A hydrogen fuel cell diagram

HyResponder - European Hydrogen Train the Trainer Programme for Responders

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European Hydrogen Train the Trainer Programme for Responders

HyResponder is a European Hydrogen Train the Trainer programme for responders. The project consortium has 16 partners from 10 countries all coordinated by Ulster University. The CTIF focus centred on evaluation of HyResponder activities to create recommendations leading to establishment of hydrogen safety training across Europe. CTIF recognises it can be difficult for all firefighters to get trained.

 

HyResponder Logo

 

The “Firefighter Safety with Hydrogen” programme is designed to generally satisfy qualification requirements for the European Qualification Framework at Level 2 by providing basic factual knowledge in a field of work. This level will provide basic cognitive and practical skills so that relevant information can be used in order to carry out tasks and solve routine problems using simple rules and tools whilst working under supervision with some autonomy.

HyResponder has clear educational, operational and virtual reality materials to support training of first responders to reflect the state-of-the-art in hydrogen safety, including liquid hydrogen, and should enable the programme to expand across Europe. A revised European Emergency Response Guide is also now available the resources are available in Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Norwegian and Spanish.

The programme covers the equivalent to 20 hours of guided study and practice with each unit based on each 2 hour period of learning time.

Learning time is the time taken by trainees at the level of the unit, on average, to complete the learning outcomes to the standard determined by the assessment criteria.

An introduction to the project and how to use the training material. 

Watch the introduction to the video webinars produced in Belgium

Framework for the HyResponder Firefighter Training in Hydrogen Safety

1.  Purpose

This framework sets out:

  • the guidelines objective
  • any other qualifications required with this specification
  • any prior knowledge, skills, experience or behaviour required
  • units that must have completed before the qualification can be recognised
  • any optional routes to acquire learning
  • any other requirements which must have satisfied before the qualification can be recognised
  • the knowledge, skills experience and behaviour to be  assessed
  • the method of any assessment
  • the criteria used to measure the level of attainment
  • any specimen materials
  • the specified levels of attainment

 

2.  Guidelines

The “Firefighter Safety with Hydrogen” programme is designed to generally satisfy qualification requirements for the European Qualification Framework at Level 2 by providing basic factual knowledge in a field of work. This level will provide basic cognitive and practical skills so that relevant information can be used in order to carry out tasks and solve routine problems using simple rules and tools whilst working under supervision with some autonomy.

The programme covers the equivalent to 20 hours of guided study and practice with each unit based on each 2 hour period of learning time.

Learning time is the time taken by trainees at the level of the unit, on average, to complete the learning outcomes to the standard determined by the assessment criteria.

 

3. Entrants Requirements

Trainees must be sufficiently competent in their firefighter role and tasks to undertake and benefit from the training programme. Usually over 18 years of age, they will be members of an approved fire and rescue service and be able to demonstrate and operate competency at emergencies.

The term ‘approved’ refers to a fire and rescue service that has jurisdiction and provides protection and emergency response to communities at local, regional or national level, or provides firefighting services to industry and specialised agencies; usually referred to as ‘industrial fire services”, to secure safety in processes that manufacture, store, transport or use materials.

The approval and recognition of the fire and rescue service is intended, and should be sufficient, to ensure there is oversight of the fire and rescue service’s professional and ethical standards by an appropriate national, regional or local body or agency designated for such a duty.

The individual trainee must be competent in the safe and correct use of Personal Protective Equipment including self-contained Breathing Apparatus and such other equipment which they are expected to operate, which can be demonstrated by appropriate knowledge and operational practice.

The trainee must behave ethically and responsibly meeting the organisation’s culture in all essential areas that are required to keep them and other colleagues’ safe, which again must be described by Standard Operating Procedures. These must include a practiced ability to dynamically assess risk to prevent harm to themselves and others in all operational circumstances and situations.

