Welcome to the final episode of this year! I hope you all had a great year. For me, it was probably the most challenging, and the most rewarding year of my whole professional career. Join me in this episode recollecting the things that have happened in the show, and bringing back some of my favourite episodes of the show.
Check out the topical collections at the podcast website: https://www.firescienceshow.com/
For the next two weeks, I'm on a break with my family, so the next episode will come up on 12.01.2022!!!
[00:00:00] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Hello, and welcome to fire science show session 32. I'm not really sure how to call it. Is it a season finale, a Christmas special? I'm not sure if such big names fit the episode, but it certainly is the last episode this year.
[00:00:38] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And as such, it's a great moment to go back in time and remember some of the best moments into podcasts, what has happened and what has been achieved in here and, share some fondest memories of this year in making with you. I hope you'll join me in this time travel.
[00:00:56] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I'm kind of relieved at this year is finally ending [00:01:00] and as usual, Christmas time or last six weeks before Christmas are usually madness for us in the office with all the projects that must be delivered before Christmas. For some reason, which I don't understand. All this scientific work that has to be accomplished and saying this year, a special bonus we're going through a five year, period years scientific evaluation , as an Institute.
[00:01:22] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And I'm leading some of the tasks in that, process. So even more work than usually, not to mention the crew being plagued by COVID and being quarantined. Ill all the time. Ah, what's a great year it was, a what the difficult year it was. And I'm really happy that in such difficult circumstances in such a crazy year, my number one goal of the year was reached, which was obviously to start a podcast. And here we are, 32 episodes later
[00:01:53] Wojciech Wegrzynski: First, please let me thank you all for listening to the Fire Science show. I see the stats. I [00:02:00] see. There's an that's religiously listening to every episode. I appreciate you doing that so much, and I hope this podcast meets your expectations. I see new people come in and go and come back all the time.
[00:02:15] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I hope you find. Interesting topics in here. And you find, what are you looking for in here? And if you're here for entertainment, I hope I don't fail in delivering that either. And I think the most, I would like to thank all the guests that have been here in the show with me for. First believing in this project.
[00:02:35] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I know it's not easy to come into a radio show and start talking about your work. It's especially difficult to explain scientific concepts when there is no visuals around and this challenge, it's something that I had to jump over and I admit it was not easy. So once again, thank you all for. sharing your knowledge with the audience of the podcast and helping us go through [00:03:00] these journey.
[00:03:01] Wojciech Wegrzynski: In the today's episode, I wanted to summarize some of the most interesting topics that were covered in the show over the last month. And I've made a list and I'll go through it, shortly, but first I would like to re reflect on the growth of the podcast. So we have started on June the second, a half year ago. And what astart. That was we've started with three episodes with, an introduction and episodes on smouldering megafires with professor Guillermo Rein and the topic of visibility and smoke and tenability criteria with Gabriele Vigne . And didn't really expect much from that star because I absolutely had no idea what is going to happen.
[00:03:41] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And I was so surprised that people actually listened to it. People actually enjoy. Commented shared the stats were going crazy for the first week. We got like 1000 listens in the first two weeks and we've reached a 2K milestone in the first month. And [00:04:00] truly this felt like a remarkable achievement for myself and this show.
[00:04:05] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I felt that maybe I've hit a niche and maybe this is something that, that will interest you. And what you did, you've stayed here with me and you were coming back to the show every Wednesday for new episodes. And, quite soon at the end of the summer, I've reached another milestone of 5,000 listens.
[00:04:26] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Then, six weeks later, it was 10 K and now, In this week, it seems that we are going to pass another large mark, which is 15,000 listens, 15,000 listens in the first half year of the show. It is amazing. And I'm really thankful for your time spent in this show. I hope it is well-spent time.
[00:04:47] Wojciech Wegrzynski: The popularity of the show was highly related to the popularity of particular episodes. And I admit there were some episodes that stood out from all the others , You [00:05:00] can call them the hot topics
[00:05:01] Wojciech Wegrzynski: From my very first episodes, the most popular was clearly the one with professor Guillermo Rein where he told me about his ERC Consolidatorgrant about peat megafires this type of smoldering combustion. That's ongoing in natural peatlands in Southeast Asia and Siberia and the carbon footprint of these evens.
[00:05:20] Wojciech Wegrzynski: This insane. It's something that you can truly call a global scale or a mega challenge that we're facing. And for me, I mean, it's not directly related to fire engineering, but wow. That was eye opening on what impact fire ecology can have on the planet and how important our fields can become. So I really enjoyed this episode and I was really, really happy that Guillermo took the invites to be my first interviewee. And since then, he truly believed in the show, he came back with the talk on traveling fires, which was also quite interesting.
[00:05:57] Wojciech Wegrzynski: The most listened episode in [00:06:00] its first days was certainly the episode on battery fires with Roland Bishop, where we went into, how batteries are tested, what, What happens in when the car, with, or vehicle with battery burns down, how does it look like how does it feel like, and it was such an amazing episode.
[00:06:18] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And I must admit that I was so happy this episode made this peak of popularity because I didn't really plan that episode. I wanted to cover this topic myself, which I actually did one week later. , but I felt that I I'm not competent enough to talk, you know, about the testing of batteries or the fire behavior of batteries.
