International workshop of first responders 5-6 October 2020, Virtual meeting

The “international virtual workshop of first responders” was held as an online event. More than 150 people registered for the event. These were members of the projects HyTunnel-CS and HyResponder, first responders from fire services, operators of underground transport systems (UTS), regulatory and safety authorities, manufacturers of hydrogen-powered vehicles, etc.

The International workshop addressed several topics, including but not limited to the analysis of current procedures of fire services for incidents with hydrogen in underground systems. In this context, the following questions were included into discussion, to gain consistent understanding of possibilities and limitations of first responders’ intervention, especially firefighters:

    • What are the specific conditions for intervention in underground transportation systems?
    • How do first responders get all relevant information needed?
    • What are the possible actions taken by fire-fighters?
    • Why is ventilation a very important factor?
    • Who is responsible for which measures of response?
    • What behavior by persons involved must be taken into consideration?
    • Which issues need further research?

The possible tactics and techniques for intervention were presented and discussed, e.g. the benefits and risks of ventilation in tunnels, car parks, etc. The focus was on how the outcomes of HyTunnel-CS research can aid the development and optimization of the fire services intervention strategies, tactics, procedures, technical equipment, training, etc. 

One of the main findings of the workshop was that technologies like TPRD-less tanks would significantly reduce or even eliminate many risks of hydrogen-powered vehicles. For many participants of the workshop this was a completely new perspective for the future. At the same time, it became clear that despite these innovative security technologies, specific hazards will remain. These should be identified in the course of HyTunnel-CS project, to review how the tactics and techniques recommended so far for dealing with incidents involving hydrogen-powered vehicles need to be adapted accordingly.

The most important recommendation at this stage is to ensure that firefighters are informed about the involvement of hydrogen in an accident as early as possible.

Workshop goals

Day 1

–       Overview of projects HyTunnel-CS and HyResponder;

–       Share knowledge on interventions in underground transport systems in general.

Day 2


–       Interactive discussion of appropriate tactics for response to hydrogen incidents in tunnels and similar confined spaces;

–       Exchange of views on education and training in response to hydrogen accidents in tunnels and similar confined spaces;

–       Identify questions that need further scientific clarification;

–       Synchronization with partners activities.

The attendance of the workshop was free of charge as the project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 826193. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Norway, Switzerland.


Workshop agenda and presentations


Day 1




Welcome to the workshop

Goals, procedures and organization of the workshop; rules for video conference                                                                                                                                                  

U. Kummer, IFA












Introduction to HyTunnel-CS project

Pre-normative research contribution to hydrogen accident response:

Similarity law and exclusion of flammable cloud formation

Effect of tunnel slope on hydrogen dispersion in an accident

Correlation of blast wave attenuation in a tunnel

Safety technology to prevent hydrogen tank rupture

– Concluding remarks and questions


D. Makarov, UU


D. Makarov, UU

I. Tolias, NCSRD

W. Dery, UU

S. Kashkarov, UU

D. Makarov, UU




Underground transport and confined spaces: building science

Presentations and discussion: types of design and ventilation systems; varieties and dimensions                                                                                                                     

U. Kummer, IFA







Underground transport and confined spaces: hazards

Presentation and discussion: extremely large fire compartments > long emergency routes > great depth of penetration; smoke, heat, structural collapse; hazard of explosion

C. Brauner, IFA





Underground transport and confined spaces: tactics

Presentation and discussion: extinguish to rescue and the two-sided attack; reconnaissance – firefighting – search and rescue; tactical ventilation.                            

C. Pessel, IFA




Framework for education

Different countries, different tasks, different expectations on curricula, intensity and time budgets for education and training                                                         

C. Brauner, IFA





Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) 

Presentation and discussion: to respond you need to know what you are dealing with. The VIN could tell you all you need to know.                                                

T. Van Esbroek, SPFI






HyResponder project

– Overview and current status of FCH 2 JU HyResponder project

– Virtual reality for training

– HyResponder remote events


S. Brennan, UU

L. Lecomte, ENSOSP
E. Maranne, CRISE


Final discussion and closure of Day 1

D. Makarov, UU





Day 2


Introduction: rules for tabletop exercises

C. Brauner,


C. Pessel, IFA                                                                                                                                                                                                                              





Tunnel scenarios

One tube, single tube, different types of ventilation





Car park scenarios

Single car garage; parking garage, underground parking garage



Example for a political recommendation for law makers and regulatory authorities                                                                                                                                                    

G. Schöpf, LFT





Concluding discussion

Define consent and dissent as well as questions to be answered

C. Brauner, IFA



HyTunnel-CS project next steps

Recommendations to assist intervention strategies and tactics

D. Makarov, UU

International workshop announcement download 

International workshop flyer download