The approved fire and rescue service also must state a minimum of prior knowledge required by any trainee before entry onto the programme to demonstrate understanding and knowledge of:

  • health and safety protocols for fire and emergency operations,
  • standard operating procedures for firefighting situations,
  • standard operating procedures for emergencies involving transportation,
  • standard operating procedures for emergencies involving hazardous materials,
  • competent use of personal protective equipment including safe use of breathing apparatus,
  • use competently or have direct access to a thermal imaging camera, and
  • competent use of available firefighting equipment including hose, pumps and extinguishers

 

4. Objective

The Firefighter Safety with Hydrogen programme is for existing first responder firefighters who are responsible and expected to be capable of carrying out operations safely in personnel protective equipment including breathing apparatus using equipment provided, like vehicles, ladders, hose, extinguishers, communication and rescue tools, under any climatic conditions in areas and to emergency situations which can be reasonably anticipated as requiring a response.

Specifically firefighters who may come into contact with hydrogen as an energy source or in manufacture, transportation or storage and require to:

  • develop knowledge relating to the hazards presented by hydrogen,
  • skills to safely approach leaks or fires,
  • skills to control spread and reduce risk to the wider public or environment,
  • experience from other events to successfully expand their knowledge and skills,
  • improve their operational practices and behaviour to safely meet ongoing challenges from greater use of hydrogen,
  • achieve an internationally comparable standard of competency, and
  • develop their own personal growth and engagement in learning.

The Firefighter Safety with Hydrogen programme is suitable for all firefighters who are already part of operational fire and rescue or specialised services that respond to emergencies ad fires or who are entering training for that purpose.

The guidelines may be used as part of an entry or continuation training programme provided it is sequenced to ensure the trainee has acquired the defined prior knowledge

 

5. Training Centre Requirements

Training centres must make sure that the conditions below are satisfied:

  • Be established prior to offering the training so as to demonstrate organisational quality,
  • Have the appropriate physical resources (for example, equipment, IT, learning materials, teaching rooms and outdoor training spaces and rigs) to support the programme’s delivery,
  • Make arrangements to manage and grade assessment of the students’ performance,
  • Use instructors and staff having relevant operational expertise and occupational experience,
  • Have sufficient competent safety officer(s) present throughout any live training who, given the nature of hydrogen flames,  have in their possession of a working thermal imaging camera,
  • Provide work systems to support all individuals continue their professional development,
  • Comply with national requirements for health and safety policies and practices to the protect staff and trainees, and
  • Operate and meet all national requirement standards, including diversity and equality, for approved training centres of their type

 

6.  Unit Structure

The unit structure is divided between sessions that are lectures or involve practical work that can include the use of virtual reality. There is a mandatory minimum of guided hours that training centres may extend to ensure a satisfactory assessment is achieved.

Trainees may also pre view or further review and consider available learning materials to aid their personal development. If online or blended learning is used the training centre must ensure there is support and supervision. No qualification may be made without a practical assessment of the trainee.

Practical elements in Units 11-20 may be combined to make effective use of outdoor training facilities including debriefing.

 

7. Assessment

Each unit requires specified learning outcomes that are able to offer evidenced assessment criteria. The criteria is explained as either relating to acquisition of knowledge, experience or skill.

Generally knowledge may be demonstrated through some form of written examination (paper, online, multiple choice questions selected to reach a concluding acceptable pass mark) set by the training centre or its partner organisation.

Experience would usually require an oral form of questioning as it is seeking to gain insight into the level of understand acquired from events, which may be actual or presented to the trainee by the an instructor (a laboratory or training ground demonstration, video or virtual reality presentation), and require explanation by the trainee to verify empirical learning.

Skills should be demonstrated in practice whenever this is possible, accepting that some scenarios cannot be facilitated in all training centres, by practical evolutions that indicate standard operating practices, safety procedures, tools and equipment can be used, controlled and effectively operated.

To assist the modules have been aligned to materials, including detailed lecture notes and other guides and video, that can easily be used to develop learning outcomes and assessment criteria that centres may use in this process to design units for internal assessment. Trainees must meet all the learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

Unless otherwise indicated the centre can decide the form of assessment evidence (e.g. performance observation, test, etc.) as long as the methods chosen allow learners to produce valid, sufficient and reliable evidence of meeting the assessment criteria.