[00:06:38] Wojciech Wegrzynski: So I figured out, okay, this there's Roland. He's known for being a really smart guy in this area. So I quickly poked him. Maybe you can have find like 15 minutes of your time.and answer me two questions, , so I can put them in into an episode with me and we will post it like a mini episodes or something.
[00:06:55] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And, he found time. Two days later and we've started talking [00:07:00] and then one hour has passed and it was purely amazing. I've learned so much about battery fires from Roland, probably more in this one hour of talking than over months of reading papers and studying that, subject. I would not say it was accidental. I kind of planned that, but I didn't plan it to be a full episode. And Roland was such an amazing guest it turned into a full episode and it turned into a really popular episode, the most popular of the, first 10 episodes.
[00:07:30] Wojciech Wegrzynski: From the second, a 10th Of the show and episode that stood out was clearly the engineered timber with Danny Hopkin and other, hot topic.
[00:07:41] Wojciech Wegrzynski: You can say, you learn about timber being stronger than fire timber, chars not burns and stuff like that all around. And with Danny. Uh, we grew more and more tired of that and that there's not really much we can do about it because it's a non-fire professionals who are spreading this [00:08:00] misinformation or fake science, maybe even.
[00:08:02] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And we decided that, okay, the best way would be probably to record the podcast episode and try to educate people. And here's the fragment of this, the show that summarizes the concept of the quiet well and captures the essence of this episode. So please let me pass the voice to Danny
[00:08:18] Danny Hopkin: I would start by saying we started building buildings that we couldn't necessarily evidence the performance of with mass timber We kind of ran before we could walk with some of the things that. very cellularized CLT apartment buildings with lots of exposed surface area are of the perfect storm for for a fire. that is not necessarily going to extinguish before we put for your structure potentially fails.
[00:08:42] Danny Hopkin: So the first challenge I guess, is in understanding the remit of the common codes and standards that we apply in design. And I think a real challenge is the competency of the people designing buildings. So we have codes and standards that in their origin have [00:09:00] come from non-combustible buildings that they were designed to deliver an adequate level of safety for concrete enclosures, for steel frames, for brick work, for other forms of masonry. And so a lot of concepts we have in building design things like fire resistance, as you mentioned are premised on the structure not becoming involved as a source of fuel.
[00:09:21] Danny Hopkin: The very early mass timber buildings, particularly in the UK kind of assumed that those rules and guidance that apply for structures that don't burn can simply be extrapolated to structures where they're contributing as a source of fuel. And we know that's absolutely not true, and there's been some great papers have been written on it.
[00:09:41] Danny Hopkin: You've got the "We need to talk about timber" lecture by Angus Law and the corresponding paper in the structural engineer. So the first challenge has been in educating people and understanding. When they're applying a code or a standard, what they're getting and where the scope of that [00:10:00] ultimately run runs its course and where timber fits into that discussion.
[00:10:04] Danny Hopkin: and that's not been as easy or challenge to address as you might think. And I think that's for a couple of reasons. or fire engineers to start with to my mind at least not actually that profficient at dealing with combustion problems.
[00:10:19] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Hmm.
[00:10:20] Danny Hopkin: engineering consultants at least kind of operate in this little bubble of I think Angus, Lou and Graham Spinardi, defined it as sort of code speak there, you develop an expertise being able to read back what codes and standards are telling you to do. So there was almost like a memorizing and interpretation of a series of rules and regurgitating those back and design teams
[00:10:43] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Yeah.
[00:10:43] Danny Hopkin: doesn't help you design mass timber buildings. You have to understand the fire dynamics quite well. And you have to have definitely a good understanding of the combustion processes.
[00:10:52] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And wow. That one hit the target with.
[00:10:55] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Something like 600 downloads within the first week. It was amazing. The biggest, [00:11:00] episode start till now. And it was shared wildly. It reached people out of fire science and I hope it did a lot of good. And for me, it's. proud the moment when you, you see these discussions, LinkedIn, about the flammability of wood and in the comments someone pops, oh, here's the podcast episode you should listen to.
[00:11:21] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And it's that episode. And it makes me so proud and happy. And for the final. Episodes or the most recent episodes, a big hitter was the one with Brian Meacham man. It was amazing to discuss, the state of performance-based fire engineering with Brian absolutely amazing episode and one of the best and the most powerful conversations I had in my life.
[00:11:43] Wojciech Wegrzynski: But I will come back to that. soon.
[00:11:45] Wojciech Wegrzynski: So if you go to my podcast website, firescienceshow.com, you will find I've created this thing called the topical collections and the podcast where I've tried to group the episodes into thematical groups. So maybe it's easier for someone to discover the [00:12:00] show or find. Episodes that are more closely tied together to form some sort of a theme.
[00:12:08] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And, with these themes, I really found the richness of fire science and how wide this field is. I knew it's going to be wide and wild. And I, I said that the very first episodes that I've expected it to be very wide, But, oh my, I didn't expect it to be this wide, this diverse, this complicated.
[00:12:33] Wojciech Wegrzynski: It's unbelievable. The field of science we are in is it's just in comprehensible really it's but it's beautiful because of that, it's fascinating because of that, , it's something you can study your whole life and still learn new things. I'm studying this, my, my entire professional career, which may be, not be that long, but I. I still learn new things. And, people like Brian Meacham who are here for like three decades, they, they [00:13:00] also learn new things almost all the time which makes this field beautiful.
