The Emergency Responder Safety Institute presents the podcast, a closer look at hot topics, new information, innovative approaches, and case studies in responder safety at roadway incidents and in traffic incident management. Listen for practical, actionable information you can implement today at your next roadway incident response to improve safety of emergency response personnel and the public, no matter which agency you work for. Come learn from interviews and special features with experts and leaders in emergency services. All agencies who respond to roadway incidents — fire, EMS, fire police, law enforcement, DOT, safety service patrols, special traffic units, medevac, and towing and recovery — are all welcome and will find value in what we discuss.

Rod Ammon: Welcome to the Podcast, brought to you by the Emergency Responder Safety Institute, a committee of the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association. To remain mindful of why we do this work, we start every podcast with an update of emergency responders struck by fatalities. Since January 1st, 2024, 21 emergency responders have been struck and killed while assisting the public on the roadway. We have information on the loss of these responders and a memorial tribute available at Our thoughts are with their families and colleagues. Please visit for more than 150 resources and training that will help you operate more safely at roadway incidents and educate the public about how to safely avoid or pass an emergency scene on the roadway. Tom Miller is with us today to talk about commercial electric vehicles. He's a 39-year veteran of the West Virginia Fire Service in numerous roles. He's a pro board certified firefighter two, fire instructor three, and is a hazardous materials technician and incident commander. He is also state certified to the technician level in multiple technical rescue disciplines. He has been an adjunct instructor with West Virginia University Fire Service extension since 1990, and has written numerous courses on specialized topics in hazardous materials and emergency response. Tom has been published in trade publications including Firehouse, Fire Rescue One and Fire Engineering. He is the West Virginia Director of the National Volunteer Fire Council and chairs its Hazardous Materials Response and Homeland Security Committees. Tom has served as a subject matter expert on various technical committees with COVID-TAC, NFPA, PHMSA, API, the US Department of Transportation, the National Security Council, and the Department of Defense. Tom is a principal on the NFPA 470 technical committee and has served on the joint 1001-472 task group and the National Hazmat Roundtable. Tom teaches on electric vehicles around the country. We appreciate you coming on today to talk about this issue, Tom. It's a relatively new topic of conversation at emergency response organizations all over the country. Foundational training in how to handle responses to an incident involving electric passenger vehicles has been available for quite a while now, but commercial vehicles is somewhat of a different beast, which is why we've decided to focus on that today. Thanks again, Tom, and welcome to the podcast.

Tom Miller: Glad to be here. Appreciate the opportunity to help educate the audience and share information.

Rod Ammon: Well, with your expertise and background, I think we're going to get a lot out of this, so thanks again. What makes commercial electric vehicle conversation different than passenger EVs when it comes to emergency response?

Tom Miller: You have to look at frequency of event. Cars go up and down the highway and go through emergency response districts all the time, and that's where there's what we call a frequent interface. And a lot of times in the planning phases for emergency services organizations when they're looking at threats, hazards or risks, they don't necessarily look at the EV potential, the electric vehicle potential with regard to commercial vehicles. You also have to realize the commercial vehicle spectrum is much broader than just what rolls up and down the highways. You have applications in mining, in logging, on construction sites, inside warehouses and other applications with factors that have to be played into this, including battery capacity, voltages, access to water if you're going to use that as a suppressing agent. A lot of other factors that come into and when you start getting out into the agricultural application of commercial vehicles, some of these vehicles are autonomous, which means they don't have a driver or you may have an incident with no one around to provide you any kind of guidance or assistance on the operating systems of the vehicle. So it's a piece that has to be dealt with and a lot of people really aren't truly prepared for dealing with that and those factors.

Rod Ammon: Yeah, it sounds bigger and sometimes more autonomous. Yeah, so a lot to cover. What are some of the regulatory and market forces that are putting more commercial EVs on the road perhaps faster than emergency response organizations can respond to or plan for?

