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Feb. 2, 2022

036 - Researching fire with firefighters - UL FSRI: Steve Kerber and Craig Weinschenk

036 - Researching fire with firefighters - UL FSRI: Steve Kerber and Craig Weinschenk

In this episode I was really happy to host two amazing researchers from UL FSRI - Dr Steve Kerber, the VP of Underwriter Laboratories and Director of UL Fire Safety Research Institute, and Dr Craig Weinschenk, research engineer and a data wizard. Together we venture into the world of fire research carried together with firefighters, with the critical goal of saving firefighter lives and reducing the damage caused by fire. Join us to learn how the largest full-scale fire experiments are performed and what is the recipe to learn the most from them, and share that knowledge in a most efficient manner.

UL FSRI shares tons of useful resources, all that can be found at their website https://fsri.org/ IMHO the most amazing of these resources is the fire investigation page with all the interactive results of large fire experiments. You must check this amazing resource out!

You may also want to check other resources provided by UL FSRI, starting with:

Live stream feed from one of their huge fire experiments
The amazing YouTube channel of UL FSRI
UL FSRI Training courses
and
Github repository with the data from fire experiments


Transcript

Hello, and welcome to Fire Science Show episode, thirty six. Great to have you here when I've started this project, one of my missions or goals or aims, however you call it was to reach with fire science, to people who not necessarily seek it, but could really, really benefit from it. And one such a group is definitely firefighters and it was always important for me. To reach firefighters with the message of fire science. And it's not easy. And those of you are heroes on the line. I am very thankful for you that you listen to the show and I hope you talk about it with your colleagues and help me spread the message. But overall, it has not been easy. And I know there's. Institution or a group of people who are excelling at delivering the highest quality fire science to do firefighters who Excel at listening to firefighters, identifying their needs, and more than anything, work with them in building fire science. And I find that. Very impressive. And something that I would aspire my own research was. So, uh, what can I do? I have invited them over the show that group or that mysterious institution is Underwriters Laboratories, fire Safety Research institute, U L F S R I . And I've invited the director of the Institute, Steve Kerber and the research engineer and my good friends, Craig Weinschenk to the show to talk a bit over on how fire science is done at the Institute and how it is delivered to the broad audience. So, , it was definitely a great talk for me. I hope it is also beneficial to all of you. And one thing that, is a clear take from this episode, their databases, their repositories, their online courses, all the resources they share in their website or through their archives are so valuable. So great. So you have to check them out and I hope this episode inspires you to do so. So without any further ado, let's spend the intro and jump into the episode. Hello everybody. I'm here today with two great guests. , both are from UL fire Safety Research institute. Dr. Steve Kerber. the vice-president of Underwritters Laboratories and the of Fire safety Research institute. Steve. Great. Great to have you here. Oh, thanks for having me Wojciech. More than welcome. my second guest is Dr. Craig Weinschenk he's a research engineer at Fire Safety Research Institute, is also a data wizard and he's personally responsible for me picking up Python. So you Craig that was a hell of a ride. Yeah, thanks for having me. I'm really, really happy to have you both in, in here. I have a thing for people who earn their living by setting things on fire, for science obviously, it seems that your Institute is the king of, of burning things down for living and I admire. And I'm jealous of the scale at which you guys are working, Love to here. Maybe there is a short variant of the story, how such an institution comes to live and how does it thrive in this world field of commercial testing, and not really this altruistic, approach, to research so I'll try and tell the short version of this, but I think to tell the short version, I'm going to go back to the 18 hundreds. Cause I think a lot of your listeners don't understand the origins , of Underwriters Laboratories. So if you go back to 1894, World's Fair was being held in Chicago. And around that time, electricity was being entered. And there were fires occurring all over the place. And the insurance industry was trying to figure out what to do, because if these fires kept happening and they kept getting losses, they were not going to survive as an industry. So our founders. William Henry Merrill got called from MIT and he was a electrical engineer and, uh, he came out to Chicago and his first office was a temporary set up in the hayloft of a Chicago fire patrol station. So as the horses and firefighters would go out of the firehouse, he would go with. And he would determine what caused these fires and out of that came the idea that, well, if if we're going to prevent these fires, what we need to do is, have standards. We can't just have anyone puts whatever product they want into the marketplace. And we learn by trial. He came up with the idea of, well, no, we need standards and we need to test these products to these standards. then we need to make sure those products continue to be made by those standards. then we'll have safe products that will be more reliable and not have a lot of fires. Fast forward to today's time. Underwriters Laboratories , is multiple entities. Craig and I sit in the nonprofit. Institute, and that is the, nonprofit arm of Underwriters Laboratories. A lot of the people that see the UL in the circle and the testing, uh, that's a for-profit subsidiary. So that's a completely different legal entity. We do not sit there. We sit in the non-profit and we are one of the research