If a battery energy storage system is burning, immediately contact Dominion Energy, and wait for their personnel to arrive.
- Isolate the area at least 100 feet in all directions. Keep unauthorized persons away.
- Protect exposures outside of the immediate hazard area, such as trees and buildings, to prevent fire from spreading.
- Wait for a qualified BESS SME to give the go-ahead to begin firefighting. Keep in mind that if BESS components are actively on fire, they are compromised and cannot be saved. Focus on supporting fire suppression systems from a safe distance, establish water supply for extended high-volume operations, and deploy hose lines at the standoff distance of 100 feet.
- Use methods appropriate for the specific chemistry of the battery. For example, if ignition has occurred in a lithium-ion battery bank, use a copious amount of water to prevent propagation to adjacent battery banks.
Informed BESS Incident Response Saves Lives
An engine company was dispatched to investigate a strange odor reported in a homeowner’s garage. While responding, dispatch reported the presence of a residential BESS facility in the garage. The initial on-scene report noted a visible white haze in proximity to the BESS. The crew immediately went to work evacuating the house, disconnecting power to the BESS and creating a safe standoff distance. About 15 minutes after arrival, the white fog increased in volume and parts of the system were propelled through the open garage door as the BESS rapidly ignited. There were no injuries and the crew was able to prevent the fire from spreading through the attached structure. The Incident Commander attributed the success of this response to knowledge of BESS, proper size-up, situational awareness, and establishing a safe standoff distance.