Tom Miller: There's a lot of regulatory issues, and I'm going to use the bus market. For example, the state of New York issued a guidance document where they were looking to move their entire school bus fleet to electric vehicles by 2030 or 2035. It's a huge market driver. There are certain federal contracts that are being issued that say that 10% of the fleet by such and such a date has to be a zero emissions vehicle. There are a lot of federal grants like the EPA Clean Cities Initiative, which are pushing commercial buses, city buses, transport buses to be zero emissions vehicles, which are typically electric, lithium-ion battery powered or some other type of zero emission vehicles. There are also company good stewards of the environment initiatives, which are designed to move their fleets to zero emissions vehicles. In the warehouse and commercial industrial space, there are mandates for environmental air quality through environmental health and safety initiatives, so they're converting propane forklifts or propane powered trucks and hauling trucks over to electric batteries. There's a lot of different initiatives. Some are state driven, some are federally driven initiatives with regard to the zero emissions vehicles, but there's a lot of market forces out there that are driving it. Some states are much more progressive with their initiatives such as California, New York, Oregon, Washington state, and others are kind waiting to see where the pendulum is going to swing and when the bell is going to toll on them. We're kind of caught in a window. At the same time, there are new markets and new technologies coming out with regard to hydrogen powered vehicles, which a hydrogen powered vehicle is still an electric vehicle. The hydrogen just charges a battery. There are molten salt batteries coming out. There are iron based water batteries. It's really just like trying to hit a moving target.

Rod Ammon: And it sounds like for a lot of response departments, organizations, this is a lot to do when you're trying already to do a lot with not enough money.

Tom Miller: It's not just money, it's the resources of manpower. When you look at a passenger vehicle, the emergency response guides say that you should use on average 3,000 to 8,000 gallons of water to extinguish it should there be a thermal event that involves fire. Internal combustion passenger vehicle weighs 2,700 to 3,500 pounds the same size vehicle, and an EV weighs 4,750 pounds. So if you're doing auto extrication, let's say there's a motor vehicle crash, you need more resources to pick that car up and stabilize it. In the agricultural industry, you get an internal combustion tractor with a diesel engine weighs 32,000 pounds. The same size tractor in an electric tractor weighs 62,000 pounds. So the amount of manpower and equipment that it takes to deal with these incidents escalates greatly. So when you have a thermal event, and we're trying to go away from the term fire because everybody focuses on fire. Every Tesla fire that occurs ends up on Facebook or the internet, but not every Honda Civic that catches on fire does. And these vehicles, whether it be a commercial or a passenger vehicle, have these thermal events and thermal events can cause just as many problems as an outright fire. They can cause traffic disruptions, they generate large amounts of smoke, they can generate heat. They create a situation where the vehicle can't be moved until the situation is mitigated and stabilized. So if you're looking at a passenger vehicle, an electric vehicle that goes through a thermal event, you're talking about shutting one lane of the road down and possibly the berm. A commercial vehicle, you may be shutting down three lanes of an interstate, which creates a traffic tie up. So it's a logistical concern. It's not just about money, it's about resources, timing, traffic, incident management. It's a pebble in the pond and we really don't know where all those waves are going to land yet.

Rod Ammon: Yeah, so since there's no nationwide consistent strategy or tactic for handling electric and hybrid vehicles in the emergency incident context, what principle strategies, tactics do you teach for commercial EVs?

