Talking to field experts is one of the components of the FLL Project Challenge.  This allows to learn more about a specific topic, interface with professionals and utilize them as primary sources of information.   Additionally, getting feedback about our solution to a problem is invaluable because it  decides the direction of our project and also helps us to improve our solution, if needed.

Speaking with field experts is an important skill.  We learn to prepare questions to ask the expert in a specific study before we meet the expert and to come up with new questions during a talk the expert gives.  We also learn to take good notes as a reference.  We also learn to debrief as a team after the talk to discuss the significance of the talk and review what we have learned from the expert.


A local FLL team, “Frogs Have Rights Too,” has graciously invited the local FLL teams to listen to one of their team member’s dad, a firefighter and disaster expert, present the work and challenges of search and rescue after a natural disaster strikes.   When we arrived at the team’s school site, where the talk took place, we were welcomed by the hosting team with hand shakes and a brief introductory welcome speech.  Then Kevin P. Frye talked about his work.

Mr. Frye is a licensed medical technician (not a paramedic), engineer and rescue specialist who works with the L.A. County Fire Department. He is a technical rescue specialist on a rescue team that works with FEMA (Federal Emergency Medical Agency) in U.S. disaster rescue missions and with USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) in international disaster rescue efforts.  His team works 24/7, which means they work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,  or non-stop.

Mr. Frye refers fire trucks as “rigs” and tells us that the most important and common truck used in rescue missions is called “Home Depot on Wheels” because it has a lot of tools that are used to cut, move, and lift objects, incuding jackhammers, whizzer saws, and search cameras.  He explains that “technical rescue” means his team helps people who are trapped in collapsed structures on land or in the water (lakes, ponds, rivers, flooded areas).  His technical rescue team uses many ropes, boats, jetskis, SCUBA, and aircraft.

Mr. Frye’s team must train a lot in order to be prepared.  Their rescue work includes dirt (trench)/fire/mountain rescue and train wrecks.  They train a lot and in confined spaces, ground/firefighter/rope/helicopter rescue, ground survival, and collapsed structures.

Mr. Frye’s team works on a Califorina task force which also includes doctors, structural engineers, and Hazmat specialists.  His team has been deployed to communities in the U.S. and other countries hit by disasters, including areas hit by Hurricane Katrina, Oklahoma City, World Trade Center, Haiti, and Japan.  When a disaster happens, his team can be ready and deployed within six hours with self-contained supplies (10-day supply water and food for the team) and tools needed for search and rescue.  When his team arrives at the disaster site, they immediately go to work and work non-stop with no very little or no sleep.  His team is known to be a Type One Heavy Team, a high level group that works in any environment and in any situation and also provides medical care to disaster victims.

We are grateful to Mr. Frye both for sharing his expertise where we learned so much and also to his team for saving so many lives!  Thank you, Mr. Frye, and “Frogs Have Rights, Too!”


Before heading out to a local elementary school to listen to a presentation by a disaster search and rescue expert, we discuss and review our expert interview questions while we snack after school.


We meet the FLL team, “Frogs Have Rights Too,” who graciously invited us and other FLL teams to listen to a team parent who also serves as a firefighter and natural disaster search and rescue expert


On our way to the talk


Me.mbers from “Frogs Have Rights Too” welcomes everyone


The natural disaster expert, Mr. Frye, presents some of the search and rescue missions his team was involved in, the nature of their work, and challenges his team faces during disaster search and rescue missions.


Mr. Frye uses a LEGO model of a building with collapsed indoor stairs to demonstrate how his team had to come up with an innovative solution to remove heavy debris that was difficult to remove. The purpose of this demonstration is to show how problem solving, working as a team and making use of what is available are important tools.


Thank you Mr. Frye and “Frogs Have Rights Too!” for the awesome talk!

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