By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Chief Hyser introduces Algonquin/Lake-in-the-Hills Fire District Chief Peter Van Dorpe, one of the foremost speakers in fire research, who will give a presentation to a room full of firefighters and incident commanders.


“This is a class on fire dynamics and building construction,” said Algonquin/Lake-in-the-Hills Fire District Chief Peter Van Dorpe. “These are two essential knowledge bases for firefighters to know how fires interact with buildings. Since 2006, Underwriters Laboratories has been doing research on these topics and I am on the advisory board for that group. I am here to share that knowledge.

“I will introduce firefighters to some of the background information and encourage them to make better decisions. There is no substitute for experience but fires don’t happen every day so I am trying to fill the gap with research. I am here to share that.”

Randy Schlicter of the Illinois Fire Service Institute said, “The IFSI is the state fire academy for Illinois. I am the Northeast Region representative. Today’s program is brought to local fire departments by the State Fire Marshall’s Office. We do classes like this all across the state at no charge to the departments. We offer classes that are fire and EMS related plus special operations.”

“This is an opportunity to help local firefighters from the immediate area as well as from a distance,” said Belvidere Fire Chief Al Hyser. “We have firefighters here from Stockton, E. Moline, Loves Park, Kirkland, and across Boone County, as well as from Monroe, Wis. and Footville, Wis. We are bringing everyone together to listen to one of the foremost speakers in fire research when it comes to fire behavior in new construction.

“Today’s fire service is responding to not only older homes with construction of full dimension lumber, but also to nowadays’ lightweight construction. This is for everyone to understand some of the challenges that lightweight construction presents us.”

New synthetic fabrics on furniture and the materials used for making homes are burning at a faster and hotter rate than before. This new trend is causing fire departments to work even faster and smarter when answering a call to keep everyone safe.

“Understanding fire behavior is the key component to the tactic that the incident commander will choose and deploy and it will change everything. So if you choose the wrong tactic, the fire will grow,” Shawn Schadle, training coordinator for Belvidere Fire.

The class covered such…


For complete article, pick up the March 14 Belvidere Republican.

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