ISFSI and UL FSRI release Understanding and Fighting Basement Fires Summary Video
Jennifer Williams
February 27, 2019

ISFSI and UL FSRI release Understanding and Fighting Basement Fires Summary Video

This video focuses on the key points and tactical considerations from the Understanding and Fighting Basement Fires Project by the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) and the UL Fire Service Research Institute (UL FSRI), funded by a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant. In the video, Tony Carroll guides the viewer through the study and a summary of the tactical considerations.

Many firefighters have been injured or killed while trying to extinguish a basement fire. Basement fires can pose a high risk to a firefighter due to the high heat, high velocity fire gases found in the exhaust portion of a flow path and/or the potential for a floor collapse.

Based on the results from this study and previous below grade fire experiments, a basement fire is likely to be ventilation controlled. Therefore, size-up and coordination between suppression and ventilation tactics are essential for an effective firefight. The most effective method for fighting a fire is to fight it on its own level. In some basement fire cases, that means suppression begins from the building’s exterior.

This ISFSI/UL FSRI basement study went beyond earlier research by increasing the size of the basement, and addressing basements that have no exterior access to the basement, limited exterior access to the basement, and exterior access to the basement.


Tony Carroll is a Battalion Chief with the District of Columbia Fire Department, the Eastern Region Director with ISFSI, and an ISFSI Instructor for the Understanding and Fighting Basement Fires Class.

Click here for more information on how to host the Understanding and Fighting Basement Fires course in your region.

UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute is dedicated to increasing firefighter knowledge to reduce injuries and deaths in the fire service and in the communities they serve.