First responders in San Antonio learned about electric drive and alternative fuel vehicles during a two-day training that taught them how to respond to an accident scene involving these vehicles.

On May 1-2 at the San Antonio Fire Academy; the Alamo Natural Gas Vehicle Consortium, Alamo Area Council of Governments Clean Cities Coalition, Chesapeake Energy and CPS Energy hosted First Responder Safety Training developed by the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC), a program of West Virginia University.


Alamo Area Clean Cities partnered with the NAFTC to bring the First Responder Training event to San Antonio. Credit: NAFTC.

The alternative fuel and electric drive vehicle curricula are available thanks to two NAFTC grants – the Clean Cities Learning Program (CCLP), funded by the U.S. DOE Clean Cities Program , and the Advanced Electric Drive (AED) Vehicle Education Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project.

The First Responder Safety Training consisted of several modules focusing on hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery and fuel cell electric vehicles, as well as biofuels and biofuel vehicles, gaseous fuels and gaseous fuel vehicles and hydrogen and hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Participants learned important information needed to safely respond to accidents involving advanced technology vehicles. These topics included key vehicle properties and characteristics, vehicle components, vehicle identification and recommended first responder procedures.

“Alternative fuel vehicles are the future of transportation,” said Chris Ashcraft, Alamo Area Clean Cities Coordinator. “These next generation vehicles will reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and help keep our air clean.”

“Because alternative fuel vehicles are becoming more prevalent, first responders must understand the differences between these and conventional, gasoline-powered vehicles,” Ashcraft added. “Alternative fuel vehicles are as safe, if not safer than conventional vehicles, but they are different. This training provided first responders with important information to enhance their understanding of those differences.”

Ashcraft thanked the following organizations for providing vehicles for the training: Chesapeake Energy, CNG Chevy Tahoe; City of San Antonio, Toyota Prius; CPS Energy, Chevy Volt; and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, LPG Roush Ford F-250.

One of the unique characteristics of the NAFTC’s suite of First Responder Safety Training products is a quick reference guide (QRG) – a flipbook for emergency personnel to use at the scene of an accident. It details various makes and models of electric drive and alternative fuel vehicles, alerting first responders to such items as high-voltage cables, cut zones and other safety information. The QRG also is available as an app for mobile Apple and Android devices.

The First Responder Safety Training is open to firefighters, law enforcement officers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and hazardous response officials. More training sessions are planned for various locations throughout the nation. For more information, visit the NAFTC or First Responder Safety Training

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