Anderson County firefighters got the chance to learn about new, life-saving research from the National Institute of Science and Technology. Evan Johnson
(WBIR - Clinton) Forceful flames and smoke shot from a Center Valley Road home on Saturday.
The fire was started by firefighters as a teaching tool. It was how the dozens of men and women from the Oak Ridge Fire Department and the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department were testing out some new life-saving research.
Oak Ridge's Deputy Fire Chief Josh Waldo said, "Our number one job as fire service professionals is to protect citizens and their property."
The firefighters spent the weekend learning from South Carolina Fire Marshal Shane Ray, who began his career in Oak Ridge. Ray presented the firefighters with fire behavior research data results from the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) in conjunction with the South Carolina Fire Marshal's Office. The research studied flow paths of oxygen and hot smoke and gases during a fire in order to develop new life safety standards for the public and for firefighters.
Some of the findings is causing firefighters to change how they initially attack a fire.
Ray said, "The previous way is we would have opened the front door and tried to crawl in to find the fire."
Now, when dealing with a single family house fire -- Oak Ridge and Marlow firefighters are taught to cool the flames from a safer place, like outside the home before they go inside. This method is designed to protect firefighters while they try to save the lives of others and their property.
The study also showed that if you sleep with your bedroom door closed, you will most likely be able to survive a fire in an adjacent room of the home. Even if the fire room reaches temperatures about 1,150 degrees and is completely involved in fire.
The firefighters put that data to the test by starting small fire in one room of the home. They then recorded the temperature in the burn room and the temperatures in adjacent rooms, along with air quality.
Waldo said, "Keeping that door closed puts a separation between you and the smoke. Smoke is ultimately the killer in most residential homes. It's not the fire."
Ray said, "Our goal with this information is to take the fight out of the fire. That's why we're firefighters."
In addition to sleeping with bedroom doors closed, fire officials also encourage everyone to have working smoke detectors in their home, a fire escape plan, and even home sprinklers.