From the Editor: July 2018

Science on fire
Laura Aiken
June 14, 2018
Written by
Summer is here in all its warm and sunny glory…and floods and wildfires. And campfire caution. And lightening. Spring and summer bring their own unique weather and activity circumstances each year, and with it the ongoing dialogue on preparing for extreme climate events, drought dangers and fire safety messaging for the outdoor season.
In a country that truly experiences four seasons, the temperature outside is as Canadian a conversation as hockey and beer.

For me, this particular writing member of the Canadian public, the onset of summer and July will signify the birth of the third child into our family and the start of a one-year maternity leave. I will be back at the editorial helm of Canadian Firefighter in July 2019. In the interim, associate editor Jayson Koblun will be the initial point of contact for assistance in the transition. You can expect great content, written by and for firefighters, to continue and I look forward to re-joining the team at
Canadian Firefighter.

For the rest of the Canadian public, pregnant or otherwise, heat and temperature will be quantified via sweat on the brow and an increased inclination to bask. Firefighters are part of a select group where understanding the science behind heat and temperature translates into safety on the job. In this edition’s cover story, expert instructor Lance Bushie breaks down the molecular action of heat and temperature, how PPE relates and at what states fire becomes its most dangerous to the professional seeking its extinguishment. It’s a fascinating and worthwhile read that
reminds one of power of nature. As was particularly well quoted many moons ago: It is with our passions as it is with fire and water; they are good servants, but bad masters — Roger L’Estrange, Aesop’s Fables, 1692.

Scientific understanding is some of the best leverage humanity has to prepare for and mitigate nature’s wrath, whether it’s modern day house fires or volatile weather. That, and a healthy dose of caution and respect. Swimmers are only ever and safe as their sensibility about the water, no matter how skilled their stroke. A firefighter too must understand fire’s propensities to make the most of the physical act of suppression. Science isn’t everyone’s favourite subject, but the benefits gleaned from appreciating and understanding it are vast: improved critical thinking and ability to harness strategy in tactile skill application; and of course, renewing a childlike sense of awe at how abundantly strange and beautiful the mechanics of planet Earth are.

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