This January and February, NAFTC staff members traveled to Dover, Delaware and Tuscaloosa, Alabama to help conduct FEMA-funded First Responder Safety trainings for fire academy instructors at local colleges.

The FEMA grant provides funding for First Responder Safety trainings at up to 12 state fire academies across the nation, and provides scholarships enabling 1,500 firefighters to receive the First Responder Safety Training free of charge. The training is designed specifically to provide curricula, training, and professional development to State Fire Academy personnel.

Late this January, NAFTC staff members Michael Smyth and Laura Tinney traveled to Dover, Delaware to facilitate a First Responder Safety training at the Delaware State Fire School.

The training, as is typical, was broken up into two days. Day one, on January 26, focused on electric drive vehicles and hydrogen-powered vehicles, while the next day focused on gaseous fuels, natural gas and propane, and biofuels, biodiesel and ethanol. Craig P. Stephens Sr., senior instructor of rescue programs at Delaware State Fire School, hosted the two-day training.

17 fire academy instructors participated in the January 26-27 First Responder Safety training at Delaware State Fire School in Dover, Delaware. The training featured, among other vehicles, the NAFTC’s hybrid electric vehicle training educator, HEVTE. Credit: NAFTC.

The majority of the participants were fire academy instructors who also teach courses on vehicle extrication – that is, how to safely remove crash victims from damaged vehicles.

The First Responder Safety training naturally expands the curriculum available for vehicle extrication courses, since it teaches instructors how to quickly and correctly identify a vehicle as an alternative fuel vehicle, and how to respond appropriately to the unique situations which arise when extricating crash victims from these vehicles. In fact, during the training, Delaware fire academy instructors held a meeting on how to incorporate the First Responder Safety training curriculum into many of their academy courses, including the academy’s extrication courses and the popular Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 courses.

The Delaware training featured such vehicles as the NAFTC’s hybrid electric vehicle training educator (HEVTE), a Volt supplied by a local car dealership, and a natural gas truck supplied by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Just a little more than a week after the successful Delaware training, NAFTC staff again hit the road to help conduct a FEMA-funded First Responder training at the Alabama Fire College Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Bill Davis and Micheal Smyth facilitated the event, which took place on Thursday, February 7, and Friday, February 8.

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