Given the risk environment the trainee is being prepared to experience training must be as realistic as possible with scenarios that maximise practical activities in delivery and assessment.

 

8. Recognised Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an acceptable method of assessment provided that it considers whether a trainee can demonstrate competence and meet the assessment requirements for a unit through knowledge, skills, experience or behaviour.

Although RPL is primarily intended to assist assessment of the essential entry requirement for this programme unless it is provided as part of a composite programme (i.e. it forms part of a trainee programme for new entrants to the fire and rescue or specialist service) it may be used to support open learning attainments undertaken and successfully achieved remotely to the training centre.

RPL enables recognition of achievement from a range of activities using any valid assessment methodology. If the assessment requirements of a given unit or qualification have been met, the use of RPL is not generally acceptable for accrediting the whole qualification given the practical nature of this qualification. In every case evidence of learning must be sufficient, reliable and valid

 

9. Delivery

Training centres are free to offer the qualification using the appropriate mode of delivery for full time or part time attendance by first responders provide that collectively all the units are delivered continuously in a way that ensures the trainee remains engaged and aware to allow the development of a comprehensive understanding.

The operational resources used including appliances and equipment and environments should ideally reflect those which the trainee will have access to and be situated within when undertaking their operational firefighting and emergency duties. 

Those planning the programme should aim to enhance the vocational and practical nature of the qualification to:

  • remain relevant to operational circumstances and situations,
  • use practical scenarios that are relevant to the meet the guidelines,
  • provide practical opportunity to apply trainee learning in actual fire and emergency situations,
  • extend and use the variety of existing experience of firefighting that trainees have, and
  • ensure delivery correctly applies current legislation in the country for where it operates

There are requirements for Fire and Rescue Instructors to meet criteria to ensure the delivery remains credible and accurate to meet the envisaged emergency operational situations for which the qualification is being designed and these are:

 

Essential

1.         Proven ability to undertake the teaching of courses using provided materials in organised modules to assess, guide and mentor, including using all provided equipment when leading and conducting trainees in live practical exercises and scenarios.

2.         Able to present a credible operationally relevant professional standard of knowledge through educational, operational and professional awards and qualifications relative to the level of the students being instructed.

3.         Physically able and capable of interpreting and applying operational skills founded in accepted national best practice standards of operational competency.

4.         Have a demonstrable practical experience, including dynamic risk assessment, based upon operational response over at least five years

5.         Have a developed understanding of leadership as crew and incident           commander

6.         Show the attitudes and behaviours required to create a learning environment that is supportive of trainees from diverse cultural, social and educational backgrounds.

7.         Capable and competent with good verbal, numerical and written skills with an ability to communicate clearly

 

Desirable:

1.         Suitable and sufficient evidence of maintaining personal competence in current    role,

2.         Undertaken a full range of operational tasks including first responder, emergency vehicle driver, breathing apparatus leader, extraction and hazmat operator,

3.         Demonstrates understanding of incident command and operational risk      assessment,

4.         Are developing or have proven operational leadership and personnel          management skills,

5.         Previously experienced in delivering a similar role as a FRS instructor or trainer,

6.         Skills that enable delivery of e-learning, virtual reality and blended learning,

7.         Understands the ethical and behavioural requirements needed to direct and work with trainees,

8.         Ability to build and improve teams, carry out post training debriefs, report and investigate performance, and has

9.         Welcoming attitude to promote a good learning experience

 

The “Firefighter Safety with Hydrogen” programme is designed to generally satisfy qualification requirements for the European Qualification Framework at Level 2 by providing basic factual knowledge in a field of work. This level will provide basic cognitive and practical skills so that relevant information can be used in order to carry out tasks and solve routine problems using simple rules and tools whilst working under supervision with some autonomy.

 

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Background and additional information about the development of the course:

HyResponder Task 5.5 aims to make recommendations on the Pan-European recognition and continuation of hydrogen safety training for responders. It has addressed this issue by considering the development of training aimed at firefighters, a key first responder group, by considering the activities undertaken by the consortium members as they developed ‘train the trainer’ experiences and materials to enable national training institutions develop their own programmes.