institutes. We're one of four, the Fire Safety Research Institute. So we have a team that's completely dedicated, to studying the world's unresolved and emerging fire safety. that's cool. And I that. It has started with electricity, um, caused fires now probably 125 years later. You're still dealing with the same things with the like PV panels , and electrification and , batteries used in houses. So, it's kind of funny. This problems do not go away even after 125 years of research. You're exactly right. And I think that's I constantly have to continue to tell that story is that everybody thinks fire has been around forever. It's been figured out. Fire is a very young science and there's so much to learn, is why this is such a great field to be. even if you don't have to go 125 years back, go 50 years back and think about tools. We had none of the CFD modeling we have today. None of the zone models we have today, none of the. Laboratory even tools we have today, the ability of doing research is unprecedented. And yet the number of questions is just rising. I also know that, sometime ago the focus was on the firefighter safety, and most of the actions were towards, Increasing knowledge working on reducing, reducing injuries. That's I assume now with the rebrand, to fire safety, mission has grown up it's bigger than, than just that. it still an important part of, , FSRI it is. And it's the most important part. We grew out of just doing firefighters safety. and still do. I mean, that's the primary thing that we do. That's our most important stakeholder group I would say is the fire service. They need all the help they can get, and I think they deserve. the best research out there because of what they do for all of us around the world. And, this past year we evolved to the Fire Safety Research Institute and sounds minor, right. We change one word but the reality is that we've broadened our scope tremendously. Uh, everything is now fair game. So we're doing a lot more in fire forensics. doing a lot more in wildland, urban interface. I know you've talked with Sarah McAllister and Michael Gollner and all the great work that's happening there. We're trying to contribute to that area as well. Fundamental fire science, fire modeling. , we're doing a lot more. As you know, that fire issues the end of the day, they're a fire service issue as well. So we need to keep that group of people educated and as smart as we can. And, I mean, we, we started the firefighter component, early 2010s and, they continue to be incredibly important. We've covered a lot of ground, but there's so much more. I don't think this, topics are exclusive to each other. They're part of one world and developing tools or understanding of fire physics is definitely useful for firefighters as well. Now, I I've brought in the introduction. That, you guys are doing fire experiments on an unprecedented scale, that needs some justice. , Craig, I know you've been like burning houses for five years or now, Tell me. What, , how does, um, UL FSRI experiment look like? Like what's your guys doing in the lab because many people would have a skewed idea of what a laboratory looks like and yours is nothing like a thing you would find in Google first page, when you write laboratory in it. Yeah. that's an excellent question. And I, I would say our laboratory is anywhere and everywhere. You know, we've been blessed with the, ability to take it on the road with us. So we've, were able to do acquired structures and I'll touch on that in the. meaning that we can burn structures that are ready to be demolished, that we're built for something else. But then we also have, you know, the ability to test and laboratories like our, corporate headquarters in north Northbrook, or at some fire training academies, like one that we use a lot in, Delaware county, Pennsylvania, which is just outside of the Philadelphia airport. th the interesting piece is, I think you touched on is the scale. So for a lot of this, firefighter research, there's value in, and there's a lot of our work that touches on multiple scales from laboratory bench scale, to the full-scale house, which is what our stakeholders want to see is, yeah, it's great that you can do this, at the small scale, but what happens when you start to burn a real house? And so we have over the years, one of our engineers is designed and kind of continues to evolve our test trailer. So we have a 30 foot custom built, trailer, which houses our data acquisition or video acquisition, all the hardware you would need to, modify structures to, make sure that, you know, we can get the most out of our test system. So our data acquisition system, scales up to about six to 700 total channels of, data. On the truck. Yeah. So, I mean, it's, it's, it's movable. we typically will have, upwards of 15 to 20 gas analyzers. So we have custom built racks that one of our other engineers is developed so that we can measure, gas concentrations throughout structures. And then we can, we have the capabilities if we want, like we did towards the end of. 2020, where we can live stream some of these experiments really give a feel for the scale. As part of our coordinated fire tech project, , we were burning, , some strip mall units, , in Ohio and, uh, those units, went up to, 80 feet deep by 30 feet wide. So, among the larger open air structures that I. We've seen in, in literature, we've burned them. , and we've seen, you know, , traveling fires within there with real fuels. I know it might not be the tip, the traditional definition of a traveling fire, but you load those with typical commodities and you'll see that that localized flashover within the compartment. The scale of that is. big as anything. and we'll pull up with our trailer and instrument the houses in a few days and burn and we don't burn it as you kind of alluded to it's with the fire service, we don't want to burn just to burn and watch. We want to burn and measure. And then, be able to determine some conclusions, some takeaways that we can give back to the fire service to help improve their tactics I know there are some listeners in their mind will be now going. They