On August 30, the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) conducted a First Responder Safety Training in Valparaiso, Indiana. The training took place at Ivy Tech Community College, an NAFTC national training center member.

The First Responder Safety Training is specifically designed to teach first responders how to respond to accidents involving advanced technology vehicles. There are four available First Responder Safety Training programs, each focusing on a different type of advanced technology vehicle: biofuels and biofuel vehicles, gaseous fuels and gaseous fuel vehicles, hydrogen and hydrogen fueled vehicles, and electric drive vehicles.

The training at Ivy Tech Community College covered electric drive vehicles, and included an overview of hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles, fuel-cell electric vehicles, and battery-powered vehicles. Attendees included firefighters, law enforcement officers, vehicle retrieval personnel, and construction permitting officers. It was co-sponsored by South Shore Clean Cities, Ivy Tech and the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, in addition to the NAFTC.

South Shore Clean Cities, Ivy Tech, and the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission co-sponsored the First Responder Safety Training course with the NAFTC. Credit: South Shore Clean Cities

Besides covering general information on each type of electric vehicle, the training also provided an overview of each vehicle’s history, information on the electric vehicle’s fuel sources, an outline of the electric generation and charging systems, and an overview of the components of electric vehicles. Finally, the training covered advantages and disadvantages of electric vehicles, discussed their environmental impact, and went over the infrastructure requirements of electric vehicles.

An important part of the training involved procedures that first responders could utilize when responding to accidents involving advanced technology vehicles. Information on first responder procedures included such topics as personal protective equipment, vehicle identification, and safe vehicle extrication processes. Participants received a manual summarizing the information from the training that they could use as a future reference guide.

In addition, participants were introduced to the first responder Quick Reference Guide (QRG), also available as a mobile app, that provides information to first responders about alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles at the site of an accident. The QRG mobile app aids the first responder in quickly identifying the type of vehicle involved in the crash, and subsequent appropriate disarming disable procedures.

The QRG mobile app is available on both Apple and Android devices.

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