[00:13:04] Wojciech Wegrzynski: The first group you will find there is something I've called the fascinating world of fire science, and it covers all the different topics from the ends of the fire science, which I found fascinating, which I found the most interesting, which I found as the topics that can simply wow. You.
[00:13:21] Wojciech Wegrzynski: The topics you could possibly share with a friend who is not a fire expert and they could possibly still enjoy them. And if you are a fire expert of, or if you're working in this field, it's the topics that will certainly interest you. And they span from engineering to fundamental fire science. And I.
[00:13:43] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Made the disc collection, especially for people who are maybe not that deep into the engineering aspects of the fire world, maybe not that into the industrial aspects, but what they are just feel like they would like to learn more [00:14:00] about fire phenomena themselves. And , just find more knowledge about what the fire is, how it behaves, how it spreads, how it grows, how it quenches.
[00:14:10] Wojciech Wegrzynski: These are the things that. You can find it here where plus some interesting materials on how some of the things we are using today were founded. And this was one of the major goals of the podcast that I've mentioned in the introduction episodes to seek the origins of some of the most common assumptions and magic numbers in the world of fire science.
[00:14:33] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And I've been hunting them. I. Been able to hunt two or three of them. And they're all in these various episodes within this topical group. So if you're looking for entertainment and just to learn more about fires, the group of episodes under the fascinating world of fire science is definitely for you.
[00:14:51] Wojciech Wegrzynski: So from the topics that, I found most interesting to myself. , certainly a theme of the podcast was [00:15:00] related to the tools of fire safety engineering, and I've called it the, the engineer's toolbox and. In this theme, we've covered the models, the toolbox of fire safety engineer, and one particular tool that emerged as something really interesting to myself and very popular among the audience.
[00:15:24] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Based on your feedback was the use of artificial intelligence. And I've heard many of you heard for the first time about how this can be practically implemented in five safety engineering, something that looks like to be a future of, Discipline and, something that looks like a very, very promising direction.
[00:15:46] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And I am certainly learning that and trying it a bit. And, I would recommend that to you as well. And, to help me tell you why. Interesting and [00:16:00] important to learn. I've picked this short fragment of the interview with Xinyan Huang from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. That was the episode seven of the podcast, which as all of them, I highly recommend, but let's hear what Xinyan had to say about the AI.
[00:16:17] Xinyan Huang: So from scientific point of view from fire scientist, point of view, sometimes you feel frustrated like, uh, you know, all the equations, uh, but AI, no, nothing can do better. Uh, maybe in future some, some like high school student who are familiar with these AI tools, they can predict a firearm better than you, although they know nothing about it.
[00:16:45] Xinyan Huang: But if we thinking about as the CFDs, then I think it's understandable for most of the people using CFD to simulate the fires. Many of them do not know the fundamental fire dynamics [00:17:00] or the equations behind it, and they are still using it. Almost daily or their job for the design. Of course, some officers, the results simulation results are quite questionable.
[00:17:11] Xinyan Huang: So steel. I would suggest them to, to learn the fire science, dynamics behind so they can use the two, a better and a wiser, I think that were applied to AI as well. Eventually, I guess there will be very cool, powerful AI tools to help you do this. or in general, any kind of design. Um, but uh, sometimes it's, these prediction could be non realistic in terms of fire protection.
[00:17:42] Xinyan Huang: If something happens, it could be catastrophically. So my suggestion is steel, so enjoy a new tool, but still learn the fundamental.
[00:17:52] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Yep. Amen. Enjoy the new tool, but still learn the fundamentals. That's uh, that's something I must approve [00:18:00] and going forward with the topic of AI, I invited MZ Naser, who's a rising star in the field of machine learning and AI in fire science who gave me a, very easy introduction to the world of AI.
[00:18:14] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And, , I guess this also in the episode, to check out and the last but not least, I had a special guest, Dr. Matthew Bonner from Imperial College London. That was actually episode four, where we've discussed the use of AI Going through a facade flammability database. And how was that implemented in it.
[00:18:33] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Besides the tools related to AI, which covered plenty more in the podcast, including two episodes on CFD with Wolfram Jahn and zone modeling with Colleen Wade or"zone modelling is not dead" episode, which is one of my favorites in the show. And this, show you how to play with fire modeling tools and the traps waiting for you when you want to use , these tools. We've also covered, quite a lot about structural fire [00:19:00] engineering. Maybe not directly like, how to calculate the loads and, how to figure out when the structure will collapse. But we've covered quite a lot of important topics around structure, fire engineering, including resilient design, the use of traveling fires in the design of, buildings.
[00:19:18] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And, uh, as mentioned before timber and timber was here actually twice, not only with Danny Hopkin, where we've covered the basics and introduction, but also an episode with Felix Weisner now where we have ventured quite deep into the role of. Adhesives in the performance , of timber and what makes an engineered timber, an engineered timber?
[00:19:38] Wojciech Wegrzynski: How does one engineered timber actually, that was really, really interesting to me. And the last group of tools that I was covering here was related to evacuation. And I think this requires their own category. I really got that top people who working in the field of evacuation science to, , give me the [00:20:00] interviews and we have covered so much about modeling movement and human behavior.
