First Responder Primer

First Responder Primer

As both a retired first-responder & a MS owner, I'm uniquely qualified to offer quidelines on how to conduct a visit to you local fire station. Certainly tell them about the tab on the TeslaMotors main page for first responders & that they can navigate to a video. But there's nothing like seeing in the flesh - these folks train constantly & hands-on whenever possible. Once they're convinced that you're not a salesman they will be enthusiastic about fondling your beauty. Try to catch them right after lunch or before dinner because fire companies in urban areas have duties in addition to answering alarms (inspections, maintenance, continuing education at their fire academy, etc).
First locate the station officer. Mention that though Tesla's are rare, they are out there, especially on interstates (last winter metro Atlanta was said to have over 300 owners.) Assuming that you're visiting your local station, bring home the point by telling him which street you live on - there's at least 1 MS in his territory. Mention that the SUV model will be released later this year, on essentially the same platform.
First explain the key fob - what it does & where it's likely to be. Demonstrate the recessed door handles, & how to unlock the car via the touchpad.
Stress that the car is always powered, and that it's totally silent. Explain that the driver's seat is the 'on' button (I tell them it's an asshole detector) and that if the driver's foot is on the brake a rescuer could bump the car into gear even if the driver is unconscious. Show how to put the car in park (after an accident it may not be). Repeat that the car is always powered, and silent.
Next - the batteries. Tell them where both the main battery pack & the 12 volt are. Show all 3 methods of opening the frunk (practice at home so you know where the mechanical release is, & where the secondary latch release is.) Explain that the 12 volt holds a relay closed & that by cutting the labeled wire the main battery pack is isolated from the rest of the car, and that cutting the wire also disables the airbags. Let them open the access panel in the frunk & see the wire. Explain the glycol battery coolant, & that if there's blue fluid or smoke under the car then the battery pack has been compromised. Mention that the high voltage lines are all orange.
Show the charger port, explaining that the light will go out in a minute, but the car may still be charging. Explain that the plug will be locked to the car if the car itself is locked, but if charging at home the wall plug can be removed (and is surely on a dedicated breaker in the panel box).
Show the mechanical releases for the rear doors & the hatch. Show how the rear seats fold down - they will recognize that a backboard will fit through the larger section, for safer extraction of a rear passenger.
Finally, explain that, while the body & most of the frame are aluminum, there is hardened steel behind the rocker panels & the A pillars.
These are the primary points to review for a hands-on. It can be covered in 10-15 minutes, but if the crew has no pressing duties they will likely have questions - try to keep them on topic till you've covered the essentials, then if they're not called away you can answer about performance, charge time & range, & all those things your neighbors also ask about the car. If you cover the basics it's ok to say 'I dunno' to other things.
Again, it's important to have your local rescuers go over the car in the flesh. It will stick with them far better than just seeing a video - it's the difference between seeing a super-model in a commercial or having her as your prom date. Firefighters & EMT's do appreciate power & beauty. The bad news (unless you enjoy showing off your baby) each station will have more than 1 crew on 24 hour shifts - most counties around Atlanta have 3 shifts - so ask about that & try to make visits with each of them.

Captain_Zap | May 6, 2014

Do I have permission to duplicate what you wrote?
Thank you for the thoughtful walkthrough.

japaradis | May 6, 2014

This is excellent-- and timely!! I have a visit with my local fire station later this week.

Thank you!

bobrobert | May 6, 2014

Captain_Zap - feel free. I want 1st responders to know how to rescue my sweet self wherever I may roam.
The text is just an outline, of course, prioritized in case the crew gets a call midstream.

PBEndo | May 6, 2014

Great Post! This is some very useful information. Thanks for taking the time to spell it out for us. I am going to put this in action this week.

RFD | May 6, 2014

Tesla has a 26 page "Emergency Response Guide" that you might want to print and leave at the station.

wcalvin | May 7, 2014

Anyone know whether superheated antifreeze actually contributed to the battery puncture fires?

(Organic solvents, once vaporized and mixed with oxygen, ought to burn under some conditions.)

BTW the antifreeze also cools the motor and inverter.

bobrobert | May 7, 2014

wcalvin, quite right about the coolant around the motor. The point is to make a rare car real to the rescuers - that's why you should tell them your street, to make it immediate to them. My outline is generalized to take no more than 15 minutes, partly because they may get a call while you're there, but also to pique their interest in seeking out the online details. Depending largely on their rank (and age/experience) some will be more interested in the performance & beauty of the car. You can expect the station officer to be more suspicious of why you're there, but start taking it seriously and be appreciative when you explain and show the (hidden) wire which disables the battery, and are trying to keep focus on the emergency issues rather than the features & options. Remember that they do have duties in addition to answering alarms, and the officer will be measuring whether he's justified in taking this time with your car.
Oh, if I do need to be more explicit & detailed.. don't park in front of the bays - if they don't have visitor parking marked, look for the lot where they park their personal vehicles.