National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) staff members attended the Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis, IN April 20-25, 2015. FDIC is the world’s largest fire training-based conference and exhibition dedicated to delivering outstanding training to the men and women of the fire service.
The NAFTC hosted a booth sponsored by the Propane Education and Research Council to provide information on NAFTC First Responder Safety Training for propane, natural gas, hydrogen, and electric drive vehicles. A hands-on display of propane vehicle components was available for participants to learn about.
At the NAFTC display conference attendees could examine propane vehicle elements and learn about how they are different from petroleum vehicles. Credit: NAFTC.
Director of the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute Steve Kerber delivered the keynote address during the FDIC opening ceremony. In his speech he expressed the importance of quality training for firefighters.
Kerber commented that “firefighting is very complex, and it is difficult to learn on the fly while you are trying to execute a plan, perform tasks, and see the big picture all at once.”
The scene of a vehicle accident is often a chaotic and hazardous situation. First responders must work within critical time constraints and know how to safely and quickly secure the scene. As the price of oil continues to climb, drivers begin looking for alternative ways to fuel their vehicles. These alternative fuels have special safety considerations and, in many cases, a first responder cannot assume that the same safety standards are applicable as conventional vehicles.
NAFTC Assistant Director, Training and Curriculum Development Michael Smyth discussed the importance of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle training with conference participants. Credit: NAFTC.
“It’s an opportunity for us to promote what we do for first responders at the world’s largest firefighter training event,” said NAFTC Assistant Director, Training and Curriculum Development Michael Smyth.
The NAFTC created a suite of First Responder Safety Training products to address the critical need for alternative fuel vehicle training for first responders. Participants of the NAFTC First Responder Safety Training learn important information needed to safely respond to accidents involving these vehicles. These topics include key vehicle and fuel properties and characteristics, vehicle components, vehicle identification and recommended first responder procedures.
“The information that the NAFTC provides through our training program for first responders is critical for the safety and well-being of every firefighter that responds to an incident involving an alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicle,” said Bill Davis, NAFTC Director.
Kerber closed his speech with a challenge for attendees. “Let’s create a legacy of intelligent professionals, critically thinking firefighters, who will continually work to get better. Let’s build on the foundation of 200+ years of firefighting in a way that continues to make sense as the fire environment evolves. Firefighter effectiveness is an evolution. There is no one answer today, and we aren’t going to solve it tomorrow. It is a process that is ongoing, and we all need to invest in it.”
Hundreds of participants at FDIC 2015 performed a stair climb in memory of the 343 FDNY lives lost in the 9/11 attacks. Members of fire departments across the country climbed stairs equivalent to the 110 stories of the World Trade Centers, many while wearing full uniform. Credit: NAFTC.
Conference attendees were able to attend hundreds of presentations and sessions on industry topics, visit a wide range of exhibitors and vendors, and attend trainings before and during the conference. Other events included a 5k run and a 9/11 memorial stair climb. This was the 88th annual FDIC conference with more than 30,000 participants from more than 53 nations.