CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

October 27, 2012

Responders study issues related to hybrid vehicles

By Ashley Graves
The Cullman Times

VINEMONT — Responding to an accident involving a hybrid vehicle isn’t something Jacob Hudson and his peers at the Vinemont Providence Fire Department have put  much thought in to.

After all, there aren’t many of the vehicles rolling down streets in Cullman County very often. But, with the increase in popularity, they could be in the near future, and it’s why Hudson and several other local responders from the area felt it necessary to attend an eight hour class at Lawson State Community College on how to safely respond to accidents involving alternative fuel vehicles.

“It was an excellent opportunity.” Hudson said. “It brought a lot to light that people wouldn’t have thought about, and it allowed us the chance to learn about it before getting out in the field and not knowing what to do.”

The hands-on training addressed safety hazards and dangers that may confront first responders at accidents involving hybrid vehicles, as well as plug-in electric, battery electric, and fuel cell electric models.

“Changing technology presents new challenges and hazards to first responders,” Ed Paulk, the state fire marshal for Alabama said. “Whether you are in the fire service, police, or emergency medical service, training is the first line of defense against the hazards and the basis for determining the best way to face the new challenges.”

Hudson said because the vehicles have more battery power than a standard vehicle, high voltage and high amplitude are the main concern with them. He added instructors at the class stressed departments invest in high voltage gloves for the future, something he is looking in to.

“Right now, I’m researching that to see what the effectiveness is and to get an idea of what it may cost,” Hudson said.

Hudson plans to share what he learned from the class with others in the department in the coming weeks.

“Our main focus is helping people,” Hudson said. “So any information we can use to help people and help keep us safe at the same time is a positive thing.”



Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at agraves@cullmantimes.com