April 12, 2021 – Morgantown, WV
AVI is branching out, and a lot of this growth has happened relatively recently. Not only is AVI and TGTA moving heavily into expanding delivery methods (see our coaching program and developed live, instructor-led technician training), we're also looking to support new audiences.
Chris Womock is an active firefighter and is a Captain at the Indianapolis Fire Department. I've known Chris Womock quite a few years, and he has been a great friend and a key in the development and presentation of one of AVI's new training directions in instructing firefighters and other responders. Chris is one of the head subject matter experts on a course AVI is developing for training firefighters and other responders on alternative fuel vehicles and proper response. I gave Chris a call the other day, and his interview is transcribed below:
Mike: Hey Chris, got time for an interview for AVI's training blog?
Chris: Sure thing, Mike.
M: So tell us a little about yourself.
C: Well, I've been in the fire service for over 29 years, and the last 25 have been with the Indianapolis Fire Department. I've been presenting firefighter training for a long time and have been teaching alternative fuel classes for probably about the last ten years across the country, including at the National Fire Academy in Maryland.
M: So, how did you get involved with AVI, and what are you currently doing with them?
C: Been teaching with AVI for the last two years, and we've been doing classroom instruction and building online training for those who can't attend live in-person classes. We're doing some fun stuff with webinars and are using my experience and the feedback from our students to see what firefighters want regarding training.
M: So, what type of other project have you been working on with AVI?
C: I've had the chance to do more than train firefighters. I've had the opportunity to do some awareness presentations to educate folks on the importance of many fire-related topics and even go toward different audiences for our alternative fuel vehicle training when I got to teach trash truck drivers on safety and their compressed natural gas garbage trucks. Ann Vail at Louisiana Clean Cities sponsored that class, and she is already talking about bringing me and AVI back down for more training.
M: So what can you tell us about the courses you teach. Obviously, you have a lot of experience in front of the class, but what about the materials you base your teaching on?
C: Good question. Most of the alternative fuel vehicle firefighter classes are using materials from a couple of different organizations. There were good in their day, but both are highly outdated. I've been working with the AVI staff on writing new coursework for firefighters and electric vehicles that we hope to have available very soon. It will cover electric cars in addition to optional modules on CNG, Propane, alternative fuel buses, and versions for Emergency Medical Services and Law Enforcement. Probably the module I'm the most excited about is our electric vehicle extrication class we're kicking off this summer. We take instructors to firehouses and teach them with their tools how to safely extricate from electric vehicles. I can't wait for that one.
M: You're a busy guy, Chris. So it seems like you're enjoying your time with AVI. I know you like Florida, as you always say, you're a southern guy who was unlucky enough to be born in the north. What else do you like about working with AVI?
C: The staff. The folks down in Florida are so talented and fun to work with. Of course, Paul (AVI owner Paul Louwers) always takes me out fishing when I come down, and I get to see his dog, Roscoe. For anyone who has had the chance to do work with AVI in Fort Myers, you'll all know Roscoe, Paul's dog. He's the best.
M: Thanks for your time Chris. I'll let you go back to saving people, and we all thank you for your service.
C: Thanks, Mike. Talk to you soon.
If you are interested in our firefighter training, give us a call.