Unmasking the Science of Fire with Ed Hartin

Aug 22, 2023

Firefighting is not just a profession, it is a way of life. A way of life that demands immense dedication, commitment, and passion. Our latest podcast episode brings you the unique opportunity to step into the boots of a firefighter and hear riveting tales from a fire chief with nearly five decades of experience.

Our guest, Ed Hartin, esteemed Fire Chief of East County Fire and Rescue in Camus, Washington, takes us through his intriguing journey from being a rookie firefighter to mastering the helm as a fire chief. Ed recounts a back draft incident that ignited his passion for fire behavior and his invaluable involvement in UL's pioneering ventilation study.

Under the Light of UL's Impact

The episode begins by addressing the profound impact of UL's research on the fire service. Ed's contribution to UL's ventilation study helped shape his understanding of fire dynamics and the importance of coordinated ventilation. As an ardent advocate of knowledge and best practices in fire behavior, Ed provides a deep-dive into the world of fire science application, fire dynamics, and ventilation-limited fires.

Fire Dynamics and Ventilation-Limited Fires

Ed's rich experiences over the years provide valuable insights into the complexities of fire dynamics and ventilation-limited fires. The challenges of applying fire science in real-world scenarios and the inherent struggles of introducing fire science concepts to its teachers form the crux of this segment. The concept of coordinated ventilation and how closing a door can buy time for firefighters is also discussed, emphasizing the importance of strategy in firefighting.

International Collaboration and Firefighting Techniques

Ed's trip to Sweden served as a life-changing experience. His exposure to the Swedes' techniques of controlling the fire environment sparked a significant evolution in his understanding of fire dynamics and fire behavior science. He learned the basics of fire science, fuel ventilation-limited fires, and the use of fog versus solid stream nozzles, transforming his approach to firefighting.

Training in Live Fire Environments

Live fire environments present unique challenges and opportunities for learning. From training new firefighters to experienced personnel, Ed shares his experiences of live fire training and the establishment of the NFPA 1403 standard. The importance of fidelity in training, understanding fire dynamics, and the science behind fire suppression is also discussed, providing listeners with a comprehensive understanding of firefighting training.

Frequency and Benefits of Fire Training

Ed advocates for the importance of frequency and fidelity in live fire training for optimal proficiency and ability. The comparison of metal and plastic nozzles, moving from the point of entry to the fire, and the value of using gas-fired props highlight the need for effective and frequent training.

Ed's definition of success in the fire service revolves around his commitment to making things better for the organizations he works with. His unwavering commitment to leaving a lasting impact, preparing the people who will continue to lead the organization forward, and his unique and valuable perspective make this podcast episode a must-listen for anyone drawn to the ever-evolving firefighting field.

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