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I recently went to the UL-FSRI visitors day. The goal was to see what they were about and to find my own answers straight from them. You see I don't own a training company, I am not on any type of panels, but what I am and so was the rest of the firefighters that were there, we are students of the craft. We had the same goal and that was to gain knowledge and I believe that is exactly what happened.

The day started with what tests are going to be conducted, went into a meet and greet, then proceed to the floor to exam the houses. As we were going through and looking at the set up, the first thing I noticed was the amount of man hours, logistics, and coordinating that took place for these tests, it was amazing. 

As we continued our tour, Steve Kerber was explaining to us some of the tests they were conducting and what they are looking at,  just a couple of  examples are: victim out come (Burns), and how is the water acting inside the house. It was then, at that moment it hit me, Kerber and his team really do care about our profession. Listening to them speak, these guys are not selling anything, they never shoved anything down our throats, if anything they wanted to hear our thoughts and answered our questions. It was very transparent. Not one time did I hear any of the UL-FSRI team say “This is the only way”.

After spending the day at UL-FSRI, and talking to some very educated firefighters, well more like listening, cause when you are in a room with that amount of knowledge and experience from around the country and Canada it is better to listen than talk. I was able to leave knowing all my questions were answered, and I gained extra knowledge about the profession.  

On my flight home could not help to think, what is the argument?  Why is everyone so up in arms about what UL-FSRI is doing?  We always talk about thinking outside the box, all they are doing is stepping back inside the box.

                Loyd Layman: Fire Fighting Tactics, 1953 NFPA

What I mean by this is they are looking at some very old tactics and researching them. Loyd Layman started this 50 years ago and the profession called him a genius. 

To sum this up, the goal of our job is to be an effective firefighter. I honestly believe that is what this group is trying to help us with, they are not trying to take anything away from the fire ground. They are trying to give us answers to what is happening on the fire ground.

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Comment by Michael D. Staats on March 17, 2016 at 3:31pm

OJ and PJ, man you guys are both right on. We all need to take a breath, shut up, and listen. And maybe somewhere in the process we just might learn a thing or two. Great article brother!

Comment by P.J. Norwood on March 16, 2016 at 11:50am

Oj, very well said. Its truly when you listen with an open mind we realize the true mission of UL-FSRI. 

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