WINNIPEG, MB - Firefighters are being warned about the dangers presented by the new hybrid vehicles hitting the streets in Manitoba. Hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, use powerful batteries carrying as much as 500 volts of power. Conventional vehicles have 12-volt batteries. When a hybrid car gets into a collision, the more powerful batteries pose a larger risk to firefighters and paramedics.
Andy Burgess, assistant chief of the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service, said emergency crews often have to cut away parts of cars to get at victims, and if they cut in the wrong place while a hybrid car is running, it could be deadly. "It could kill them if you short it out the wrong way and you absorb it in your body,"