FIREFIGHTING STRATEGY: In the U.S., firefighters are trained to kick down doors and douse flames with water pumped through massive hoses. One of the oldest rules in the business is, don't put water on smoke, especially if firefighters are nearby, because the water will turn to steam and cause burns. If firefighters use equipment to supply bursts of delicate fog to smoke, this cools volatile gases. Because water is broken into tiny droplets and deployed in extremely brief bursts, the moisture's expanded surface area will cool the gases in the smoke. Then firefighters can move closer to the blaze -- instead of ducking for cover -- and once they are close enough, revert to the old method of smothering the blaze with a massive application of water.
HUMAN FACTORS SCIENCE: This is a branch of science that strives to design the job to fit the worker, rather than the other way around. In the modern office, it most commonly relates to the physical stresses placed on joints, muscles, nerves, tendons, bones, even hearing and eyesight, along with other environmental factors that can adversely affect comfort and health. Ergonomics deals with the interaction of technology and work environments with the human body, and involves such things as anatomy, physiology, and psychology in the design of chairs, desks, computer accessories, the design of car controls and instruments -- in short, any kind of product that could help relieve potential repetitive strain from a given job or task.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Materials Research Society, and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.