NFPA Develops Electric Car Response Training

The program aims to help responders with crashes involving electric vehicles.

Firefighters and EMTs on the other apparatus were to start getting the car ready for extrication, but it took numerous takes to get exactly what they wanted.

Maintaining Accuracy

All the while we were doing our jobs, an inspector from the NFPA was keeping a watchful eye. The goal was to make sure our operations were in keeping with NFPA standards.

For us, that meant if we were in the hot zone, closest to the vehicle, we had to have full compliant turnout gear, goggles, hoods, and gloves. And everyone was checked before being in the shot. Even if we were just in the background, we had to keep in character with full gear. For us in Haverhill Corner, we suddenly realized that most of our gear was more than 10 years old, no longer compliant with NFPA standards, so it was a good time to buy new gear. Hence, you’ll see a lot of new bunker pants and coats in our section of the video.

Although many scenes were done over and over again, there were some that could only be done in one take for obvious reasons, like breaking the glass, or taking the windshield out. Our guys are the ones using the reciprocating saw on the front glass in the preview video.

Popping the door and cutting the B-pillar were a couple of other scenes that could only be done in one take for continuity.

And, we had only one shot with the air ambulance from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, in Lebanon. They actually came the day before extrication was done, but through the magic of editing, the scenes appear to have blended seamlessly.

As the daylight waned, the film crews stepped up the pace and the extrication was complete with the patient loaded on his way.

It’s a Wrap

For the cast, there was no glamorous Hollywood after wrap party – but there was lots of great “country fair” kind of food and a bunch of equipment that needed to be refueled and put back in service for next “real” call.

Several months later, Rich Dion, the NFPA consultant and neighboring firefighter who got us involved with the project, gave us a private screening at the fire station.

We had a chance to see ourselves in the video, laugh a little at ourselves and get some nicknames. For instance, my deputy, Richard Morris, earned the title of “Hollywood” because he had a couple of close-ups. And for our parts, at the end of the video, when the credits roll, we’ll all see our names on the big screen.

Coming Soon

“NPFA’s Electric Vehicle Safety Training is helping to make the novelty of EVs turn into familiarity and acceptance,” said Andrew Klock, NFPA’s senior project manager of training development and head of the electric vehicle project. “Simple training and understanding of how these cars should be handled in a potential crash is another step in adapting our nation’s infrastructure. It is our goal that by the time you see a sign on the highway indicating a charging station at your next exit, as a first responder, you’ll be ready to handle any car that pulls in for a charge.”

Jim Shannon, president of NFPA, said the organization’s mission is to provide the nation’s responder with specific training and information to respond appropriately to electric and hybrid vehicle incidents.

“Our goal is to ensure firefighters, first responders, law enforcement and others are as comfortable working around electric vehicles as they are with conventional vehicles today,” Shannon said. “…Hands-on training is not always possible. For this reason, our program will be delivered through a number of channels and will use videos and simulations to ensure trainees have the opportunity to get a real world understanding of these new vehicles.”

Much of the training program and video was unveiled this spring and roll-out nationwide is expected soon.

Information about the program and a video preview can be found at