West River Electric participates in electric vehicle training

Rapid City Fire Department receives safety training on electric vehicles.

As more and more electric vehicles hit the road, the need for safety training increases. West River Electric Association, a Basin Electric Class C member headquartered in Wall, South Dakota, recently teamed up with the Rapid City Fire Department to provide safety training on electric vehicles (EV); the training focused on what to do in an accident or in case of a fire. Over the past six months, the concept of training first responders on electric vehicles emerged from a series of discussions within West River. “Exploring the idea from different angles, we aimed to find the best approach to equip emergency personnel with essential knowledge on handling EV-related incidents,” says Adam Daigle, West River energy services advisor. However, it wasn't until John Potter with the Rapid City Fire Department sought assistance in understanding electric vehicles that the pieces fell into place.

With a plan ready to launch, an eye-catching flyer was created to explain the event and then shared with the fire department and local news channels. “The fire department’s insider knowledge allowed them to share the information with individuals who would gain the most from the training, both within their own department and across all the volunteer departments in the vicinity,” Daigle says. Word of mouth also played a vital role, with first responders sharing their interest in the training with colleagues and peers, creating a buzz that helped heighten interest.

Approximately 120 first responders from seven different departments participated. “The turnout for the training event exceeded our expectations, which was fantastic,” Daigle says. What’s even more exciting is the ripple effect the training had on the community. “Word of the program spread quickly, even catching the attention of a local tow company after they saw a news interview and asked to send some of their staff to attend.”

Rapid City Fire Department receives safety training on electric vehicles.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and participants expressed their appreciation for the program. “We feel the training left a lasting impact, equipping attendees with valuable insights and practical knowledge that they can apply in real world situations,” Daigle says.

Daigle says partnering with the fire department was a perfect opportunity to show their commitment to community, one of the seven cooperative principles. “These local first responders serve our membership and employees, so by assisting them we are also helping the membership. It’s a win-win for everyone.” Daigle says. “By helping provide EV fire training and awareness, we ensure our community's thriving during the transition to electric vehicles, setting a strong example of responsible and caring community involvement.”

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