Picture: General Motors

As EV sales rocket, General Motors is expanding its efforts to educate public safety, fire and emergency service providers throughout the United States and Canada.  

The focus on the company’s first EV First Responder program will be on personnel in fire services, providing instruction and sharing of best practices on how to most effectively support emergency situations involving electric vehicles, like the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV, GMC HUMMER EV Pickup and Cadillac LYRIQ. 

Although the program is directly focused on responders, drivers will also benefit from this program. The program is a continuation of GM-led education efforts that began more than a decade ago with the introduction of the Chevrolet Volt.   

GM aims to have the capacity to build 1 million EVs by 2025, and therefore, they continue to ramp investments in the ecosystem that will enable mass adoption of EVs and to support those who play an important role in electrification technology. 

Our primary goal is to provide key information directly to first and second responders,” said Joe McLaine, GM global product safety and systems engineer, and leader of the training effort. 

“This training offers unique material and hands-on experiences that can help increase responders’ awareness of procedures to help maintain safety while interacting with EVs during the performance of their duties.” 

The EV First Responder Training effort is an education and outreach program to offer emergency responders key information about battery electric vehicle technology, dispel misconceptions and share important industry best practices for handling electric and electrified (hybrid) vehicles safely in various situations.  

For example, GM have said, many people believe water is dangerous around an EV battery, when in fact a large volume of water is the recommended method to suppress a lithium-ion battery fire.  

Following some successful pilot programs that have taken place in southeast Michigan, training and outreach events will spread across Michigan and Forth Worth, Texas followed by metro New York City and Southern California later this summer. 

“The GM EV First Responder Training initiative is a great example of important and relevant information becoming accessible to first responders,” said Chief Jim Keiken, director of Illinois Fire Service Institute.  

He continued to say: “This training directly connects to the fulfillment of the IFSI mission: ‘Helping Firefighters Do Their Work Through Training, Education, Information, And Research.’” 

This EV First Responder Training is just the second of its kind. GM aspires to eliminate vehicle tailpipe emissions and only sell zero-emissions light-duty vehicles by 2035. Vehicle and customer safety is top priority for the company. This includes investments in education such as the EV First Responder Training and tools to guide a speedy and safe transition to EVs.