Partnership with Firefighters Transforms Traditional Awareness Training to an Engaging,State-of-the-Art Learning Experience
– National Grid works closely with emergency first responders across its service area in New York and New England to help make sure they have all the information needed to protect the public and respond safely in the event of a natural gas emergency. Today, as firefighters worldwide recognize Fire Prevention Day, the company is launching a state-of-the-art online, interactive training program for emergency personnel.
“Safety is our number one priority and every year we offer training materials to thousands of first responders across our service area and we partner with them in drills to test emergency response and coordinate plans,” said Ken Daly, president of National Grid New York. “This new state-of-the-art e-learning tool is an opportunity to train and prepare every firefighter across our service area, enhancing our ongoing efforts to ensure their safety and the safety of our customers. As the proud son of a retired New York City firefighter, I have seen firsthand the bravery that firefighters demonstrate in ensuring fire prevention and safety.”
The free, web-based training, called First Responder Utility Safety, includes a series of interactive modules that offer emergency response personnel information on how to safely identify and respond to incidents that involve natural gas pipelines and other natural gas facilities. The modules provide an overview of the natural gas system, including the properties of natural gas, protocols for responding to natural gas leaks and fires, carbon monoxide safety and more.
"National Grid's new approach to help train first responders on how to handle incidents involving natural gas will help protect our brave first responders and it will improve the safety of the public in general," said New York State Public Service Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman. "This first responder training initiative is part of a broader statewide effort that includes a strengthened damage prevention outreach effort designed to ensure that the integrity and reliability of the state's natural gas system is maintained and protected."
The safety education material is designed to keep first responders current on the latest response tactics and natural gas practices. There also are links to the National Pipeline Mapping System, an online public geographic information system managed by the U.S. government, which provides an overview of natural gas pipelines and facilities by county.
National Grid’s web-based program provides up to three hours of instructional content and allows emergency responders to complete the safety training at their own pace. There are periodic knowledge checks and, once the training modules and associated proficiency exams are successfully completed, participants will be awarded a certificate and may qualify for in-service training credit.
The program was developed with the assistance of a 12-member advisory panel of emergency responders from across National Grid’s service area and emergency training experts, including Otto Kohlmier Jr., president, Nassau County Firemen’s Association in New York, a 44-year member of the Hewlett Fire Department and former chief.
“As an educational tool, these web-based programs are great,” said former Chief Kohlmier.“They will keep the attention of users, from the newest fireman to the seasoned vet. Even though an incident is highly unlikely to occur, the information in this training is important to all firefighters.”
While the First Responder Utility Safety launch focuses on natural gas safety, the website also includes electrical safety material. Over the next three months the e-learning program will be rolled out to firefighters in New York and across National Grid’s service area. Plans are also underway to roll this out to police and emergency medical technicians, and further build out the site with additional electrical safety training materials.