AUTHOR: Cathy Longley

Electric Vehicle

Texas electric vehicle crash underscores need for first responders to learn about hazards and response tactics

In response to a tragic electric vehicle crash that killed two occupants in Texas last week, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are reminding responders that they offer resources that can help safely handle incidents involving EVs. Although the cause of the recent Tesla incident is still being determined, news reports indicate that, despite intense heat, the fire was extinguished within four minutes. Firefighters; however, remained on scene for four hours cooling the car’s battery with tens of thousands of gallons of water. This is not the first time, we are hearing about batteries reigniting after on scene suppression and with the popularity of EVs growing, according to online car shopping site Edmunds, it certainly won’t be the last "We're not only about to see a massive leap in the number of EVs available in the market; we're also going to see a more diverse lineup of electric vehicles that better reflect current consumer preferences. And given that the new presidential administration has pledged its support for electrification, the U.S. is likely to see incentive programs targeted at fostering the growth of this technology further," Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of insights said.  Edmunds indicates that there will be 30 EVs from 21 brands coming on the market this year, compared to 17 vehicles from 12 brands in 2020. Notably, this will be the first year that there will be offerings in all three major vehicle categories: cars, SUVs, and trucks. While EVs are great for the environment, new technologies often present a learning curve for first responders. In the interest of public and responder safety, NTSB investigated four EV incidents and released a thorough report on hazards and gaps. In particular, the NTSB identified two concerning trends: inadequate vehicle manufacturers’ emergency response guides gaps in both safety standards and research related to lithium-ion batteries involved in high-speed, high-severity crashes The NTSB also found, in part, that: Damage and fire because of a crash may prevent first responders from disabling the high voltage in electric vehicles Thermal runaway and battery reignitions after initial fire suppression can pose additional challenges Stranded energy can cause electric shock and potential fire hazards Safely storing an electric vehicle with a damaged high-voltage lithium-ion battery in a tow yard may not be feasible NFPA has been developing EV safety information for 12 years. The association has worked with every auto/truck/bus manufacturer who sells EVs and hybrids in this country and has received pre-market safety information so that responders have the most up-to-date training, tools, and resources. The NFPA EV Safety Training website,, is the most accessed repository in the U.S. for EV responder safety information. This dedicated site offers videos on stranded energy, responder tactics, a fact sheet with on-scene safety information, and direct links to all NFPA EV Safety Training courses and vehicle resources, including U.S. EV Emergency Response Guides. To help communities deal with EV-related response and the infrastructure challenges that often accompany market growth, NFPA has secured two Department of Energy (DOE) grants related to EVs. The first, entitled NFPA Spurs the Safe Adoption of EVs through Education and Outreach, will allow NFPA to develop free EV safety training for utilities, code officials, charging station installers, EV fleet owners, tow and salvage responders, crash reconstruction teams, manufacturers, dealerships, garage maintenance workers, insurance companies, and EV owners. As part of that effort, NFPA, in conjunction with Clean Cities Coalitions, will also set up community planning meetings in 30 cities around the country to help prepare these locations for a large influx of EVs. The second effort calls for enhancing and promoting an NFPA Distributed Energy Resources Safety Training program. NFPA will update its current EV Safety classroom training for the fire service and develop an online gamification version of the distributed energy resource including how to respond to electric vehicle fires.

Safety Stand Down: Take the Quiz and Spread the Word About Rebuilding Rehab

The “2021 Fire Service Safety Stand Down Quiz” Sweepstakes is now live. The informative and interactive online quiz is designed to reinforce the safety messages that are part of this year’s Safety Stand Down theme, “Rebuild Rehab”. The dates for Safety Stand Down are June 20-26. Emergency services personnel are asked to take and promote the Safety Stand Down quiz, which features 13 questions and is now available at Those who complete the quiz by Wednesday, June 23 at 11:59 p.m. ET will be automatically entered in a sweepstakes where 200 randomly selected participants will win a limited-edition challenge coin commemorating this year’s Safety Stand Down theme. Rehab should encompass all areas of post-incident health, including cardiac, nutrition, exposure, mental health, hydration, and heat stress to ensure that firefighters are ready to respond to the next emergency. Agencies are encouraged to suspend all non-emergency activities during Safety Stand Down week and focus on rehab training. An entire week is designated to ensure that all shifts and personnel can participate. The Safety Stand Down website offers a wide array of resources so that departments can start to plan out their educational activities. The Safety Stand Down campaign and quiz is organized each year by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Safety, Health & Survival Section, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), and the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) to bring attention to a particular responder safety concern.
Katy, TX building under construction fire

NFPA Addresses Building Under Construction Fires with New Fire Prevention Program Manager Online Training and Webinar Panel on April 15

