NGVAmerica and members support first responder safety & training

March 29, 2024. NGVAmerica and its member companies are advancing first responder safety in California after a February 15th thermal incident involving a heavy-duty vehicle fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) in the Wilmington area of Los Angeles.

Nine Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) members were injured by a CNG cylinder rupture during the Class 8 truck fire. Roughly 47,000 vehicles fueled by CNG and LNG are deployed on California roadways.

The NGVAmerica Incident Investigation and Root Cause Analysis Working Group – with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – is currently assisting in the local investigation to understand why the temperature-sensitive Pressure Release Device (PRD), which reduces the tank or cylinder pressure when required (e.g. during a thermal event), did not activate.

In response to the incident, NGVAmerica fleet members are supporting renewed first responder training initiatives in the area: 

  • WM – with over 2,000 CNG trucks deployed in California – will host a hands-on firefighter response training at Dodgers Stadium for roughly 600 LAFD firefighters in early April. Covered topics include properly identifying CNG-fueled trucks upon arrival at incident, understanding fuel container and PRD and vent tube locations, and the importance of avoiding water impingement onto PRDs during fire suppression efforts. Partners from National Ready Mixed Concrete Company, LA Sanitation, Cummins Clean Fuel Technologies, and Hexagon Agility will also participate in the event.
  • National Ready Mixed Concrete Company – with over 130 CNG vehicles and four on-site refueling stations in operation across four California locations – is hosting groups of LAFD firefighters over multiple days for hands-on inspection of their CNG compression equipment, vehicle safety procedures, and site safety, while reviewing manufacturers recommendations on addressing thermal events involving CNG cylinders and systems at its Vernon, CA facility.

Additional NGVAmerica members and partners have developed a variety of training services and materials for incident first responders:

  • Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute (AFVi) offers an online course that introduces first responders to the essentials of compressed natural gas vehicles: Specifically, how to identify them, and the critical components that first responders must be familiar with, including fuel containers, valves, pressure relief devices and tubing.  The course also presents natural gas as a transportation fuel, addressing its properties, characteristics, and safety factors.
  • Hexagon Agility’s First Responder Guide: CNG and LNG Vehicle Fuel Systems.
  • The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers Alternative Fuel Vehicle Training for fire professionals.
  • AFV Educate offers Firefighter Gaseous Fuel Vehicle Safety Training for fire professionals.
  • Detailed slides from an October 2021 first responder safety webinar hosted by Hexagon Agility, the National Volunteer Fire Council, and AFVi. 

In addition, NGVAmerica fuel system manufacturer members offer access to a variety of CNG system and inspection training materials online:

  • Cummins Clean Fuel Technologies
  • Hexagon Agility