More than 190,000 battery-electric vehicles hit UK roads during 2021, representing a 76% increase on 2020 and an 11.6% share of the overall 2021 new-car market. This is predicted to grow by 95% by 2040. Fires in Electric Vehicles are very different to fires in conventionally fuelled vehicles and require a different approach and response to an accident.
Across the UK approximately 44,000 firefighters will need upskilling to mitigate associated fire, explosion and high-voltage risks to protect themselves and others. Due to the nature of the job it is not always possible for responders to undertake classroom-based study and online training is currently limited in impact and depth.
The First Responder Critical Safety Training plans to develop a VR training course with built-in assessment, to be delivered to fire and rescue responders, preparing them to deal with emergency situations involving electric and hydrogen powered vehicles. The flexible and accessible training will enable first responders to test their risk assessment and decision-making skills in realistic, high-risk scenarios, with personalised feedback on progress.
During the pilot, Bradford College will work with two-thirds of the 40 Fire Stations in West Yorkshire with 30-50 Firefighters being directly involved.