News

Fire Service Gets Free Access to New UL Safety Smart Training Portal

We are thrilled to announce the rollout of the NEW UL SAFETY SMART TRAINING PORTAL. The portal is an online source which contains the Safety Smart program training materials, accompanying activity guides, and Safety Smart youth education videos. As a key component to delivering safety messages to children we are pleased to share the following Registration Link and Access Code to the portal with you. This link will give you access to a registration form, fill out the requested information and create your own password. Once done you will receive an email authorizing use of the portal. From there you will have access to the online training portal which can be accessed via desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.  This portal has been designed specifically for use by community youth educators, like firefighters. As such we ask that you do not forward the Registration Link or share your password.

Registration Link: https://safetysmarttrainingportal.com/register/FSRI2015/

Access Code: FSRI2015

Once you click the Registration Link, you will be prompted to register. Simply follow the directions on the screen.

Safety Smart

WILD ABOUT SAFETY

This award-winning series teaches kids ages 4-8 how to make everyday decisions that are Safety Smart®. Starring the beloved characters Timon and Pumbaa from Disney’s The Lion King, these 8 videos and accompanying materials will help children avoid injuries, live problem-free, and stay Safety Smart®!

This program is translated into 35 languages: English, Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Mandarin (PRC), Mandarin (Taiwan), Marathi, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.

Bill Nye

SAFETY SMART SCIENCE

This award-winning series teaches kids ages 9-14 the science of safety. Starring Bill Nye the Science Guy®, the 4 Safety Smart® Science videos and accompanying materials help students discover how the scientists at UL test products in an effort to keep all of us safe.

This program is translated into 3 languages: English, Spanish (Latin American), and Polish.

 

UL Hoverboard Fire Demonstration

Everyone has probably seen some coverage of hoverboard fire incidents on the news.  Many of them have required fire service response.  In order to better understand these failures UL’s Research Team demonstrated the fire dynamics that result from a hoverboard that undergoes thermal runaway.  FSRI wants to increase the knowledge of the fire service by showing what is happening prior to their arrival to these incidents.  Fire investigators should also note the potential for multiple points of ignition as flaming components are projected away from the hoverboard.

The demonstration shown in this video illustrates what happens when a Lithium Ion battery goes into thermal runaway – independent of what motivated it to do so (overcharging, poor quality cells etc.).  The technique of heating the cells to induce thermal runaway was chosen in lieu of two other techniques which have been used to drive a thermal runaway:

  1. mechanical stress – such as a blunt nail.
  2. modifying the internal construction of the cell to compromise the insulator within the device.
  3. External heating of the battery cell was chosen because of a high degree of confidence that the cell would go into thermal runaway

New UL 2272 provides framework to evaluate, test, and certify self-balancing scooters On February 2nd UL announced that the company is now accepting product submittals of self-balancing scooters, also known as hoverboards, for construction evaluation, testing, and/or UL certification. UL will now be able to test and certify these devices using UL 2272, which covers the electric drive train including the rechargeable battery and charger system combination for use in self-balancing scooters.“UL has been evaluating, testing, and certifying battery cells, modules, and packs as well as related battery chargers and power supplies as individual components for many years,” said Jeff Smidt, vice president and general manager for UL’s Energy and Power Technologies division. “With UL 2272, our expert science, research, and engineering teams have now developed the appropriate requirements and methodology to confidently evaluate and test the entire self-balancing scooter for electrical and fire-hazard safety as a system. As recent news has shown us, there is a strong need for this type of service, and today we are pleased to offer our testing and certification services to manufacturers and distributors.”

Retailers and manufacturers interested in submitting hoverboards for product testing and/or UL certification are welcome to submit their request via the form at http://contact.ul.com/contact-ul-energy, or emailRenewableEnergyQuote@ul.com.Visit www.ul.com/hoverboards for consumer safety tips, information about UL’s work to combat counterfeit UL marks, and facts about UL’s involvement with hoverboards. Visit www.ul.com/batteries for more information about the battery & energy storage technology services UL offers for a wide range of motive & stationary applications.

IFSI Research Center releases interim report on “Cardiovascular and Chemical Exposure Risks in Modern Firefighting”

UL FSRI was honored to participate in this study in partnership and collaboration with the Illinois Fire Service Institute,  National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Globe Manufacturing Company and U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program.

This study was designed to better understand how operating in a modern fire environment is related to the two leading health issues facing firefighters; namely cardiovascular events and chemical exposures related to carcinogenic risk. We investigated the impact of different tactics (traditional interior attack vs a transitional attack) and different firefighting location/assignment (interior attack, outside operations, outside command, overhaul) as well as measures such as skin cleaning and gross on scene decon to affect these risks.

