VIDEO: Shawn Oke Shows You How to “Kill the Flashover”

By Derek Rosenfeld

Albemarle (NC) Fire Department Chief Shawn Oke helped open FDIC International 2016 on Monday morning by presenting Kiil the Flashover: We Test. We Demonstrate. You Decide., one of several important pre-conference workshops open to fire service members from around the country.

Oke was also joined by Joe and Andy Starnes. Joe is a member of the Oakland Grove (NC) Volunteer Fire Department and a former chief with the Sandy Ridge (NC) Volunteer Fire Department. Andy is a captain with the Charlotte (NC) Fire Department.

Oke says, “I have been involved in Kill the Flashover [KTF] since its inception in June 2011. We knew early on in our KTF experience that taking our lessons learned to FDIC was something we needed to do. We knew that FDIC would expose our work to members of the fire service that were forward thinkers and who would embrace the forward thinking ways of KTF.  The reason that Joe Starnes and myself got together and developed KTF was to provide information to make the fire service safer for our sons. My son has come on the job in the past four months and being able to pass along things we have learned through KTF to him has really been a highlight in my career.”   

Here, Andy Starnes talks about the thermal limitations of your gear and why firefighters need to measure heat:

Oke continues, “The core of KTF is Tactical Air Management, Tactical Thermal Imaging, and Enhanced Water Streams. We have focused on these three areas since our inception in 2011. These areas are applicable to every department in the world. The information we provide can be used by any department as the items we are discussing are applicable to any fire.”

The great thing about our presentation is that we simply present the information we have learned and let the attendee determine how the information can fit into their department. We don’t feel it is our place to tell anyone in the fire service that our methods are the “way to fight fire.” Our motto is ‘We Test, We Demonstrate, You Decide’; that is what we live by.”

Here, Andy Starnes talks about measuring heat and its effects on the skin as temperatures increase:

“Our information clearly fits into the tactical issues being discussed throughout the fire service.  We encourage our attendee’s to take the information we present and compare it to the other data being presented throughout the fire service. The information we have been gathering since 2011 has really become mainstream in our fire service. During our five years of KTF, we have seen the fire service really embrace the core elements of what KTF represents. It has personally brought value to my career knowing the efforts I am putting forward are making a positive difference in lives throughout the fire service.”

Here, Andy Starnes talks about recognizing fire behavior and the importance of your PASS device and thermal imaging camera:

On attending the conference, Oke says, “This trip will be my second time attending FDIC. My favorite aspect is the volume and caliber of training available. It is almost too much information to process. It is also great to spend time with such positive, forward thinking members of our fire service during FDIC.”

Oke states that if there is one piece of information that he wants students to take away from the class, it would be “a willingness think outside the norm and apply the information that we have learned so your department can operate more effectively and efficiently.”


Derek Rosenfeld is an associate editor for Fire Engineering and a member of the FDIC 2016 event management team.

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