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Week in Review: Jim Dalton Interview

Mon, 5 Mar 2012|

Chief Bobby Halton discusses recent firefighting news and talks to Jim Dalton of the Chicago Fire Department about current ventilation research being conducted at UL.



[MUSIC] Hi! Thanks for clicking on us. My name is Bobby Halton, and this is the week in review. This week we're being brought to you by FDIC, the Fire Department Instructor's Conference. We're only 44 days away from the largest annual firefighting training conference in the world. With over 500 instructors coming to present, 20 hands-on training sessions, 70 workshops, and 200 classroom sessions, this year promises to be the largest and most successful conference in the 84 year history of FDIC. Spaces filling up fast with several hot classes already completely sold out. So make your plans today, and be part of history. the 84th FDIC April 16-21st in beautiful Indianapolis, Indiana. Go to FDIC.com, and register today for the most rewarding fire service training experience of your career. That's a guarantee. I'll see you there. And now to the news. There's several articles on fireengineering.com that I think you should take the time to read thoroughly, and also look at the links that are provided for additional information and related stories. In particular, Maryland authorities are conducting a probe into the arson fire that injured seven Prince George country firefighters recently. Another story that everybody should look at comes to us out of Camden, New Jersey were three firefighters were injured as they were beginning to descend into a basement fire. Three separate explosions were reported and a Mayday was called, but all the firefighters were accounted for. Three were transported for life threatening injuries. They're gonna be fine. But we need to remember that basement fires pose very significant risk to fire fighters. And managing these fires requires experience, coordination and a thorough assessment of the conditions. Take the time, do yourself and your crew a favor. Take a good look at this story. You know, you know you can't keep a good man down. As reported last week, the Chicago Fire Commissioner Bobby Hoff resigned as commissioner after serving for 35 years. But Bobby is back. He's on the job working in Carol Stream, Illinois, as the Deputy Chief of Operations. Bobby's working alongside his old friend and fire service legend Rick Kolomay. Was the chief of Carroll Street Fire Department. We wish Bobby tremendous success in his new position at Carroll Street. On a very somber note, the recent school shooting in Ohio should remind every firefighter to review their active duty shooter policy. And make sure you review it with the local law enforcement agencies. This does just not mean dusting off the old policy and making sure we know what we're supposed to do. It means contacting the local PD and asking them to sit down for a few hours and go over what they expect from us and what we can expect from them when we encounter an active shooter. Our mass-casualty protocols are so important. Three young people lost their lives, and that's a terrible tragedy and one we should be prepared for. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those three young students who lost their lives, but we know that the efforts of the medics who responded that probably made a huge difference and the fact that more children. Didn't lose their lives that day. A very interesting story coming to us out of Kansas City where the city manager's proposing to cut staffing of the Kansas City Fire Department by 150 positions. Kansas City Fire Chief Smokey Dyer has spent the last 11 years updating facilities and helping to modernize the Kansas City Fire Department. Smoky's an old friend and a world class fire chief. You can read what Smoky says and you can trust what Smoky says. Read this compelling article about the current state of affairs in our country, and how it's affecting public safety and public service delivery in the fire service. On a very, very disturbing note. Tensions continue to rise between the Vulcan society, which represents the black firefighters of F-D-N-Y and the Merit, Merit, Merit Matters group, who monitor racial diversity issues, within the F-D-N-Y. Over particularly hire, hiring practices and racial discrimination. The fire services long known for being color blind. Occupation. And it's how we approach our job and pretty much how we approach one another. Most of these racial issues arise from outside influences beyond the control of the rank and file fire fighters. Either from the courts, well intentioned albeit misguided outsiders,. Or people with political agendas. Rarely to these issues come from with in side. And when they do, it's usually dealt with swiftly, and effectively. The story is particularly disturbing, as it was reported in the New York Post, that white firefighter candidates were turned away from a training session, being held by the Vulcan society, for the firefighter entrance exam. The Vulcan Society claims that for the three nights prior they did allow white fire ca, white firefighter candidates to attend, but on this particular night they had run out of room and white firefighters candidates were turned away at the door. Enough is enough. Martin Luther King said it best. We should judge people solely on the content of their character and not on the color of their skin. And now, here's a brief interview we did with a Chicago firefighter who's also the chief researcher, Jim Dalton. Jim's an old friend and someone who Fire Engineering has spent a great deal of time at various research projects with. Jim's going to discuss the Ventilation Studies, that are currently ongoing at U.L Labs. As well as some of the information the studies revealing, in regards to the conditions we can expect, when conducting various routine fire service tactics. Such as Vent, Enter, Search. Jim will discuss some of the earlier collapse studies, from an upcoming release of that report. This is a great short interview and I hope you enjoy it. Hi, It's Bobby Hilton and we're out at UL Labs. We're doing the ventilation studies, we're monitoring what's going on out here today and we're pleased to be joined by our good friend Jim Dalton from the Chicago Fire Department. Jim, what are you seeing out here today? What surprised you this morning with some of the studies that, some of the testing we did this morning, anything? >> I think it's interesting to see the types of fire behaviour within the full scale structures. Today and also on Monday they had some test relative to fires on the second bedroom area and how the smoke with a second bedroom fire didn't propagate or move into the first floor. This is an ideal condition because you're in a laboratory you're able to control some of the environmental considerations. There's an inference here that talks about what adding air the to the fire can do in terms of changing the fire dynamics dramatically, in a very short window of time. I think, at the end of the day, what this is all going to do is reinforce some