Tom Miller: We teach three main tactics. Number one, identify what you're dealing with. Is it a hybrid commercial vehicle or is it a fully electric vehicle? You got to identify it and then you can do that by badging, looking for cables, looking for charging ports, vehicle identification, identification and recognition. So the first thing is you have to identify what you're dealing with. The second thing you have to look at is what is the threat? Is the vehicle going through a thermal event or was it involved in some kind of motor vehicle accident or some kind of other mechanical breakdown? Remember, these are machines. They can break down just like anything else. They can have flat tires, they can have a busted drive system, they can run out of power. It's no different than running out of gas. So what is the threat, and lastly, are you going to be offensive or defensive? Are your staff trained? When you're looking what tactic you're going to employ or what strategy you're going to employ, and then the underlying tactics, what is your level of training? What resources do you have? What kind of manpower do you have? Do you have, if it's a thermal event, can you establish, maintain and sustain a water supply to deal with that event? If you're looking at 3,000 to 8,000 gallons for a passenger vehicle, a commercial vehicle, you could be looking at 40 to 50,000 gallons of water or more. And delivering that to a controlled access highway where there's not hydrants, you got to remember in the United States, there's not hydrants along interstates, so how are you going to move that much high quality H2O to the scene? So those three things identify, what is the threat, and what's my strategy going to be? That's what we're trying to teach to people. And the only way you're going to accomplish that is through training and developing SOPs and SOGs and going out there and actually doing some drills and doing some tests to see if your plan works.

Rod Ammon: Well, I'm hoping you can satisfy my one thing that's driving me crazy right now. I'm thinking about, whether it's a thermal event or whether it's a fire, approaching one of these things and identifying it sounds like it could be, I don't know, for me, scary, for somebody else, challenging. What do you do to identify something like that if it's a blaze or if you think there's some other challenge or danger?

Tom Miller: You can have thermal events where the battery is venting and hissing. It'll be puffing and popping. It'll be putting out smoke or gases. Please don't get me wrong. That can be just as serious if not potentially more serious than an actual fire. A lot of people think it's one great big battery underneath the vehicle and what people don't realize, these battery cells or modules are often made up of hundreds if not thousands of subcells, maybe 18,650 cells. For example, a Tesla EV has 7450, 7440 18650 cells that are hooked up in series in a set of 14 different battery modules that make up the battery. On a commercial vehicle, there may be 35,000 of these cells, so a thermal event may be involved in just one of those individual cells. Thermal runaway occurs whenever it starts jumping from one cell to two cells to 10 cells to 20 cells to 50 cells to 90 cells to a whole battery bank, which then transfers to the other battery bank and they can produce lots of noxious smoke, puff off gas. They'll vent, they'll hiss. When we're doing classes, we do simulated battery burns, so we say, "Now the battery's angry." And you can hear it being angry. It's just like your grandma's cat who's used to grandma and you're the kid over there wanting to pull on its ears, pet its tail and everything else. It's going to hiss, bark at you, everything else. That's a thermal event. Fire is whenever the thermal event actually converts into visible flame and that flame impinges on other things, and that can actually propagate thermal runaway, but it can also impact the other components of the car that normally burn, the same things that burn in an internal combustion engine, the plastic and the seats, the carpet, the dash, the tires, things like that.

Rod Ammon: So I'll only ask one more of these because again, they're just things that are popping up in my mind. Hydrogen, when I think about that because I'm not informed, makes me even more concerned. What if you see something that has that some hydrogen emblem on it, I'm guessing, or something else?

Tom Miller: It'd be a diamond with an H in it. Typically, on the rear bumper or on the rear trunk lid. That causes a huge concern because hydrogen is the most flammable. I mean, its atomic number is one. It's the most flammable gas known to man. It will burn readily. The issue with these hydrogen vehicles is there may be one or more high-pressure cylinders that are hidden somewhere in that car, could be in the trunk, could be underneath the rear seat, could be along the rear, the drivetrain rail and these cylinders are 12,000 PSI cylinders, 14,000 PSI cylinders, and they do not react well to heat. When you heat a gas, it expands. And once you overcome the tensile strength of the container or the cylinder, you're going to have a rapid vent event and that poses a danger or a hazard to responders. It can be compounded if that vehicle is involved in some type of crash, which puts a mechanical stress on that cylinder or on the valving of that cylinder or the piping of the hydrogen system, allowing that gas to more readily escape. Hydrogen is very flammable. Anybody who's watched any footage or seen pictures of the Hindenburg knows what I'm talking about. It's just a bad situation. The compounding factor with that is it's also an electric vehicle, so there's some kind of battery system on board. And for first responders, we now have the same thing with electric batteries where we also have the risk hazard threat potential in charging stations. We now have a electrically charged vehicle next to a hydrogen filling station and we've all seen the pictures and the videos on YouTube or Facebook or other social media where someone drives off with a hose hooked up, someone drives into the pump, someone drives into the fill station. Whole new hazard that again, we have to be prepared for and we have to educate our responders about. Not just fire. We've got to educate EMS. We've got to educate law enforcement that we are not dealing with just a simple situation. We are dealing with multiple potential threat vectors.