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) launched a new Fire Prevention Program Manager Online Training Series today to help the building industry understand and adopt the strategies defined in NFPA 241 Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operation. The topic will also be discussed by a panel of industry experts during an Addressing Fire Safety Challenges During Construction webinar on April 15. Fire Prevention Program Manager Online Training Series In recent weeks, massive building under construction fires have occurred in Las Vegas, NV, Dallas, TX, and Everett, WA, underscoring NFPA research which shows an average of 3,840 fires in structures under construction and 2,580 fires in structures under major renovation per year. Building under construction fires cause an average of four civilian deaths, 49 civilian injuries, and $304 million in direct property damage annually, while fires in buildings undergoing major renovation cause an average of eight civilian deaths, 52 civilian injuries, and $104 million in direct property damage annually. “This new online learning, centered around NFPA 241, was developed in the spirit of the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem, which emphasizes the importance of applying referenced standards, investing in safety, and a skilled workforce,” NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley said.  Although NFPA 241 calls for a fire prevention program manager, credentials for the role are virtually non-existent in the market today. To help construction company leaders, building owners, job site supervisors, code officials, fire marshals, facility managers, and fire protection engineers have the skills needed to ensure the safety of buildings under construction, NFPA developed the new five-hour, five-part online learning series, assessment, and digital badge based on the anticipated job performance requirements (JPRs) for fire prevention program managers proposed for the next edition of NFPA 241. The training covers general fire protection awareness for all people on construction sites and the role of fire prevention program managers on a construction project with an emphasis on: Building safety and fire protection systems Hazard protection Inspections, permits and procedures The NFPA online training series is intended for fire prevention program managers who are new to the role and is designed to help learn how to actively manage a fire prevention program for a typical construction project.  Addressing Fire Safety Challenges During Construction Webinar The NFPA webinar scheduled for April 15 will feature a panel of industry experts discussing key considerations for construction site fire safety, including fire risks and the role of the fire prevention program manager, with time allotted for a robust Q&A session. Webinar panelists providing perspective on the topic include: Jim Begley, PE, FSFPE, CFM, TERPconsulting, principal Matthew Bourque, PE, WS Development, director of Fire Protection and Construction Operations Dick Davis, PE, FM Global, AVP, senior engineering technical specialist Nicholas Dawe, division chief/fire marshal, Cobb County (GA) Fire and Emergency Services

NFPA Launches Free Structural Firefighting Online Training Based on the Fire Dynamics within NFPA 1700

NFPA released free NFPA® 1700 Guide for Structural Fire Fighting online training for firefighters to learn safer and more effective ways to handle fire incidents involving modern day materials and contents. The all-new online instructional course, centered around NFPA 1700 Guide for Structural Fire Fighting, is based on extensive scientific research and testing on contemporary structures from the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute. Today’s home fires burn faster, reach flashover quicker, collapse sooner, and result in reduced escape times largely due to synthetic contents including furniture, plastics, rugs, and composite materials versus the wood-constructed legacy furnishings of days gone by. Residences also tend to be constructed on smaller lots, include a second story, feature more open floor plans, and house all kinds of new technologies. These components and evolving fuel loads led to the November release of NFPA 1700, the first NFPA document connecting fire dynamics research to response strategies and best practices; and have prompted changes to the tactics that the nation’s 1.1 million firefighters have used for decades. The all-new instructional course is designed to help the fire service evolve the way it responds to incidents and provides evidence-based recommendations and methodologies. The course provides: Guidance focused on interacting within a structure on-fire to achieve the most successful outcome based on documented fire investigations, research, and testing Interactive modeling of residential structural firefighting with simulated training scenarios and coaching throughout exercises Concepts based on NFPA 1700 principles and tactical advice for effective search, rescue, and fire suppression operations, as well as civilian and responder safety   NFPA 1700 online training puts firefighters in an immersive digital environment that replicates in-person, hands-on learning. Ideal for both new and seasoned structural firefighting personnel, the online program offers an introduction to NFPA 1700, followed by a series of interactive learning modules. Each session offers a 360-degree, full-3D virtual experience featuring realistic scenarios and requires firefighters to make observations and decisions on how to respond and fight the fire. The course covers how to enter buildings, where to apply hose streams, and when to stand down due to potential life-threatening situations; and culminates with a Capstone exam to help firefighters synthesize learning and put knowledge to the test. The training takes into consideration fundamental occupancy, building construction, while addressing the health and safety of firefighters by reinforcing the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) and methodologies for contamination control. NFPA 1700 and its corresponding free training for the fire service are prime examples of the investment in safety and skilled workforce components that are essential in the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem. Take and share the training today.

