So, this summer I have an 11-week fellowship/internship with NIST's Building & Fire Research Lab.  I've been a volunteer firefighter/EMT for 2.5 years while I'm at college working on my degree in physics.  Somehow, unexpectedly, firefighting got into my system.  So, I'm considering a career in firefighting research and technology (maybe I can combine my love of fire and science).  Hopefully this summer will help me figure that out.

Has anyone here worked with the BFRL lab?

Also, is anyone on here from that area?  Know any departments that would be good for a ride-along?  I'd like to do a couple ride-alongs, if I have time and it all works out... it's really interesting to see how different departments operate.

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That is so freakin' cool! Check out College Park ( for ride-alongs. They are a few miles from NIST, but it's not too far. A little closer is these guys: They seem to put together a pretty good operation.

I grew up in the area, drop me a line after you move and I'll see if I can direct you to some local colour.

Thanks, I'll definitely check out those websites. I'll be heading out that way towards the end of May.

Congratulations on your internship. Based on the videos produced by NIST (the dry Christmas tree fire is my favorite) and knowing of their important role in helping to "figure out fire" through research and technology, I think that would be a pretty cool place to work. One of our members used to work in the BFRL, building props and sets and whatever else and then putting them out after they were set on fire. Before that he did essentially the same thing at the ATF Fire Research Lab in Beltsville and now works for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Needless to say , he has some cool stories (the ones he can talk about, anyway!).

I am a member of the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department in northern Prince George's County, approximately thirty minutes from Gaithersburg and bordering Montgomery County. I'm on the membership committee and invite you to ride with us. We have a ride-along coordinator and I would be more than glad to pass her contact information along to set something up.

Again, congratulations, take care and be safe.

Phil Clinard
Hey, I'm here and settled into my summer fellowship. I was wondering if you could pass along the contact information for the ride-along coordinator? I'm free only on some weekends (when I'm not doing other activities) and weekday evenings/nights... so, even if a full ride-along can't be arranged, maybe I could get a good tour. I'm really interested in seeing how different departments run across the nation... and it's defintely educational to me as a firefighter.


You can contact our coordinator, Kristine, at and she will take care of the details. I look forward to meeting you and wish you the best in your internship. Take care and be safe.

Hey, just so you know, I'm set up to ride with LVFD the weekend of the 7th. I am looking forward to it.

Awesome! Maybe our call volume will stay at its slightly elevated pace during your visit- the last few afternoons/evenings have been a little busier than normal. Take care and be safe.

Sweet! That's a good department, and I'm glad you found them. Have fun and be safe!
Haha, we'll see, I seem to bring "Rider's Curse" with me wherever I do a ride-along. So, it may be a quiet weekend. But, it should be good regardless. :-)

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