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  • [music]

  • Thanks Zach.

  • Hello everybody, I'm Burns Hargis for another edition of Inside OSU. What kid has not wanted to ride on a fire truck

  • and be a part of this exciting

  • profession?

  • Well here at Oklahoma State, this is the best place in the world

  • that you can be trained. We're called the West Point of

  • fire

  • protection and safety.

  • This is a 1951 American LaFrance, which was

  • totally restored by our students

  • over the last year or two.

  • We'll go inside and see what goes on here, but we appreciate driver Zach Thompson from Seminole, OK. We'll talk to you

  • inside Zach.

  • Let's go have a look.

  • Here I am in the pump room of our fire protection and safety division and with me is Mike Larranaga, who's an

  • associate professor and is the head of this program. Mike, welcome.

  • This whole

  • program has been called a national treasure, and I think the history of its very interesting because most people are

  • surprised actually to see the extent

  • of the fire protection and safety programs we have at Oklahoma State. How'd it get started?

  • It got started when in 1931, the insurance industry call to Congress in Stillwater with the Stillwater fire department

  • to better train firefighters and validate the training that

  • firefighters have. Why Stillwater? The Fire Chief Ray Pence was

  • friends with several executives in the insurance underwriting industry.

  • I guess they had a lot of losses and wanted to figure out how to do a better job on the front end and in fighting the

  • fires. That's right.

  • So what happened?

  • As a result of that they start having a conference every year and that lead to

  • fire protection publications

  • and international fire service training association. They're the largest publisher of fire training materials in the

  • world.

  • And that also led to the academic program, which at that time was called the Department of Firemanship. This isn't a

  • common program in universities around the United States?

  • No, there are very few programs like ours.

  • How many?

  • There are two that are ABET accredited in the US. It's what's formally

  • known as the American Board of Engineering and Technology, and that's the accreditation that allows our students take the

  • professional engineering exam. How many students do you have?

  • We have 250 students. What is the academic curriculum for them generally?

  • We have a four-year program in engineering technology, and it's a basic engineering science courses and then we

  • tailor

  • a special course in fire protection safety and industrial hygiene for students.

  • This is not just fire? I mean it's broader than just fire? It's broader than fire. We really are

  • a loss prevention program, and we teach students to

  • prevent losses in the industry, manufacturing and

  • municipalities of government. So any kind of disaster in a building or on a ship or on an airplane

  • we're teaching our students how to prevent that, design them in a way that will prevent that and if it happens

  • what to do about it.

  • That's correct.

  • That's incredible.

  • What are the career opportunities? I would think in this day and age they'd be incredible.

  • We have

  • amazing career opportunities for students

  • and each student enjoys multiple job offers. Even in this down economy we don't have a problem placing students.

  • And just as I said this is a national treasurer, we actually

  • guard and protect some national treasures in the US? That's correct, well all around the world.

  • We are recognized for the contributions of our students in protecting

  • artistic and cultural treasures of the US. Some examples are the Smithsonian Institution, the Statue of Liberty,

  • the US Capitol complex, the Supreme Court building,

  • Library of Congress, the rare books collections at Yale

  • university and Harvard, and even OSU Edmon Low Library.

  • I know it's a very

  • dedicated and loyal alumni group because I hear from them a lot and they're very interested in this program and we're

  • interested in them as well. We'll look at some more things around here. The pump lab is for what? These are

  • installed in buildings and industrial facilities and things like

  • Boone Pickens Stadium.

  • And if the sprinkler's to be discharged or there's a fire,

  • the fire pump will turn on to deliver water to help control the fire until the fire department arrives.

  • So the students are learning how these things work and how they

  • are engineered?

  • That's right. How to design and install them,

  • take care of them,

  • and

  • keep buildings safe.

  • We also have a fire systems laboratory were students learned

  • about the different types of sprinkler control valves that we have.

  • In addition, we have a fire alarms lab

  • for students learn about the detection and alarm systems

  • for different types of fires

  • and different types of a detection such as smoke and heat.

  • Within these labs we have people that come from all over the world to take continuing education and outreach courses.

  • We probably have 30 to 40 courses a year

  • and these are professionals from

  • all over the world working in the fire and safety industries.

