Nova Scotia·Video

Dartmouth garage to offer electric cars for first responder training

A Dartmouth, N.S., garage that specializes in repairing electric vehicles is looking to start a training course for first responders because of the dangers found in electric cars.

Some components in electric vehicles carry enough voltage to kill, but they can be safely disabled

A Dartmouth, N.S., garage that specializes in repairing electric vehicles is looking to start a training course for first responders because of the dangers found in electric cars. 2:21

A Dartmouth, N.S., garage that specializes in repairing electric vehicles is looking to start a training course for first responders because of the dangers found in electric cars.

All EV Canada fixes damaged electric vehicles and resells them. But before the cars go back on the road, the company will be allowing first responders to get a closer look at the vehicles. It hopes to launch a training course in the spring.

"It gets them more familiar, more comfortable with the vehicle, so then they're just like any other vehicle," said David Giles, the company's vice-president.

There are parts of an electric vehicle that carry enough voltage to injure or kill, but they can be safely disabled by cutting the right places.

"We can look at the cut points, we can look at high-voltage components, where they're located, some of the dos and dont's with the vehicles," Giles said.

All EV Canada estimates there are around 400 electric vehicles in Nova Scotia and said that number is growing.

Some parts in an electric vehicle carry enough voltage to injure or kill. (David Laughlin/CBC)

Company CEO Jeff Farwell said that's a good reason to get people familiar with the technology.

"Being taught in the classroom, that's great, it's excellent," he said.

David Giles is the vice-president of All EV Canada. He says the training program will help first responders learn 'some of the dos and dont's' with electric vehicles. (David Laughlin/CBC)

"But when you can physically go down and touch and feel and see the different areas of a vehicle and see the types of accidents they've been in and what to look for, there's no better training in my mind."

Kevin Dean, a district fire chief with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, said he's never personally been called to a crash involving an electric vehicle, but said other colleagues have.

"We have had training on electrical vehicles, not a lot of practical experience in the training because there's just no vehicles out there for us to train on," Dean said during a visit to the garage on Wednesday.

Most fire departments in Nova Scotia get hands-on experience removing people from vehicles by getting vehicles from junkyards, but few electric cars have been scrapped because they're so new.

There was a vehicle extraction competition in Halifax last year that was supposed to have EVs, but "for one reason or another, it fell through," Dean said.

To be in a garage with so many electric vehicles, Dean said, was "pretty cool."

With files from Shaina Luck

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