News reports continue to document the popularity of renewable energy sources. Last week, New Jersey joined New York and California in mandating that utility companies draw 50% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. At the same time, a Bloomberg news article stated that half the new cars on the road will be electric by 2040 with the pricing of alternative vehicles being on par with gas guzzling cars by the early 2020s.
These trends are driven by consumer interest, business economics, government incentives, and a global commitment to becoming more green and efficient. These trends also accentuate the need for first responders, facility managers, code enforcers and others to learn all that they can about emerging technologies.
NFPA has designed an educational lineup at its annual conference in June to help the fire service, the built environment and design professionals become aware, prepare, and respond to emergencies associated with energy storage systems (ESS), solar power, alternative fuel vehicles, and new innovations such as small unmanned aerial systems, artificial intelligence, spaceports and more. Here’s what’s on tap:
- Jump start your learning at a special pre-General Session four-hour pilot of NFPA’s newly redesigned ESS/Solar Safety Training for First Responders. So much has changed in our world since NFPA introduced the world’s first ESS safety program in 2015, that FEMA provided grant money to update the content with new considerations and more solar energy information. Be among the first to learn what’s new.
- Before or after educational sessions on opening day, swing by the NFPA Building of Tomorrow on the Expo floor to learn more about some of the latest technology that will enable smart buildings and electric vehicles to steer us into the future. This virtual reality demonstration offers an up close look at new advances as well as other innovations on the horizon.
- On day 2 of the conference several sessions cover energy storage systems and photovoltaics. Gain insight on the global view of ESS and PV; listen to a panel discuss fire safety considerations; hear about who’s embracing this new technology and why; and learn from well-versed technical leads and SMEs about NFPA’s 855 Energy Storage System Standard.
- If you’ve had your fill of ESS on Tuesday, you can always see how unmanned aerial systems (drones) are being used for safety within the fire service today.
- On Wednesday, the future of transportation will take center stage. Representatives from the DOE/Clean Cities initiative will provide an overview of Alternative Fuel Vehicles, including plans for more electric and hydrogen fuel infrastructures; while two more educational programs center around natural gas vehicles and the safety systems in place, and the concerns that firefighters have when it comes to identifying AFVs and extricating passengers.
- With new opportunities, come new hazards. That’s why first responders need to know more about what artificial intelligence can (and cannot) do for firefighting, emergency response, and safety inspections. “Deep learning" technology, such as those developed by Google and Facebook, may hold some answers.
- New technology is synonymous with this brand. Representatives from UBER will offer insights on how the next generation of air travel, more specifically, air taxis will impact fire and life safety. Do you know what you need to know about electrical grid expansion, airborne battery systems, and the ground-based charging stations that will need to be evaluated for active and passive fire protection, life safety, and first responder training and tactics? You will after this session.
Perhaps, the greatest reason to attend NFPA’s Conference & Expo is the invaluable opportunity to connect with forward-thinking and diverse professionals who share your passion for keeping people, property and first responders safe for existing and new hazards – and keeping an eye on new trends and future technologies. That’s the foundation of good learning; that’s the cornerstone of NFPA’s C&E.