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As electric vehicles become more prevalent on the roadways, first responders are facing new – and sometimes unknown – challenges when it comes to intense tasks such as the extrication of passengers trapped inside a car. Advanced Extrication, an online training resource for rescue workers, recently posted a video showing how rescuers should respond to vehicles like the Tesla Model S.

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I would think if you were to draft a list of the top three "fear factors" impinging mass adoption of electric vehicles, it might look something like this...

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For first responders approaching a crashed Nissan Leaf, it can be easy to recognize that the car is a plug-in electric vehicle and that a specific set of safety practices must be followed. But what about the upcoming Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid? Unless you really know your stuff, it sure looks like a regular Accord.

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Among the best reasons to buy a new car are the safety improvements that have been made across the industry over the past decade. Yet safer cars for drivers and passengers haven't meant an improvement for first responders. On the contrary, the added complexity and new technologies employed in modern vehicles routinely frustrate firefighters attempting to save occupants involved in a crash.

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The massive number of safety devices, explosives, electronics and construction materials in modern cars means that extricating someone from a wrecked vehicle is no longer just a matter of a Sawzall and twelve minutes. Carmakers work with first responders so that the men and women who save lives can actually figure out how to get to the lives in question without doing further damage to the people inside or themselves.

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In the aftermath of a Chevrolet Volt catching fire at a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration test facility, NHTSA may move to require electric vehicle batteries to be drained after major wrecks. The Detroit Free Press reports that the agency is contemplating issuing a ruling, but a decision has yet to be made.

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In the aftermath of a Chevrolet Volt catching fire at a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration test facility, NHTSA may move to require electric vehicle batteries to be drained after major wrecks. The Detroit Free Press reports that the agency is contemplating issuing a ruling, but a decision has yet to be made.

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Chevy Volt First Responder Training – Click above to watch video after the jump

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Firefighter cuts up a Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Firefighter cutting open crash-tested Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Work vehicles at Chicago Auto Show – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Crash safety ratings are a big selling point – who's going to buy a car with just two stars? In pursuit of salable collision performance, automakers have turned to stronger metals and better construction, and consumers can reap the benefit by choosing from a panoply of highly rated vehicles. A problem arises, however, if that safety design is ever called upon to perform. Lots of vehicles now sport high strength steel in critical areas like roof pillars, and while it certainly helps protect

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