Hydrogen is gaining momentum as an alternative fuel. This photo shows a hydrogen fueling station.

TEEX Developing Hydrogen Fuel Training Program

The project to create the online training is part of a proof of concept between the International Association of Fire Chiefs and several federal agencies.

TEEX, the Texas Engineering Extensive Service in College Station, Texas, announced April 19 that its Emergency Services Training Institute is developing the curriculum and online campus for a hydrogen fuel training program. The online training is targeted to volunteer firefighters but will be available for any emergency responder.

"According to an IAFC report, there are about 800,000 underserved responders who staff over 80 percent of America's fire departments," TEEX's news release says. "Hydrogen is gaining momentum as an alternative fuel, and online hydrogen training needs to be robust, effective and interactive to cover various learning styles and engage volunteer first responders while providing the content and competencies needed. While IAFC recognizes that there will always be a hands-on component to emergency response training, research shows online and distance learning is more convenient, reduces training costs and improves learning outcomes, the report states."

The project is part of a proof of concept between the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Innovative Technology Administration and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The online training system will ensure that fire personnel stay current on trends and issues relating to hazmat response and help them meet the competencies in NFPA 472. IAFC is working with other organizations -- including DOE and the National Fire Academy -- to ensure the accuracy of the course content. "The United States is a leader in the production of hydrogen fuel and H2 vehicles, so it is vital that responders know how this fuel behaves and how to respond to an emergency involving hydrogen fuel," said Aimee Smith, business development coordinator with Knowledge Engineering. "We're excited about working with the ESTI curriculum team on this project and continuing our relationship with IAFC. Based on the success of this initial program, we hope to develop a larger online resource center and additional courseware for IAFC."

ESTI curriculum coordinator Aaron Bridge said the online course is expected to be completed in summer 2011.

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