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    Propane Emergencies Training a ‘Virtual’ Reality for Firefighters

    The National Propane Gas Association and the Propane Education & Research Council Provide Additional Interactive Training Tools

     

    February 26, 2001

    Washington, DC - In their continuing efforts to provide high-quality training material to the fire service, the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) and the Propane Education & Research Council (the Council) are pleased to announce the availability of additional training tools created as a part of their Propane Emergencies curriculum. In addition to ten new interactive training scenarios, other enhancements are nearing completion. These materials will not only be added to future reprints of the program's Facilitator's Guide but will be downloadable from the Propane Emergencies Web site (www.propanesafety.com) and available in limited quantity on a CD-ROM later this year.

    In August 1999, NPGA, with funding from the Council, introduced the Propane Emergencies program, a comprehensive curriculum to help the nation's emergency responders and firefighters develop the knowledge and hands-on skills necessary to safely and effectively manage propane incidents. With the assistance of recognized hazardous materials specialists Mike Hildebrand, Greg Noll and Mike Callan, NPGA and the Council produced a comprehensive, 220-page training textbook entitled Propane Emergencies and companion Facilitator's Guide. More than 60,000 textbooks and 5,000 Facilitator's Guides have been distributed free of charge to the fire service and propane industry, and have been widely used by both nationwide. Now the same team of authors has developed enhanced materials to better deliver this outstanding program.

    "This innovative, instructional material takes industrial emergency response training to a new level," said Mike Hildebrand, hazardous materials specialist and co-author of the Propane Emergencies textbook and related training material. "Both the student and the fire service instructor enter a virtual world that will not only show them what the problem looks like, but how they can deal with it in a very interactive way," added Hildebrand.

    The new material includes the following tools:

    New Emergency Response Tactical Scenarios

    Building on the success of the first set of tactical scenarios contained in the Propane Emergencies textbook and in response to comments from those who have used the material, ten new interactive scenarios have been developed. These scenarios feature three-dimensional computer generated graphics, which will allow users to participate in 'virtual' propane safety training. Eight of the scenarios are directed primarily at firefighters and involve propane leaks and fires, while the other two scenarios focus on emergency planning and risk management.

    Student Workbook and Directed Note-Taking Guide

    In addition to the new scenarios, an easy-to-use student workbook has been produced that will allow students to follow along with the instructor's lecture on training information contained in the full textbook. The workbook and note-taking guide will be provided in future reprints of the program Facilitator's Guide, downloadable from the Propane Emergencies Web site (www.propanesafety.com ) and available in limited quantity on a CD-ROM later this year.

    Propane Emergencies Web site Expansion

    The Propane Emergencies Web site, www.propanesafety.com, has been enhanced to provide additional support for instructors who train using the Propane Emergencies program, and to offer a constant source of reliable, credible information for handling propane incidents. In addition to featuring the ten new tactical scenarios, student workbook and note-taking guide, the site will now provide for on-line tracking of Propane Emergencies textbook requests, a 'Marketers Corner' section containing state propane gas association contacts, training information, and testimonials on the effectiveness of the Propane Emergencies curriculum.

    Many states including Maryland, Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, North Carolina and Colorado have adopted the Propane Emergencies training program through their state fire training organizations as the official training curriculum. At the same time, propane marketers across the country are training local firefighters and employees to help make their communities safer.

    The Propane Education & Research Council was authorized by the U.S. Congress with the passage of the Public Law 104-284, the Propane Education and Research Act (PERA), signed into law on October 11, 1996. The mission of the Propane Education & Research Council is to promote the safe, efficient use of odorized propane gas as a preferred energy source. For more information about the Council, please call 202-452-8975 or visit their web site at www.propanecouncil.org.

    The National Propane Gas Association is the national trade association for the U.S. propane gas industry. With a membership of more than 3,800 companies in all 50 states, 38 affiliated state or regional associations, and members in 28 foreign countries, NPGA represents every segment of the propane industry. Over 90 percent of the United States' propane supply is produced domestically, and 60 million Americans choose propane as their energy source. For additional information, please contact NPGA at (630) 515-0600 or visit their web site at www.npga.org.