did. it's this scale is unprecedented as, and as someone who's to do this, , I cannot do a half of this in my lab. and you do it outdoors. That is amazing. But I also know. And then Steve, this one that is it's to you, full-scale tests are hard to set up there. Take long time. And they're really difficult in, controlling variables. obviously often we come to conclusion that okay, this house is not feasible in full-scale because we will not be able to get answers because we cannot control the environment. So you guys are working on that, I guess, through the scale of your research, which is many repeats. good control over the boundary conditions. I find that impressive, but how do we plan such a immense campaigns to control that? You're absolutely right. It's critical. The big question. So why, why full-scale, why are we doing this? Full-scale and the answer to that as well, because of our stakeholders. we learned early on that if you're going to do research with the fire service, means you're going to bring them in, you're going to make them part of it. you're going to teach them about measurement science. You're going to teach them about variable control and all of those things. if they're going to believe anything that comes out. They need to see their reality and their work environment in the experiments that you're running. And we learn a lot at scale? Could we learn a lot with modeling? We do. We absolutely do. And that influences what we do at the full-scale as well, it's incredibly important that the fire service sees something that they can. understand and is representative of where they work, which is why we've done it in the full scale. And when it comes to variable control, , you're absolutely right. The budget only goes so far and we've been blessed in that. We have had significant budgets for some of these projects. ,So the us has a program, the to firefighters grant program that has made essentially a million dollars us plus available for some of these projects, which allows us to build full-size how. And if we want to control the environment, for example, , no wind and we want to have a certain temperature to start, uh, that we do it in our laboratory and we build those houses in our lab. And then we design our experimental series, such that we vary one variable at a time. So we started looking at horizontal ventilation, for example, pick a fire location or two. And you understand right off the bat, that's like, all right, well, if I pick two that I get a half and a half and I'm now giving up some other choice and, we go into it with, typically 16 to 30, , full-scale experiments in a particular series. And then we're making hard decisions from that point. And it typically has to do with , what do you really want to get out of this? And what does the fire service really want to see and and in many cases, it's not what they want to see. It's what you educate them and what you come together as. What are we really looking at here? And most of the conversations as Craig has had many of these come down to. Okay. You want to look at. All right. Well then you're giving up these five things. Is that what you want? It's like, oh, well, I didn't realize that. , or are we trying to cover multiple variables with a lot of instrumentation, which is another route to go, but these are tough. I mean, you want to run hundreds, but you wind up only being able to run, twenty. And to piggyback on your comments, Steve, one thing that I've, , come to appreciate over the. Decade plus of doing, fire testing with the fire service is, you know, as we've evolved these projects and we've stepped through different variables, like Steve said, the horizontal ventilation to say a vertical ventilation to a forced ventilation. And then we, we did some coupled ventilation suppression experiments, and the fire service was like, well, we want to see these in the field. now that you've put it in, in the real world where we've got weather, where we've got some unpredictability from, the non-controlled atmosphere of the lab, what happens and it shows the physics, generally still follow, right? We know that the physics of fire don't really care if you're in the lab per outside, we just introduced some, some additional variables mainly. But what's what has struck me is now that the same stakeholders are saying, well, Hey, can we get back in the lab? Because there's too many variables in the field. you know, we, we couldn't do this because the houses were all different. Yeah, you got to burn the strip mall, but the four units were all slightly different size. So now we can't control this. I'm like, part of me is like, it's wonderful to hear that evolution of the stakeholder groups start to recognize what it means to conduct experiments and what a, what an experimental matrix really looks like. If you want to try to capture. Some really strong takeaways and need for replicated experiments. So now when we have these kickoff meetings with our tech panels, they're saying, okay, , let's run some replicates, you know, to start so that we can really start to, to hammer out, what our changes are going to be when you start making some changes. I'm like, this is wonderful. It's so exciting to see that, change within the, folks that were with. I sometimes have this, trouble, reaching my message, with the world practitioner firefighters is sometimes they downplay in a way what has been done in lab. That in reality, it looks completely different or they try, to give this, human features to the fires, like, that that fires grow or develop the fire behaves this way. You know, like if it was this metaphysical thinking behind fires where. I have science to say that it this because of that, but in other conditions it will behave completely different. And somehow, you know, it's very difficult to break this mold to reach, , firefighters with this, let's say. lab science. And Steve, you came from this environment, you were a firefighter, you were a fire Chief. Then you became a fire researcher, I guess. That's that was the order of things. Maybe you were always a fire researcher in your heart, how was it for you to discover this aspect of this