Project Summary

This report is prepared in two parts; Part 1 reports findings and recommendations developed from study and discussions during the evolution of the project, Part 2 describes in detail a proposed Training Framework for Firefighters created using the recommendations.

This approach was adopted to reflect what is considered to be a realistic prospect of sustaining the value of the project by utilising the training materials and practices observed during implementation of a ‘train the trainers’ programme that was produced as part of the project.

Verification of this approach inevitably became restricted, partly because the global pandemic restricted national training opportunities so restricting observation and evaluation of the Framework in practice, and partly because to maintain progress in overall project development national events proceeded in a number of cases in advance of the Framework.

Although these circumstances dictated ultimately how this task was accomplished it is considered that the overall approach, described in Part 1 focused on principle issues, and, in Part 2, the construction of training frameworks that have clear knowledge and practice elements, allows implementation of practical skill-based programmes suitable for first responders.

The Part 2 approach, it is considered, would also support easier revision and updating of a training programme. Maintaining current relevance to the changing operational environment, is an important feature for all emergency first responders who require constant preparedness to meet innovative changes in areas such as the alternative fuel technology upon which this project is centred.

Future proofing in this way both allows and supports adaptation to meet new demands and challenges in the external environment whilst also aiding adoption to meet localised controls and constraints that impact upon possible delivery. Retaining harmonised important safety information and sharing information on tactical operational practices is therefore a core of the framework to achieve this advantage.

Section 1: Introduction to the course material

 

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HyResponder Task 5.5 aims to make recommendations on the Pan-European recognition and continuation of hydrogen safety training for responders.

It has addressed this issue by considering the development of training aimed at firefighters, a key first responder group, by considering the activities undertaken by the consortium members as they developed ‘train the trainer’ experiences and materials to enable national training institutions develop their own programmes.

Firefighter training in Europe, like all first responder training has to be capable and flexible enough to encompass the wide diversity of emergency first responder arrangements that exist throughout Europe.

This diversity founded in the principles of subsidiarity and member state legislation and the historical and practical development of emergency response places considerable constraint on the opportunities for standardisation of delivery in any training and hence the approach used to seek and secure localised arrangements to develop and promote acceptable practice standards using the HyResponder training outcomes.

The objective therefore has been to try and ensure the training being developed is accepted and adopted by as many first responders as possible to help sustain the educational gains from HyResponder and to secure comparability of practice to aid interoperability at hydrogen related emergencies. 

Although this element of the project work programme was not required to be delivered until Month 36 because the ‘train the trainer’ activity was already underway it was important to capture the evolution of learning and material as it was being created and used in the pilot projects.

This resulted in attending a practical training event organised to train first responder trainers, monitoring and discussing the programme as it was being developed and then developing a framework that could be adopted as the foundation course in hydrogen safety training for first responder firefighters. The framework once prepared was then subjected to review by a range of partners who were ether in the process of or about to deliver training in their national setting.

The outcome has been a series of interconnected actions culminating in a training framework that relates to multiple scenarios that anticipate emergency event involving hydrogen.

Initially this required the:

  • differentiation and identification of learning and safety materials to aid specific roles of responders (firefighters, crew commander, incident commander and specialist adviser);
  • collation, preparation and distribution of a draft framework for the firefighter role;
  • observation of practical tactics and discussion with experienced trainers around the draft framework resulting in subsequent revision and redistribution; and
  • review and evaluation of the framework as developed for adoption.

The framework in the finalised form has then been promoted to the global firefighter community through the internet with links to the national partners who have or are intending to implement supportive training or events that encourage use of the HyResponder eplatform and learning materials developed during the project with the clear intent of encouraging adoption and ensuring sustainability.

This approach is considered essential reflecting both jurisdiction accountability and standardisation limitations. Accountability for fire and emergency response services, civil protection, is both a member state subsidiarity matter and may in many European and non EU countries be devolved to regional or local municipalities or agencies.