[00:20:06] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And I'm not sure if I've succeeded, but my goal was to draw this line, which is very blurred every day to draw a line between modeling movement. And modeling behavior because from my point of view, modeling movement is fairly easy, but modeling behavior while that is a completely different pair of shoes, this is something completely different and it opens a completely new world of opportunities.
[00:20:38] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And why does it matter? Well, I'll give the voice to Erica Kuligowski. who, , starred episode nine. Which was on wildfire evacuation. but not only that, it was quite much more than just wildfire evacuation. So yeah, Erica explained it the best.
[00:20:57] Erica Kuligowski: You're a bunch of people in a [00:21:00] room and we're just going to give them all a different pre evacuation time in our simulation model and see what happens. But we know that people in the same room are definitely in the same space are influenced by what people are doing around them. So it's very artificial to be thinking about pre evacuation delay time in that way.
[00:21:18] Erica Kuligowski: If we see someone, and they're packing up their belongings and they're taking whatever's going on seriously. And especially if we feel like they're a credible source to us. So I know them, they're my colleague. I talked to them every day and they think this is serious. Then people are more likely to start preparing themselves and to evacuate.
[00:21:42] Erica Kuligowski: In my dissertation, in the World Trade Center, it was really these early actors that played quite a role. And not only did they start. Preparing and getting themselves ready for safety in the World Trade Center, they also told other people to evacuate and they started assisting [00:22:00] other people.
[00:22:01] Erica Kuligowski: And that played quite a big role. And these early actors were people who had fire experience, who were fire wardens, people in management positions. So these people were stepping up and they were used to stepping up even people with military training. So that played quite a big role. And I would say the same is true for large-scale disasters.
[00:22:22] Erica Kuligowski: If people see their neighbors take you know, preparation, they might go over there and ask, Hey, what are you doing? Like what's going on? And that's kind of that milling that goes on, right? That plays quite a role in our decision-making and people need confirmation of the threat also.
[00:22:39] Erica Kuligowski: And so when they receive a message, but then they see their neighbor preparing that's confirming, right. Someone else is taking this seriously. Maybe I should take it seriously as well.
[00:22:49] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I hope from this snippet. And from the whole episode, you can feel the difference between what it means to just pop it pre evacuation time distribution, and just make your agents move [00:23:00] and what it means to truly model the evacuation of people and why we modeled this, or what goes through there. People in the evacuation.
[00:23:09] Wojciech Wegrzynski: That's something that Mike Kinsey explained to me in episode 10, whether we've covered the biases and some of the decision-making processes. And wow. That was a great episode as well. I was coming back to that one, many, many times, reflecting on it in my discussions with other guests of the show. Finally, I had professor Ronchi and professor Lovreglio in my show, two Italians, , spans all over the world.
[00:23:34] Wojciech Wegrzynski: We had the craziest session discussing the future of our fire safety engineering in terms of evacuation modeling and evacuation in general. And it was full of great concepts among them. The use of smartness in the building of sensors to drive the evacuation. And that was something that really caught my attention. So let's hear what Enrico Ronchi had to say about the future of evacuation in building.[00:24:00]
[00:24:00] Enrico Ronchi: One aspect is something that, unfortunately in most cases, safety is still seen, a box that we need to tick.
[00:24:07] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Compliance not safety
[00:24:09] Enrico Ronchi: Exactly.
[00:24:09] Enrico Ronchi: So, in an ideal world, safety will be, for instance, if you go to hotel, safety will be as much rated as comfort or other things that will make you choose one over another. But unfortunately the reality is that very often, this is not the case. So you need to meet the minimum bar. Then if you are exceeding that minimum, let's say very little people care.
[00:24:30] Enrico Ronchi: And often the clients don't want to even pay for exceeding that not in all the cases, but in most of the cases. What I will see as an ideal let's say an ideal set up to really exploit what we have nowadays will be something like that connects the sensors with a modeling system. Smarter in a way.
[00:24:51] Enrico Ronchi: So, and there are a few attempts of research groups that have tried to do that. I know that the, the group in Greenwich is just started
[00:24:57] Enrico Ronchi: well, basically you, you have, building the [00:25:00] district with sensors. This information is sent to a simulator. The simulator also knows where the people currently are knows where the threat is, and then run a set of what if scenarios and analyze what is the best route to indicate to people to get the quickest and the safest, uh, evacuation.
[00:25:18] Enrico Ronchi: I mean, it sounds like scifi nowadays, but we're actually not that far from getting there. I mean, there are a few things to solve concerning. Let's say a reliability of such systems and, you know, things have to legislation, things have to hold during a fire, everything, the communication
[00:25:36] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And this, you can go a full loop back to the episode with Xinyan Huang where he was using sensors to detect fires and predict the fire growth and behavior. And it looks like the technology. It's almost there or is there, we just have to find a way how to use it and how to find a way, how to convince the building owners and administrators that they [00:26:00] want this technology to actually be used in their building.
[00:26:04] Wojciech Wegrzynski: In the third group from the fire science and engineering, I've gathered all the episodes which have practical knowledge about fire science and engineering. It actually overlaps a lot with the first group, but it's more, more engineering focused probably, and still has a lot of science. And I had so many great guests in.
