When responding to an emergency situation involving an electric vehicle, trained personnel are urged to take special precautions. For instance, if emergency responders have to rescue a person from a battery-powered vehicle, they are told to first ensure that the car’s high-voltage system has been properly disabled. It should happen automatically, but one needs to make sure, and that task may seem simple, but it’s a multi-step process (outlined by the flowchart above) that can become exceedingly complicated.
Nissan and, for that matter, most other automakers readying plug-ins for launch, have gone to great lengths to ensure that first responders are adequately trained to deal with the complexities of rescuing potential victims from battery-powered autos. Whereas Nissan’s First Responder’s Guide (PDF) tells rescuers to wait ten minutes to allow the Leaf’s high-voltage system to fully discharge before entering the vehicle or cutting it open with the "jaws of life," we believe that those arriving on the scene will ignore many of the warnings and throw caution to the wind, as they so often do, and simply act upon instinct to save lives.
[Source: Plug In Cars]