Thursday, April 7, 2016

Firefighter Math

Firefighters, Fire, Portrait, Training Have you ever wondered what mathematics firefighters use in their job?  How much is actually what we teach in the classroom?  It turns out we teach the foundation in several math classes but we don't supply the application of the topics.

After checking into the math that police officers use, I wondered what math firefighters used.  Low and behold, I found an online self-paced course for firefighter math.  It covers math that a fire fighter is going to need in the general sense such as ratios and proportion and then provides a fire fighting application with several practice problems.

Each topic is set up with a general introduction, examples, followed by practice problems. These practice problems are online multiple choice problems with immediate feedback.  I like the clear explanations you are given if you are correct.  I tried a couple and when I was wrong, the program told me I was incorrect, try again.  I did learn a fair bit.

This is set up nicely so I could use it in my geometry class to show how volume of cylinders has a real life application by having students work their way through the hose section.  It looks easy to assign the sections to students as needed.

It appears this is the only real site that discusses firefighting math but I found a great article on Fire and Math that talks about the use of natural logs and Fourier's law of heat transfer in arson investigation. This 6 page article is great because it explains natural logs and Fourier's law of heat transfer before providing specific examples.

This site has a 400 page document that talks about all the factors on fires.  It has detailed information on the factors and talks about mathematical modeling and computer modeling for Fire Dynamics.  There are so many more factors than I ever realized. This would make a good basis for a project.

Have fun exploring these sites.