[00:26:22] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Talking about their projects, how they've implemented fire science and engineering in their research and engineering. I've hosted, Professor Rein twice, once he was talking about smoldering mega fires and it was fascinating. And once about traveling fires, I had two episodes about visibility in smoke once one with Gabriele Vigne one with, , professor Lucas, Arnold, which were.
[00:26:46] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Very, very close to my heart. I had some great, great scientists in my show, and I had Cathejline Stoof who was explaining to me why she pursued the Maria Sklodowska Curie [00:27:00] Action Grant, Pyro life to create a whole generation. PhD's fire ecology. And that was great. And the program is growing so well.
[00:27:11] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I hope you're following on that. I had professor Mike Gollner who was talking about the role of fluid dynamics in fires and it was also a great talk on what makes fire burn. And I had this great episode with Sarah McAllister. Wow. I'm biased. It's one of my favorites from the whole year of the podcast.
[00:27:34] Wojciech Wegrzynski: It was such a fantastic discussion with Sara about what makes things burn. I mean, I wanted it to be, you know, like really easygoing episode without much fire science. Just chat a bit about, , the things that make fires grow and burn. I've asked her cheesy question about the match. And oh boy, the first answer was , already a strong hit and the episode keeps on giving and keeps them giving, [00:28:00] this really interesting science facts.
[00:28:02] Wojciech Wegrzynski: But yeah, you should, I guess I should pass , the stage to Sara so you can listen to what she had to say about the simplest form of fire I've imagined. And trust me, the rest of the episode is even better.
[00:28:14] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Let's start with the smallest scales. , let's think about a match fire or a candle flame, you know, what, what would you say are the phenomenon that the simplest phenomenon that would drive this fires?
[00:28:29] Sara McAllister: Well, it depends on which way you're holding the match, right? Because closing the match where , the, you know, it's burning from the top down, you're going to get a very different process than if you're holding a match upside down.
[00:28:43] Sara McAllister: Trying to not burn your fingertips or even holding it sideways so that the flame propagates kind of horizontally across it. Right. And so they're much like a candle. There's a lot of processes going on, right? You need to transfer heat to unburned, fuel, to PI realize the fuel that fuel then has to mix with [00:29:00] air and ignite, you know, the typical process.
[00:29:02] Sara McAllister: And, but how that heat is transferred. Really depends on the direction that that flame is propagating. Right? So if it's, if it's downward you can't the, the, the, uh, the unburnt fuel can't necessarily quote, air quotes on, see the flame right rating. Isn't going to be very important for downward spread. You were talking much more about, you know, conducting some of that heat through the solid, you're also doing some gas phase conduction or convection.
[00:29:30] Sara McAllister: Um, you're kind of probably splitting hairs at that point, right? The crossing isn't zero, but it's pretty minimal. So is it conduction or is it consecutive in the gas phase? Um, but you know, if you hold that match upside down and you have flame is propagating. You have a lot more, um, opportunity for, you know, rating heat from that flame to get the fuel, to spread that fire.
[00:29:53] Sara McAllister: Um, but you still have, you know, conduction to the solid phase and you still have some convective heating. So [00:30:00] the, as that matchstick gets bigger and bigger, or as those flames get bigger and bigger, that the balance between what is driven by convection versus radiation is going to change. Right. And that's that complex problem of scale.
[00:30:12] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And the last group building a fire safe future. This one is so good. I knew that the podcast will enable me to talk about fire science, fundamentals of fire engineering. Tools CFD and stuff like that, but I was not expecting that. I will find myself in the middle of really fundamental discussions on what fire safety engineering is, who is a fire engineer.
[00:30:40] Wojciech Wegrzynski: It's the fire engineer doing? What is their place in the world of engineering? What challenges are there in front of them? This, it just has been amazing to have this discussion with the industry leaders. And what is most interesting? I received answers. I was not [00:31:00] really expecting, that may be, we are not doing the things that we should be doing, that there may be other ideas That there might be some fundamental issues that prevent us delivering the safety we intends to provide to the society. And these discussions were just eyeopening. And I guess I, one day I should write a book about what I've learned , in this part of the podcast.
[00:31:23] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Because it was truly an amazing journey. It started with, Kees Both, the president of SFPE Europe, and, in this discussion with, uh, talked about the triangle,
[00:31:34] Wojciech Wegrzynski: The science industry and legislators on how to make them work together. And it wasn't a one hour long discussion. I remember recording this podcast. I was in my car, it was in the middle of a storm. somehow the quality is not that horrible in the episodes. If it is, I'm truly apologize for that. Police chasing a guy around me.
[00:31:56] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I thought they were coming for me because I look suspicious with the [00:32:00] laptop and the headsets inside the vehicle inside of a storm. But thankfully they, they just chase the other guy. But yeah, regardless of the circumstances, I had such a good discussion with Kees Both. And I know it was a starting point for , many more discussions that I saw on LinkedIn.
[00:32:16] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And from this talk, I've picked a, one of the last things. But I think it summarizes the concept of this episode quite well. And it's a story about the tunnel engineering, but the conclusion is just so powerful. So keep your ears open deal. The end of what Kees has to say.