Full Report can be downloaded from:
https://www.fsi.illinois.edu/documents/research/CardioChemRisksModernFF_InterimReport2016.pdf

Summary Report can be downloaded from:
https://www.fsi.illinois.edu/documents/research/Summary_CardioChemRisksModernFF_InterimReport2016.pdf

Next steps
Again, these results presented in this interim report are only a snapshot of what has been collected and is currently being analyzed. A detailed fire service toolkit is scheduled to be released in 2017 with a comprehensive overview of the information available and tactical considerations. The toolkit will be freely available to firefighters and fire officers around the globe. You can keep up to date with information being released through:

– IFSI: https://www.fsi.illinois.edu/content/research/ or on Twitter @IFSIresearch
– UL FSRI: http://ulfirefightersafety.org/, https://www.facebook.com/ULfirefightersafety or on Twitter @UL_FSRI

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UL welcomes Daniel Madrzykowski as the newest member of the Firefighter Safety Research Institute

After more than 30 years with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Fire Research Division, Dan Madrzykowski is joining the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) as a Senior Research Engineer based out of FSRI headquarters in Columbia, MD in January.

Dan holds a Master’s of Science degree in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland.  Throughout his career, he has conducted research in the areas of fire suppression, large fire measurements, fire investigation and fire fighter safety.  Dan has conducted fire investigation related studies in a wide range of areas including; fire fighter line of duty deaths and injuries, the post-earthquake fires in Kobe, Japan, oil field fires in Kuwait, the Station Night Club fire, and the Cook County Administration Building fire in Chicago.

In addition to his broad experience and knowledge, Dan also brings to UL his many ties within the fire community.   He is a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI).    He is also a member of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors and was named their Instructor of the Year in 2009. Dan received the IFSTA Granito Award for Excellence in Fire Leadership in 2012 and holds the rank of Honorary Battalion Chief with the Fire Department of the City of New York.  Dan is a Fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.  In 2013, Dan was invited to the White House in honor of receiving a Service to America Medal.  He received a President’s Award from the International Association of Fire Chiefs for his firefighting research in 2014.  In 2008, Dan and UL FSRI Director Stephen Kerber jointly received a Gold Medal from the U.S. Department of Commerce for their research on improving firefighting tactics for wind driven fires in structures.

We are honored to have such a distinguished colleague join the FSRI.   Please join us in welcoming Dan!

 

New Training: Top 20 Tactical Considerations from Firefighter Research

UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) teamed up with FIREHOUSE
to provide an interactive look at 20 Tactical Considerations from Firefighter
Research.

The goal of this partnership is to increase firefighters’ knowledge to reduce
deaths and injuries and assist responders in better preparing to respond to
emergencies in their community.

Authors include UL Firefighter Safety Research Advisory Board members
Assistant Chief Derek Alkonis (Los Angeles County), Lt. Sean Gray (Atlanta),
Chief Todd A. Harms (Phoenix) and Chief Peter Van Dorpe (Algonquin-Lake
in the Hill, IL, Fire Protection District).

This series, which includes photos and videos, is broken five sections:
Setting the Stage, Fire Dynamics, Initial Fire Attack, Coordinated Ventilation
and Thermal Imagers & Basement Fires.

You can find the tactics-focused content here.

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FSRI Co-organizes 3rd annual “Structure Fires” Conference in Poland

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.

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UL FSRI Awarded 2014 DHS Fire Prevention and Safety Research Grant

UL FSRI is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a Fire Prevention and Safety Research Grant through the DHS Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program  to conduct a project titled, “Study of the Fire Service Training Environment:  Safety, Fidelity and Exposure.”   This 3-year study will take everything we have learned over the past 10 years of research and build on it to improve firefighter hands on training.  The increased understanding of fire behavior that has emerged from previous AFG funded research has raised many questions that revolve around teaching these principles during hands-on training.  Most training buildings or props, when used according to current training standards, will not create an environment that effectively demonstrates the impact of firefighting tactics (i.e. ventilation and suppression) on fire behavior.  Despite ongoing financial and time restrictions, firefighter training academies must continually produce firefighters who have a thorough understanding of fire dynamics and are able to transfer that knowledge to tasks and tactics on the fireground.  Firefighter training standards provide important constraints on fuel (type, arrangement and quantity) and the structure (geometry and materials) as a result of past incidents where firefighters have been injured or killed in training.  With all of these limitations, the potential exists for students to observe and internalize inaccurate concepts such as “ventilation always leads to cooling”, “ventilation always reduces the chance of flashover” and “enter the fire room before flowing water.”  It is imperative that fire instructors are able to provide the correct context to the students so that the proper lessons are learned, even if they are not visible, while providing a safe and predictable training environment.

We would like to thank the Illinois Fire Service Institute, International Society of Fire Service Instructors, International Association of Fire Fighters, North American Fire Training Directors and our Advisory Board for their support of this project.

For more information about this project visit the Project Page by clicking here.

Story from the Street – Basement Fire, Green Bay Metro FD

The Green Bay Metro Fire Department has made significant changes in their operating procedures based on firefighter safety research results. This week we received yet another example of how they are putting the pieces together from various grants to evolve fire department operations in their jurisdiction.

Responded to the report of “something burning” in the basement.

