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Alternative Fuels Safety Training for Oklahoma's First Responders Held in OKC

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Courses focus on targeted information for Firefighters, EMS and Law Enforcemen

Firefighters, EMTs, and law enforcement from around the state this week received specialized training on responding to collisions involving alternative fuel vehicles. The free training, held at Oklahoma City Community College's Professional Development Institute on Wednesday and Thursday, is made possible through a federal grant received by Tulsa Area Clean Cities (TACC). TACC, Central Oklahoma Clean Cities (COKCC), and the Oklahoma Department of Labor (ODOL) partnered to bring the training back to Oklahoma for a second time.

The courses, which were unveiled in Tulsa last December, are taught by instructors from the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC). Focused on targeted information for firefighters, emergency medical services, and law enforcement, these three courses feature techniques to safely respond to vehicle collisions, incidents and injuries involving alternative fuel vehicles. Additionally, the courses include information on alternative fuels, their properties and origins, and ways in which alternative fuel vehicles differ from conventionally fueled vehicles.

Oklahoma has 348 alternative fueling stations across the state, meaning that most counties have at least one station fueling local alternative fuel vehicles and first responders who need this information.

Melissa McLawhorn Houston, director of the Oklahoma Department of Labor, the organization that oversees the state's alternative fuels programs, praises the training: "The Oklahoma Department of Labor is proud to partner with Tulsa Clean Cities to provide education, training, and awareness in the expansion of alternative fuel use in the transportation sector. First responders are on the front lines of ensuring public safety, therefore it is imperative that they receive the support and resources needed to keep themselves and the public safe."

OCCC Professional Development Institute director John Claybon agrees. "Alternative vehicle fuels include motors that can contain high voltage, cold temperatures, or high pressures. These fuel systems are becoming more common, and it is important that technicians, first responders, salvage mechanics, and even wrecker personnel are trained to identify the fuel systems and safety hazards. Oklahoma is a nationwide leader in training and licensing requirements for technicians to ensure that they have the knowledge and skill set necessary to work with vehicles operating on alternative fuels."

Tulsa Area Clean Cities will host this training again in 2017. First responders who are interested in taking these safety classes in the future should visit tulsacleancities.com or email Daniel Jeffries at djeffries@incog.org.

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