ATF Fire Phenomenon Study

In December of 2011 a young, teenage, girl, Aubrey Clark was badly burned while attending a simple campfire.  As another girl went to pour a can of gasoline onto the fire, Aubrey was literally in the wrong place at the exact wrong time.  She was standing back and directly across from the girl who poured the gas onto the fire. 

Aubrey sustained burns over 30% of her body, initially it was determined that she would lose her lips, eyelids, ears, and hands. However, after 19 surgeries, skin grafting, and intense physical therapy, Aubrey is on her way back; back with her friends, back to hanging out...back to texting.

But, how did this happen?  How did a gas can become a blow torch and not an explosive?  The ATF performed the following study to determine how this phenomenon could occur.

As the following test footage shows, flames follow the fumes into the can then combust, throwing out flames up to 13 feet away.

Front View:

Slow Motion:

Side View: (shows distance of flame throw)

Protecting Your Pets - Understanding NFPA 150

NFPA 150, Standard on Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities, clearly defines what must be in place to ensure the safety of you, your animals, and your facility (vet clinics, boarding houses, zoos, etc.).  The goals of this standard are four-fold:
  1. To provide an environment for human occupants inside an animal housing facility that is reasonably safe from fire and similar emergencies.
  2. To provide an environment for animal occupants inside or adjacent to a structure that is reasonably safe from fire and similar emergencies.
  3. To provide reasonable safety for fire fighters and emergency responders during search and rescue operations for animal and human occupants.
  4. To attempt to minimize loss of property and interruption of facility operations from fire and similar emergencies. (NFPA 150:
To begin to determine what the necessary requirements for your facility are NFPA 150 leads you to chapter 6, where your facility must be appropriately classified and categorized.  This is based on access of the general public, and types of animals potentially on-site.


Class 1 - building housing animals with no general public access (private kennels, processing plants, barns, veterinary clinics)
Class 2 - building housing animals with restricted public access (areas of limited and infrequent public access)
Class 3 - building housing animals with regular public access (zoos, show grounds, pet stores, etc.)


Category A - animals that pose a potential risk to rescuers or the general public, animals that cannot be moved without risk to the health and welfare of the animal or other animals, animals that are impossible or impractical to move, animals that are not mobile or in a mobile enclosure
This would include any animals that are ferrel, diseas carriers, or poisonous, under anesthesia, injured or ill, too large to move, or too large to move without additional staffing, and animals that cannot be led by collars or within rolling cages.
Category B - any animals that do not fall into Category A

Once you have determined the class and category of the facility you can then determine occupant loads, egress requirements, and what fire protection systems will be needed.

The chart below shows industry standard enclosure size requirements (this can be utilized to determine occupant load and egress factors):

NFPA 150 breaks up the protection requirements by class. However, there are several elements that are common to all classes:
  • fire extinguishers required
  • fire alarm system required if over 3,000 sq.ft. (or in any size Class 3 facility)
  • fire sprinkler system required in any facility handling Category A animals
There are sections in NFPA 150 dealing with special hazards, emergency planning, and staff training.  All egress components, human occupant load, and building services generally comply with NFPA 101 guidelines.

For more information onf NFPA 150, read this article from the National Fire Protection Association.

Sims U Share

Sims U Share is an application that allows anyone to create a training simulation.  This FREE application (for phone, tablets, or web) allows you to take a photo of anything (buildings, vehicle, aircraft, etc.) and add smoke, fire, explosions, or other effects.  This is a great practical training tool for fire crews to use.

For more information check out or

Creating Challenges

In his post , “Reasons to Work” [], Seth Godin (marketing/leadership best-selling author) lists 8 reasons why people work. Godin makes the point that money and pay is often the most emphasized, yet other factors actually play a much larger role in our work place and career satisfaction. Some of the reasons listed include for the pleasure or calling of doing the work, for the impact it makes on the world, for the reputation that is built in the community, however, number 2 on the list, below money, is to be challenged.

Often times, it is easy to get excited about the big projects then, when they are over, slip into workplace discontentment. Sometimes the daily grind, the day in and day out routine, lose its challenge.

Bill Hybels, leadership expert, says that people perform at their best when they are slightly over-challenged. We all fall into one of the three categories, under challenged, appropriately challenged, or dangerously over-challenged. The under challenged do not have enough interesting work to keep them engaged. They are not provided with enough work to do. Unable to find contentment or purpose in their work, the under challenged usually leave organizations for a more challenging position.

The appropriately challenged usually have just the right amount of work and tasks to accomplish. However, they are not being stretched and are only maintaining what is currently in place. They are not advancing the organization or improving its service to the community. They are not creating.

The dangerously over-challenged are working themselves to death. Often, this comes with a high cost to their families, health, and general quality of life.

Most employees fall into the upper under challenged/lower appropriately challenged area (see yellow box). Resulting in employees that are largely unhappy with their work, merely going through the motions, and not producing at their highest level; their full potential to the community and organization is never realized.

Our best work is accomplished when we are working and functioning in the lower third of the dangerously over-challenged level (see red box). In this position we are continuing present responsibilities while being stretched and encouraged to grow our organization and its impact in the community.

As an employee it is your responsibility to bring yourself to the appropriate challenge level. If you fall into the dangerously over-challenged category, what can you do to decrease some of your work load? Do you need to delegate assignments or train others on how to assist you? Maybe its as simple as a discussion with your boss. If you are under challenged maybe you need to create something new, start an initiative, look for gaps in service and find ways to fill it. Stretch yourself, and take on projects that seem beyond your capabilities.

As a leader it is part of your responsibility to ensure that your employees are being adequately challenged. Do you know your employees well enough to determine what challenge level they are currently at, what level they are capable of, and what level they need to be stretched to? What do you need to do to increase (or decrease) their challenge level?

When you find yourself lacking motivation and slipping into routine, create something challenging.