The availability of quality training educating firefighters on the identification, operation, and hazards associated with rooftop solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) systems has been limited. With the support of the U.S. Department of Energy and IREC, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has developed a free online program to address these key teaching points through the engaging use of videos, simulations, and quizzes.
Consistent with the focus of the IAFF to be on the leading-edge of firefighter safety training and initiatives, this program adds another accessible, relevant module for the fire service. Narrated by Fire Captain Matt Paiss of the San Jose (CA) Fire Department and IAFF representative to the National Electric Code, the program leads the student through an easy to follow 1.5 hr program that is designed to give agencies with limited resources to deliver instructor-led programs in house.
“PV systems are becoming more prevalent in our communities and firefighters need to understand how to safely work around them. This program provides awareness to the hazards and the operational procedures required to shut down the systems safely,” says Derek Alkonis of the Los Angeles County (CA) Fire Department. “The IAFF’s involvement in developing the content and posting it to the web will benefit fire fighters around the world.”
Students will learn to identify the individual components of a PV system, understand how to shutdown a system to the degree possible, and become familiar with what areas may remain energized.
With recent advances in electrical safety codes, PV systems will soon have to reduce voltages up on the rooftop after utilities are secured. This has been a primary focus of the IAFF in electrical safety, along with the rapidly emerging field of energy storage safety.
To access the free online PV Safety Training, go to: http://www.iaff.org/pvsafetytraining/