Wildfires in Siberia

Siberian forest, which takes up 1/10 of the world’s forest area is currently endangered. 2 million hectares of forest (approximately the area of such countries as Israel or Slovenia) are burning since June 2019. This fire is currently out of control – Russian authorities are refusing to participate in its extinguishment.

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Enormous amount of land and wildlife are engulfed in wildfires and expert’s forecasts are not encouraging – Siberian environmental disaster is threatening to accelerate the melting of the Arctic ice.

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Russian territory has 1/5 of the world’s reserves of wood (8149000 sq. m) and Siberia holds half of them.

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This means that if proper measures will not be taken – 1/10 of the world’s forests may be gone forever.

Russian authorities refused to help the regions with the fire extinguishment. They motivate their actions by economical reasons, saying that inhabited areas are “not under threat” and “projected extinguishing costs exceed their projected harm”.

If we had cold weather in the winter and there was a blizzard, no one would suggest to drown the icebergs to get warmer.

Alexander Uss, Governor of the Krasnoyarsk Territory

Currently, the problem is that the forest areas engulfed in fires are remote ones.  The firefighters can be delivered there and moved from point to point only by plane or helicopter, but there is no gas station next to them or any infrastructure. Equipment cannot be delivered to these territories as well, which makes such extinguishment a manual type of work. Lack of funding leads to the aggravation of the problem and the fires fuelled by unending firewood can continue burning for months, covering bigger territories until the whole amount of wooden fuel is gone.

Another problem which wildfires brought to Siberia is smoke. Thousands of people have to stay indoors due to the exceeded amount of dangerous volatiles.

Smoke has crossed thousands kilometres and has reached the territory of central Kazakhstan. The population of Siberia and nearest regions is literally suffocating due to smoke. Smoke brings unprecedented amount of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere in comparison to all previous years. Estimated June total wildfire CO2 emissions for the Arctic Circle are equivalent to 2017 national fossil fuel CO2 emissions for Bulgaria, Hungary and Sweden altogether.

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Even though it is not the first precedent of enormous fires in Siberia region, no preventing measures were taken to avoid such devastating fire.

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After tremendous California fires of 2018, fuel breaks (basically – big trenches) around the areas of wildfires were taken as the most effective solution for wildfires prevention. The 2019 wildfire season has been much less active in California than it was a year ago.

Fuel breaks and other fuel modification for wildland fire control can help to diminish the risk and rate of fire spread – prevention is better than the cure.

However, people alone are helpless against the untamed element. Governmental support is a key to stop the violence against our one and only home – the Earth.

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Girls in Fire Safety

On 8th of March we celebrate International Women’s Day and isn’t it the best time to commemorate all the incredible girls who are passionate about being Fire Safety Engineers?

Nine of girls who are currently pursuing IMFSE degree shared their experience about being females in Fire Safety Engineering field and gave their tips to encourage other girls to follow their example.

Respect others but find it in yourself to respect yourself too for there is strength in you to navigate the challenging world of fire safety engineering. #wegirlsareonfire
Farah Bte Mohd Faudzi

Diversity is a value which must be embraced to achieve goals and ambitions, be a woman should never be a curb but an incentive to do more, as a spur to further efforts. It is an added value.
Open up to cultural, gender and background diversity is a fully achieved objective in IMFSE, which makes us different tiles of a single puzzle.

Ines Cilenti

During my studies of the IMFSE, I am a student, a scientist, a researcher, a colleague, a leader, a friend and I am valued as all that – not once I felt judged based on my gender. I believe here it matters what you have to say and what you do makes you who you are

Laura Schmidt

Among us, the 2017-2019 IMFSE female students, there are Architects, Mechanical Engineers, Radiophysicists, Civil Engineers. Being Fire Safety Engineers is our next achievement, and with it we will continue contributing to our societies, showing to other women that there is nothing we can’t do.

Silvia Milena Parra Diettes

Women in Fire Safety Engineering and in engineering, in general, are underrepresented. However, engineering is the future and women need to be part of this future. IMFSE has so much to offer to women who want to join the program. Of course, studies are hard. But in IMFSE, you get to know your classmates and professors. There are incredible help and compassion from them so that you could become a successful individual in the industry.