structured fire science, this, boundaries and the amount of knowledge you can actually get from that? And I think it's my personal opinion. You can learn more from controlled variables and even scarce outcomes than from just witnessing a random fire w without comprehension of what happened. Spoken like a true scientist. I mean, you're, you're absolutely correct. Is that, I mean, you got to build trust. And I think that happens over time. That's not given that's earned. And yeah, I mean, I grew up in a fire service family, so I was around practitioners my entire life, and then found the fire protection engineering program at the university of Maryland. the cool part, there was, they've got a program where I wasn't living on a dormitory on campus. I was living in and running a fire station, in a very busy fire station, relatively speaking. So I would get experience from a practitioner's perspective nights and weekends, then I'd be going to school learning theory during the day. And it was marrying those two together that I think made the connection for me. There was some stuff that would easily make sense. Then you can take back to first principles in the classroom. then there was some stuff that's like, oh, wait a minute. This doesn't exactly jibe. with what we're talking about in Drysdales or Quintieres book here. let me break this down and try and understand this a little more. So that upbringing helped me see the fire fighter side , of things which allowed us to couple the science side a little better. you're right. I mean, you, you and your mind can take your experiments from whatever they are to multiple scenarios and real. Many firefighters can't do that. They don't have that foundation. They don't have that theoretical understanding, so you gotta walk them there. And, we've been walking them there. and I say they, the fire services and incredibly fragmented group of people, we've got more than 30,000 fire departments in the United States. I've had the pleasure of, meeting firefighters all over the world. I mean, Szymon comes to mind in Poland. Yeah. To me, he represents the entire Polish fire service. He doesn't, I mean, he, he represents what he's, where he's influential. but you guys have the same situation that we do that every firefighter is not the same. They Oh, have different backgrounds. Some are volunteers, some are career. ,But the more you know about them, the more, their reality, the better chance you have of speaking their language walking them where you need them to go to get that. At their profession. absolutely. And then as you mentioned, Szymon is doing great work on doing that in Poland. And, I not say that I have a full comprehension of, what fire is and what the fire behaves, because if I was put with a hose in the situation, I would probably know the know how to act well. And, We come from different backgrounds, but essentially we both want the same outcome, which is less damage, less fatalities, less, , collapsed buildings and the fire is safer world. And it, I find it important for us fire scientist to understand the implications , of the work of the line of fire. Because sometimes we are dealing with abstract concepts that have no connection to reality. And in our papers, we write this is important because firefighters will be able to do this and this when it's not true, because they will never do that because we are unable to convey our message. Right. that's a, the biggest issue I have in reviewing papers is when that connection gets made and it shouldn't be. So whether it's a fire safety journal or fire technology or whatever the case is, it's very simple to say, oh, we did this. And because we did this, it's going to benefit the fire service. no real context how maybe they talk to one person or they read a magazine or they watched a video or whatever the case is. It doesn't mean that their science is not good that may have good practical application, but to make those leaps, I think is disrespectful to the fire service as a whole. And we need to do better of, I guess what Craig, and I would say doing research with the fire service, not for the fires, right. So if you bring them in and make them part of the research, you're much likely to have a realistic application if you do it for them. I learned about you. I read something about you and therefore my research is going to benefit you that's crap. that, that winds up in a, in a bad spot. mean, that's why, I mean, I enjoy working with Craig. I mean, Craig, hasn't been a fighter. However he has been around it so much and understood it so much and worked with them so much that he might as well be. I mean, he hasn't drug hoses down hallways, but he knows their work environment better than they do. And they've taught him. Why it matters and how to make the connection. So Craig can make connections that I can't make, from a scientific perspective, but ultimately it's about understanding that application well enough. otherwise you might come across as insulting, versa partner and, we want people that are doing fire service research to do it as a, as a partner and not treat fire services, some unapproachable. I think at the UL, you guys are hitting the nail in sharing the knowledge. And I really appreciate that aspect of your work. And mean, your. Academia project is absolutely amazing and I'm gonna it to it because there are so many programs and online courses that you guys provide. It is just astounding, but what really kicks me is that you have this repository of your, experiments. You have a webpage where you can literally. click and experiment. There's a drawing of a house where the experiment was done. There's a timeline on the side saying what happened in the experiment. There are icons that you click, you see the temperature plots. 