Likewise standards surrounding training often have to meet national, localised and approved standard operating procedures. The process of obtaining and satisfying these various and defined verification and assurance requirements can be both time consuming and highly defined.

A consequence of these two features is that a framework, rather than a formal standard, was suggested for promotion for adoption and adaptation as the most appropriate way to introduce a harmonised methodology.  This approach is also supported after evaluation the design framework by those experienced trainers involved in the project.

Recommendation 1: A Training Framework approach be adopted to secure widespread adoption rather than seek a formal European standard.

 

Lead Author:           CTIF Dennis Davis

This version: May 17, 2023

 

 

Section 2: European Fire Background

The first responder firefighter training programme envisaged in the project was seen as needing to offer a personal development and assessment opportunity capable of interpretation in the widest context of Europe.

To achieve this objective and to be sustainable it is necessary to both reflect significant local diversity; fire services can operate within national, regional or local governance, and; to reach the widest group of students many of whom may have limited available time.

This as outlined earlier is because tin the fire and rescue workforce many are volunteer responders, estimates are that they represent the majority of firefighters in the EU who are part of a group of over two million volunteer firefighters. Many in this group of firefighters may also have limited access to suitable training facilities due to isolation or funding issues, which again imposes availability constraints on both students and training delivery facilities and staff.

In addition the design process discussions established the proposed framework, in the fire service trainers’ judgements, was any framework required a programme capable of adoption and adaption; it could not be imposed. This confirmed the recommended approach and it was therefore seen as essential, to secure sustainability, that goodwill and support for any European Framework or similar programme by fire and rescue services, had to be an objective.

This also recognised, as outlined in the introduction, that the provision of fire and civil protection functions are derogated matters within the European Union with decisions resting within Member States. The specific fire training organisations likely to be engaged in this programme are largely dependent upon these authorities who have ultimate jurisdiction for the prioritisation, including funding, of the project’s recommended programme.

Widespread adoption however would benefit the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism by providing a foundation of common understanding within a fragmented area of localised practices.

Further the absence of a singular empowered central fire academic or learning environment has to be recognised, although it is accepted there exist some institutional and educational coordination arrangements. As a consequence the utilisation of open learning and a principled approach are foreseen as particularly important to programme sustainability and is the approach recommended.

Part of the development programme has included attendance at a “train the trainers” workshop held in June 2022 at the French fire academy for senior fire officers, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Officiers de Sapeurs-Pompiers (ENSOSP). The ENSOSP workshop involved delivery of instructional material and practical live demonstrations of operational fire and leak control tactics using the knowledge, skills, experience and practices gained by ENSOSP instructional staff over a period of years. A report following this visit is available and again illustrates that common understanding and adoption of some form of common operational tactics is feasible.

 

Recommendation 2:

An open access approach to captured learning materials should be maintained to assist the sustainability and continued improvement of the project.

 

Recommendation 3:

Focusing on principles, for example on scientific matters, would aid maintenance of sustainability and allow flexibility to support local adoption and adaption to other first responder disciplines. 

 

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Section 3: Audience

In early discussions regarding sustainability of the training it was identified that the largest benefit would be derived if the first responders making the initial attendance at an emergency event could be provided with appropriate knowledge, skills and experience. That group was determined by the consortium to be the target audience and is that of a firefighter.

This choice reflects both a functional need: this is the group that must ensure the public and their own safety by identifying and securing the area of threat, exercise initial judgements as to operational tactics, deployment of resources, containment and rescues; and as fire and rescue first responders generally follow the same initial training route and behave in accordance with local standard operating procedures, this would ensure operational capabilities were successfully aligned.

In addition due to the limited opportunity many first responders have to personally develop due to practical considerations, like the time available to fulfil their role due to the voluntary practice of their work and ease of availability to trainers and training facilities, make it appropriate to design any training with this audience firmly as the initial target.

It must be noted this does not reflect any conflict regarding the professionalism of volunteer first responders, on the contrary, in many communities these individuals hold highly visible and professional roles, it is access and time to learn that create more difficult learning circumstances than for career or full time working responders.

