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Why Is Fire Orange?

Philadelphia firefighter Lisa Desamour says a healthy curiosity about fire is a good thing, and kids should feel comfortable asking questions. But they also need to know basic fire safety.
Jane Lindholm
/
VPR
Philadelphia firefighter Lisa Desamour says a healthy curiosity about fire is a good thing, and kids should feel comfortable asking questions. But they also need to know basic fire safety.

We visit Fireman's Hall Museum in Philadelphia and get answers to a dozen questions about fire from Philly firefighter Lisa Desamour. She tells us what fire is, why matches work to start fires, and why fire is often orange. Plus: how does water put out fire? How do smoke alarms work? Why do firefighters have Dalmations? 

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Philadelphia plays an important role in the history of firefighting in the United States. The Union Fire Company, with help from Ben Franklin, was one of the early volunteer firefighting brigades. These days the Philadelphia Fire Department is staffed by career firefighters who do this work as their main job. Lisa Desamour has been on the department for more than a decade and she helps talk to school groups about fire safety.

But fires aren't always an emergency, so later in the episode we'll sit around a campfire with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps and appreciate the warmth of the glowing flames.

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