, in the lithium-ion battery.
It is proven that if the box containing the lithium-ion batteries and their cells is capable of containing a lithium-ion battery event but does not have gas venting duct to get the gases off the box, there is a real risk of explosion as a result of an accumulation of flammable gases inside the lithium ion battery compartment !!!
This article was prepared and published for free to spread the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid energy storage systems based on lithium-ion batteries, as well as to collaborate in the prevention of accidents that may arise from the use of such systems based in lithium ion batteries.(2)
Pressurized water is a great cooler and a great extinguisher in lithium-ion battery fires. Cool down the external part and internal part of the battery with large water flow over the hottest point continuously to reduce the temperature and thus avoid / stop the thermal runaway. Water will reach the inside of the battery if the accident caused any breakage or opening to its compartment. Do not open the battery compartment during the event, it is dangerous. Do not cut the battery cables by mechanical means.