The Toyota Mirai is equipped with a nickel metal hydride hybrid battery, two carbon fiber-reinforced hydrogen tanks with safety shut-off valves, and a hydrogen monitoring system with leak detection sensors. (Toyota photo)

NFPA Alerts Responders to Be Ready for Toyota's Mirai

The new hydrogen fuel car is now available for use on California roads. It and other alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) are challenging for the fire service and emergency responders.

Toyota has introduced the Mirai, a hydrogen fuel car, for use on California roads, and NFPA is urging emergency responders to be sure they're prepared to respond to accident scenes involving it and other alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). They can be challenging for the fire service and emergency responders, a post on the association's blog pointed out.

According to Toyota's online product sheet for the Mirai, it bears an MSRP of $57,500 with a $5,000 California rebate and an $8,000 federal tax credit available for qualified buyers. It is a zero emissions vehicle equipped with a nickel metal hydride battery and two carbon fiber-reinforced hydrogen tanks. The sheet says Mirai's safety features include a hydrogen monitoring system with leak detection sensors and hydrogen tanks with safety shut-off valves.

NFPA offers training programs on AFVs, including a free online training program that examines every type of AFV and an AFV emergency field guide. "In general, AFVs are different for first responders because they're used to responding to vehicles that have internal combustion engines. They have decades of experience addressing vehicle fires that have that sort of technology, so AFVs present new challenges for emergency response crews," Michael Gorin, a project manager at NFPA, said in the blog post. "The general sense in the industry is that the popularity of AFVS will continue to expand as the vehicles become more affordable for the public."

He also says responders should use thermal imagers when dealing with any hydrogen emergency in order to determine the presence of fire, and that any hydrogen fire that does occur should not be extinguished unless the flow of gas can be stopped.

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