6 steps to safe, effective solar panel and energy storage fire attack
Friday, June 16, 2023
2:00 PM – 3:15 PM
Basic firefighter strategies and tactics needed to safely mitigate a residential or commercial structure fire have changed with the installation of thousands of solar panel and battery storage systems in homes and businesses across the United States. As such, firefighters need updated training that addresses the presence of this technology. The Solar and Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) program is designed to teach a bread-and-butter approach to mitigating a residential or commercial structure fire involving solar panel and battery storage systems.
Fire service training on electrical utility control and extinguishment has evolved little in the past 100 years. However, the introduction of alternate energy systems has changed where power flows and how it is made safe. The class teaches six critical simple steps that can impact firefighter life safety and lead to successful mitigation of the incident. The lecture is 2 hours including Q&A. The class is sponsored through my safety, research, and development work with the solar manufactures so I can offer it for free to any fire agency in the country.
Captain Richard Birt retired in January of 2021 from Las Vegas Fire & Rescue after a 30-year career in the fire service. Captain Birt and his family lived in a home for 14 years that was not connected to the electrical grid and was powered by a solar panel and battery system that Richard designed and installed himself.
Captain Birt founded Solar and Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) 5 years ago, which has provided free training to thousands of firefighters across the country. The mission of the S.A.F.E. program is to teach firefighters how to safely mitigate a residential or commercial structure fire involving solar panels and batteries. He also teaches how renewable energy can help communities across the country become more resilient to power outages caused by grid failures.
Captain Birt spearheaded a disaster relief effort in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. The mission resulted in the installation of 16 microgrids on strategically placed fire stations across the island. These microgrids made up of solar panels and batteries enabled the emergency services to stay operational and save countless lives even after the complete destruction of Puerto Rico’s electrical grid. Captain Birt was awarded the Medal of Honor from his department for his work in Puerto Rico and continues his disaster relief work as a technical advisor for the non-profits Empowered by Light and The Foot Print Project.