"Blinded by science" is an old expression that means "to deliberately confuse someone with highly complex knowledge". For too many firefighters, the same can be said when it comes to firefighting and the phenomenon of fire. For too many firefighters, the act of "putting the wet stuff on the red...
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It is all about science. If firefighters understand the chemistry and physics of fire, especially in a closed setting, they should be able to recognize impending hostile fire events and then react accordingly. The recognition and reaction skills, along with the knowledge of science, should enable them to be safer. That is the bottom line. Armed with knowledge of the dynamics of fire, firefighters should never again be "blinded by science."
DAVID F. PETERSON is a lieutenant in the Madison, WI, Fire Department, where he is the lead fire and hazmat training officer. He is in his 30th year as an emergency responder. Peterson is enrolled in the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer program and is a master instructor for the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). He is the managing member of the Wisconsin FLAME Group LLC, a leadership and management company, and operates www.hazmatpetie.com, a hazardous materials response training website. Please send your comments and questions to him at www.hazmatpetie.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.