Using Crowdsourcing to Address Electric Vehicle Fires

Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Development of Emergency Responder SOPs/SOGs: Using Crowdsourcing to Address Electric Vehicle Fires" (PDF, 247 KB)
Author: Ellie Burgess, Custos Fratris L3C, Tucson, AZ
issue: July 2014


The fire service and other emergency responders serve an important societal role by saving lives, reducing injuries and minimizing the adverse impact from unwanted fire and other emergency events.  

The duties of emergency responders are numerous and they commonly utilize Standard Operating Procedures and Standard Operating Guidelines (SOPs/SOGs) to fulfill their mission. SOPs/SOGs are typically prescriptive documents that are not uniform and are customized between emergency response organizations. For example, in the United States there are more than 31,000 individual fire departments, and each is likely to use dozens of different SOPs/SOGs addressing numerous tasks. These ultimately represent best practice for a particular emergency response organization, and are used to facilitate training, support operational guidance, and to interpret policy during post event assessment.

A new information development tool that is becoming recognized in recent years is "crowdsourcing," and it offers intriguing potential benefits for the development of SOPs/SOGs.  The transparent communication tools of today’s internet age have strongly enabled the concept of crowdsourcing. It offers a novel approach to synthesize and coordinate information on a common technical topic based on broad and on-going input from directly impacted stakeholders. This project focuses on the use of crowdsourcing techniques to develop and refine SOPs/SOGs for the fire service, with a prototype focus on addressing fires involving electric & hybrid vehicles. The goal of this project is to investigate the virtues of a novel approach for generating SOPs/SOGs for the fire service.