Originally published in Fire Engineering magazine
March 17, 2017
Scenario: It’s 1600 hours, and you’ve just been dispatched to a residential kitchen fire. First on the scene, you notice solar panels on the roof.
Are you prepared? What are your concerns? If the fire spreads to the roof, can you apply water to energized solar panels? Do you know how to safely shut the system off?
With more than 1.2 million homes now powered by the sun, more firefighters are coming into contact with solar installations when responding to emergencies. A new interactive online solar training course is helping them become solar smarter, so they are confident making swift, safe decisions in an emergency situation where solar technology is present.
Working in partnership with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) released the unique online solar training specifically for firefighters in June 2016, with 14 video tutorials and five interactive 3-D simulations. And, throughout 2017, in-person training courses are happening at more than 30 locations across the country, which can be taken on their own or in addition to the online course.
“The free-of-charge online format makes the training very accessible, so more firefighters learn about responding to solar-equipped structures, whether or not they are able to participate in a live solar training workshop,” says IREC’s Director of Workforce and Credentialing Laure-Jeanne Davignon.
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