I'm pretty sure I was an honorary Boy Scout. For 10 years my parents served as den leaders for my brother's various troops and I remember always tagging along to the outings. While I didn't have the official uniform, I do remember how much fun it was to be exposed to different careers and activities. The actual Scouts earned their merit badges and I earned many great memories.
I wonder if those early experiences helped me become a journalist. I still get to check out different careers and activities, but this time I do get a badge in the form of a byline. I've gone to many a facility to learn what they do and why they do it. A few facilities stick out – especially the ones where they blow stuff up.
So when I read about one of the facilities I visited hosting a group of Webelos from a local Boy Scout Troop to an afternoon of fire and explosion safety demonstrations, I was flooded with happy memories from my youth and just a few years ago.
Fike, a Blue Springs, Mo.-based provider of industrial and explosion protection safety solutions, recently hosted the scouts at its 26,000-square-foot explosion protection remote testing facility used for research, product development, and industrial application testing. At this isolated location, full scale tests can be conducted where noise is not an issue and release of flame can be done safely. I went to Fike's facility a few years back to host a video on explosion safety. You can access that video here.
The scouts were working on their Engineering merit badges, which require a visit with an engineer to discuss examples of work done, how results are achieved and career responsibilities.
"We were excited to have the opportunity to host this group of young minds," explained Chuck Kopoulos, Fike Corp. president and CEO in a press release touting the event. "Our company prides itself on engineering innovation. That starts with encouraging our youth to challenge their minds, and to seek future careers in the engineering fields."
Tom Farrell, Fike's senior explosion protection test engineer, gave a lecture to the students on general household fire safety and industrial explosion hazards. Demonstrations, executed by remote site staff members Chris Ballowe and John Sours, included a real-life demonstration on why water should never be used to put out a grease fire, as well as training on how to properly use a household fire extinguisher. Several industrial-scale explosions were also conducted to impress upon the students the importance of safety and good engineering practices.
I'm sure these scouts will never forget their experience at Fike. Who knows, there may be a few engineers in the group who want to grow up to be that guy who gets to blow stuff up at work. Or there could be a budding journalist who wants to visit all sorts of places where they not only blow stuff up, but create tools of the future. Regardless of their career path, they are fortunate to have companies like Fike willing to educate them.
Senior Digital Editor