More than 70 participants attended the the first international HyResponse project workshop on hydrogen safety training for first responders co organized by FAST in cooperation  with the EHA. The participants coming from the US, Canada, UK, France, Spain, Holland, Syria, Italy, Belgium, Poland, Germany and Slovenia joined the hyResponse projec partners at the French Academy for Fire, Rescue and Civil Protection Officers (ENSOSP) in Aix en Province, France on the 3rd and 4th of September.

The workshop is one of the deliverables of the project HyResponse which is a ‘Coordination and Support Action (CSA)’ project supported by EC Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking and aiming to establish the World’s first comprehensive training programme for first responders. The core training programme is threefold: educational training, including  state-of-the-art knowledge in hydrogen safety, operational training on mock-up real scale hydrogen and fuel cell installations, and innovative virtual reality training reproducing in detail an entire accident scenario, including influence of first responder’s intervention.

The two days workshop aimed  to present the main results and the recommendations of the program and the training materials and to gather experiences on programs and materials developed in other countries throughout the world . Colonel Françis Mené, ENSOSP Director, began the workshop by greeting the participants, introducing himself and introducing ENSOSP and the main objectives of the workshop and the need of hydrogen safety training for first responders. The first presentation was ‘’main achievements and development perspectives in the frame of Horizon 2020’’ presented by  Bert De Colvenaer, Executive Director of Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.  ‘’We have to proactive safety management, work together and share knowledge and draw conclusions and to plan the future’’ Bert De Colvenaer said. Followed by ‘’U.S. Perspectives on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells’’ presented by Kym Carey, Project Manager Fuel Cell Technologies Office. ‘’ Our analysis efforts explore not just upfront costs though those are very important also life cycle costs as are used to guide our RD&D efforts.  We continue to leverage other hydrogen and fuel cell activities in the US and globally to multiply and maximize the impact of our efforts.’’  Kym Carey said. Ahmed Essam Aly, Federazione delle associazioni scientifiche e tecnicher & European HydrogenAssociationn (EHA), presented  the EU updates and national developments regarding FC and hydrogen technologies.  The EHA is working closely with all the national associations and the decision makers to ensure that hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are going to be adapted within the new energy and transportation of each European country’s’ national plan’’ Ahmed Aly Said. Marc Lopez and François Lauman, the project coordinators at ENSOSP, gave an overview of HyResponse project. Adrien Zanoto, Industrial Risk Management Representative – Air Liquide Advanced Business, presented ‘’Fuel Cell Statistics and Feedback’’ showing also different videos of experiments about an ignition comparison between H2, CH4, LPG.’’ Overview of HyResponse educational training programme’’ presented by Svetlana Tretsiakova-McNally, University of Ulster, giving an overview of the different sections of the International Curriculum on hydrogen safety training for First Responders as one of the HyResponse project deliverables. ‘’ HyResponse Operational training platform’’ presented by Franck Verbecke, AREVA ES, and he introduced the different HyResponse intervention training platforms with Fuel Cell and Hydrogen which are didactic system, Hydrogen behavior platforms and Mock-up real scale transport and hydrogen stationary installations. ‘’ Virtual Reality training platform’’  presented by Eric Maranne, CRISE. ‘’ The virtual training aims to train First Responders in team work assessment of the accident scene and decision making in different scenarios’’ Eric Maranne said.

The presentations session followed by a visit to ENSOSP operational training platform and a two hours demonstration of four different FC vehicle firefighting (LPG, Methane, Hydrogen under pressure 350 bar and 700 bar). The demonstration showed the initiation of the fire in the cars and the intervention of the first responders for the four different types of FC vehicles.

The demonstration is followed by a visit to exhibition of FC applications.

Adrien Zanoto, , started the first presentation of the second day of the workshop about ‘’Hydrogen Refueling Station’’. Followed by the presentation of Randy Dey, President of The CCS Global Group, about ‘’Regulations Codes and Standards relevant to First Responders’’. Franz Petter, State Fire department and emergency medical service EMS Hamburg, started to introduce the topic Hydrogen Strategic Planning and he started to answer the question what is in the future if hydrogen vehicles are involved in fires …?.

The presentations session followed by a visit to the virtual reality training center in ENSOSP where all the participants involved to interact with two different scenarios of hydrogen accidents to learn more about virtual reality simulator which has been developed within the project HyResponse.

Kurt Vollmacher, CTIF (International Association of Fire and Rescue Services) started the second session of the presentations of by explaining the‘’ Purpose and actions of CTIF’s commission for extrication and new  technology’’. Followed by the presentation ‘’ First Responder Training Resources and Future Direction’’ by Steven C. Weiner, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – Washington, DC. ‘’ Collaboration will continue to be an essential element of our future work in first responder training.’’ Steven C. Weiner said. Vladimir Molokov, University of Ulster, ended the presentations session by introducing the MSc course in Hydrogen Safety Engineering at Ulster University. ‘’ Hydrogen economy depends on public acceptance. To promote public awareness and trust in hydrogen technologies we need well educated and trained staff.’’ Valadimir Molkov Said.

A round table discussion took place where Tom Van Esbroeck, Departement Brandweer, commented the need of field training of first responders to be mixed with the virtual reality training.

The Second HyResponse International Workshop on Hydrogen Safety Training for First Responders is going to take place in 2016 by which the project HyResponse hopes to have trained  50 European First Responders during 3 training sessions in a face to face mode of one week duration.