Safety & Training
Babcock adds AvSax lithium battery fire containment bags to UK fleet
By Helicopters Staff
Babcock is now carrying AvSax battery fire containment bags on board its UK air ambulance fleet. The AvSax equipment is designed to help keep the crew, patients and aircraft safe in the event of a fire or even an explosion.
AvSax explains, that in the rare situation of a battery malfunction, a process known as thermal runaway, the crew can seal the battery inside one of the specialist bags, ensuring that it stays safe, even if it’s at risk of bursting into flames.
This thermal runaway, explains AvSax, happens when one cell in a battery overheats, which can produce enough heat – up to 900°C (1652°F) – to cause adjacent cells to overheat. This can cause a lithium battery fire to flare repeatedly, explains the company, and they are very difficult to put out, required a solution like the AvSax battery fire containment bag.
Like most medical aircraft, Babcock explains its air ambulance helicopters carry a number of battery-operated medical and aviation devices.
“The AvSax have proved themselves on fixed wing aircraft across the world and every time they have been deployed to deal with an overheating personal electronic device the planes have been able to continue their journeys rather than having to divert and make emergency landingsm,” said Richard Nikolic of AvSax. “The same potential dangers exist on helicopters and the space on board is even more confined, which is why AvSax have become such an important piece of risk management kit for them.”
AvSax are now on more than 15,373 aircraft operated by 80 airline companies. They have been used 33 times to deal with emergencies in flight since the start of 2017. They are designed to cool down the overheating device and are strong enough to withstand a blast should they explode.
AvSax won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the UK in 2018.