High gas prices and a more environmentally-conscience population have helped fuel an explosion of hybrid cars on the roadways.
Hybrids car run on a combination of gas and electricity. The system uses engines, motors, and batteries, which have the potential to cause serious injuries to first-responders, helping-out at wrecks. These cars are wired with high-voltage equipment.
"With the tools we're using such as the jaws of death, if we cut this car in the wrong location and hit that wire, it could be very disastrous for ourselves or the occupant of the car."
"There's a possibility of severe electrical injury such as burns or electrocution if they were to happen to cut through a high-voltage wire."
So far, that hasn't happened. And Toyota wants to keep it that way. That's why the company is color coding all high-voltage areas on its hybrids in bright orange. The company is also taking time to conduct educational sessions.
Emergency personnel first learn how to identify a hybrid vehicle. New designs like the Camry, which is Toyota’s most popular car, and the Highlander, don't resemble the more widely recognized hybrid Prius. They also learn what to do if the car is on fire, submersed in water, or takes a serious hit in the rear where the battery is located.
"We know they know how to do their job, we just do not want them to get hurt in the performance of their duties."
Some rescue workers seem pleased with the extra education.
"They’re becoming more and more common on the road. What we wanna do is go ahead and get up to speed prior to running into a large number of these on the street."
Toyota representatives say this type of education is also helpful for repair shops that might service and repair hybrid vehicles.