of the things we do on the fire ground today, help us control or coordinate. The way our operations proceed in terms of the application of water, the coordination of search and rescue teams. This is all good information and well-documented. Then the department's gonna have to look in and see how it applies to their tactics. >> Yeah, I, I think we saw some things that confirm what a lot of us had known anecdotally through experience, you know if you ventilate, list the smoke and heat conditions a bit, makes it more tenable. But what was interesting to me was to see what the true environmental conditions were in the bedroom just adjacent to the first fire were catastrophic conditions. I was shocked by how much oxygen was consumed, and I had always thought that it would replenish itself in some way, but it clearly didn't, it dropped to levels that were just. Not, non-survivable 3% and 5% and the room adjoining the fire room which was something that was surprising to me. >> Well it is eh, we're always seeing part of the field packaging guide in these fires too. So you're, you're looking at one room of content that's generating a lot of pressures within these buildings. So there is a lot of toxic smoke and gas that's driven throughout the building. There's also been in the research both previous project and this project tenable conditions behind a closed door. We're affirming some of the assumptions that we have about occupants that get within a isolated condition on the second floor, if they're able to close their interior door. You know, the research is showing that buys them about five minutes of tenability. And, the operation of how you get from point a to point b to that occupant for safe egress becomes part of the picture in controlling the fire dynamics and looking at the rescue profile. >> So trying to figure out what some of the flow patterns might be is critical in trying to figure out our search approach to some of these. Bedrooms that might have closed doors, and it also gives a lot of credibility to the VES side of the argument, to where if you can get to a closed bedroom door from the exterior, make that search, you could have viable patients. >> Yeah, and if you look at the previous research project that relates to these two structures and this here, I think you're going to see consistent results with regard to that isolated bedroom. Now, you've been part of this since the get go. I mean, i've been working with you, God, it feels like we've been doing, feels like we've >> 2005, yeah. >> We've been burning stuff down for a long time here in Chicago together and, and we've learned a lot from the wind-driven flame front stare to Governor's Island in New York to Toledo burns, now we're back at UL doing burns here in the lab. What's next? What do you, what would you like to see next? >> I, I, I think what you're gonna see, we're looking at the collapse issue. And we looked at it comprehensively. The 2012 Nis Project we're about to release looks at the performance of exposed floor systems both dilentin, dimensional lumber and engineered floor systems. We looked at independent elements, we looked at floor assemblies, we went to full scale townhouse burns where we had a building we constructed on the east coast, and then when we did acquired structure burns. So, we looked at it comprehensively in terms of scale and also the interaction of a standardized fire to the dynamics you have with ventilation conditions that are modified, much like here with a prediction for a synthetic fuel fire within the room. Those results are probably pending within the next 60 days and that's gonna give some more information to the cold process in terms of what we did last year. We now have passive protection for engineered lumber components. We don't have it for dimensional lumber yet in the cold cycle. I think the full scale information we're about to release is gonna show. Any combustible floor system, A, contributes to the fire's fuel and, B, has a potential for collapse within the operational timeline. We need to identify the location of the fire, whether that fire's involved the structure. Try and isolate or confine that fire to the area of origin. Evaluate the floor systems before we operate on top whenever possible. And also consider combustible attic spaces as a potential. Hazard on the fireground. >> It's an amazing occupation when you consider the dimension of decision-making and, and the dimension of knowledge that the average firefighter has to bring to the fireground. Whether you're a firefighter or a command level officer, you're responsible for your safety and the safety of those around you. You really have to be thinking, you really have to be paying attention. You really need to be aware, alert and, and constantly reevaluating the conditions around you. >> I think what we also have to do is we have to question our current teaching models for adult learners. Some of this research is moving fast and furious. It's almost a full time job for someone in your department to translate that information into your. Operating and procedures so it gets to a company level. Then the question becomes, is it awareness level training that you're doing? Is it competency level training? What type of interaction? How many times do you need to review the information before, on the fireground, you'll make a decision in real time. There's another AFG project that we're working on that is looking at digital simulations to look at that type of scenario. Because a lot of people if they're at the awareness level, they still might not be able to make that decision at 3 o'clock in the morning in real time. You've got to continue to come after the information more than once. >> Wow. Well thank you very much Jim. We're with, we're with Jim Dalton, we're out at UL Labs and Jim is the head researcher for the Chicago Fire Department, he's a Chicago fireman. Is an engineer, and one of the greatest assets to the American Fire service, and an instructor at FDIC this year Jim? >> Yes, we'll be there, myself and Pete Van Dorf our director of training will be out there as well. >> And Pete Van Dorf, is a key note presenter on Wednesday, so if you'd like to hear Pete do his key note presentation, he's doing a workshop with Jim, and then he's also doing a key note presentation on Wednesday, so if you want to see some of Chicago's finest and. Have a chance to learn from these gentlemen who are really on the cutting edge of science and the fire service, FDIC is the place to be this year, thank you for doing that for us. >> Thank you sir for your help. >> Well, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Jim Dalton, remember we're just 44 days away from the greatest firefighter training experience in the world. FDIC 2012. Be part of history. Make a difference in your own career and the careers of those around you. Don't miss this opportunity. Go to FDIC.com, and register today. I'll see you in Indianapolis April 16th through the 21st. My name's Bobby Halton, and remember, please. Be careful out there. [MUSIC]

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