Adina Arymbayeva

Turn all the negativity around you as the fuel to fire up your dreams!! You will keep discovering the stronger and better version of you!

Ewana Yousuf

As Mea Jemison once said: “Dont let anyone rob your imagination, your creativity and your curiosity”. That’s what I am right now fulfilling with IMFSE. Being part of a great engineering program as a female I do believe that curiosity, our own strength and dedication can make a great impact in the future. I would like to encourage all young women to not shrink themselves but to get the courage to follow their dream on having a great career in engineering. We can all do it together!

Kristjana Doka

In my opinion, one of the best things of the program is that you are not treated regarding to your gender. I can not say I gained anything in particular just because I am a female. We all treated equally here.

Tanja Černoša

Don’t ever think that you are a girl who is going to be an engineer, here is where detachment begins. Think about you as a human, dream as a human, don’t matter which sex you are, be your best one.

Maryam Asadi

So, girls, follow your dreams! Be brave! Be fire!

Even sometimes it seems hard to achieve, but all the dreams may come true if you transfer your dreams to your plans.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Elective courses in Ghent

For the 3rd semester in Ghent we were given a choice of elective subjects we want to study. 2 courses from the list should be chosen, but the list may vary from year to year. Prior choosing, we were mostly relying on our own understanding of what the subject will be about, because no description is given. In this blog, some overview of the electives available for the 3rd semester in Ghent is presented. It may be helpful for some future students to make a decision on the courses they want to follow 🙂

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In the last blog post I have already described one of my electives – FSE based Fire Fighting. I can add that along with practical course, there were 5 lectures, one of which was a guest lecture on the Industrial fires. All the lectures were informative and totally not boring. The basics of the firefighting were discussed and as a part of the course, the fire fighting related paper should be done. The course finishes with a practical training and a closed book exam on the theory.

My second elective course was Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics. It covers such topics as numerical methods,  flow equations and modeling of turbulence. It is an intensive course which consists of 4 hours lectures and 3-4 hours of lab works every day within 1 week. The aim of this course is to make a project of the flow of an incompressible fluid in Ansys Workbench. Even though this subject is not directly related to the fire safety, the project load, requiring a lot of efforts, helps to understand the fluid flow. 

For this blog I also asked some of my peers to describe the elective courses they took. Kristi had a class in Entrepreneurship this semester. She agreed to share some thoughts:

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“Introduction to Entrepreneurship is an elective course which was held once in two weeks. The course is mainly theoretical compose by lectures which shows the steps on how to create your own venture and be creative in this competitive world and how to succeed. A very interesting and the lecture I enjoyed the most was the ‘Business Game’ where the class is divided in groups of 3 ppl and each group has a role as: entrepreneur, business angel or an investor. All the groups will be provided with a business plan which has lots of conceptual problems and economical estimations. Depending of the position and role that the groups have will try to evaluate and develop further the plan and in the next lecture session there is the negotiation day where entrepreneurs will try to gain capital by proposing their innovative plan to investitors and business angles. About the exam well was not that interesting, I guess like all the exams in general :)”

Bogdan had a course in Modeling of Turbulence and Combustion, and he also shares his positive experience:


14502848_1238575169496275_183210761677825226_n-1Modeling of Turbulence and Combustion is a 3 credits elective course that cannot be missed on third semester at Ghent University. It is structured on twelve lecture slides, with the first nine lessons on turbulence and the last four focused entirely on combustion. Although it may look difficult at the beginning, the way professor Bart Merci teaches this subject will make you forget about all the tough formulas and boost your interest towards the scientific background of the fire modeling. His interactive lectures with questions and answers from both sides will determine you to ask “why is this semester so short?”. Most of the slides are based on the description of the phenomenology of turbulence and combustion and a set of practical applications depicted from the real world. As it is purely theoretical course, it aims that all engineering students will understand the underlying mechanism of the numerical simulations of turbulent flows, with or without chemical reaction. There is an end-of-term evaluation during the examination period which starts with questions from a scientific journal that has to be previously read by the students and continues with detailed specific questions on turbulent combustion from the course content. It is an oral, open book examination with questions delivered on a paper and allows a 40 minutes preparation period before the final response.