360 cameras that show what happens. is video that shows , what was there. And there's an explanation on why you have done that, what happened and what you have learned. And this repository, it just goes on and on and on like endlessly. don't know if it's all of your experiments, but there's hell of, that there's lots of. And I find this like really a valuable way to reach this type of audience, because you cannot expect that firefighters in their free time will be reading fire safety journal. of them may be sure. Yeah. But like having. Type of communication where they can open, okay. This had the door closed and this is the temperature. Whereas these experiment had the doors open this is the temperature. Everything else was the same. It gives, this feeling of what happened Craig maybe can tell more about what was your goal when you guys were starting to share this? Certainly. So as Steve was talking about how we work with the fire service One of our early challenges was as we're writing these technical reports with them, they wanted to see that. which is exciting for us. Right. They want to see all of the plots and all the graphs so they can say, okay, well, I want to make my conclusions as well, independent of use of the week and then compare or that if I've got questions, We said, well, how do we go about doing this? What, what is a pathway for us to start to share this even while we're writing or before we even started to write some of the papers. And so we started building some interactive websites, cause we're like, well, we've got a floor plan, we've got a. we've got these graphs and, Python is a pretty powerful tool. and so we started building some mock-ups internally and then said we would share them with the panel as the process would go along. And then when the reports were. Well, we've got this whole interactive set. Let's clean it up. Let's add some more depth to it and let's share it with everyone. If the 20 firefighters we were working with, or the 20 fire investigators we were working with on the project, found this to be valuable. Then the broader community should, find this to be valueable And I think one of the greatest things about working here is, that we are encouraged to share our data, to make things public. You know, we are a charity it's an obligation, to share our work. And, that is just a fantastic, kind of ask of us, right. Is, How do you put this data into a form that is digestible for your stakeholders? And so sometimes that is the interactive graphs. and we can even go a step further and make those graphs from static to do even further interactive. And you can hover and zoom and highlight. But then there's also groups of stakeholders that want to actually see the raw CSV files that come out of our data system. They want to be able to interact, you know, there might be some fire protection engineers or some firefighters that say, Hey, I want to, graph this. I want to, I'm going to start to compare these. and so we have that opportunity as well. And so I think that the big key is designing the output to meet your stakeholder. Because not every stakeholder. And maybe not even every stakeholder within a particular stakeholder group is going to want to digest the information the same way. And so it's not a one size fits all solution. It's how do we, build the right output for the right group of people based on that particular project? that's a fun challenge to have, especially when we can share it all for. I know that you're impacted, driven. Like you don't have key target indicators in terms of money or the number of buildings, burned I guess not, How do you find this versus let's say academic publishing, I guess these things are complimentary to each other, but, what was the feedback of the, of the firefighters or the fire industry as, greater whole? What feedback do you receive on sharing this in this way? we need to meet people where they are. So each group might want a different output. one of the things that we learned early on was that, interactive online training programs. We're an effective way for the fire service to interact with our information. So you can give them just enough and then you give them the opportunity of you want to dig into the data here. It is, dig into it. You want to skip that part and go right into, what we call tactical considerations, which again is a very careful word. not telling you what to do. We're giving you things to consider as part of your, your work that you may be able to implement it. You might not. but here it is presented in a. Kind of factual way you wrap your environment into it and decide if you want to make a change or not. Firefighters don't read peer reviewed journal articles, some of them do, that's incredibly important to us as well. I mean, we want to make sure that our research meets the rigor of our peer group in the scientific community. we go through and do that as well. But as you know, Whole lot of detail gets lost when you write a journal So we also write and spend a lot of time writing technical reports, because we also feel that if someone wants to build on our research or replicate it or modify it or whatever the case is, we need to give them enough information that they can do that. So, if you don't know all of the instrument locations and all of the timing and all of that stuff, then you can't do that. Or let's say you want to model it. We want people to be able to take, have enough information that they can accurately model, because it's also a part of our mission to make sure that the modeling tools get better. I mean, if, you make the modeling tool. Everybody benefits. So it depends on the stakeholder group. Some people want magazine articles. Some people want to be told what to do. some people want to learn it for themselves. so we want to get it all out there in various different ways. And, and I wish that was a simple task. I mean, that's the hardest part of our job is, in some ways running the a high rise in New York city is easier than writing the technical report that comes out of doing such a thing. but it's. I'm asking these questions because, you are doing, it's very different from, let's say the scientific industry. And, I actually think your model may maybe working like you're on something if you truly want to reach this, particular group, that in a way is excluded from the general scientific communication whereas the science claiming that it's targeting this group, then something is not working well. And I think by openly sharing an amazing feat. And if it's