Chevrolet, OnStar and three national first-responder organizations joined together Wednesday to announce the first automotive manufacturer-sponsored training program to educate first responders nationwide on electric vehicle technology.
The announcement was made at the San Francisco Fire Department with leaders of Chevrolet, OnStar, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).
"Technological changes in the automotive industry require changes in fire and emergency service operations as well," said Chief Jack Parow, first vice president of the IAFC. "The IAFC is proud to work with Chevrolet and OnStar to ensure that fire responders are adequately trained in how to work with the new technology, both for their own safety and the safety of those they serve."
The training sessions will feature the Chevrolet Volt and will begin at the IAFC's Fire-Rescue International Conference, Aug. 23-27 in Chicago. Together with OnStar, Chevrolet will also display the Volt at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials conference Aug. 1-4 in Houston, and at the NENA conference, June 5-10 in Indianapolis. Chevrolet and OnStar will host first-responder sessions in Volt retail markets later this year including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit and Washington, D.C.
"We believe a first-responder education program is very important to raise the awareness and understanding of electric vehicle technology," said Carmen Benavides, director, Chevrolet Safety. "This is a natural extension of the collaborative efforts we've had in the past when introducing new safety and other leading technologies."
During the past several months, Chevrolet has collaborated with first-responder representatives from national safety organizations to develop educational materials for firefighters, law enforcement, emergency medical technicians and emergency dispatchers nationwide. Their feedback is being incorporated into training materials that will be available on the tour and posted on a targeted Web site for departments unable to attend the training sessions.
The training will include animation and illustrations of the Chevrolet Volt, highlighting locations of high-strength steel, cut points for extrication, first-responder labeling, automatic and manual electrical shut-off and more.
The Chevrolet Volt will launch in select markets late this year.