Rod Ammon: And I think it's important that we say it upfront or we're not trying to be teaching or training here. We're trying to give some people some background and I think at the end of our time here together, maybe we can talk about some opportunities for people to take. Given operational challenges like the extreme amounts of water, and then you talked about how interstates don't have hydrants, what's your advice to local departments and other response organizations about how they can assess a commercial levy landscape in their jurisdiction and then create a plan?

Tom Miller: It starts with the risk assessment process. On all the federal levels, all the different classes that you take at the National Fire Academy or Emergency Management are going to what's called risk-based response. The National Fire Protection Association is very big, and my technical committee is very big on risk-based response. There's some simple things that you can do as a responder or emergency manager in your area to find out what your risk is related to commercial vehicles. Number one, talk to your state regulating authority that regulates commercial vehicles in your state. In the state of West Virginia, it's the Public Service Commission. In the state of New York, it's the New York State Police. Ohio Highway Patrol, whoever you're going to talk to. Find out how many of these vehicles have been issued state taxes or state permits to transport through their area. Real simple, just find out how many, find out what's going through way stations, find out what's going through. Apply for different class permits, but get a rough idea. Number two, go to your local DMV and see how many of these vehicles, because they have specialized VIN numbers. If you have to, file a FOIA request. Find out how many have been licensed and titled and may be in your area. The issue is everybody wants to focus on your area. Well, it may not be the licensed area. Find out how many are coming through your area, check if you have a turnpike authority, see if they're noticing an uptick of them going through toll booths. Look at major carriers that you see. If you see XYZ Trucking going down your interstate or down your US highway, go to their website and almost every major trucking company has something on their website about how we're trying to go to a green fleet, how we're trying to go to zero emissions, our responsibility or duty to the environment. And then you look and they'll tell you what percent of their fleet is. So you imagine every 10 trucks go down there, if 10% of their fleet is zero emissions, well, every 10th truck is going to be something that I have as a potential problem. They're not bombs driving through your area. They're a potential threat. No different than someone who illegally modifies a pickup truck and wants to drag race with it. It's just something that you've got to deal with. Drive around your community, see what's parked in your community, see what's parked on the grocery store lot at night or on weekends. Go see what's parked on the school lot. Go find out if you have truck repair shops in your area. See if any of them have come in for repairs, see if anybody's brought them in for some kind of check or some other kind of maintenance. I had a very spirited discussion one time in a class about, I said, "Check and see if the local parts dealer sold oil filters for them." "Oh, they're electric. They don't have oil filters." Oh, yes, they do. They have transaxles and gearboxes that require oil and they do have oil filters, so we have some guidance documents about what you can do to do a risk assessment, but get some basic knowledge. If you have a highway, take a drill night and put guys in a pickup truck just sitting there to watch what goes up and down the road. It would be surprising. The US Postal Service just issued over a purchase order to buy over 200,000 canoe commercial vehicles for the US Postal Service. They're going to be in every community on the planet in the United States. UPS has one of the strongest zero emissions vehicles fleets out there. UPS is an industry leader in safety, but they have no control over the drunk driver who hits their truck. There's a risk there, so don't view the vehicle as the threat. View the situations that you can encounter as the threat, if that makes sense.