[00:32:33] Kees Both: Great coming back to where we started off, I think in the beginning, the reason why I chose a fire safety, because the, the, the golden gate bridge was, was not to be rebuilt in the Southwest of the Netherlands, but it was supposed to be a tunnel later on. I did a lot of work also on the fire safety of, of the tunnel, the best scale, the tunnel.
[00:32:51] Kees Both: Um, and, uh, there was quite some debate about who should be in control of the fire safety, [00:33:00] measurements and, and design. Should that be the tunnel operator who was trained on the job? Uh, to push the buttons or should it be the fire brigade officer who really understands how fires could, uh, could develop or should it be both or should it be neither?
[00:33:14] Kees Both: And should it just be the system that automatically kicks in the ventilators or, or the sprinkler system or, or the, the barriers and the traffic lights and so forth, or open up or close the, the escape doors from the connecting tunnels. And those are discussions that we are still having, And, and who's who should be in control and it's, it's sometimes it's just a matter of bringing the people together and say, okay guys together, we will have a protocol.
[00:33:42] Kees Both: And maybe, and every tunnel, uh, it potentially could be different because it just depends on, on where, for example, the fire brigade is stationed. Are they close by or are they far off? does traffic control, uh, actually sit, , literally physically on top of the. [00:34:00] Or is it somewhere in a center remote from, from this tunnel, then you could argue who has the best papers to go into the tunnel and actually see, observe and Marvel, what what's going on, appreciating that the tunnel was designed to cope with some scenario or other, but the situation at hand, this is slightly different.
[00:34:19] Kees Both: So you have to tweak what is happening. You can't rely on the fully automated, automated system. Those are discussions where if you put people in the room who are. Uh, inclined to listen to each other, listen to the arguments rather than hide behind a certificate or a protocol, or this is how we've always done it in the past.
[00:34:39] Kees Both: Or this is what worked in this situation, but are open to listen to, to others. That's where the gold can be found. If, if you, if you have eyes and ears, predominantly opened towards the other, rather than ventilate your own opinion, then that's that's the recipe for gold.
[00:34:57] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Yup. Being open for discussion. [00:35:00] That is a key point in here. And the second point that the pubs are very important for a fire science, but not everyone agreed with data. However, I agree with that fully, uh, Kees was not only good guest at I had the privilege to talk about the role of fire engineering. Shortly later, I've hosted a Benjamin Ralph. Who's the head of fire science at Fosters plus partners. And he's an fire engineer in a mega architect bureau or starchitect bureau. And he showed me completely opposite side of fire safety engineering. What does an architectural company expects from fire safety engineers?
[00:35:35] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And there were things like rapid prototyping mentioned in there, which really blew my mind and. I admit in that episode, I've praised standards and codes, which I usually don't do. But Ben has convinced me that there is a point in that. And, for this point itself, it's probably worth listen. I was also blessed with having, Jimmy Jonnson.
[00:35:55] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I've told you to vote in him for SFPE presidency and guess what he won it! [00:36:00] Congratulations, Jimmy. I'm so proud that, , you will be in European representative in the headquarters of SFPE as the, as the new SFPE president. It really makes me so, so happy, but that's not the only thing about your episode.
[00:36:16] Wojciech Wegrzynski: With Jimmy, we had such a great talk about who is a fire safety engineer and what should a fire safety engineer know and what should they do and where the competencies start when they need to ramp up. It was just a fascinating journey. Jimmy has participated in writing the core competencies, guideline of SFPE, and he goes in details to that document in the show.
[00:36:38] Wojciech Wegrzynski: But one thing that really, really caught my attention, and I've kind of driven him to that conclusion, if I'm honest, but it echoes what Kees said about the ability to discuss fire safety engineering and yeah, please listen. What Jimmy had to say about soft skills of a fire engineer.
[00:36:58] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Sometimes is a [00:37:00] hell of a challenge, you know, to, to explain fire safety strategy, to all of the participants and especially the guy with the bag of money who pays for the building. And as Benjamin Ralph said, they're definitely non-certified. You don't have to have a license to have a lot of money and build buildings, which maybe shouldn't be the first thing to license.
[00:37:22] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And the second thing is you have to communicate with people, who'd not always want to listen to. You with firefighters, local authorities. sometimes it's not only communication. Sometimes you truly have to do proactive teaching to them. What do you think about these soft skills? Maybe you see another important, soft skill and that is critical
[00:37:45] Jimmy Jonnson: No. The key is his communication skills is what you said, because you're forced to communicate the same problem or the same solution to such a wide range of different people that someone has, [00:38:00] as you said, no skill, no technical skill at all. They handling, uh, permitting a license , or a money issue.
[00:38:06] Jimmy Jonnson: They buying the components, something. To the far far end to another engineer, maybe the, third party reviewer of the project, which is a fire engineer here. And then to the authorities that might know a lot, or might not know a lot that we'd have to approve this whole thing. So I think that's a, key skill that is necessary.
[00:38:26] Jimmy Jonnson: You need to be able to communicate. Uh, really well to convey the idea and the solutions. Everyone understands it. And I really liked one thing that you said there well, you don't need to have any license if you have a lot of money , to do whatever you want with that money.
