The emphasis on science based education for firefighters has identified a gap between the effectiveness of various tactics in training fires as compared to how effective they may be on the fire ground. To fully understand this gap, UL FSRI is conducting a 3yr study funded by DHS/FEMA, “Training Fires; Safety, Fidelity, and Exposure”, to quantify the fire dynamics and certain tactic effectiveness in training fires. As the first phase of this project, UL FSRI conducted experiments in a 1400 sq. ft. ranch test prop using training fire fuels.
This second phase, looked to quantify the fire dynamics in a concrete burn building relative to different fuel packages. Nine experiments were conducted, encompassing three different fuel packages and three different ventilation configurations. The three fuel packages were 1) pallets & straw, 2) pallets, straw & OSB, and 3) a residential living room. Each package was evaluated for initial growth, potential for ventilation limited conditions and response to ventilation by providing no vents, a vent in the fire room or a vent remote to the fire room. Additionally, instrumentation was used to explore the heat transfer through structural turnout gear and the potential chemical exposure during training evolutions.
Any use of non-1403 compliant fuels was conducted as a demonstration. Demonstrations may provide the ability to show flashover, flow paths, other fire dynamics principles and exterior water application without ever placing a student or instructor in the building.
The results of this phase aim to help instructors of live fire training to better understand the environment within a concrete training building and how well different tactics can be demonstrated with this type of training.
Stay tuned for phase three of the project being conducted in the spring/summer of 2017 looking at fire dynamics and tactic effectiveness in metal container props.