Chevrolet and OnStar, in a joint effort with The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), expect 400 Detroit-area first responders to be trained between Wednesday and Friday this week. Earlier tour stops were in Los Angeles; San Francisco; Austin, Tex.; Washington, D.C., and New York City. All are initial launch markets where the Volt is being sold.
"Our goal with this program is to help public safety personnel become as comfortable working around electric vehicles as they are with conventional vehicles today," said Gay Kent, GM director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness.
Detroit Fire Department Chief Gregory Williams welcomes the training help.
"Our firefighters work hard to be prepared for any situation involving any type of vehicle," he said. "This training will go a long way to ensure that we have knowledge of these new electric vehicles."
Safety trainers cover topics specific to electric vehicles such as power shut-off procedures, lithium ion battery details, locations of high-strength steel and cut points for extrication. In addition, a Volt – recently used during an extrication exercise – is on-site for hands-on training for first responders.
Chevrolet and OnStar collaborated with the NFPA to develop safety resources, including web-based training materials, an extrication video and shared resources for instructor-led safety presentations.
"First responders have a long history of successfully adapting their response to new vehicles and equipment in order to protect the public, as well as themselves," said Jim Shannon, NFPA president. "We’re proud of our role in supporting the emergency services and look forward to expanding the reach of this training program to communities across America."
NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international, nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training and education.
NFPA’s Electric Vehicle Safety Training project is a nationwide program to help firefighters and other first responders prepare for the growing number of electric vehicles on the road in the United States. The NFPA project, funded by a $4.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, provides first responders with information they need to most effectively deal with potential emergency situations involving electric vehicles.
Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates is centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of more than 4 million vehicles in more than 120 countries. In the United States, the Chevrolet portfolio includes: iconic performance cars, such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs, such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers, such as Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly" solutions, such as Chevrolet Cruze Eco with an EPA-estimated 42 miles per gallon highway, and the Chevrolet Volt offering 35 miles of electric driving and an additional 344 miles of extended gasoline range, according to EPA estimates. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security, and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response, and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown.
OnStar, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and communication services. OnStar is available on more than 40 MY 2011 GM models. OnStar is standard for one year on nearly all new GM retail vehicles in the United States and Canada. OnStar provides services to more than 5.7 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. Shanghai OnStar Telematics Co. Ltd., a joint venture between OnStar, LLC, Shanghai Automotive Industry Sales Co., Ltd. and Shanghai General Motors, provides services in China. More information about OnStar can be found at www.onstar.com. OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is a recipient of the 2010 Edison Award for Best New Product in the technology category.