Impact of Ventilation on Fire Behavior in Legacy and Contemporary Residential Construction Report Released
Under the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program, Underwriters Laboratories examined fire service ventilation practices as well as the impact of changes in modern house geometries. There has been a steady change in the residential fire environment over the past several decades. These changes include larger homes, more open floor plans and volumes and increased synthetic fuel loads. This series of experiments examine this change in fire behavior and the impact on firefighter ventilation tactics. This fire research project developed the empirical data that is needed to quantify the fire behavior associated with these scenarios and result in immediately developing the necessary firefighting ventilation practices to reduce firefighter death and injury.
Two houses were constructed in the large fire facility of Underwriters Laboratories in Northbrook, IL. The first of two houses constructed was a one-story, 1200 ft, 3 bedroom, bathroom house with 8 total rooms. The second house was a two-story 3200 ft, 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house with 12 total rooms. The second house featured a modern open floor plan, two- story great room and open foyer. Fifteen experiments were conducted varying the ventilation locations and the number of ventilation openings. Ventilation scenarios included ventilating the front door only, opening the front door and a window near and remote from the seat of the fire, opening a window only and ventilating a higher opening in the two-story house. One scenario in each house was conducted in triplicate to examine repeatability.
The results of these experiments provide knowledge for the fire service for them to examine their thought processes, standard operating procedures and training content. Several tactical considerations were developed utilizing the data from the experiments to provide specific examples of changes that can be adopted based on a departments current strategies and tactics.
Research Project: Impact of Ventilation on Fire Behavior in Legacy and Contemporary Residential Construction
Report Title: Impact of Ventilation on Fire Behavior in Legacy and Contemporary Residential Construction
Report Author: Steve Kerber
Download the Report: https://dx.doi.org/10.54206/102376/GIEQ2593
Release Date: December 14, 2010