Arrived to find a medium sized, single story single family ranch style home with a moderate amount of dark grey smoke pushing from around the basement window on the CD corner. 360 revealed smoke also pushing from the sill plate and siding on a “family room” addition on the C-side of the home and also pushing from the other basement windows.  The entire home was charged with moderately dense smoke down to the floor.  The sole occupant was outside upon the first units arrival.

This ranch home had a” walk-up” basement and the only access to the basement interior stairs was located through a door on the D-side. I opeSmallned this door and encountered “dark grey and brown smoke” down to the floor and “high heat conditions”. The floor covering was ceramic tile. Aware of the inability to accurately assess the integrity of the floor with the TIC or by “sounding the floor” with hand tools and the inability to effectively “spike” the floor with an axe or haligan based on the NIST basement study the decision was made to break the basement window on the CD corner and apply water from the exterior. When the basement window on the CD corner was “taken” a large amount of black smoke vented. Based on these conditions water was applied into the basement window and a Truck company opened the sill plate/siding area on the “family room” addition located on the C-side. Dark grey and brown smoke were venting with significant velocity from this location. The attack line was relocated from the basement window and water was applied to this opening. A later arriving Engine company performed another 360 and saw fire venting up from the floor and around a HVAC duct in the family room addition on the C-side.  A Truck company forced an exterior door and cut a hole in the floor. A second attack line applied water into this opening. After several minutes of flowing water into these two openings and the smoke condition improved greatly. The integrity of the floor was assessed via the basement window on the CD corner and also through the other two openings the Truck Company created. Incident Command determined that the floor integrity was sound and crews could enter to finish extinguishment.  Crews safely entered the basement and completed extinguishment.

The area of origin contained building supplies including asphalt shingles, rough saw lumber, rubber tires for a go-cart and other paper products.  This fire load contributed to the dense smoke and high heat initially encountered by the first arriving units. 

Capt Joel Krueger

Green Bay Metro Fire

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More photo’s from the incident can be found here: Green Bay Metro Fire Department – Basement Fire 

For more information on basement fires check out our online training courses for both Basement Fires and  the Governors Island Experiments.

UL FSRI Adds New Fire Protection Engineer/Firefighter

Keith Stakes brings fire service research and fire service experience to expand UL FSRI

Keith Stakes joins FSRI with a BS and M.Eng degree in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland and 2 years of experience as an engineer in NIST’s Firefighting Technology Group. In his role at NIST, Keith assisted in advancements in firefighter safety, fire ground operations, and the effectiveness of fire service tactics. He developed and applied technology, measurements and standards, and engineering to improve the understanding of fire behavior, fire prevention, and fire control to enhance firefighting equipment and operations. In addition to his engineering career, Keith has been a volunteer firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician for close to 10 years with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad. He currently holds the rank of Lieutenant and has a long list of fire service certifications.

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FSRI Job Opportunities

As part of our expansion to Columbia, MD the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute is looking to hire two new staff members.

Fire Protection Research Engineer                          Click Here to Apply 

Job Description:

Under general direction, performs engineering work in the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. including New FSRI Posterliterature studies, experimental design, data acquisition, data analysis and the documentation necessary to execute comprehensive experimental studies. Assists in conducting studies and analysis to determine the feasibility of various engineering approaches. Defines concepts and criteria to resolve major problems in current programs or approaches. Plans and conducts experiments using the body of scientific knowledge on topics related to hazard based safety engineering. Projects require substantial knowledge of state-of-the-art engineering principals and theories, and uses professional concepts and procedures to solve a wide range of research based problems.  Utilizes word processing, spreadsheet and database computer programs to support research projects.

Job Requirements:

  1. University Degree in fire protection engineering, or other related engineering discipline, and ideally 3 years of experience.
  2. Demonstrated general knowledge of engineering disciplines.
  3. Demonstrated ability to maintain engineering based academic and applied knowledge and skills.
  4. Ability to collaborate with peers, and work directly with Research Engineers and other team members in order to complete a project from start to finish.
  5. Excellent communication skills required.
  6. Previous fire or firefighter related research experience is preferred.
  7. Firefighting experience is desired.
  8. Working knowledge of word processing, spreadsheet and database computer programs.
  9. Video editing and web page editing experience is desired.

Video Content Developer                           Click Here to Apply 

Job Description:Study of Residential Attic Fire Mitigation Tactics

Under general direction, assists UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute staff with all video filming, video production, video editing, web development and online public relations. Under direction, monitors all video recording associated with fire test experiments.

Job Requirements:

  1. University degree in Communications, Advertising or related field, and 3 years of professional experience.
  2. Skilled in the use of video camera equipment.
  3. Ability to work with Print, Digital and Web based campaigns.
  4.  Ability to organize and direct film crews
  5. Ability to make copy and other advertising design recommendations.
  6. Proficient in video editing software such as Adobe Premiere, After Effects and Final Cut Pro
  7. Experience with social media, & web hosting of video files (Vimeo & Youtube).

Questions contact us at fsri@ul.com