Firefighter Safety and Photovoltaic (PV) Systems Webinar

Throughout 2012, ICLEI and its partners in the Solar Outreach Partnership for the SunShot Initiative, will host free, monthly webinars with the goal of helping local governments overcome barriers to deploying solar energy and making local investment in solar more attractive.  The webinars will cover timely topics with leading experts who provide tips, resources, and case studies on the actions that local governments, utilities, industry professionals and policymakers are taking to increase their solar portfolios.  IREC, along with the North Carolina Solar Center, The Solar Foundation, Meister Consultants, and The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA),  is a partner in this outreach effort.

On Tuesday, April 17th, from 1:00-2:00 ET,  ICLEI and partners hosted a webinar on firefighter safety and PV systems.

This webinar shared the results of research conducted by UL to examine the fire service concerns of photovoltaic (PV) systems and the potential impact of firefighting operations.   These concerns included firefighter vulnerability to electrical and casualty hazards when mitigating a fire involving PV systems. The need for this project is significant due to the increasing use of PV systems, growing at a rate of 30% annually.  As a result of greater utilization, traditional firefighter tactics for suppression, ventilation and overhaul have been complicated, leaving firefighters vulnerable to potentially severe hazards.  Though the electrical and fire hazards associated with PV systems have been known for some time, a very limited body of knowledge and insufficient data exists to understand the risks to the extent that the fire service has been unable to develop safety solutions and respond in a safe manner.

Presenters Bob Backstrom from UL’s Corporate Research Department, and Dennis Grubb, Assistant Fire Marshal from the Orange County Fire Authority, shared data and specific examples that will assist local governments and the fire service community to develop best practices to reduce firefighter death and injury.  Participants in this webinar had a better understanding of the tactical challenges to fire fighters posed by PV installations and how to address those challenges.

Here are some videos to complement the webinar:



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