|Project Title:||Study of the Effectiveness of Fire Service Vertical Ventilation and Suppression|
|Organization:||Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.|
|Principle Investigator:||Thomas Fabian, Ph.D|
|Period of Performance:||06/12/2011 – 06/11/2013|
Ventilation is believed to be one factor that is contributing to firefighter injuries and deaths inside structures. There is a lack of understanding of the rapid changes in fire conditions in residential structures that can result from changes in natural ventilation and use of enhanced ventilation as common firefighting practice. The potential for rapid increase in fire spread and intensity in residential fires as a result of changes in construction materials, building contents and building size and geometry over the past 30 years compounds the lack of understanding of the contributions of changing ventilation on firefighter safety.
This project will increase firefighter safety by providing credible scientific information developed from full-scale testing in realistic single-family homes. The project will develop the empirical data on vertical ventilation techniques that is needed to quantify the fire behavior associated with various residential ventilation scenarios and develop the necessary fire fighting ventilation practices that will reduce the risk of firefighter death and injury. Suppression techniques used to fight these modern fire conditions will also be examined. Additionally, this fire research project will address questions of smoke alarm response associated with different smoke alarm technologies and alarm location to support fire department smoke alarm distribution programs including those funded by the AFG Fire Prevention and Safety Grant program.
The project will develop empirical data from full-scale house fire experiments conducted in a large laboratory facility. Vertical ventilation, suppression techniques and the resulting fire behavior will be measured and documented. Additionally, during the same full-scale house fire experiments, but prior to the ventilation and suppression activities, measurements of smoke alarm response associated with different smoke alarm technologies and alarm location will be measured.
Projected Results and Conclusions:
The project will develop knowledge of vertical ventilation tactics and the effect on fire behavior. It will determine the effect of modern residential construction practices such as open floor plans and emerging attic construction design on fire growth. New information about the effectiveness of smoke alarm technologies and placement will be developed through experiments to support smoke alarm distribution programs including the AFG Fire Prevention and Safety Grants program. Tactical considerations based on the experimental results will be developed for incorporating into fire fighting standard operating guidelines.