Rod Ammon: It sure does, and some of it sounds common sense, but I wouldn't have thought about some of that and I am sure people are saying, "Huh, okay, that's something easy to do." May take some time, but it is like anything else, pre-planning in a way.

Tom Miller: Work together with your county managers, work with your local emergency preparedness councils, work with your state office of emergency management if you don't have the resources, which is understandable. I mean, a lot of volunteer fire departments don't have time. A lot of even small municipal departments don't have time, but work through your state associations, come up with a plan to gather information. Work together, partnerships. If you can't narrow it down to a specific area, take what bites you can. Find out about a county-sized area, find out about a state-sized area, look at major transportation quarters. Do you have interstates going through there? Heavily traveled US routes, commercial trucking routes, manufacturing facilities. But don't just say, "Oh, I'm not going to do it until I have to do it." That's putting you behind the eight-ball.

Rod Ammon: Yeah. It's making me also think about the traffic incident management committees that we're always trying to get people to join and really get involved in.

Tom Miller: And they're doing great work and they are working on educating the traffic incident management realm of emergency services. The metropolitan area in DC recently had a conference and they made EVs a priority because they understand that its impact on quick clearance and managing critical arteries. That part of the emergency response community is really ahead and even in some ways further ahead than the hazmat community with regard to these vehicles, so kudos to them. They're doing a great job of getting information out.

Rod Ammon: That's great to hear. Can you talk about the diversity of the commercial EVs and how that plays into crafting a strategy for responding to incidents involving EVs in your local area?

Tom Miller: When you talk about diversity, I look at size of vehicles. You've got everything from commercial vans like GMC Safari, difference between what a basic contractor would have over to what someone else would have. Then you start getting into the delivery and service fleets like DHL, FedEx, UPS, quick delivery, all these other different companies, so it starts getting bigger. Then you start getting into commercial trucks, Volvo White, Kenworth, Mack. Even Mack right now has commercial electric dump trucks and electric garbage trucks. Then you start getting into much heavier vehicles, tractor trailers, semis, again, which Kenworth, Volvo White, Peterbilt, all these other companies are getting into that space, that business space. Then you have specialized manufacturers like Rivian and Canoe that are doing nothing but Rivian's fleet, they're building trucks for Amazon. We did some training up in Ohio and in a two-hour period sitting at a restaurant, we counted over 170 Rivian vehicles going up and down the road that had Amazon on the side of them. Now, is there a distribution center there? I'd be willing to bet there is, but that local emergency response district probably has not looked at the number that they have. Then you start getting into commercial vehicles. On the agricultural side, you've got everything from lawn tractors to turf mowers for golf courses, up to super tractors that can plow 25 rows at a time. Combines, corn pickers, wheat applications, grain haulers. Going to the mining side, the industrial side, you've got everything from a case, what would normally be like a 500 series backhoe and loader, all the way up to an 85-ton, 100-ton rock truck that are electric and great big drag shovels. Their diversity is there. It's all over the place. And if you're looking at electric vehicles, we teach people, one of the things we talk about is to broaden your definition of a vehicle. There's forklifts, manlifts, shuttle cars for mines. There's hydrogen-powered locomotives on the rails. In Huntington, West Virginia, there's two hydrogen-powered locomotives that CSX is operating. It's as diverse as the population is.

Rod Ammon: Wow. Well, it further supports what you said about find out what's going on in your area, geographic location. I have a question that's a bit of a twist. It's on the commercial EVs conversation and it comes courtesy of Jack Sullivan, the director of training at the Emergency Responder Safety Institute. When we were prepping for this episode, Jack asked us to address responding to incidents where electric vehicles of any kind or EV batteries are cargo on commercial vehicles like a car carrier or tractor trailer. In these situations, there are multiple EV batteries present. Can you talk about these types of incidents and what are critical aspects of this type of event?

