This March, National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) staff members traveled to Brunswick, Maine and Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey to help conduct Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funded First Responder Safety Train-the-Trainer courses for fire academy instructors in both states.

The FEMA grant provides funding for First Responder Safety trainings at up to 12 state and regional fire academies across the nation, and provides scholarships enabling 8,500 firefighters to receive the First Responder Safety online training free of charge. The train-the-trainer course is designed specifically to provide curricula, training, and professional development to Fire Academy personnel and instructors to disseminate at the local level.

The First Responder Safety training naturally expands the curriculum available for existing Fire Academy 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 mid-March, NAFTC staff members Michael Smyth, assistant director – curriculum & training, and Laura Tinney, FEMA project manager, traveled to Brunswick, Maine to facilitate a First Responder Safety training at the Maine Fire Service Institute which is located at the Southern Maine Community College -Midcoast campus. The training, taught by Gary Garrisi, an NAFTC contract trainer and instructor at Yuba College, in Marysville, CA, was provided over two days. Day one focused on electric drive vehicles and hydrogen-powered vehicles, while the next day focused on gaseous fuels and biofuels.


The instructor, Gary Garrisi, works with students at the Maine Fire Service Institute during their First Responder Safety Training. Credit: NAFTC.

A week after the Maine training, NAFTC staff again hit the road to help conduct a FEMA-funded First Responder training at the Atlantic County Fire Academy in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. Jeff Julian, an NAFTC contract trainer, and also a Yuba College instructor, taught the course, while Micheal Smyth again facilitated. Approximately 20 instructors from the Atlantic County Fire Academy and surrounding counties attended the course.


The instructor, Jeff Julian, instructs students on compressed natural gas vehicles at the Atlantic County Fire Academy. Credit: NAFTC.

Both academies worked with U. S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Coalitions, automotive dealerships and fleets within their areas to obtain a variety of demonstration vehicles for the training.

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