Firefighter training put under microscope to help save lives

Local News

BEAVERCREK TWP., Ohio (WDTN) – It’s research like never before; firefighters were put under the microscope in Beavercreek Township as part of a full-scale fire experiment.

Over the past few decades, structures and buildings have changed, and firefighters have had to adapt their methods. Real-life training helps them to find the best ways to fight fires and save lives.

UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute worked with the Illinois Fire Service Institute and Beavercreek Township Fire Department for Friday’s exercise.

“It’s like winning the lottery to us, to have these guys come here and do the research in our jurisdiction,” says Beavercreek Township Battalion Chief David Young.

The property, originally scheduled for demolition, was donated for the training. The fire is as realistic as possible with crews working around furnishings in the house and paying close attention to the ventilation.

“We partner with the folks from the University of Illinois who help us with measurement using pig skins and lasers all in a method to develop the most survivable spaces in the house,” says Robin Zevotek of the Underwriters Laboratories Firefighter Safety Research Institute.

The exercise is unique in that firefighters not only see what’s happening on the outside but also on the inside. Sensors and cameras are placed throughout the house to monitor what’s going on.

“We can understand not only what do we see when we’re on a nozzle, but what would an occupant see, or what would someone else see and tie them all together with all the camera views like we have out here today,” says Gavin Horn, Director of Research at the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

After studying the techniques, the data will be published in about a year.

“Firefighters will benefit from this — safer conditions for firefighters and hopefully better survivability for anybody that might be in the house,” says Young.

“That’s the goal of the fire service, is to save lives,” says Horn.

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