The HyResponder hydrogen vehicle response training material is now on CTIF.org
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For years, CTIF has been involved in a European Train-the-Trainer program about hydrogen response on vehicles, coordinated by Ulster University on Northern Ireland. Although we are still collecting material from member countries and working on improving this educational portal, we are now unveiling this material to our members for DA 2023.
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. We therefore looked into the basics, , 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.
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.
Watch the video below to learn more about the project
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 e-platform 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