Tom Miller: Sure. I know Jack well. I kind of had a feeling this question was going to come. There've been several high-profile incidents, including one down in Birmingham, Alabama, that happened at a truck stop. These incidents pose several serious hazards to first responders. The first issue that we're dealing with is, number one, they may be in a box trailer and they may not be properly placarded or labeled because they're considered in some cases just auto parts. If you've got a truckload of water pumps, it's not placarded or labeled. Just the carriers on the outside of the trailer. They don't necessarily carry that 3391 or the lithium-ion battery stack. The second issue that's come up, and I use the incident that happened in Morris, Illinois, at the old school building when 100 tons of stored lithium-ion batteries caught on fire several years ago. The auto salvage business is sometimes removing the battery from the car and then it is discarded separately at waste as waste because a lot of people don't know what to do with these batteries when they're done. They've been thrown in dumpsters, they've been thrown out back, they've been stacked up like firewood and then loaded on pallets and put inside the back of a truck. That poses a very real and present danger to first responders. When you have all the hazards that you have with a burning battery, and contrary to popular belief, not all lithium-ion batteries are the same. There's lithium cobalt oxide, lithium ferric oxide, lithium manganese phosphate batteries, lithium ferric phosphate batteries. There's 23 or 24 different compositions of the battery electrolyte system. They give off massive amounts of hydrogen fluoride, phosphor fluoride, hydrogen cyanide, organic carcinogens and other deadly toxins. That's just with one battery. When you have that situation multiplied 10, 12 times because of the number of batteries in a shipment, you take what is normally a truck fire, which is a major incident for most fire departments, and you turn it into a zip code response, and the problem is responders need to understand that these toxins that I talked about, the hydrogen fluoride, phosphor, fluoride, organic carcinogens, all this other stuff, they permeate their turnout gear, including their SCBAs, and their gear can off gas for an hour or two after the event if they get enveloped in smoke. You also may have to be looking at downwind downstream evacuations because of the toxicity of the byproducts of combustion. It is a real issue. I've worked with some people in the state of Alabama about the port of Birmingham and some of the stuff that's, I mean, port of Mobile stuff that's coming in there, it's coming in by rail. It's traveling up and down the road by rail and a lot of it's going up and down the road in trucks. And quite a bit of it is not labeled because A, the government does have some regulations on it, but catching it is a whole different thing when it's in a sealed up box truck and the manifest on the truck just says "used auto parts". There's a lot of problems there. And sadly, I think someone's going to get hurt before any major change in that occurs. I really think it's a true threat and I know that Jack and his team over at the Responder Safety Institute are watching it closely. It's one of the scariest things that I deal with in training is because who knows what is hazardous waste and who knows where it's at. People don't like to drive up and down the road advertising that they're transporting hazardous waste or toxic substances.

Rod Ammon: Yeah, wow. A lot here to learn, a lot here to be aware of. Education training, so I think earlier on, I said maybe later on we could talk about what someone could do and if they're listening to this podcast and thought this is a real thing, this commercial EV, where would you direct them to start?

