Last Friday was reserved for another school trip. This time we were going a few hours north to visit the fire Academy of Södra Älvsborg county, and RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden) fire research institute.
When you study IMFSE at Lund university, doing a school trip is quite easy. Professors announce your visit to a certain company, school covers car rental and other travel expenses, and you just have to show up at the right place on the agreed time. Although it sounds super simple, this time it turned out not to be like that. Relying 100% on Google Maps lead us to an hour-long tour of dirt roads, hitting a ‘’military zone’’ barrier and ending up on an unfinished road. Finally, after an unplanned exploration of Swedish countryside, we managed to get to Guttasjön fire station, where our hosts were patiently waiting for us.
First, Mr Krister Palmkvist, fire officer with decades of experience gave us a lecture on firefighting. Full of good examples and videos, but what made it special is that we were able to see live famous and one of the most powerful firefighting tools – Cobra! The forceful rifle-like water extinguisher is used for penetrating through walls (brick, concrete, steel etc.) and therefore making a way for water to get to the burning compartment, in situations when opening a door/window is not possible or is not a good idea due to the potential risky ventilation conditions and a possible flashover or any other reasons.
After the lecture, we were lucky to witness a real fire training, where firefighters were learning how to use Cobra, aka ‘’firefighters Kalashnikov’’, and it was impressive. Unfortunately, Cobra is a really expensive tool, and thus not yet available in most of the countries around the world, but hopefully it will become affordable in the near future since it gives an incredible advantage to firefighters.
Our next stop was RISE, where we were welcomed by our professor from Lund University, Mr Haukur Ingason. Formerly called SP, after merging with Innventia and Swedish ICT, named RISE has one of the biggest Fire research institutes in Europe. First part was reserved for short lectures by professor Haukur Ingason and his colleague Ying Zhen Li where we heard a bit about what RISE is involved in and about their areas of expertise. Next thing was the actual tour of all the labs. We started at the lab for small scale testing, being equipped with the famous ‘’cone calorimeter’’, that is used for collecting data for most of the FDS (fire dynamics simulator) input, and with many other experimental instruments.
Already the middle-sized room was impressive enough since enclosure fire tests are performed in it. But the largest room definitely left us speechless. It is so huge and so well equipped that they can do bus or truck fire tests in it without a problem. Another astonishing thing was the massive filter chimney connected to the main room, that no matter how huge and sooty the fire is, lets through only water vapors.
As the trip was almost over we decided to spend the rest of the day in the nearby city of Gothenburg. Unlike the first time when we visited it, when we could barely see anything because of the dense fog, this time the weather was just perfect! Strolling down the city, seeing thousands of people sunbathing next to the channels and along the parks, and feeling a really positive vibe of Gothenburg made me realize why some Swedes actually consider it as the coolest city of Sweden!
Another great school trip was given a final touch by a beautiful 9:30 pm sunset above the city!