Fire crews from Auckland City and Parnell worked with other agency representatives recently on an exercise at Port of Auckland involving an electric vehicle (EV) fire.

The crews were joined at the exercise by Group Managers Dave Woon, Dave Hatton, Barry Fox, and our National Infrastructure Advisor, Jon Harris.

Jon said electric vehicle fires are an emerging trend and are potentially a large threat in an environment such as a port.

‘EV fires in a port pose not only a large threat to ships, but also to the wharf where the cars are off-loaded. Also, many shipping containers also carry lithium-ion batteries which pose a unique hazard.

‘Port of Auckland (POAL) is critical to our infrastructure as it is our country’s main import port. It is in operation 24/7 and employs over 700 staff. Every year, over 1700 ships berth at the port which results in 23 billion worth of imports and exports. In addition, the port handles over 100 cruise ships annually.’

‘Fire and Emergency was able to practise connecting to the hydrants at the port and using a demo under-car nozzle to try and contain a vehicle in thermal runaway. We also worked with the port to practise moving shipping containers in order to help control thermal and smoke conditions. Agencies at the port were able to test their emergency and evacuation procedures.’

Jon said this exercise may represent the first time so many agencies had come together for a drill at the wharf. In addition to Police and Fire and Emergency, other organisations participating in the exercise were Multi-Cargo, Wallace, C3, POAL security, POAL Traffic Management, POAL Health, Safety and Wellbeing, POAL Communications, Harbourmaster, Auckland Council (Auckland Lifelines, Auckland Emergency Management).

‘The drill was a worthwhile venture and success. Many areas of improvement were discovered, and several improvements are already underway. We appreciate the working relationship we have with Port of Auckland and look forward to continuing to train in these unique environments.’

All photos courtesy of Rob Powley


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