MU to co-host electric vehicle safety training for first responders

Friday, January 27, 2012 | 5:18 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — First responders can learn how to deal with electric vehicles in emergencies during a training session Saturday in the Chamber Auditorium at the MU Student Center. 

The National Fire Protection Association  and the MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute will host the electric vehicle safety training session beginning at 8 a.m. 

The eight-hour session is part of the association’s Electric Vehicle Safety Training Project, which originated to educate firefighters on how to act efficiently in emergencies involving electric and hybrid vehicles.

The program aims for first responders to gain enough knowledge to train and implement the program in their individual departments across the state. More than 60 first responders from across the state will participate in the program.

“This is really the first major attempt on a national level to discuss the dangers and safety measures of hybrid and electric vehicles,” said Kevin Zumwalt, assistant director of the training institute at MU. “We’re providing factual information right from the manufacturers to the first responders in order to protect and inform them.”

Jason Emery, a certified instructor with the National Fire Protection Association, will talk about the extrication process, risk of electric shock, managing new types of batteries and difficulties presented by charging stations on the electric and hybrid vehicles, according to a news release.

A live, outdoor demonstration with a Chevrolet Volt and a Toyota Prius will allow participants to interact with battery locations and extrication cut points in the automobiles, organizers said. Two Columbia dealerships are providing the vehicles.

Funded by a $4.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Electric Vehicle Safety Training Project for states began in the summer of 2011. By the end of 2011, the project trained responders in 17 states. The association intends to train responders in all states by 2013.

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