The UK Government has issued new guidance to raise awareness of the risks and mitigations for the carriage of electric vehicles on board passenger roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) ferries. The guidance addresses fire detection and firefighting measures as well as the carriage of damaged electric vehicles.

As a result of our ongoing work with ro-ro ferry operators around the world, in particular in relation to our Fire Cloak Electric Vehicle Fire Blanket, we have a specific interest in these two areas highlighted.

Fire Prevention Measures
Section 3 of the guidance looks at: Electric Vehicle Fires – Background, Detection and Fire Prevention Measures. As expected, it discusses the high voltage lithium-ion (Li-on) batteries that are used to power electric vehicles (EVs) and how Li-on battery fires can be self-sufficient and can also re-ignite long after being extinguished. Thermal runaway is also referred to and is classed as a “catastrophic electric vehicle fire”. This section goes on to highlight exactly what happens immediately preceding and during thermal runaway. It offers extremely insightful and helpful advice around what can happen with a damaged lithium-ion battery and the tell-tale signs that an EV is about to go into thermal runaway.

Control and suppression of fires in electric vehicles
Section 3.15 of the guidance explores ways in which to control and supress fires in EVs. Specialized firefighting equipment is recommended, including foam fire extinguishers, water monitors on weather decks and car fire blankets. Such equipment must be located close to any access points that could be used for firefighting and be readily available for trained responders to deploy.

The Fire Cloak Electric Vehicle Fire Blanket from Prosol UK was specifically designed to control and suppress EV fires, a fact that is recognised by many ro-ro ferry operators. As such, we were pleased to read that the Government is advising the inclusion of car fire blankets in the firefighting arsenal for ro-ro ferry operators.

Trained onboard fire team only
We must stress that any car fire blanket should only be deployed by the trained onboard fire team wearing full PPE. The use of thermal imaging cameras is also vital in this environment to check for rising core battery temperatures – very relevant when an EV is being charged or if an EV damaged in an accident is being transported, for example – to indicate if there is an issue with the battery pack. Plus, muster points for crew should be located in areas that will not be exposed to any smoke from an EV fire where feasible.

If you’d like to find out more about our Fire Cloak Electric Vehicle Fire Blanket, our range of Thermal Imaging Cameras and how ro-ro ferry operators are already using both to great effect on their ships, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0114 255 7700 or email: