News Brief

Solar-PV Safety Training Offered to Firefighters

New workshops open to firefighters in New York cover how to safely navigate and disable roof-mounted solar systems.

If solar panels can't be disabled, firefighters are prevented from cutting holes in the roof that let smoke and gasses escape—steps necessary to increase visibility and provide oxygen to potential victims trapped inside.

Photo: tpsdave
Electrocution is seen as a growing hazard for firefighters as solar installations become more widespread, according to the National Fire Protection Association, and strategies to mitigate risks are complicated by the fact that panels can’t be powered down by a single switch (see Making Green Buildings Safe for Firefighters).

A new training program launched by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is designed to teach first responders how to fight fires on buildings with solar photovoltaic panels. A course offered by the NY-Sun PV Trainers Network will teach attendees how to safely disable a PV system and what precautions to take around battery backup systems. The curriculum covers current code requirements for roof-mounted systems and how those requirements ensure safe walking space and access to ventilation during a fire.

New York joins New Jersey and California as one of the few states providing formal training on this topic. For firefighters in other areas, the Solar Energy Industries Association lists fire-safety training resources on its website.

For more information:

NY-Sun PV Trainers Network

https://training.ny-sun.ny.gov/training-events

Published September 2, 2014

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