“Nobody wants first responders to wait for an emergency to learn the answers to important questions about solar technologies.”
Larry Sherwood, IREC President & CEO
In many areas of the country, firefighters are becoming better prepared for emergencies where solar technology is present. They’re alleviating their safety concerns. They’re able to swiftly identify and shut down even less-visible solar systems. They know where they can operate safely with a solar-energized system in play, as well as when they can or can’t create a rooftop escape route for heat and smoke.
IREC’s in-person and interactive online training courses are helping firefighters and other first responders become solar smarter, allowing them to feel confident and safe when responding to fires on PV-equipped structures – with a better understanding of the potential hazards.
Video-simulated environments allow first responders to practice the skills they’ve learned before they pull up to a PV-powered structure. With increased knowledge and a plan, they can approach and act automatically, as they do for other structural emergencies.
Designed by experts from the solar industry and the fire service, the courses are taught by active career firefighters, supported by the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) and the National Association of State Fire Marshals. To date, more than 5,000 firefighters have taken advantage of IREC’s online and live solar training.
Original funding for this initiative came from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SunShot Initiative.