The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium based at West Virginia University has been recognized with a prestigious national award for creating an innovative education package that provides electric vehicle safety training to America’s first responders.

The organization won its second National Excellence in Training Award in the past five years from the Automotive Training Manager’s Council, this time for its Electric Drive Vehicle First Responder Safety Training. The package consists of a suite of products including smart phone apps and on-line courses in addition to in-the-field durable reference materials and traditional classroom training.

The NAFTC received its award in a formal presentation at the ATMC’s annual reception during the AAPEX and SEMA shows in Las Vegas in October. Previous winners include industry recognized names such as Ford, Delphi, Bridgestone, Volvo and AC Delco. This marks the second time the NAFTC was selected for a National Excellence in Training Award. In 2007, it won for its Overview of Biodiesel course.

The ATMC is an organization founded by automotive training professionals for the exchange of training ideas and strategies.

The NAFTC’s Quick Reference Guide is part of the First Responder Safety Training package. Credit: NAFTC.

The NAFTC’s Electric Drive Vehicle First Responder Safety Training educates first responders on the proper procedures to safely approach, assess, stabilize, and disable electric drive vehicles that have been involved in accidents. Training is available through a traditional eight-hour, in-classroom course, and on-line as an eight-hour course hosted through the NAFTC’s Learning Management System. Additional information including access to a free QRG phone app can be found at

NAFTC Executive Director Al Ebron explained that, “Advanced electric drive vehicles are safe, but they are different from traditional automobiles. We want to make sure our first responders can handle accidents with electric drive vehicles safely and without hesitation.”

NAFTC executive director, Al Ebron (far right) receives the ATMC award from John Saia (Toyota), chairman, ATMC Board of Directors and ATMC president, David Milne (far left). Credit: NAFTC

The course’s companion Quick Reference Guide (QRG) is a durable flipbook for emergency personnel to use in the field. The QRG is also available as a free iPhone/Android app. Hundreds of first responders have been trained using the course materials since they were released in early 2012. Many more have already signed up to receive the training by the end of 2012.

A panel of ATMC training manager professionals selected the NAFTC work for recognition from among programs across the nation that were submitted for consideration. The award was based upon the program’s ability to meet training objectives in a highly effective and innovative manner.

The National Excellence in Training Award is given annually to outstanding or innovative training programs to emphasize the importance of training for the transportation industry. The award is open to any individual or corporation that provides training in the industry.

In addition to the NAFTC, this year’s recipients include Federal Mogul Technical Education Center; NAPA AUTOTECH; and The Natural Gas Vehicle Institute.

Ebron said it is a distinct honor for the program to join the ranks of other two-time winners of the award including NAPA, AC Delco, Federal Mogul and Jiffy Lube. Also, the fact that the NAFTC was selected by industry peers makes the award even more special.

“The NAFTC is dedicated to educating and informing the public about alternative fuel vehicles,” Ebron said. “Part of our mission includes providing education on these new technologies to our first responders.”

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