On September 20-21, 2015 the third annual international conference “Structural Fires” took place in Ryn, Poland (Europe). This year it was co-organized by UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute, the Regional Branch of the Association of Fire Engineers and Technicians in Olsztyn (SITP), Regional Headquarters of the State Fire Service in Olsztyn (KW PSP) and International Technical Committee for the Prevention and Extinction of Fire (CTIF). On the first day there were lectures and presentations and on the second day practical demonstrations were held.
The conference was opened by the President of the SITP Olsztyn, Robert Fliciński, then on behalf of the organizers spoke brigadier Michael Kamieniecki (Regional Deputy Fire Chief) and brigadier Jacek Borowski (Head of Training Department at National Headquarters of the State Fire Service and and the Chairman of the Commission for Training and Education at CTIF). The conference was chaired and moderated by Dr Dariusz Ratajczak – Adviser to the Chief Inspector of Construction Supervision and Editor-in-Chief of “Fire Safety” quarterly magazine. Among the speakers were renowned world and national experts:
• Jens Stiegel (Germany) – Deputy Fire Chief of the Fire Department of Frankfurt am Main, director of the Land Fire Academy and member of the advisory board of UL FSRI. The speaker presented to the audience the latest research in the UL FSRI and spoke about an ongoing translation process of the Governors Island Training Module into German and Polish languages.
• Ernest Ziębaczewski (Poland) – expert in Prevention Department of the National HQs of SFS presented on the process of development of fire safety regulations.
• Paul Grimwood (England) – one of the world’s most renowned experts in the field of internal fire fighting in a pre-recorded speech elaborated on the subject of water supply and fire fighting flow rates and discussed issues related to the flow of gases, flow path reversal and the wind factor in fires
• Dr Michael Reick (Germany) – Regional Fire Chief in Göpingen and a University professor spoke about fire gases flow control and described the smoke stopper tool, of which he is an inventor.
• Ian Moses (Scotland) – a recognized expert in the field of personal protective equipment for firefighters in a pre-recorded speech elaborated on the problems of selection and use of appropriate protective garments,
• Joe Starnes (USA) – founder of the “Kill the Flasbover” project spoke about the objectives of the project as well as the results of few years of live burn experiments, focusing on the use of thermal imaging cameras, water additives and controlling of the flow of fire gases
• Mats Rosander (Sweden) – a pioneer of Compartment Fire Behaviour Training, author of many books, creator of techniques and concepts of nozzle techniques (including cooling of fire gases) spoke about the origins of his work in the 70s and 80s as well as the tactics and techniques used then and now,
• Szymon Kokot-Góra – a lecturer at the Training Centre in Olsztyn SFS spoke about the process of forming of a comprehensive system of training on structural firefighting.
Presentations also focused on the study of jet ventilation systems in the context of the detection of LPG gas in garages and aeration systems, dynamic lighting evacuation, legal aspects of the operation of smoke dampers and analysis of temperature resistance exhaust ventilators in the context of the guidelines and the use of fire bulkheads.
On the second day there was a small scale demonstration focusing on flow of fire gases in a structure. Presented scenarios included the spread of smoke between rooms and floors, focused on pressures and the impact of wind as well as natural and positive pressure ventilation. The second part was a large scale demonstration of combined fire attack, using techniques like “softening the target” and Positive Pressure Attack. This demonstration emphasized tactical and safety gains stemming from such an approach and identified conditions which are proper for the use of such techniques as well as conditions which would prompt to the use of another tactical approach. Last part focused on fireground hygiene and avoiding of contamination and exposure to carcinogens and other hafmful substances by introducing proper dress down on-scene procedures and methods of dealing with contaminated PPE.
The conference gathered around 150 participants from fields of fire research, training and education, prevention and operations. The organizers are willing to continue the annual undertaking in the years to come.
Special thanks to Szymon Kokot-Góra for inviting FSRI’s participation and to FSRI Advisory Board Member Jens Stiegel for presenting the latest research on our behalf.