Metro Chiefs Re-Names Annual Lifetime Achievement Award After Long-Time Executive Secretary Russ Sanders

The Metropolitan “Metro” Fire Chiefs Association Board of Directors has unanimously voted to rename their annual Lifetime Achievement Award the “Russell E. Sanders Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of Sanders’ leadership and continuous contributions to Metro Chiefs and the international fire service. Metro Chiefs is a section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Metro Chiefs President John Lane, the fire and paramedic chief in Winnipeg, Canada, lauded Sanders for his vision, passion, and energy. “Russ has collaborated with authorities from North America to South America to Europe to Australia, and spent every waking moment dedicated to the Metro Chiefs organization and our mission,” Lane said.  “There is no more fitting recognition of his more than 34 years of service to the Metro Chiefs organization than to name this award after him.” The Russell E. Sanders Lifetime Achievement Award is granted to an individual who has demonstrated a long history of accomplishments and contributions to the Metro Chiefs organization, as well as contributions to fire safety, in general. Honorees demonstrate leadership and have overcome workplace challenges.  Sanders spent 27 years in the Louisville, Kentucky fire department, serving his last nine years as chief of the department.  He joined the National Fire Protection Association in 1995 and has served as Executive Secretary of the Metro Chiefs since then. Sanders has a Bachelor of Arts Degree, a Master of Education Degree, and a Master of Science Degree from the University of Louisville. He is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program and Harvard University’s Senior Executive in State and Local Government Program. Sanders has received  many of the highest honors in the fire and emergency services including the rank of Fellow in the Institution of Fire Engineers (highest grade offered); the Everett E. Hudiburg Award from the International Fire Service Training Association; induction into the 2018 National Fire Heritage Center’s Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders; and the Mason Langford Fire Service Leadership Award by the Congressional Fire Services Institute for exemplary leadership in public safety. He also co-authored the first edition of Structural Fire Fighting: Strategy and Tactics in 2000 and a second edition in 2008. Sanders will retire from his Metro Chiefs role and his NFPA career at the end of 2021. The Metropolitan Fire Chiefs (Metro) Association brings together fire chiefs from large metropolitan fire departments to share information and focus on major issues effecting policy changes in the U.S. and abroad. Its members belong to the IAFC and NFPA and are the fire chiefs of jurisdictions with minimum staffing of 350 fully paid career firefighters.
Metro award winners

Metro Chiefs Announce Chief of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Honorees

The Metropolitan “Metro” Fire Chiefs Association, a section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) ushered in some changes this year as they considered their two illustrious awards - Fire Chief of the Year and Lifetime Achievement. For the first time in Metro Chief’s 56-year history, a female officer has been named Fire Chief of the Year. Mary Cameli, Chief of the Mesa Fire and Medical Department in Arizona earned this distinction based on her accomplishments locally, regionally, and nationally. Chief Mike Duyck (ret.) of the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (TVF&R) earned the Lifetime Achievement Award for his 33 years of service and leadership. The award was renamed this year to the Russell E. Sanders Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of Russ Sanders, the longtime Metro Chiefs Executive Secretary and an NFPA employee who will retire later this year. Chief Cameli has been a member of the Mesa (AZ) Fire and Medical Department (MFMD) since 1983, serving in every rank within the department before assuming her current role in 2016. Recognized as the Mesa Woman of the Year in 2020, Cameli has earned accolades in her community, throughout Arizona, and across the country for spearheading the MFMD program which is regarded as a ‘Gold Standard” example of Integrated Community Health Care. MFMD service delivery elements, and the research and data generated as part of a significant federal Health and Human Services grant, have been shared widely throughout the fire service and medical community to impart important lessons learned. MFMD provides its own separate 9-1-1 communications and dispatch center for their community, as well as their automatic aid partners. Chief Cameli credits her labor/management team for the development and success of a critical public safety tax initiative for both police and fire. A past President of the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association (AFCA), Cameli currently serves as Vice Chair of the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) Executive Board. She is also Vice President of the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) Board and Co-Chairs the IAFC Women Chiefs Council. Mike Duyck ended his long career in the fire service as Fire Chief/Chief Executive Officer of TVF&R, Oregon’s largest fire district with a service area covering eleven cities and portions of four counties over 390 square miles. Chief Duyck was responsible for leading more than 630 firefighters and support staff who provide progressive fire, emergency medical, and specialty rescue services to approximately 535,000 citizens. He joined TVF&R in 1989 and became fire chief in 2010 after serving in all ranks of emergency services as well as fleet services, human resources, logistics, emergency management, and government affairs. In addition to being Past President of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, Duyck is a past President of the Western Fire Chiefs Association and served on the IAFC Board of Directors. He currently serves as Chair of Oregon’s State Interoperability Executive Council and is a member of the Department of Homeland Security Executive Committee for the Public Safety Advisory Committee for FirstNet. Chief Duyck is also involved in local, state, and national initiatives addressing firefighter safety and survival, emergency communications dispatch, interoperability, mobile healthcare, fire and EMS service innovation and technology, intergovernmental affairs, government efficiency, and economic development. He is an Oregon-certified Paramedic who has completed the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer (EFO) Program and has been designated as a Center for Public Safety Excellence Chief Fire Officer (CFO). The Metropolitan Fire Chiefs (Metro) Association brings together fire chiefs from large metropolitan fire departments to share information and focus on major issues effecting policy changes in the U.S. and abroad. Its members belong to the IAFC and NFPA and are the fire chiefs of jurisdictions with minimum staffing of 350 fully paid career firefighters.
1 2 ... 9

Latest Articles