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Training of Responders


Training of responders has been identified as a priority beyond EU with programmes, for example, in the USA. The experience gained globally should be analysed and utilised through efficient collaboration with EU and global/international organisations in areas of hydrogen safety, emergency and rescue services, emergency planning, etc.

Projects should seek to:

  • Establish a pan-European network of trainers for first and second responders, supported by stakeholders from EU and beyond, to facilitate dissemination of knowledge and experience generated within the HyResponse project and relevant follow-up projects from EU to national level;
  • Update and expand the threefold training programme of EHSTP, through further development of emergency scenarios to reflect the latest state of the art (e.g. develop intervention strategies and tactics for liquid hydrogen (LH2) applications, tools for assessment of hazards and risks for LH2);
  • Create tailored local training allowing for local language, country specific national regulations and established practices, simplifying and facilitating local approval of hydrogen projects, improving further safety of first responders at the accident scene, etc;
  • Educate and train tomorrow’s responder trainers through established and regularly updated comprehensive educational, operational and virtual reality training. These trainers should replicate this European hydrogen safety training in their own country and in their own language to facilitate and improve efficiency of the local training process, to underpin the introduction of the technology and its public acceptance;
  • Integrate this hydrogen safety training into broader national training programmes where available, e.g. through the provision of emergency response training for hydrogen-powered vehicles along training for other electrical vehicles, LPG and CNG vehicles, etc;
  • Establish an International Forum of First Responders in Hydrogen Safety Training to facilitate sharing of best practice globally;
  • Establish links with ongoing FCH 2 JU projects, e.g. sharing of training materials through educational platform(s) to maximise outreach, dissemination and impact;
  • Establish stronger links between first responders’ activities and FCH 2 JU research and educational projects; Valuing the responders' experience and their feedback to enrich and harmonise harm criteria, models for hazards and risk assessment from the point of view of hydrogen system designers, expand communications to other stakeholders, including but not limited to legislators, technology experts, insurance companies, etc to underpin a massive and inherently safer deployment of hydrogen systems and infrastructure.

The consortium should include fire service institution(s), partner(s) experienced in application of virtual reality for training of fire and rescue services, academic partner(s) specialising in research-led education and training in the field of hydrogen safety, representative(s) of hydrogen industry. Stakeholder(s) beyond past HyResponse project should be now part of the consortium. Participation of non-EU stakeholders should be sought, e.g. through an Advisory Board engagement.

It is expected that the project will contribute towards the objectives and activities of the Hydrogen Innovation Challenge (as detailed under section 3.2.G. International cooperation). Promoting international collaboration beyond EU Member States and H2020 Associated Countries is therefore strongly encouraged.

Any safety-related event that may occur during execution of the project shall be reported to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) dedicated mailbox, which manages the European hydrogen safety reference database, HIAD and the Hydrogen Event and Lessons LEarNed database, HELLEN.

Test activities should collaborate and use the protocols developed by the JRC Harmonisation Roadmap (see section 3.2.B ""Collaboration with JRC – Rolling Plan 2019""), in order to benchmark performance of components and allow for comparison across different projects.

The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution of EUR 1 million would allow the specific challenges to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

A maximum of 1 project may be funded under this topic.

Expected duration: 3 years.

Professional knowledge and skills are needed by first and second responders [1] to tackle situations involving hydrogen systems and infrastructure. This is essential to inform their participation in the initial permitting process, improving resilience and preparedness through enhanced emergency planning, and ensuring appropriate accident management and recovery. Providing technically accurate and up to date hydrogen safety information to responders is essential to underpin inherently safer deployment of hydrogen technologies and its public acceptance.

The foundations to training of first responders have been already laid by the HyResponse project [2] which has established the first European Hydrogen Safety Training Platform (EHSTP) to train first responders through threefold comprehensive training: educational training with the state-of-the-art knowledge in hydrogen safety, including tools for characterisation of hazards and associated risks from hydrogen applications, operational training on mock-up real scale transport and hydrogen stationary installations, and innovative virtual reality training reproducing the entire accident scenarios, intervention strategies and tactics, including the whole chain of command and communications between all members of the first responders team, facility managers, and public.

The uniqueness and importance of EHSTP and its European Emergency Response Guide (EERG) has been validated by the feedback from EU, USA and Japanese firefighters and experts in hydrogen safety. It is now important to capitalise upon the HyResponse investment and draw on wider experience by engaging further stakeholders both across EU and beyond. The establishment of pan-European integrated training resources is however a challenge. This would require consistent and continuous approach across regions, whilst accounting for local level projects, national level requirements, and languages. A ‘train the trainer’ approach will assist in meeting this challenge but first an appropriate network should be established.

[1]: First responders typically include any person(s) first appeared at accident scene, firefighters, hazmat officers, police officers, paramedics, other emergency and rescue services while second responders refer to workers who support first responders in their emergency preparedness, response and recovery;

[2]: FCH 2 JU HyResponse project “European hydrogen emergency response training programme for first responders”, No. 325348, 2013-2016,

  • First and second responders will have educational background to permit/approve hydrogen projects at a local level and will be stronger integrated into hydrogen safety community to underpin the activities in deployment of hydrogen systems and infrastructure;
  • Emergency planning and preparedness relating to hydrogen technologies and infrastructure will be enhanced;
  • Risk of incidents/accidents relating to hydrogen infrastructure will be reduced through improved knowledge and training of first and second responders with at least a training session in 10 EU countries;
  • Pan-European Network of Responder Trainers should be founded for at least 10 EU countries;
  • Coherent up-to-date training programmes for responders will be available in at least 7 different languages;
  • Translated educational materials will be available to all stakeholders, e.g. through the NET-Tools Educational Platform;
  • European cadres of trained first responder trainers will be available including new tools for assessment of hazard and associated risks for first responders from hydrogen-powered transport and stationary applications;
  • Updated European Emergency Response Guide, including intervention strategies and tactics for LH2 applications, will be available online for all responders;
  • Finally, an International Forum of Responders in Hydrogen Safety Training should be founded.

Type of action: Coordination and Support Action

The conditions related to this topic are provided in the chapter 3.3 and in the General Annexes to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018– 2020 which apply mutatis mutandis.