[00:38:42] Jimmy Jonnson: Yeah. If there's someone keen to invest, in this. And you're convinced them, for example, this is, acceptable and it will work. You better be sure that that will work then later on. A lot of pre-work is needed, especially with authorities before you actually start any project, make sure [00:39:00] that it will be to some degree acceptable that you have a path that is planned, that you can actually convince them and that they are open to these ideas because that is all a performance based design about your you're not compliant with the rules, you're deviating from the rules. So unless that is conveyed in a straight manner and a serious in an open way, the project will not go forward. So I think communication is the number one skill as you said,
[00:39:29] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And I could just finish the episode on this. The communication is the number one skill you have to have in the fire, science and engineering, and they hope this podcast arms you up for being a better science communicator in your environment. Finally, their episode of the year, I guess, really the most powerful discussion they ever had
[00:39:48] Wojciech Wegrzynski: with another fire engineer, it was with Brian Meacham and it was not an easy talk. I felt it's going to go completely different, but was straight up front with [00:40:00] me that what are we doing may not be working? What are we doing may not necessarily be the best way to implement fire safety that you simply cannot implement fire safety as an island within the sea of the design of the building..
[00:40:18] Wojciech Wegrzynski: It's not in a sphere, separated from everything else. It is encompassing everything else in the design. And. if we don't stop thinking about fire safety engineering as a niche, we'll not going to succeed. We can get more sophisticated models. We can get more sophisticated tools, but we sometimes just lack purpose of doing the engineering analysis.
[00:40:40] Wojciech Wegrzynski: We lack goals. We don't set them, we don't discuss them. We don't outline them. And with that, Sometimes we do a lot of work, which is pointless. And in this part of the, of the episode, I think Brian has summarized it in, in just a brilliant way. So here we go, [00:41:00] Brian.
[00:41:00] Brian Meacham: One of the things that was always a concern for me. And one thing that I tried to incorporate when I was teaching about performance-based design is getting the problem definition, correct. Because over my career, I've seen a lot of people invest a lot of time in solving the wrong problem.
[00:41:18] Brian Meacham: And then at the end of the day you have all this nice analysis that says all kinds of wonderful things, but, somehow the point has been missed. And I think that's the root of the challenge here is that I don't think we've well enough to define what performance we're trying to achieve.
[00:41:38] Brian Meacham: And you can look at this. In different ways. If we go back maybe a little bit to the structural engineering analogy, it's trying to prevent unacceptable failure of the building given, load combinations that are imposed on it. In fire safety, we have a lot of objectives. We have basically the five fire safety goals of [00:42:00] protecting people, property, business, operation, environment, and heritage.
[00:42:06] Brian Meacham: And each one of those has a different aspect, but this focus on people gets us into writing design objectives. Like, provide adequate time for everybody in the building to escape without being subjected to, untenable conditions. So now we've taken the design objective away from designing a building. That's going to perform at a certain level when subjected to a fire to trying to protect people who are highly variable in their physiology and behavioral responses. And we're expected to be able to say that people will be able to get out without walking through a smoke-filled corridor. We can't control people.
[00:42:54] Brian Meacham: You know, we take certain steps to try to control conditions, but maybe it's a. Yeah, [00:43:00] we have to rethink, should we be really focusing more on what we can do with the building and its systems, given our understanding of human interactions, social constructs, and the regulatory environment and shift the objective, then.
[00:43:16] Brian Meacham: You can figure out the performance that you're actually trying to achieve and pick an appropriate method, which can still range from expert judgment to complex analysis. But you know, when you do it in the context of the institutions that are involved in the regulation and operation and occupancy of the building, then you're sitting in a little better position.
[00:43:40] Brian Meacham: So this taking better account of this social technical systems interaction, where you're really looking at the actors, the institutions and the technology together, and you're looking at how you can design the building to enable the objective, which may be, don't collapse, the building, [00:44:00] same as you would do in earthquake engineering, which has the benefit of keeping people safe.
[00:44:05] Brian Meacham: And maybe that's a way to start moving beyond some of the roadblocks that we've seen with acceptibility with people who don't necessarily have confidence in our engineering analyses and the assumptions we make,
[00:44:20] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And the, , this was purely amazing, like really, really amazing. And so to compliment the Brian talk I've also invited, , Jaime Cadena and David Lange to talk about maximal damage methodology, because it gave a practical view on what Brian was saying in many points. And I guess that one is also worth listen, after you listened to the episode with Brian and outside of this episodes that I've just mentioned. I also had some great episodes towards the end of the year, one way,Anja Boelinghaus-Hoffmann, about the flammability of buses and the small difference between the train industry and the automotive industry that makes a [00:45:00] huge difference in how they behave.
[00:45:02] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And just weeks ago, I had a fantastic talk with. Johnny Jennsen from , who was explaining to me how you can extinguish fires in tunnels with water nest and what it means to make huge project overseas, with all the requirements related to the project. For me as a practical fire safety engineer, it was really remarkable.
[00:45:25] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And so that's it. So there, you have it a year of the podcast, so many great guests, so many fascinating episodes. I have learned so much from doing this. it's beyond. My expectations is unbelievable. How much great fire knowledge was shared here. If you're listening to the show weekly, what can I tell you more?
