On May 20-21, 2013, the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) helped conduct a Federal Emergency Management Agency funded First Responder Safety Train-the-Trainer Course at the South Bend Fire Department in South Bend, IN.

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 Electric Drive Vehicle 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.

This training helps first responders acquire the knowledge they need when dealing with automotive accidents involving alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. When an accident involves an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV), first responders must quickly and correctly identify it as an alternative fuel vehicle, and assess how to respond appropriately to the unique situations which arise when extricating crash victims from these vehicles.

The First Responder Safety training naturally expands the curriculum available for existing fire academy vehicle extrication courses, featuring a suite of modern technology products to educate first responders on electric drive (hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric, and fuel cell electric), biofuels (biodiesel and ethanol), gaseous fuels (natural gas and propane), and hydrogen vehicles, including instructor manuals, presentations and other training materials, and participant manuals.

Jeff Julian, an NAFTC contract trainer and Yuba College instructor, taught the course, while Micheal Smyth, NAFTC Assistant Director—Curriculum Development and Training, facilitated the event. Course attendees included 18 instructors from the South Bend Fire Department and surrounding areas.

“The students at this training were very interested in the material and benefited from having the best selection of demonstration vehicles to date, including a Ford Focus plug-in vehicle purchased by one of the attending fire fighters just six months ago,” noted Smyth.

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Attendees examine the selection of alternative fuel vehicles at the First Responder Safety Training in South Bend, IN. Credit: NAFTC.




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