Select language
Bus with propulsion type symbol. Photo: CTIF
04 Aug 2020

ISO 17840: Information for Firefighters, End Users and Educators

- Symbols:  To help identify the Power Source

- Rescue Sheets: All info necessary to approach any vehicle safely

- ERGs: Manufacturers´ own heavy vehicles´ brand specific rescue information



With the aim to increase the safety for citizens as well as first and second responders in case of vehicle fires/accidents , the International Association of Fire and Rescue Services (CTIF) has created an international standard to give information to first  and second responders.

CTIF can now offer this information in cooperation with our partners ISO, SIS and Euro NAP.


Why did we develop a new standard for vehicles?

All who approach an accident scene or a vehicle fire need to first be able to first identity the propulsion system, and secondly to understand the energy distribution within the vehicle body before any rescue attempts can be made safely.

Approaching a vehicle on fire, or a vehicle which has been involved in an accident, especially when passengers need to be rescued, has perhaps never been more complicated. Back when there were only two or three basic propulsion types on public roads, most first responders knew more or less what to expect.

Today, with more and more alternative fels and systems on the market, more knowledge and preparation is necessary before approaching. 

Approaching a new electric or hybrid vehicle can be quite different compared to dealing with traditional propulsion technology like gasoline or diesel. The energy stored in any vehicle could pose a risk both  to your team and to the public, and this creates a need for first and second responders to quickly find information which can guide them in how to proceed safely.

The standard therefore includes rescue information and placards for new / alternative propulsion systems (power source) and various types of fuels being used in alternative and new vehicles, which may not otherwise be visible when approaching a vehicle from a distance.

The ISO 17840 Standard can be implied on all types of vehicles, private or commercial, light or heavy duty.


The various parts of the information available in the ISO 17840 standard:

The ISO standard 17840 can be used worldwide by public transport sector, fire and rescue services,  automotive and heavy duty vehicle sector, and consists of: 

1. “Symbols”  indicating which propulsion energy is used and where tanks, batteries, etc. are located in the vehicle;  

2. “Rescue Sheets” (quick info about the construction of the vehicle) used by first and second responders;

3. “Emergency Response Guides”  (ERGs) containing in-depth information (with the same headlines as the rescue sheets). 



Bus chart with ISO symbols

Some examples of challenges involving rescue on new and alternative propulsion systems:

- Propane and LPG powered vehicles can explode much more powerfully when tanks are heated. Fire plumes can also occur when pressure valves are released, and fuel bottles can become projectiles travelling a kilometre or more from the accident site, if the correct procedure is not followed. This can not only put first responders are severe risk, but also pose serious threats to the public.

Electric and hybrid vehicles all have high voltage batteries and electrical wiring that can electrocute first / second responders and victims if cut incorrectly during extrication or if not disarmed properly before towing.

- Hydrogen and other fuel cells produce toxic and flammable gases which can behave different from gasoline or other traditional fuels.


What are the next steps?

The ISO 17840 is a voluntary standard, and as such, it is up to manufacturers, governments, transport companies and First / Second Responders in each jurisdiction to discuss and decide how to best implement the standard in their own country or region.

The purchase price for the download packages for the commercial use of Part 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the ISO 17840 Standard is intentionally set to a low reasonable cost for commercial companies and governmental organisations. This was accomplished by a negotiation between our partner organisation SIS.se and CTIF.

If you are a firefighter, ambulance paramedic, other first / second responder or an educator, you can download all the information to learn about the standard for free. If you are uncertain about how you define yourself and if you need to purchase the standard or now, please feel free to contact the CTIF office, and we will attempt to guide you.  

As a firefighter or other first responder, you are also encouraged to download the free smartphone app "Euro Rescue", available from our partner organisation Euro NCAP, containing ISO-compliant rescue sheets for most personal cars sold in Europe.

All you need to do as a first responder, is to familiarize yourself with the Symbols, and how the Rescue Sheets and Emergency Response Guides work. It is up to the manufacturers to create them, and up to politicians and industry to implement them. 


Rescue Sheets:  - The EuroRescue App will provide all the information quickly

For private cars, many of the rescue sheets are already made, and available many places online, such as the official ISO compliant Euro NCAP Euro Rescue App. (Download here)

For most personal cars on the market, there are already Rescue Sheets available, and one of the best ways to  access them is to download the free of charge Official Eurorescue app for smartphones and tablets, developed in cooperation with CTIF. The app offers most of the rescue sheets for cars sold in Europe, available in a few short clicks. 

There are also many other sources online for accessing Rescue Sheets for common car makes, both within and outside of Europe.

In the future, CTIF and Euro NCAP are expecting to partner with industry to develop radio beacon systems which will transpond vital rescue information, such as propulsion type and extrication information, directly to the first / second responders smartphones or tablets. 


Symbols: Propulsion Identification Placards ready to be printed for placards on heavy vehicles

For all heavy vehicles, there are already Propulsion Type Placards developed and ready to be printed and implemented, using the especially developed symbols.


Symbols for Energy Propulsion Identification:

Educational Downloads: Here are some links to download all the symbols used in the ISO 17840 standard, and which are free for educational use for all first responders world wide. 

Commercial Downloads:  All the four ISO 17840 packages with everything needed to commercially implement the standard can be accessed by purchasing the commercially available ISO 17840 packages from SIS.se:

ISO 17840 Part 1

ISO 17840 Part 2

ISO 17840 Part 3

ISO 17840 Part 4


Emergency Response Guides (ERGs)

Emergency Response Guides are guides from the manufacturer, describing the specific information, cautions and warnings necessary for each vehicle, which local fire departments and regions can use to base their development of their their own response plans.

Without the vital rescue information from the manufacturer of the vehicle, first responders are often left guessing how to approach in an accident situation, which can lead to serious risks both to staff and the public. While a first responder is not responsible for making the ERGs, it can be useful to know at least some examples of how heavy vehicle ERGs should be designed.

If you are a decision maker or an officer in your organization, familiarizing yourself with ERGs can help you become more informed about their uses, should you become involved with decision makers and policy makers in your local industry or government.

We have therefore included guides for how to make ERGs, and some examples of finished ERGs made by some of the first ´pioneers´to use the ISO 17849 standard within the heavy transport sector.

Here is a link to download examples of Emergency Response Guides for various types of vehicles, and you can also see an example in the image below.



Source: ISO 17840-4





CTIF Flags