  • In this state-of-the-art facility, we have other

  • demonstration and labs in effect

  • for our students and one is the burn lab. This is one of the places where

  • you do what you're never supposed to do and that's set something on fire. That's right. We want to do it in a

  • controlled setting so no one gets hurt

  • and nothing burns down. Well we'll go into the burn lab now and see what that's all about.

  • Now I'm in the fire dynamic lab also known as the burn lab, but for these purposes we'll call it the burns lab.

  • I'm with Laura Gross and others from fire protection and safety. Let's introduce everybody right quick.

  • Benjamin Eschner from McHenry, IL.

  • What year are you?

  • I'm a junior.

  • Benjamin Craig. I'm from

  • Ohio. Patrice Barnett from Brighton, Colorado, and I'm a senior. Laura we'll talk to you in a second.

  • Andy Emerson from Chattanooga, TN, and I'm a sophomore.

  • This is our driver. This is the guy that brought in the American LaFrance.

  • I'm Zach Thompson from Seminole, OK, and I'm a senior.

  • We put out the fire didn't we?

  • I'm Erin Guyer from Stratford, Vermont.

  • I'm Rhett Strain from Beauty Springs, Louisiana, and I'm a junior.

  • Get the idea this is a national program? Laura, how did you end up

  • here in Oklahoma from

  • Salida, Colorado?

  • Originally I wanted to be a firefighter so my dad and I sat down and did some research

  • on where I could get a bachelors degree that would

  • better be of use

  • in the fire program.

  • So we found Oklahoma State and I moved down here and once I started classes

  • I realized there was more to the program than just firefighting

  • and now I would like to become a sprinkler designer. What do you think the career opportunities are?

  • I can go

  • safety or protection or firefighting.

  • The possibilities are endless.

  • Rhett,

  • this is a real ghostbusters outfit except the ghosts we'll bust are the fires.

  • We're in front of a set here, tell us about this. We've got a living room setting burn prop.

  • We've got a couch we'll place some flammable liquids on to imitate an arson fire.

  • We'll watch the growth stage,

  • take some temperature readings,

  • watching how fast different materials will react to the fluids and the heat of the fire

  • and watch this spread.

  • Good, well let's have a look.

  • Yeah I'm glad I didn't sit in the chair.

  • So Rhett what are you learning from this other than a chair's burning up?

  • We're watching the fire growth. It's going to go up, hit the

  • ceiling, spread across the couch itself. It'll start into the walls. You'll start hearing

  • picture frames breaking. We're also taking some measurements here

  • on our temperature scale.

  • This black line is our back wall

  • where the picture frame is.

  • We also have some ceiling on the east wall and the back wall.

  • As you can see

  • the wallpaper's starting to burn. These are all the types of measurements we're looking at.

  • Is that wall built like a regular wall? Yes, the only thing missing in this wall is insulation just because of

  • the toxins in it.

  • You can feel some of that radiant heat.

  • You'll also start to get

  • trash cans and things like that around it to burn.

  • It's now hit the ceiling and

  • starting to rollout. In arson investigations, can they tell

  • where a fire started? Yes. Origin is fairly easy to tell. You'll have heat.

  • The glass just broke from our

  • picture frame at high temperatures. But you can tell point of origin because of the amount

  • of heat,

  • and things are charred fairly well.

  • It's putting out a lot of heat, I'll tell you that. It does get fairly warm and once we're done you can go through and

  • look at the records. Our west wall right now we're at about 1500 degrees. That's a tremendous

  • amount of heat.

  • In the ceiling we're about 2000 so at the top

  • you're looking at about 2000 degrees. But we'll go ahead and step back and let these guys attack the fire.

  • You guys started to spray up high. Yes sir. Depending on the types of fire,

  • you'll either

  • attack it high or low.

  • With a ventilated fire you want to cool the upper atmosphere because you have a place for that temperature and steam

  • building up because boiling water will put off steam.

  • At 2000 degrees you'll steam water fairly fast and that's where you're heat's going.

  • So you'll attack it high

  • and let that steam work down on top of it.

  • Well as you can see,

  • it's a pretty dramatic profession and were glad they are studying it.

  • OSU has a long history of protecting the public from fires and other disasters,

  • and this fire protection and safety unit here at OSU

  • is the true leader.

  • A national treasure.