Today, Chicago Area Clean Cities and the West Chicago Fire Protection District teamed up to provide training for first responders on how to handle incidents involving alternative fuel vehicles.
The hands-on training allowed participants to learn how to respond to emergency events via simulated emergencies. The training used alternative fuel vehicles provided by local fleets.
“With the growing number of alternative fuel and electric vehicles on the roads, it is important for first responders to understand the properties of fuels such as natural gas, propane and ethanol, as well as the battery technologies used in today’s electric vehicles. They are different than traditional gasoline and diesel fuels,” says John Walton, chair of Chicago Area Clean Cities.
“For example, with electric vehicles, emergency responders may need to know where to cut power wires to disable high-voltage circuits,” he explains. “Gaseous fuels are invisible. Propane is heavier than air, and natural gas lighter than air, so awareness of how to react relates to the fuel properties. The locations of fuel shutoffs on gaseous-fuel vehicles are different than liquid-fuel vehicles, as well.”
As a part of the initiative, the first responders are also participating in online, self-guided training provided by the National Fire Protection Association.