SHARON HILL, Pa.— Fire Lt. Jason Truesdale is working to help further fire service safety and bring back valuable information to the city of Sidney’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
In March 2019, Truesdale was selected to be a member of the Underwriter Laboratories Firefighter Safety Research Institute’s (UL FSRI) technical panel to study residential home size-up and search and rescue operations during live-fire experiments. According to UL FSRI, members were selected based on fire service experience, geography, department size and department type. Over 500 firefighters submitted applications to become a member of this technical panel.
“I am very humbled and honored to be part of this (panel). It’s a great experience for me and also to be able to bring back so much information for the city,” Truesdale said.
The 21-member panel from all across the United States first met up in Baltimore, Maryland, in the summer of 2019 to become acquainted, and to determine the upcoming experiments and what they hope to learn. The panel was then broken into three groups to study 20 experiments over several weeks in October and November 2020.
Oct. 20-23, Truesdale spent time at the Delaware County Emergency Services Training Center in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, to work with seven members, within the first group, to study the houses built for the experiment. During the burns, two identical houses were built side by side to see how various actions, such as opening or closing doors, would effect the burning fire. Inside the houses, mock searches and rescues were conducted. Panel members conducted a 360 degree “seize-up” of the houses and were able to observe external or interior camera views of the ongoing situations inside the burning houses.
“You do a 360 around the structure. You are looking for if the curtains are visible, or if there is fire out this window, or if there is heavy smoke. So you are looking at different things. Is there a basement? Is fire in the attic? Are any victims hanging out the windows?” Truesdale explained. “We are trying to put all of those components together to make it better for the first guy on the scene. And then they have to do their 360 seize up and say, ‘OK, this is what I got. This is my tactic and this is where I’m going to start my search from.’”
Fire experiments were funded from the Assistant to Firefighters Grant program, which is designed to enhance the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel, and to provide support for emergency responders regarding fire, medical and all hazard events.
Truesdale said his work with UL FSRI is supported by Chief Chad Hollinger, the city of Sidney, and was also supported by retired Chief Brad Jones. On his trips, his travel, lodging and food expenses are paid for from a grant secured by UL FSRI.
In June 2018, UL FSRI came to Sidney to partner with Sidney Fire, members of area fire departments and the Illinois Fire Service Institute Research (IFSI) to conduct two days of live-fire research burns at the former home of Dr. Ed and Anne Link, located on the land of Sidney’s future third fire station at 2401 Wapakoneta Ave. At that time Truesdale helped UL FSRI behind the scenes as a logistical officer on the project. He became friends with those involved and decided he wanted to help in any future projects. Shortly thereafter Truesdale submitted his application to join the study panel.
Because of UL FSRI’s work in Sidney, Truesdale felt he a greater sense of what the technical panel study experience may be like.
“I am truly learning every time I go there, because there are guys on that panel who fight more fires than I do. I try to pick their brain and ask questions because, for example one of these guys from Baltimore, he fights fires every day,” Truesdale said. “But I have I something to bring to it too because we are a small department and are able to attack a fire with eight guys. But I am extremely humbled to try to help with the safety of fire service and for the new guys.”
The panel will continue to communicate and bring the information gathered together. A video of their findings be produced and released globally to help fire service world-wide. The project is expected to be completed during the summer of 2021.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.