H2 Oh Yeah! Hempstead Town to Offer Hydrogen Safety Training for First Responders

Classic science fiction enthusiasts have guessed that by 2016 cars would run on rocket fuel and no longer be limited to the ground. Well, there are no flying cars or time-traveling Deloreans, but Hempstead Town has been a forerunner in green energy by installing the first hydrogen motor vehicle fueling station on Long Island at Energy Park in Point Lookout. Now, with the growing popularity of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, Supervisor Anthony J. Santino and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito have partnered with the Pacific Northwest Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy to announce Hydrogen Safety Training courses for firefighters and other first responders.

“Hydrogen-powered vehicles are becoming more prevalent in society as we look for ways to improve the environment and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,” stated Santino. “By offering courses that prepare first responders for hydrogen-related emergencies and other incidents, we are taking a proactive approach to new technology and easing the transition into greener energy.”

The course will teach first responders the “ins and outs” of a hydrogen fuel cell as well as the components and safety systems of a hydrogen-powered vehicle. It will also detail hydrogen fueling stations and repair facilities, but the primary focus of the course is emergency response to hydrogen accidents. After the lecture, the class will participate in a fuel cell vehicle inspection, where it will get hands-on training with a Toyota Mirai and its installed hydrogen tanks.

The Toyota Mirai is one of the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to be sold commercially, and it was the first to be introduced to the United States starting earlier this year. The Mirai is only available to parts of the country that have a steady hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

“A properly trained first responder community is critical to the successful introduction of hydrogen fuel cell applications and their transformation in how we use energy,” said Nick Barilo, the Hydrogen Safety Program Manager at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “Providing first responders with current and accurate information will ensure a safe transition to fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen infrastructure, and pave the way for broader public acceptance.”

The classes will be held at the Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion at One Washington Street in Hempstead on Sunday, November 6 from 9AM to 1PM and Monday, November 7 from 7:30PM to 10:00PM. To register for this event of for more information please call 897-4109.

“The Town of Hempstead is a firm believer in the numerous benefits of green energy,” concluded Santino. “From solar houses to a solar and wind-powered shellfish nursery, we have been at the forefront of the transition to cleaner, safer energy. The Hydrogen Safety Training program will bring us one step closer to a greener future.”