The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium presented First Responder Safety Train-the-Trainer classes on electric drive vehicles and gaseous fuel vehicles in conjunction with the International Association of Firefighters’ conferences January 26–30.

The IAFF conferences included the Vincent J. Bollon Affiliate Leadership Training Summit, held in Lake Buena Vista, FL, January 26–28 and the Ernest A. “Buddy” Mass Human Relations Conference following, January 29–30.

The IAFF was formed in 1918. The organization currently represents more than 300,000 full-time professional firefighters and paramedics who protect 85 percent of the nation’s population.

The First Responder Safety Training is designed specifically to prepare first responders and public safety officers to respond to incidents involving alternative fuel vehicles. The eight-hour training was split into two workshops: Electric Drive Vehicles and Gaseous Fuels (natural gas and propane) and Gaseous Fuel Vehicles.

These workshops teach first responders to identify the different types of electric drive, natural gas, and propane vehicles; explain their components and included safety features; and teach how to safely stabilize or extract someone from one of these vehicles.

Feb 14 IAFF

Several local businesses and organizations provided electric drive and gaseous fuel vehicles for students to view. Credit: NAFTC.

NAFTC Assistant Director – Training and Curriculum Development Micheal Smyth explains, “Electric drive vehicles and natural gas or propane vehicles are becoming more popular across the country. Although just as safe as conventional vehicles, they do pose a different set of concerns for firefighters and other emergency personnel as they approach an accident scene. It is important for all first responders to be properly trained to work with these vehicles so that they can safely assist at accident scenes. The NAFTC First Responder Safety Trainings give participants a thorough understanding of alternative fuel vehicles—from identifying them at an accident scene to removing someone from the vehicle.”

The NAFTC conducted this training under a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant. The First Responder Safety Training for Alternative Fuel and Electric Drive Vehicles project allows the NAFTC to offer First Responder Safety Train-the-Trainer courses to State Fire Academy instructors, as well as pre-conference workshops at industry conferences, such as IAFF.

The NAFTC also hosted an exhibit to promote the full suite of First Responder Safety Training and materials. In addition to the classroom workshops, the NAFTC also offers an 8-hour online course in First Responder Safety Training for Electric Drive Vehicles. With funding from the FEMA grant, the NAFTC is able to offer a limited number of scholarships for firefighters to obtain this online course for free.

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