Tom Miller: Well, there's a lot of good training programs out there. The first thing I would do is you have to determine what level does your organization want to respond at? Do you want to respond at the awareness level? Do you want to respond at the operations level or do you want to go full-blown technician level? The next thing is you want to take a look and shop around. There are a lot of people out there and no disrespect to anyone, but there are a lot of people out there that are doing training that they've thrown a course together, but it really hasn't been vetted. The data hasn't been vetted and they've just taken simple tactics and tried to apply them to the EV world. You want to look at time. You want to take a look at how much time do you want to budget for training? Do you want a three-hour training, four-hour training, one-day training, two-hour operations level training? How deep do you want to go into the pond? Then you want to look at your training resources. Responder Safety has some stuff that's online. The National Volunteer Fire Council has a really good training program. We just did a train the trainer and trained people from seven different FEMA regions across the country to go out and be trainers. NFPA has some programs online. The IAFF, the International Association of Firefighters, has some good training out there. The International Association of Fire Chiefs, I personally would encourage people to look at that. I'd encourage people to look at their state fire academies, see what they have available. I know the Alabama Fire College has some programs. Texas A&M University has some good programs. West Virginia University Fire Service Extension has programs. In fact, we're pretty proud of West Virginia University. We actually have a cutaway hybrid vehicle that we take out, and we have some specialized nozzles that people can look at and play with, including high-volume nozzles that can be used on commercial EVs. Reach out. Reach out to the Responder Safety Institute, reach out to the National Volunteer Fire Council through the Volunteer Voices thing. We'll get back with you and give you ideas, and we may ask you some questions to find out how far you want to go into it, but there's a lot of really good training resources out there. You just got to sort out the wheat from the chaff. There are people that want to charge you $15,000 a day. They claim they're experts, but to me, an ex is a has-been, a "spert" is a drip under pressure. You got to take a look at what's available and what's the credentials and what vetting process has the training gone through.

Rod Ammon: Well, it sounds like you're going to continue to be a very busy guy and appreciate so much what you brought to us today. What am I missing? Anything that you'd like to communicate out to this audience?

Tom Miller: The big thing with commercial EVs is when you're dealing with a non-fire event, let's say a motor vehicle crash, you have to understand the weights involved. These vehicles are 30 to 40. Just the tractor alone, if you're looking at a tractor trailer, is 30 to 40% heavier than its internal combustion engine counterpart. So in terms of extrication strategies and when you're looking at mechanism of injury where this truck maybe hit a car, you have to realize that force equals mass times velocity and what you have there in that truck, which you may have had a 12,000, 19,000 pound tractor, is now a 30,000 pound tractor that has hit a 2,700 pound car. So the mechanism of injury and the forces that have been impacted upon those victims in that smaller vehicle are huge. Huge, and you're going to have to look at trauma protocols. If the people are walking around saying, "Hey, I'm not hurt. I just got banged up a little bit," you may really want to ensure that they go and get checked because there's studies coming out. There's some different studies being looked at by emergency room physicians and different academic medical centers that are saying that they're not realizing that they're suffering serious thoracic and abdominal injuries that result in hemorrhaging simply because of the mechanical forces involved. You may want to look at your extrication strategies and a 20-ton set of airbags may not be enough for what you've been dealing with. You may have to increase that or double that to pick up one of these vehicles if they're on top of a car. Commercial vehicles are going to force you to take your A game and take it to the next level. You're going to have to plan for it in extrication training. And the sad thing is these vehicles are so new to the place you really can't get vehicles to practice on. I know of one group that took a standard tractor, semi tractor and filled the cab up with bags of cement so that they could simulate the lifting differential between a regular tractor and an EV tractor. I thought it was pretty creative. They put about 4,100 pounds of cement inside the cab and the sleeper of that tractor to simulate the battery weight.

Rod Ammon: Pretty sharp.

Tom Miller: Yeah. Firemen are problem solvers. They're creative individuals. That's why I always joke and I tell people, if you're a real fireman and they ask me, "Well, how do you tell?" I said, "Well, your grandma can never keep you out of the cookie jar. You got into it."

Rod Ammon: It also seems like firefighters today are going to have to keep up-to-date more than ever.

Tom Miller: Yeah, yeah. You're going to have to. Training's ongoing. You took an auto extrication class 10 years ago. All that's out the window.

Rod Ammon: Tom, thanks so much for sharing your experience with us today and your expertise and everything else, and boy, I hope you'll keep in touch with us and we appreciate the work that you've done for us and what I've seen around MVFC and all those other credentials that you share.

Tom Miller: Well, thank you all for the opportunity and the one goal we want to leave with everybody is no matter what, go home safe, do everything you can to train to make yourself better so that the citizens you serve get the level of service that they expect and that they deserve, and I appreciate your platform and I appreciate your efforts to get up to date and accurate information out to your audience. So I commend you and the Responder Safety Institute and everyone else involved in this project.