A second target, given the background described earlier and the requirement to adopt and adapt the programme is to establish an appropriate educational level. This has nominally been achieved by referencing the programme to the recognised European Qualification Framework, regarded as the best benchmark to achieve a suitable comparability standard. Used by many first responders in Europe, including the fire and rescue service, EQF is well recognised as being the educational foundation for many vocational based qualifications such as those related to operational response.

Although materials are being developed across all operational management levels, it is considered a common or core set of materials focused on the firefighter and aligned to the EQF level 2 would be appropriate to meet the task requirement.

This task therefore highlights a learning structure shaped to meet the EQF Level 2, linked with the inclusion of essential prior learning associated with personal protective equipment, clothing and breathing apparatus, and use of commonly available firefighting and safety equipment, that when combined can be combined with selected and identified project developed resources to create a recognised learning package.

 

Recommendation 4:

Clarity is required to establish the audience and material required to aid development of the knowledge, skills and experience required.

 

Recommendation 5:

A priority group should include those first responders who make the initial attendance at an emergency.

 

Recommendation 6:

Utilisation of the European Qualification Framework as a basis of establishing the level of training being provided offers assurance as to comparability of quality of any training offered and support for future development towards national or local recognition.

 

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Section 4: Evaluation

The first draft of a training framework was prepared in late 2021 after discussion within the consortium and following research with experts within the fire and rescue training environment and the European educational system.

Prior knowledge existed, providing a suitable background of how the EU fire and civil protection services were organised, from internal knowledge networks within CTIF and engagement in wider European activities, for example, liaison with DG Home and in the Community of European Research and Innovation for Security (CERIS) disaster resilient societies (DRS) action.

Utilising this framework attendance was made to the ENSOSP train the trainers’ event in 2022, when observations were made and discussion held with those specialists present from ENSOSP and 8 other nations. Evaluating this activity indicated several requirements and the framework was subsequently modified in accordance with the outcomes of that experience.

The ENSOSP workshop consisted of two activities for trainers acting both as a trainee under another trainer’s supervision and a workshop where the trainer witnessed a demonstration on video of a number of activities.

The first workshop on the train the trainers had three scenarios: the first related to a static storage facility where hydrogen gas escaped without fire; the second a vehicle overturned with gas escaping and on fire; the third a vehicle scenario with three vehicles where one LPG, one with H2 and the other with conventional fuel.

One apparent difficulty in the training package appeared to be around understanding issues related to the thermal pressure relief device (TPRD). This was clearly an area needing further concentration both in terms of the TPRD functional activity and likely flow rates, which would have to be a major part of any training programme.

In the second workshop, utilised actual filmed video sequences, detailing in short clips, gas behaviour under certain conditions in certain rates. Very informative short video training clips, for example, were able to show from an overhead view the safe and effective tactical approaches to hydrogen vehicle fires. In one case a two-dimensional view was shown that concentrated upon the frontal approach and the overhead tactical formation of the firefighting attack. The overhead dimension was particularly good at explaining, to the uninitiated firefighter, how to safely conduct a tactical approach. Again, this identified a clear need to include this perspective in any training material that forms part of the training programme.

ENSOSP as a leader in this field has extensive practical facilities offering real fire training. Inquiries were therefore made regarding the provision of facilities and possibilities to achieve some basic training facilities through innovation. It became apparent that adopting a rudimentary approach, using local educational laboratories, concentrating on principles and using simple tools it would be feasible to maintain a more flexible approach, one capable of meeting diverse national and local circumstances, doctrines and standard operating practices, to help introduction of localised cost-effective introduction of this form of training.

This is considered relevant since the cost of providing purpose designed practical training facilities to enable realistic demonstration and practice can be prohibitive for many training centres; expenditure in the order of €1.5 M was offered as an example. One suggestion made therefore is that if training concentrated on low pressure, for example using 100 bar pressure to replace the 200 bar often used in demonstration gas systems, then this would be more than sufficient to provide a practical insight to the gas behaviour.

