Oakland U building first fire science lab in Midwest

Oakland University wants to build the first fire-science lab in the Midwest.

Manufacturers have already donated $275,000 of equipment that would go into the Fire Science Lab, which would be a classroom for OU's Occupational Safety & Health students, a training site for employees who work in fire and safety for private manufacturers, the government and a range of workplaces. It would also be a field-trip site for companies wanting to prepare their employees for fire emergencies.

Inside the lab, real fires can be set, sustained and extinguished for an up-close understanding and analysis of the operation and effectiveness of fire suppression equipment, devices and systems.

Fire code enforcement agencies, government agencies, safety consulting firms, insurance companies and a multitude of manufacturers large and small can use the laboratory to provide training, demonstrations and certifications.

While donations for equipment have been given, there is still a need for donations to build the lab, and OU is looking for sponsors. Once the construction costs are covered, the lab could be operational within four to six weeks, says Dr. Charles McGlothlin, special instructor and director of OU’s Occupational Safety and Health program. For more information on sponsorships, click here.

The lab would be the first of its kind in the Midwest and one of about a dozen nationwide, he says.

“The addition of the new Fire Safety Laboratory will give our graduates the advantage of experiencing first-hand the capabilities of various fire suppression systems and devices," he says.The training will also lead them to jobs that are in short supply in the fire safety industry.

"Today’s safety professionals play an essential role helping companies maintain profitability while ensuring safe, healthy workplaces and environments," he says. "We are driven to continuously improve, keeping pace with ever-changing needs of the market -- the future industries and employers of our graduates," McGlothlin says. "The Fire Safety Laboratory is a tremendous resource which we intend to put to use to benefit the greater community, state and region."

Source: Brian Bierley, spokesperson, Oakland University, and Dr. Charles McGlothlin, special instructor and director, Occupational Safety & Health program at Oakland University
Writer: Kim North Shine
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