Research Projects - fire investigation
Impact of Ventilation on Fire Patterns
UL FSRI
September 17, 2015
UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) examined how ventilation affected fire patterns and electrical system damage.
Governors Island Experiments
UL FSRI
May 21, 2013
Taking ventilation and suppression research from the laboratory to the field with FDNY and NIST
Fire Safety & Skills
Training
UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute advances fire research knowledge and develops cutting-edge, practical fire service education aimed at helping firefighters stay safe.
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UPCOMING EVENTS
Training Fires - More than just Heat & Smoke
The risks we face as firefighters are constantly evolving on both the fireground and in the training scenarios designed to help prepare us for the daily emergency responses. The training ground is undergoing a rapid evolution as we look to improve the training firefighters receive to better prepare for today’s fireground. In an on-going series of project between IFSI Research, UL FSRI and NIOSH, we have developed a deeper understanding of the chemical and thermal exposure risks associated with fire training activities. This webcast will review the critical results from those efforts with a focus on the impact of fuel type used during training evolutions. We will discuss differences in risks for firefighter students and fire instructors in the context of high-fidelity training that can appropriately prepare firefighters for today’s fireground.
Exposure Control in Fire Training
Firefighters’ training ground is undergoing a rapid evolution as we look to improve the training firefighters receive while balancing exposure risk. This presentation will discuss results from a project between IFSI Research, UL FSRI and NIOSH that focus on the impact of fuel type used during training evolutions for both firefighting students and fire instructors.
Analyzing the Impact of Ventilation on Fire Damage Patterns in Full-Scale Structures
The focus is on residential fires, which tend to be ventilation limited. Understanding ventilation-limited fires aids fire investigators in analyzing fire patterns and locating the area of origin. When and where the fire receives oxygen-laden fresh air impacts the fire dynamics and subsequent fire patterns. Attendees are presented with the results of a series of full-scale house experiments that examined the impact changes in ventilation had on the fire patterns. The test structures included a 1,200-sq.-ft. one-story ranch structure and a 3,200-sq.-ft. two-story colonial, which had an open floor plan with a two-story family room and an open foyer. The test scenarios ranged from fires in the structures with no exterior ventilation to room fires with flow paths that connected the fires with remote intake and exhaust vents throughout the structures. Elevated fires originating in the kitchens were also examined. The “after” photos are shown to the attendees first; they will “examine” the scene and develop a hypothesis prior to seeing how the experiment was conducted. Photos, data, videos, and fire-flow graphics from the experiments are used to explain the fire dynamics.
Firefighter Protective Clothing and Equipment: Exploring the Limits
This class focuses on today’s personal protective equipment (PPE) and its effects on firefighters’ health and performance on the fireground. Data from the 1970s from studies conducted by the Fire Department of New York and the Boston (MA) Fire Department provided the baseline understanding of the firefighters’ working environment. The data will be compared with recent measurements of the firefighters’ environment from the perspective of how the current gear and equipment perform under bench-scale and full-scale test exposures. Several of the experiments related to exposure of firefighters under live fire conditions were conducted with the Illinois Fire Service Institute, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute. Reports of line-of-duty deaths or injuries that contain evaluation of the gear for thermal damage are discussed and compared to thermal performance guidelines. Among the questions addressed are the following: Does the replacement of natural materials with synthetic materials affect the firefighters? Does the thermal protective performance rating of the gear affect tactical capabilities? Does work station wear impact the effective thermal protective performance of PPE? Should it be a polyester or a cotton T-shirt?
Training Fires: More Than Just Heat and Smoke
This class focuses on the impact of the fuel type used during training evolutions. Discussion includes the differences in risks for students and fire instructors in the context of high-fidelity training that can appropriately prepare firefighters for today’s fireground; a description of these risks; and the scientific basis for recommendations to balance these risks through training, fuel selection, and postfire exposure reduction measures that can be implemented at relatively low cost and impact.
Science in the Big Room: Coordinated Fire Attack
This class provides an opportunity for the UL Firefighting Safety Research Institute (FSRI), along with four of the technical panel members who served on both the suppression study and the coordinated fire attack study, to present the highlights and fireground applications of the research. This research, conducted over the past 10 years, was focused primarily on ventilation and suppression, independent from one another, at fires in single-family dwellings. With a solid understanding of horizontal, vertical, and positive-pressure ventilation alongside both interior and exterior water application, the time has come to put the pieces together: How do we define coordination on the fireground? What makes for an effective fire attack? The current UL FSRI study into coordinating ventilation and suppression on the fireground is nearing its completion. The science from the lab was taken to the streets as experiments were conducted in acquired single-family dwellings, garden-style apartments, and a commercial strip mall. This study, much like all of our other studies, is guided by a technical panel of firefighters from across the country.
Effect of Firefighting Intervention on Occupant Tenability
What are the effects of search and suppression tactics on occupant tenability? Discussion centers on the results of 12 experiments conducted using a full-size residential structure to assess the impacts on trapped occupants when using an interior attack (applying water from the interior while a search team looked for simulated trapped occupants) and applying water from the exterior before transitioning to the interior while a search team looked for simulated trapped occupants. Six groups of firefighters, recruited from fire departments throughout the country, participated in two experiments each. Gas concentration and temperature measurements were analyzed to determine the effectiveness of firefighter tactics in limiting the exposure to potentially trapped occupants. This class highlights the effect of water relative to reducing temperature, occupant removal time, and occupant location within the structure. Coordination of suppression and ventilation tactics is emphasized.
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.