The list of the courses may vary from year to year, and I asked our alumni, Kunsulu, to tell us about the course on Explosion and Industrial safety which was not available in my year:

By taking Explosion and Industrial safety course, we got an insight into the physcial processes that occur during explosion. Thus, the concepts such as deflagration and detonation, pressure and shock waves became familiar to us. During the class, by analyzing the past industrial accidents, we were introduced to the technical and organization measures to decrease the risk of fire and explosion. I think this course is complementary for education and training of fire safety engineers.

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences! I hope this post will help some students with the decision on the elective courses in Ghent. 

And for now, good luck with the thesis writing, guys! I miss you all!

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Fire Fighting training

Exactly one month has passed since our last exam. Now it’s time to recall one of the memorable moments of the last semester – our fire fighting practice lesson. As a part of the elective course of FSE based Fire fighting, we had a practical training in PBO East Flanders Fire department (Brandweerschool).

Our professor Karel Lambert is an acting fireman, and as a concluding part of his course on Fire Fighting, he takes students to the real fire fighting training.

When we reached the place, after detailed instructions we were given a real firefighting equipment. The heaviest part was wearing air cylinders. However, we were cooperating very well in helping each other to get ready. We looked so alike in these outfits, so we were permanently asking: “Hey, who are you?”/ “Hey, are you Silvia? Oh, sorry, it’s you, Ayyappa”.

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When we finally coped with the task of wearing full firefighting outfit, we were divided in two groups. Each group accompanied by a professor goes to the container, where some wooden cribs are set on fire. While the fire went through all the stages, we were sitting in the container, analyzing and experiencing all the processes happening there (e.g flashover). After getting out of the container everyone was very excited!

First of all, we were full of emotions after completing this training! It’s not an everyday thing to be part of fire fighting process! So huge thanks for fire department, our professor and IMFSE program for this challenging and fascinating experience! We feel really lucky for having an opportunity to have FSE based firefighting as our elective course.

Now the new (the last!) semester is on. And these remarkable moments will always have a special place in our memories!

P.S. After posting my picture on Social media, one of my friends sent me this meme with the “disaster girl”. Well, sometimes a “disaster girl” has to become a “disaster fighting girl” 🙂

 

 

 

Industrial visits and why we love them

We already shared our experiences of industrial visits in Lund (DBIMSB College Revinge and RISE). Now it’s time to tell about our amazing excursions during the 3rd semester in Gent.

As a part of the Passive Fire Protection course, we had a visit to PROMAT facility. PROMAT is a market leader in passive fire protection, they are presented in 43 countries and Belgium is one of them.  PROMAT develops new products, new generation of existing products and improves the quality of products manufactured in different factories around the world.

We had a lecture on the Compartmentation as a part of our Passive Fire Protection course and after it – a tour around the PROMAT facility.

We were guided through the quality lab and the industrial building, where we’ve seen some products manufacturing and also we witnessed some products testing. One of these tests was the use of intumescent paint for the fire fighting. Two tubes were set on fire. One was completely protected by carbon intumescent material. The material swallowed up when the ignition inside the tube started, preventing the tube from burning down. Uncovered tube totally burned.

For the Active Fire Protection I: Detection and Suppression class we had two visits in one day. In the first half of the day we have visited LANXESS – a leading specialty chemicals company.

The purpose of this visit was to see and to understand how gas extinguishing systems work in the facilities of such scope. Pictures were not allowed to be taken in that facility, but for your understanding we looked somehow like this:

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After chemistry facility we went to the Katoen Natie, a factory to conserve and restore drawings. The protection of the pieces of art is always a challenge for fire safety engineer. For this storage water mist extinguishing system was chosen to prevent the fast spread of fire and destruction of drawings by water.

Unfortunately, pictures were also not allowed there. That is due to the fact that in the storage we have visited, paintings of such famous artists as Rubens are stored and museum workers do not want people from the outside see them.

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So, why do we love industrial visits so much? Well, I would say that it is due to good organization of these trips (transport and lunch are provided in the most of the cases), atmosphere of the “school trip” and full immersion in the industrial process.