Observation at the ENSOSP workshop also enabled evaluation of the virtual reality scenarios prepared for a wider range of events that are not practical to organise as real fire facilities, for example events impacting on large scale storage, trains and ships. Again these training materials offer real opportunity for distance or blended learning, with trainer supervision, to explore tactical operations especially those involving risk mitigation decision making on matter such as safe distances, approach routes and public exclusion zones.

The availability, of both virtual reality video and actual video of practical events, for example one available video recorded ignition of a 50% hydrogen gas rich stoichiometric explosion within a drum, that rose 30 metres within a steel containment structure, offer experiences that are repetitive without loss of quality. This enables continuous provision of very good visual interpretation of predictable hydrogen releases and, should real events be captured in future, opportunity to share information to a wide firefighter audience to learn lessons from failures.

Following this review after the observation and discussion of delivered training on purpose built facilities the proposed framework was again amended and reissued to consortium members in 2022.

Accompanied by the questionnaire, shown in the annexe to this report, the framework was circulated to the consortium who were asked to consider the practicalities of implementation and completeness of the training programme. The national partners returned 62% of the questionnaires and the responses indicate the variability of delivering technical training of this type through a widespread diverse group of training organisations.

 

Analysis of the returned questionnaires indicates:

 

  1. In all cases local interpretation was the subject of team review
  2. With one exception regarding confined space the framework covered all important areas but was also seen by one partner as complex.
  3. All but one foresaw obstacles around implementation; difficulties with finance, national approval or no national system.
  4. Conversely all considered the framework adaptable is some form to introduce into their training regime.
  5. Most agreed sufficient training guidance and materials were now available to assist with instruction, again the exception of tunnels and confined spaces
  6. Finally, again with one exception, providing this training was seen as feasible.

 

Regarding the one exception of being able to provide the training and the omission related to tunnel and confined space training the organisation responding is a specialist in training for these operations and has participated in the HyTunnel-CS[1] project, which produced harmonised recommendations on response to hydrogen incidents. The HyTunnel outcomes are therefore relevant in the context of this report.

 

Recommendation 7:

Introduction of the proposed Firefighter Training Framework based upon developed lectures, videos, virtual and practical training is feasible at a local level with minimum facilities.

 

 

Recommendation 8:

The proposed approach of lectures covering key safety and risk data followed by exploration of practical scenarios is conducive to learning.

 

Recommendation 9:

Provision of opportunities to practice under realistic situations is recognised as most desirable but is unlikely to be achieved for many. Therefore, continued enhancement of the materials available through open access is a significant feature that needs greater consideration and resourcing.

 

[1] Grant Agreement No: 826193

 

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Questionnaire

 

Analysis of the returned questionnaires indicates:

  1. In all cases local interpretation was the subject of team review
  2. With one exception regarding confined space the framework covered all important areas but was also seen by one partner as complex.
  3. All but one foresaw obstacles around implementation; difficulties with finance, national approval or no national system.
  4. Conversely all considered the framework adaptable is some form to introduce into their training regime.
  5. Most agreed sufficient training guidance and materials were now available to assist with instruction, again the exception of tunnels and confined spaces
  6. Finally, again with one exception, providing this training was seen as feasible.

Regarding the one exception of being able to provide the training and the omission related to tunnel and confined space training the organisation responding is a specialist in training for these operations and has participated in the HyTunnel-CS project, which produced harmonised recommendations on response to hydrogen incidents. The HyTunnel outcomes are therefore relevant in the context of this report.

 

 

Section 5: Dissemination

Creating and evaluating the proposed framework has as outlined has involved considerable discussion around the practicalities and even desirability of having a common training programme on the single issue of operational first responder response to hydrogen gas emergencies.

Gaining consensus in a non-mandatory area of this kind is challenging and the consortium has shown that whilst it may be possible to arrive at a curriculum content interpretation in application is diverse and complex. Organisations in the fire and rescue training sector are equipped and governed in different ways and subject to controls and standards by overseeing authorities.

In this environment it is therefore seen as very important and appropriate to ensure the framework, together with the contents held on the supportive eplatform, widely known within the fire and rescue sector.

Progress has therefore started to produce a short informative video that can be hosted on the CTIF website with the intent of reaching the sector’s global audience.