complimented by your academy by your online courses, because I assumed that also around the research, you build your online curse portfolio. Right. Yeah, exactly. So for example, our, our coordinated fire attack project, where we went into the field and did you know, 40 full-scale experiments? I think we traveled something like 4,100 miles over the course of a year and a half to these different parts of the country to be able , to conduct the experiments. , we ended up publishing, you know, three technical reports for that project. And then just, recently we published our second, training course, in support of that project with a third one currently, under development. Know, we did three different structure types, single family homes, kind of a multifamily home, like a three-story apartment complex. And then the commercial structure with the open floor plan strip. And so within each report, there's a technical report or within each component of that project, there's been a technical report in, in an online training that has been built with members of that project technical panels. So not only did we film this too, Highlight some of the tactical considerations that Steve was talking about. but we also brought back those technical panel members to have discussion round table, at the kitchen table type discussions with them regarding how they interact with this. So we can better learn. both, make our work, more applicable in the future, but also, so when folks take these training courses, they hear from their peers. So it's not just, engineers talking it's engineers and firefighters having that discussion together. and then what we'll do is as, those courses are getting wrapped up, you know, we'll, we're gonna work to release all of that data, you know, similar to our fire investigation portal on our way. And then also write some journal papers on this work. There's a lot of interesting phenomenon that we've measured and captured and learned. and so we'll start to then, write those components of the project up for academic journals. But the priority was to get the work and that information to the stakeholders that the project was designed for. So it's, let's put the fire service first for this project. So they get this key information and then we continue down the full stack of communication. and that's been just, you know, it's, it feels like the project has never ended. I think we started it in 2016, maybe right when I, joined UL. and you know, we're still going, but that. Shows when we do projects at this scale, it's not just burn film and walk away. there's so much depth to these experiments that sometimes gets lost. I think when you see some of the incredible photography and videography of the experiments, you forget that there's a whole lot of science that's going into. And so we're, we're still got a little bit of technical debt, so to speak that we're catching up on because you know, the, the work keeps coming, the projects keep coming and it's, it's still, we still gotta publish. well, we still want to publish and get this into, to all avenues I like how you're prioritizing this. I, would also put down a publishing here till the end, but for other reasons, I just, it's just painful to write papers. Now now just switching around the topic a bit because, given the fact that have you both here. you are both involved in, experimenting with fire Steve, for more than a decade. How do you see the modern challenges I'm really intrigued and how that influences the line. Firefighter work, the professionals and the authorities. When the world is changing on such an unprecedented way, have a feeling that a fire science has a difficult time catching up, you know, with the growth of technology and we're generating problems or issues like way, way quicker than we are able to, to solve them. your view on that? Do you also feel this, rush where now you start the project and five years later, it may even be irrelevant because a stuff around has changed so much. it's a constant challenge. I mean, that's also why I think fire is so exciting. Because, every technological advancement has a fire component to it. I mentioned that we have other research institutes. So one of our other research institutes is the Electrochemical Safety Research Institute. So they do a lot with batteries and things like that, which I think is, is key here is that as fire safety engineers or fire scientists, Need to partner, we need to collaborate and we need to understand that yes, fire is a piece of the puzzle, we don't have to be the center of that puzzle all the time. So we can leverage our colleagues that are experts on electrochemistry to help us understand thermal runaway, to help us understand the points what gases are created and things along those lines. Uh, we can rely on. our material scientists, colleagues, and our chemists to help us understand what's in these materials and so that we can um, and understand the fire component better. so I think that's another, it's a lot like the university model where challenge is to not get stuck in your own silo. challenge is to work across your colleagues and all the other expertise that's around. You. To do better fire science. And, that's the way our research institutes are growing is to be more collaborative, to work across, to compliment each other yeah, whether it's energy storage systems, whether it's, photovoltaic systems, wild land fires, I mean, you want to talk about, uh, a multifaceted science problem. Wild land, urban interface is going to be solved by fire engineers. We're fooling ourselves. a piece of the puzzle, but we've got to work with all of the other expertise to, to truly understand and get ahead. So I think that's a really an important learning that we're constantly trying to, I mean, we get fed problems on a daily basis. The hard part is prioritizing where we're going to put our resources you're right. As Craig is writing up the last series of experiments, I've got five more that I wish I could throw him on onto. but that's where we need to grow and we need to diversify our expertise and we need to mentor and coach and grow the next group of fire safety