During the month of June, the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) helped conduct a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funded First Responder Safety Train-the-Trainer Course at two locations. The June 19-20 course was held at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) training facility in San Diego, CA; the second training was held June 25-26 at the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) in Oklahoma City, OK.

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 AFV and assess how to respond appropriately to the unique situations that 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. The course features 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), biofuel (biodiesel and ethanol), gaseous fuel (natural gas and propane), and hydrogen vehicles. The products include instructor manuals, presentations, training materials, and participant manuals.

The CAL FIRE training was taught by Gary Garrisi, a NAFTC contract trainer and instructor at Yuba College, and facilitated by Micheal Smyth, NAFTC Assistant Director—Training and Curriculum Development. The training was well attended with 28 participants and a variety of demonstration vehicles, including Ford C-Max, Nissan LEAF, Toyota Prius, Toyota Prius Plug-In, Toyota Rav4 EV, two Honda compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, and a CNG refuse truck. After the training Smyth commented, “The feedback from the training was very positive and California seems to be preparing to use the First Responder Safety Training material on a large scale.”

At the training in Oklahoma City, which was hosted by ACOG’s 9-1-1 Public Safety Division and ACOG’s Central Oklahoma Clean Cities program, the course was taught by Jeff Julian, an NAFTC contract trainer and Yuba College instructor. Micheal Smyth and Laura Tinney, NAFTC Business Operations Specialist, facilitated the training. The participants were very interested in the natural gas sections of the training, as Oklahoma has a large number of CNG vehicles. Smyth noted, “The NAFTC has formed a great partnership with ACOG and is exploring future training opportunities.”

June Fema !

Participants at the CAL FIRE training examine a Toyota Rav4 EV. Credit: NAFTC.

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Micheal Smyth, NAFTC Assistant Director—Training and Curriculum Development, (right) examines a natural gas dump truck with participants at the Oklahoma City training.
The FEMA grant provides funding for First Responder Safety Training at up to 12 state and regional fire academies across the nation, and provides scholarships enabling 8,500 firefighters to receive an 8-hour online Electric Drive Vehicle First Responder Safety Training free of charge.

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