Friday, March 16, 2012


The wingnut blog Weasel Zippers (with an assist from Tammy Bruce on Twitter) is trying to push this story:

DOE Allocates $4.4 Million To Help Firefighters Combat Chevy Volt Fires...

Weasel Zippers links to a Townhall column by Stephen Smoot:

Last week, the Obama Administration sought to increase the Chevrolet Volt purchaser tax credit from $7,500 to $10,000.

All this for a car so dangerous to first responders that the Department of Energy allocated $4.4 million dollars for programs to prevent fire fighters from electrocuting themselves while trying to rescue crash victims....

Is this true? Did the Department of Energy really allocate $4.4 million to train firefighters in how to deal with the Chevy Volt?

Well, not for the Volt per se, but the DoE did allocate $4.4 million to expand training in electric-car fire safety -- in 2009. (Wingnut sites: timely as yesterday's headlines.)

At Townhall, Smoot harrumphs:

The General Motors Service Technical College provides technical materials to first responders around the country. Just this week, their publication on the Volt was cited by a Baltimore County, Maryland Fire Service Special Interest Bulletin. After a bizarre paragraph extolling the virtues of the car itself, the bulletin gets down to the business of informing fire fighters of how to not kill themselves trying to rescue a crash victim.

It states:

“There is a yellow First Responder cable "cut" tag wrapped around the low volt positive battery cable behind the fuse panel door, located on the left side of the rear compartment (see diagram on next page). This cable should be cut first to disable the vehicle safely before beginning any extrication. The cable should be cut on both sides of the label to ensure the cut cable ends do not inadvertently touch and re-energize the vehicle."

General Motors also warns that "cutting these cables can result in serious injury or death."

Hence the need for spending $4.4 million in taxpayer money to train firefighters across the country to protect themselves from a car that the government paid people $7,500 per unit to purchase.

Y'know, back in the early twentieth century, I'm pretty sure that first responders needed to learn about potential risks in accidents involving gasoline-powered cars, and that those risks were different from what you might expect if the accident involved a horse. This goldurn newfangled technology is dangerous! Maybe we should never have allowed gasoline cars on the road!

Oh, and even in the manly, Republican, free-market Bush years, the U.S. averaged 287,000 vehicle fires per year. That was before commie Obama tried to force us all to drive manliness-reducing Chevy Volts! And, in fact, the worst year for vehicle fires was 1988, when we had nearly half a million! None of them involved alternative fuels! Yes, it's true, wingnuts: petroleum-fueled cars can ignite, too!

The stupidity from the right just comes so thick and fast that you can't keep up with it.


Improbable Joe said...

$4.4 million is a lot of money for training, but not too much money for Mitt Romney's new basement on his new mansion? Really?


$4.4 million divided by 50 states plus Puerto Rico and Guam: roughly $85,000 per state. There are roughly 3000 counties in America, and most of them have their own fire departments(and bigger cities have more than one). Assuming that only 2/3 of them have independent fire departments, those $85,000 in training funds were spread among 2000 fire departments, which means the federal government "wasted" $42.50 per fire department on educational materials.

Wow... I want to go outside and punch a Republican now.

BH said...

A perfectly natural impulse, I-Joe. Thanks for doing the numbers - a task beyond these guttersnipes' capabilities.