engineers. Cause I I'd take 20 more Craigs, but I can't do that overnight. It takes time to get. love how you put that because it fits the theme of breaking the silo of fire protection engineering or fire science, whatever that is, that many of my previous guests have mentioned, I had Brian Meacham and he was saying the exact same thing in regards to how buildings are designed and how we shape our cities and environment, that you cannot do this independently of other brunches in the here. You say that fire science can then close itself in a silo, whereas it should not because you gain so much from being open and, diversifying this, with other branches and, and true. Again, you ask, as a fire researcher would solve the issue burning of a lithium-ion battery, maybe it would create a thousand issues related to their energy capacity or the way how they're using it would be just pointless solution to the problem that, that you thought that existed. But it was not there in the first place. You're absolutely correct. And everybody can't be experts in everything. we've got to work together much. Like we were saying about the fire service, right? Is do research with them, not for them. And if you do research with them and you take that same model, you can apply it to any. You do research with the electro chemists. do research with the folks that are experts in climate to understand wildfire smoke exposure. then even, I guess maybe further compounding the challenges is even within. You've got a range of expertise. So you've got your, your folks who, who understand modeling, then you've got folks to understand experimentation. Then you've got, you know, the folks who understand, material degradation, paralysis, and, hearing, prior guests like, Sarah McAllister or Guillermo, or, Michael, Gollner talk about how diverse their teams are. Right. you know, as we have been growing FSRI, our expertise has grown to, include analytical chemists and, more pyrolysis expertise because the scale of fire, even within the confines of the larger term of fire and fire safety, , the expertise needed to solve some of these problems is diverse. And then you add in, like Ben, Ralph talking about working with architects and, the other built environment, it gets, really complicated really quickly in. To operate in this world with some blinders you know, not in anyone's really best interest we've got to be cross disciplined and, open to all expertise to really solve some of these, these hard challenging. that the fire safety saw such a multifaceted problem and the interactions with many different branches are so, what do you think about seeking a common language or, common understanding of the issues? So we are communicating in a way that is constructive. I've listened to some of your talks, Steve, and I know idea of creating a, even of a that is common among firefighters is a challenge is it's, it's also something that, your Institute is working like standardizing this, Or maybe not even standardizing standardizing is a big word, maybe unnecessary words, but, building up something that, that promotes this mutual understanding between branches, I think that's critical for science going forward. think you're absolutely right. I mean, the, the common language we talk a lot with, uh, going back to the fire service . We kept talking about how, fire dynamics are the common language you, you can't make up your own physics. You can't make up your own chemistry. so whether you believe it or not, at the end of the day, there's things that are absolutes and that has allowed in many ways, the ability to have conversations around the world. I've been a part of a group called the international fire instructor workshop and that's where I met Szymon and, we've got representatives from many countries around the world. And at the end of the day, we all speak different languages. We all use different firefighting tools, different tactics and stuff like that. at the end of the day, the fire does. The fire doesn't think. so if we can all be grounded in fire dynamics, then we can have an actual conversation, versus getting caught up in a lot of the other things which could vary. So that, that common language is important. I think that, you go back to Drysdales book in 1985, I think that was a tremendous point in time. Some of these definitions started to get written down so that we could work from the same definitions, efforts since I think, I mean, we could sit here and talk about the definition of flashover till we're blue in the face. I think there's a lot of leeway in a lot of these things that we consider definitions, but the more we learn a science perspective, the more we learn, Hey, maybe we need to do better or learn more about or change particular definitions. I agree. We can argue about these definitions, for ages, but the common language is also something necessary to the message and, Your Institute is getting great work to the sharing, this approach online courses. for the end, I really wondered are you guys going? Like, what's, what's the hot topics for you now? What are the activities that you're planning for the next year? 2, 5, 10, maybe. The biggest place we're going is we're, we're scaling. we are going to be hiring a whole lot of folks. So if you're out there and you're a fire protection engineer or similar, or you're interested in fire and you some other scientific. Then we're looking, we've got, uh, a lot of folks that are in the queue that are going to be adding to the team that we're very excited about. And I mean, we'll, we'll be several fold larger, in the next few years than we are right now. And that will allow us to tackle a whole lot more problems. That'll allow us to partner a whole lot more. We've got some international partnerships. I mean, we just announced a million dollars worth of, investment in two research projects. One on understanding firebrand ignition of materials and another one trying to improve FDS and computational modeling of ventilation limited fires. so that's being done in, so the modeling one is partnership with Maryland and Ghent. Melbourne and the other one is in partnership with