Rod Ammon: Thank you and thanks to Jack and Steve and all the folks that tell me what to do.

Tom Miller: Well, you can thank everybody but Jack.

Rod Ammon: All right. I won't thank Jack. Jack, we're not thanking you.

Tom Miller: Okay. Love you, Jack.

Rod Ammon: Thanks again, Tom. Appreciate it. We'll see you soon and I hope you're safe out there as well.

Tom Miller: All right, sir.

Rod Ammon: Now for news from The Responder Safety Learning Network has released a new online learning module on Manual Traffic Control. The module lays the foundation for successful manual traffic control practices and offers recommended procedures for manually directing traffic safely and effectively. The module is free. A new video is available on that spotlights the role of Traffic Incident Management Committees in roadway incident response safety. Hear from members from the highly successful Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission about how they work together to improve response, solve problems, and explore innovative strategies for traffic incident management and responder safety. If you know of an incident where a person or an emergency vehicle is struck while operating at a roadway incident, please report it at That's We are continuing to collect these reports to better understand how struck-by incidents occur so we can determine what training, public education and safety messaging is needed to reduce struck-by incidents. Anyone can file a report and reports from all response groups are accepted. The site is mobile device responsive for easy reporting from the field or the station. Make part of your debrief or incident report procedure for roadway responses. Finally, just a quick reminder to connect with us on social media for timely updates on news and emergency response and activities. Like and follow us on Facebook and, on Instagram at, and on X at Links to all these resources are available on this podcast episode page on This podcast, and the Responder Safety Learning Network are made possible by funding from a Fire Prevention and Safety Grant from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program administered by FEMA and the US Department of Homeland Security. We appreciate your support, and remember to share these podcasts with your colleagues to spread the word about safety practices at roadway incident scenes. Thanks for joining us today on the podcast. Stay safe everybody. We'll see you next time. For, I'm Rod Ammon.

Episode 7: A conversation with Chief Anthony Correia on Crew Resource Management - Chief Anthony Correia demystifies the concept of crew resource management and how you can apply it your organization’s roadway incident responses.
Episode 6: A conversation with Cindy Iodice Founder and CEO of Flagman Inc. - Flagman is a non-profit organization that promotes awareness of Slow Down Move Over through K-12 education outreach initiatives.
Episode 5: Towing and Recovery with Angela Barnett and Brian Riker - On the newest episode of the podcast, Angela Barnett, Executive Director of the Arizona Professional Towing and Recovery Association, and Brian Riker, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Towing Association, join us to talk everything towing and recovery — training, relationships on-scene with other emergency response organizations, incident command and management, protecting tow operators when they work, public education, and the biggest issues facing the profession in roadway incident response.
Episode 4: Secondary Crashes: Lessons from the NTSB - Our guest on the newest episode of the podcast is Investigator Sheryl Harley of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Office of Highway Safety. Investigator Harley speaks with us about the NTSB’s role in investigating all transportation-related incidents, how they decide which incidents to investigate, and what happens during an investigation.
Episode 3: Rich Marinucci - On Episode 3 of the podcast, Chief Rich Marinucci, Executive Director of the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA), offers his take on the biggest safety risks to firefighters today, the role of the safety officer at roadway incident responses, why preventable deaths from operations like backing up apparatus are still happening, and the FDSOA’s new Certified Traffic Incident Management Technician credential.
Episode 2: Loveland-Symmes - Today we're going to take a closer look at the emergency services unit of the Loveland-Symmes Ohio Fire Department.
Episode 1: In the Beginning - Steve Austin and Jack Sullivan from the Emergency Responder Safety Institute discuss how the organization and got started and plans for the future. Bob Beamis of the Pennsylvania State Police recounts his experience being struck and injured while working at a roadway incident scene.