By Jeff Julian and Gary Garrisi
Jeff Julian and Gary Garrisi are First Responder Contract Trainers for the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC). Mr. Julian has 40 years of experience as a first responder and public safety training in Yuba, CA. Mr. Julian has trained first responders across the United States in safely working with alternative fuel vehicles since 2011. Mr. Garrisi has nearly 30 years of experience as a first responder, and has worked with the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium as a trainer since 2008.
Note: The information contained in this article is not a substitute for dedicated Alternative Fuel Vehicle Safety Training. Attempting to assist with a vehicle incident of any kind without proper knowledge, skills, and experience can be dangerous and may result in harm to the responder and those involved in the incident.
Approaching the scene of an automobile incident involving an alternative fuel vehicle initially requires no techniques different than those gained in standard firefighter training. Rather, if a firefighter follows their department’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) for vehicular incidents half the alternative fuel vehicle battle has been won.
The NAFTC sees the education process for alternative fuel vehicle firefighter techniques an opportunity to not only educate on new and important skills, but to reemphasize basic firefighting techniques that can sometimes get lost or forgotten over time.
At the scene of a vehicular incident, a firefighter should:
While the above described techniques may seem basic in nature, they should always be followed at ANY vehicular incident. Without proper basic training, firefighters put themselves at risk whether the vehicles involved are conventionally powered or alternatively fueled.
The next article in this series will educate on the proper ways to identify an alternative fuel vehicle, and how to add this education onto the above standard procedures.
As always, the NAFTC would like to thank the brave men and women who respond to these incidents and encourage you to stay safe.