Maryland, Melbourne, Berkeley. we're to bring the experts together, tackle some of these hard problems , with larger groups. so you're gonna see more wild land, urban interface research. , we've got a lot of fire forensics research. That's going to be published and released soon. We're still doing a lot in the health space. then of course the firefighter work is going to ramp up. And I think there's some exciting stuff trying to understand backdraft and smoke explosions better. there's things around, getting ready to put out a, a lot of great stuff on search and rescue and size up where there's, measurements being made that have never been made. So lots, lots of exciting stuff coming down, the pipeline, , energy storage systems in garages and explosions, , a lot of topics that are I think pertinent to the fire safety world that, we're going to do our best to bring our expertise and resources. Wow, that sounds amazing. And if you maintain the quality and this public approach to all of your projects, scaling up, that is great news for fire science, and a Craig uh, in the world of data science and fire. how is looking you? are the new goals? that's a, that's an excellent question. I think, you know, one of the big pushes is to continue to evolve how we, uh, share our data. So, building upon what we've done with some interactive graphs and visualizations, incorporating some machine learning work within our, some of our data sets and, Really just continuing to share. And then, then hopefully, building on, on our history, such that people want to work with our data sets and interact with us. I think that's kind of the, the big piece is we've got this history of full scale experiments, and we want to share this information with all the stakeholders. can benefit from it. And so, keeping things open source, uh, using open source tools for processing data, for managing data, for version control, embracing. The, the modern tech stack, so to speak, within all aspects of, our data and management and then, continuing to share it, I think that's the big piece and, and the most exciting piece is that, You know, we've got a couple, repositories that are currently public on our GitHub. And the goal is to continue to add to that, and to, publish in journals like data in brief so that they become, you know, indexed and archived much the same as one would a journal paper. Because I think for every journal paper we publish, we should probably. Figure out a way to share the underlying data that went into that journal paper. I think that's, that's such a critical component to the success. And the trust that you build with your work is, basically showing here here's everything. Here's how we did it. and, , it's a wonderful opportunity to continue to do. I also shared the view that openness in science sharing the data and, you know, building this, even the repeatability of, the experiments it's critical to move forward and it's not often done so thank you a lot for coming and sharing about the mission of the fire science research Institute, in the fire science show. And, I'm really grateful for what you guys are doing and I've been a big fan, but now I'm a much bigger fan, I'm happy that there are institutions like that who are not chasing money or, or, you know, titles or, medals but seeking true impact. And I think the ways that. Push for that impact is working really well. And I really hope people, guess everyone heard about you, but maybe not everyone went into your GitHub or check your online courses. And I really hope people do because these are very valuable resources that you share for free and everyone should, least give it a try. So a lot for coming guys. Thaks for having us. Absolutely appreciate the opportunity. Fsri.org. where, uh, everybody can go check all that stuff out and, thank you for creating this platform. I think we're, we're big fans as well. Uh, we've learned much about the fire science world, uh, through this podcast. So keep up the good. Yeah, all family. Steve. thanks for that. And of the links to all of the fancy things you've mentioned are the description, and I'm sure there will be way more with members of the UL FSRI family. want Dan on the show, can you arrange that? absolutely. We We can make that happen. That's cool. Is my idol. But what we'll have to do is, When, when it's easier to travel, it gets you out here and do a podcast live from one of our experiments or something. Uh, really kind of pushed the boundaries a little bit. what? We could do that, Space X launch, a style fire experiment. That would be something that's let's work. Let's work on that. Uh, That's going to be cool. Okay. Thank you so much. And you guys are. So you. And that's it., thank you for listening. I hope you have enjoyed that one. I must say when I've switched off the record button, Craig just kept on going about their new projects and. Are so, so many going, I am just astounded with the scale and quality of the fire research that is being performed at UL FSRI. That is, this is just amazing. As I mentioned in the intro, one thing that you need to take out of this episode, Is the access to the repository, which is amazing. It's full of data, filled of experimental reports full of clear information that is shared from this fire experiments that you can learn on. It's just unbelievable how big the repository is and how good the data in it is. And I highly recommend any fire engineer or scientist researcher or firefighter to give it some time and check out the amazing resources they have prepared for you. And they're all for free and it's a part of their mission. Like you've heard through to share the data. So I think it's really great opportunity to learn. And I guess that's it for the today's episode. I hope you have enjoyed this one. I hope that you like the mission of UL FSRI and a way how science is performed there. I hope it is an inspiration for many of us fire scientists, how we can do our science better. And I've certainly learned a bit, on my own how to communicate my science. So it is a bit more useful. So. that's it for today. And that's usual. See you here next Wednesday. Thanks for being here with me. Cheers.