Two fire stations in the Illawarra have been selected to be part of a statewide trial of EV plugs, that will help keep emergency services personnel safe.
The plug can be inserted into electric vehicles after a crash to immobilise it. The device disables the vehicle so it won't accidentally roll and injure anyone.
In July 2022, a New York firefighter was crushed as he attempted to stabilise a four-wheel-drive EV after a crash and remove its occupants. The driver accidentally hit the accelerator and the vehicle, which was already at an angle, fell on top of the firefighter.
Wollongong and Corrimal stations are among eight in NSW to trial the new technology.
It's all about enhancing firefighter safety at a motor vehicle accident, Fire and Rescue NSW Wollongong Senior Firefighter Matthew Ellem said.
"We can put [the plug] into the charging socket of any EV vehicle," he said.
"This will help to isolate the motor as well as put the car in park and out of gear so we can avoid any inadvertent sort of movement of the car."
The plug will be used on top of normal isolation and safety procedures such as using wheel chocks, stabilisation equipment and manually putting on the handbrake.
EV plugs are already in use by first responders in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
The Illawarra has had a five-year spike in house fires, with 25 homes severely damaged or destroyed so far this winter.
Firefighters are so concerned about the statistics, that they've teamed up with the Illawarra Mercury to provide free smoke alarms for homes in the Illawarra and fire safety advice for residents.
There is no catch, the smoke alarm is free and so is the fire safety advice.
If you're reading this story on your mobile phone click here to book, otherwise scan the QR code below to request a free smoke alarm.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.