These trips are one of the things I will desperately miss after the end of IMFSE program.

 

 

FSE – wait for it – Day!

The day everyone was waiting for finally came! Months of preparations and organizations have finally led for this event to happen. Special thanks to Professor Grunde Jomaas and Lies Decroos for enormous efforts they put for this event.  And also many thanks to BRE that kindly accommodated us!

This year Fire Safety Engineer Day was hosted in Watford – a city, 20 minutes away from London. Most of us came to the capital of Great Britain 2 days before the event. And the reason was – reunion with other IMFSE classmates!

After our legendary semester in Lund, when we were spending most of our time together, splitting to teams Ghent/Edinburg was tough. And finally we all gathered together again, in London! And most of the free time there we spend visiting museums and looking for some good food to eat 🙂

This year FSE day was special for us, because now we are students of the 2nd year! We met 1st year students from Ghent and Edinburgh and we were super excited of telling them how lucky we all of being part of IMFSE family!
Also, I found a regularity that 3 years in a row there is a girl from Kazakhstan in IMFSE class, who starts from Edinburg and who is IMFSE blogger! I think it’s a good tradition, hope it will go on 😉

Me (IMFSE’19) with Kunsulu (IMFSE’ 18) and Adina (IMFSE’ 20)

This FSE day was as great as previous one! We had a lab tour in BRE! We had an opportunity to talk to the people who lead the fire protection industry! So many things we learnt during this hours! Presentations of the 5th FSE day were mainly focused on Post-Construction Fire Safety. Speakers from such well-known companies as ARUP, Kingspan, BRE, FESG, GAE, Rockwool were having their talks that day. Each presentation ended with a round of applause, because all of them were so motivating, so enlightening and so thorough! Many thanks for all the presenters for putting so many efforts and passion not only to the presentation, but to all the things you are doing for Fire Safety Engineering.

During FSE day we had several coffee breaks. That was a very good opportunity for us to have a talk with speakers, industry members and IMFSE graduates. Thanks to the program office, we had our new business cards! So we could share them with each other (to never lose our bonds) and with industry representatives.

During one of this breaks, I had a talk with Professor Bart Merci and I mentioned that this year FSE day is totally different for us, now we really can understand how the industry works and we do really understand from the presentations more! Professor replied that it would be strange if we understood less 🙂

So, yes, reunion with other classmates was a very remarkable moment. Sadly, next semester we all will scatter to different countries. But that is one of the main reasons of Fire Safety Engineering days, right? To gather together with people from all over the world with the same views as yours, to discuss and to share thoughts, to feel like we are big community united with one goal.

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P.S During the conference by the end of the event there was a question from the auditory: “What if being a visitor, you see that building is not safe from fire safety point of view? Is it okay to complain to the administration about its insecurity?”. The answer was that even if you are not responsible person, if you feel that something is not okay with the design, it is so easy nowadays to take a picture and send it to the administration with a request to fix the problem. The picture, that may save someone’s life.

So one of the most import thoughts that I took from the conference was that we are responsible persons, now or in the near future. And we are doing or will be doing great! We are Fire Safety Engineers. We should care and we do care. And if not us, then who?

Real Fire Test

The September finished with new adventures for IMFSE treasury of memories. My classmates and I spent an amazing day near Antwerp, being witnesses of car park fire imitation!

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IMFSE students were invited to attend the IMFSE sponsoring company FESG fire tests regarded safety level in sprinkled underground car parks. Even knowing that the site where the experiment will take place is quite far from Ghent, many of us decided to go. Because it is not an everyday opportunity to see the real fire test!

FESG is currently working on sprinklers efficiency in small car parks. Some of IMFSE graduates working in FESG were telling us the subtleties of their work, explaining the course of experiment and patiently answering all our questions.

The most common reasons of fires in car pars are overheating of engine and arsons. So several types of cars and various air and pressure conditions were tested to understand the spread of fire and sprinkler efficiency in different cases. We could say that there are three things you can watch forever: water flowing, clouds moving and the cars burning! It was really an incredible scene seeing vehicle is burning in the flames!

Of course, for security reasons we were standing quite far from the fire, so there are no good pictures or video of it… But but take our word for it – that deserves to be seen live!

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