The science of firefighting taught in Midlands - - Columbia, South Carolina

The science of firefighting taught in Midlands


You could call it Red Hot Research.

"We want to learn how to better serve the citizens and keep our firefighters safer," said Fire Marshal Shane Ray.

Ray is hosting his comrades from across the country.

With the help of specialized heat-sensitive cameras and a few pieces of old furniture, they're looking at how fire travels through a home and the fastest ways to put it out.

"This is more research than it is training," said Ray. "But we're going to take what we learn here and incorporate it into our training."

Research like this has shaped fire safety tips. For instance, firefighters now advise before opening a window to escape, close the door to the room you're in.  It keeps the fire from spreading and gives rescuers more time to save you.

Cindy Ell from the Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation does her own research.

"These are folks who are very young, 40's and 50's, who are being diagnosed with very aggressive cancers," she said.

Ell said cancer rates are high, especially among arson investigators.

"They're going into a fire scene at the worst possible time of the fire," she said. "There's heavy particulate floating, from whatever has burned up, and they're going in to investigate that."

What she and the firefighters learn here will shape training across the country. And it could be employed when you need it most.

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