CTIF Web Page:

https://ctif.org/commissions-and-groups/hyresponder-european-hydrogen-train-trainer-programme-responders

Explainer Video: 

https://youtu.be/GCOdPj06jLw

 

Recommendation 10: Communication and continued availability of the Training Framework developed for Firefighters, outlined in detail in Part 2 of this report, is a significant part of the project sustainability

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Section 6: Recommendations

Recommendation 1

A Training Framework approach be adopted to secure widespread adoption rather than seek a formal European standard.

 

Recommendation 2

An open access approach to captured learning materials should be maintained to assist the sustainability and continued improvement of the project.

 

Recommendation 3

Focusing on principles, for example on scientific matters, would aid maintenance of sustainability and allow flexibility to support local adoption and adaption to other first responder disciplines.

 

Recommendation 4

Clarity is required to establish the audience and material required to aid development of the knowledge, skills and experience required.

 

Recommendation 5

A priority group should include those first responders who make the initial attendance at an emergency.

 

Recommendation 6

Utilisation of the European Qualification Framework as a basis of establishing the level of training being provided offers assurance as to comparability of quality of any training offered and support for future development towards national or local recognition.

 

Recommendation 7

Introduction of the proposed Firefighter Training Framework based upon developed lectures, videos, virtual and practical training is feasible at a local level with minimum facilities.

 

Recommendation 8

The proposed approach of lectures covering key safety and risk data followed by exploration of practical scenarios is conducive to learning.

 

Recommendation 9

Provision of opportunities to practice under realistic situations is recognised as most desirable but is unlikely to be achieved for many. Therefore, continued enhancement of the materials available through open access is a significant feature that needs greater consideration and resourcing.

 

Recommendation 10

Communication and continued availability of the Training Framework developed for Firefighters, outlined in detail in Part 2 of this report, is a significant part of the project sustainability

 

Background to CTIF´s involvement in HyResponder

Time, travel distance, personal cost and practical issues affect how and when firefighters can have hands on practical experiences in purpose designed facilities.

This is especially true for volunteers and those located in rural or remote locations and who cannot easily attend central training schools. We therefore looked into the basics, especially those we feel it’s essential to have, like certain key information about hydrogen, the gas itself and the flames produced and risk of explosions. This provides the foundation of safety distances and routes of approach as well as for tactics to minimise any impact from a release or fire and allow rescues of any casualties.

It also means knowing how the gas is used every day, so you know where it might be found, and what you must do to safeguard yourself, colleagues and the public. CTIF shared information from scientists, trainers and other first responders to provide a simple course that uses a progressive series of short packets of information that collectively will build knowledge, explore skills and offer experiences.

Recognising some of the incident situations cannot be easily replicated this information is therefore provided not only in written form to use in lectures but as short videos and through virtual reality simulation. This means self-study at home in your own time as well as more formal organised practical training or special hydrogen focused events that bring groups together can be used to learn

This approach has been packaged as a framework directly focused upon the first responder, the firefighter, who may arrive at an emergency without any prior knowledge they are will be attending an event involving hydrogen. The training framework can be freely downloaded together with the learning materials, all of which have been developed by those experienced in hydrogen and training.

It may be used by fire and rescue organisations to help create training courses as a whole or adapted in part to assist develop an existing training course. Some of those course may have to meet national approved standards so this framework is set in the European Qualification Framework Level 2

It is important to remember that the framework is based upon the fact that each person using this information already has sufficient training and background to be safe in operational practice. This means each individual must already be knowledgeable about their local standards of operational practices, experienced in operating in emergency situations with full personal protective equipment and be skilful in tactical firefighting and rescue in situations involving hazardous materials.

Using CTIF’s knowledge of firefighters across Europe, with their training needs and educational backgrounds, which vary significantly initial educational material was re-evaluated and developed within four different learning levels that matched defined, corresponding operational roles and competence levels for Firefighter, Crew Commander, Incident Commander, and Specialist Adviser, which equates to the technical knowledge required of HAZMAT officers.

 

 

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