First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

“A period of great change”

Engineering-based fire suppression

For 85 years the Fire Department Instructor's Conference has been the mecca for new ideas and innovative trends.

The 1950 "Little Drops of Water" presentation by Lloyd Layman generated a dozen years of structural firefighting using a high pressure pump to inject water spray into a structure.

In the 1980's positive pressure was incorporated in structural fire attack.

In most cases, we were adopting new equipment to do our jobs better, faster and safer.

Using science and engineering to analyze fires

In 1999 the Engineering Lab at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was asked to assist with the investigation o the Line Of Duty Deaths of Firefighters Anthony Phillips and Louis Matthews in Washington, D.C. 

"Simulation of the Dynamics of the Fire at 3146 Cherry Road NE Washington D.C., May 30, 1999 (NIST IR 6510)," describes the results of calculations using the NIST FDS that were performed to provide insight on the thermal conditions that may have occurred during the fire. Input to the computer model was developed from 3 sources; the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department Reconstruction Committee, photographs and measurements taken by NIST staff during a June 3, 1999 site visit, and from material properties taken from the FDS database.  An FDS model scenario was developed that best represented the actual building geometry, material thermal properties, and fire behavior based on information from the Reconstruction Committee and physical evidence.

This work by Dan Madrzykowski started a 14 year study of thermal flow in structure fires.  The research methods and technology has dramatically improved, resulting in "Science Hitting the Streets" providing us with vital information on fire growth and dynamics in a range of structure fire categories.

Four presentations on fire suppression research at FDIC 2013

Madrzkowski and Steve Kerber (Underwriters Lab) are presenting back-to-back presentations on fire research results tomorrow at FDIC.

I am on the way to a big room presentation where FDNY, NIST, UL and others will describe how this research is shaping structure fire strategy and tactics.

Check this out:

More details later, 

Mike "FossilMedic" Ward

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