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First responders electric vehicle training

First Responder EV Training: emergency services personnel learn about electric vehicles at a training session at the Belco facility (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

More than 20 of the island’s emergency services personnel took part in a first responder’s training course for electric vehicles today.

Members of the Bermuda Police Service, Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service, King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, St John’s Ambulance, the Transport Control Department, Lowe’s Towing and Belco’s fleet mechanics, safety team and fire marshall learnt how to identify EVs and what the various emergency response procedures involve.

“We are extremely pleased to host Bermuda’s first responder community for this training today,” Joshua Simons, Ascendant Groups’s electric vehicle project leader, said.

According to Mr Simons, the development and adoption of electromobility technologies are “quickly gaining momentum worldwide”, and electric cars and trucks are set to play a key role of in shaping the future of mobility.

But Mr Simons stressed that EVs differ from traditional internal combustion engine vehicles “and can present hazards to untrained first responders, emergency personnel and other service providers”.

For this reason Belco partnered with the Renault dealer Eurocar to provide the training, which covered the identification and technical specifications of EVs, as well as the response procedures for EV’s that have been involved in an impact, or an impact while charging.

The 22 participants also learnt the response procedures for an EV on fire, what to do in the event of a battery leak, how to deal with a submerged EV, as well as how to tow and store damaged EVs.

The training, consisting of a classroom component and a practical component, was administered by an authorised Renault trainer and covered the Renault Kangoo Maxi Z.E. van, along with the Renault Zoe and Twizy cars.

Mr Simons added: “While, the motivation for arranging this training stemmed from Belco’s own adoption of EVs, we know it will also create additional safety benefits relating to any other EVs that may find themselves in an emergency situation.”

According to Mr Simons, Belco is in the process of converting its fleets, with the aim of completing this by 2025.

“Of the various classes of vehicles that Belco operates, we have started the conversion process with our intermediate van fleet, with plans to convert our light and heavy truck fleets as soon as appropriate EV replacements are identified,” he said.

The company’s intermediate fleet will see the replacement of 12 Mitsubishi L300 diesel vans with Renault Kangoo Maxi Z.E. vans that are expected to be in operation by the fourth quarter of 2016. It has also developed an all electric carpool programme that consists of two Renault Zoe cars.