[00:45:48] Wojciech Wegrzynski: You already seem to be enjoying it a lot, so maybe I don't need to advertise it more to you. I am just very thankful that you are here with me in this journey. And if you just started listening or came back to the show, [00:46:00] you're from. Great a great position because there should be quite a lot of episodes waiting there for you that you can catch up.
[00:46:06] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And, these things do not get old. These things are as relevant as the day one when I have published them. so yeah, I hope you will enjoy them. Now, before I end, I wanted to open with some plans for the new year. Um, obviously I'm going to continue the podcast. So if you wonder if this is the end.
[00:46:24] Wojciech Wegrzynski: No, it's not. It's just a Christmas break. I really need some time off. I'm very tired. My family is very tired of this year and, , I just need some relaxations video games play with my kids. Go into the snow, build a snowman. I don't know, maybe burn something. Well, let's see. But obviously the podcast is going to be in my mind all the time.
[00:46:47] Wojciech Wegrzynski: It's not something that I can get rid of from my head. So I'll be thinking about how to make it a better experience for you in the new year. I will probably seek some help in the early next year [00:47:00] for volunteers who could help me a bit with this show. And, I'm going to need someone to help me with the copywriting and social media.
[00:47:08] Wojciech Wegrzynski: There is a newsletter that I have over a hundred people signed into and have not sent an email in like months, which I apologize all the newsletter subscribers very much. And this is very, very high on my list to get restarted in the next year. So I will work on some quality of life improvements in, in the podcast.
[00:47:30] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I have some ideas That are maybe a little bigger, I'm thinking about starting a mini series or maybe separate series a with, discussions with legends of fire safety engineering or fire science. It's an idea that, Was thrown on me by Mike Gollner when we were recording a episode and I think it's a brilliant idea to talk with the people who are doing fire engineering in the eighties, nineties who saw the fire engineering before CFD, who were there when the [00:48:00] magical numbers were invented, who have had the biggest footprint on what are we doing today to just talk with them about what made them pursue this career? What ones great would have disappointed them, where we could have done better is the future as good as they've expected it to be, or maybe it's, it's much worse than they've expected it to be.
[00:48:21] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And these are the questions that I would like to ask them. And it seems that it could be quite an interesting. Spin off the podcast.. However, I need to find some partners for that in terms , of hopefully institutional support, maybe I'll reach to some bigger institutions in the field there to help me finance this, this, and help me reach the guests that, , would make this, mini show 'em be worth the time and be valuable to the whole community.
[00:48:50] Wojciech Wegrzynski: So this I'm actually sharing this thought for the first time. So have not reached to anyone yet. I think , it's an interesting idea. And Mike did an inception on [00:49:00] me and it's just something I can not get rid from my hat. Hopefully, maybe I will pursue that the next year.
[00:49:07] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Also, I'm going to work a bit with a graphics designer who did the fire science show logo. I hope you like the logo. He's a brilliant graphical designer. And maybe we'll come up with some additional graphics and then put them on t-shirts hats. And. Some other apparel, so you can show your fire sign show, on conferences once they're back to being life.
[00:49:30] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I guess that could be fun, but that's something that's going to probably happen towards the middle of the next year, but something that I would work for maybe for the one year anniversary of the podcast, I could provide you with some merch that would probably cool.
[00:49:47] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And, yeah, I've reached the end of my list of things that I wanted to share in this episode that summarize the first year of the podcast, the first 31 or 32 episodes of the podcast.
[00:49:59] Wojciech Wegrzynski: Once [00:50:00] again, I'm very, very thankful. For you being here for you, supporting me for sharing the episodes with your friends, colleagues in your offices, through your social channels. It was an immense help. that helped me spread the word about the podcast and I truly see it.
[00:50:18] Wojciech Wegrzynski: I see when some of you post about the podcast on LinkedIn and the next day I see spike in downloads and I see new people coming through the podcast, new viewers who seem to stay with the show for longer, because then I see how they start picking up the older episodes. So it's a way to grow the podcast.
[00:50:37] Wojciech Wegrzynski: The best way to grow the podcast is to your recommendation. There truly is no other way. The success of this show is, , probably more in your hands than in mine. I'm doing my best and trying my best. Not sure if there are severe improvements on my side, probably there are, but I would rather think there are not, but yeah, you can do a lot to help [00:51:00] me grow this, build this and the bigger it is, the better tools I received, the better.
[00:51:06] Wojciech Wegrzynski: The better guests I can poach, it's better for everyone. So thank you very much for being an active member of the community and helping me build this together.
[00:51:17] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And yeah, that, that is that's it. I'm going for mywell earned Christmas break, if you celebrate Christmas, have a great Christmas time with your family.
[00:51:30] Wojciech Wegrzynski: And I hope you enjoy this time of the year. As much as I do. If you do not celebrate Christmas, I hope you have at least some nice calm end of the year period, I guess it's calmer all over the world. Not only in my side of Europe, , and, I wish you all the best for, for the new year. Uh, we will be back here in the second week of January. So expect a new episode [00:52:00] on the 12th of January. And that's where the new season will start. That's where an episode 33 will land. And, yeah, not next Wednesday, not the next next Wednesday, but in three weeks, January 12, we see each other in your favorite podcast app or through my website. Take care all the best to you.