Project Panel Members Complete Qualitative Review of Experiment Footage from the Fire Behavior Lab

Project Panel Members Complete Qualitative Review of Experiment Footage from the Fire Behavior Lab

April 11, 2022

UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) recently shared video footage from the single compartment fuel experiments conducted during the spring and summer of 2020 in the Fire Behavior Lab (Flashover Simulator) at the Delaware County Emergency Services Training Center in Sharon Hill, PA with the project’s panel members. The panel was engaged as a resource to provide a qualitative assessment of the fire behavior created from five different training fuels through their wide range of experience as instructors. The task for each panel member was to review 31 different video streams and characterize the fire behavior from each different training fuel studied during the experimental series. With the compilation totaling almost ten hours of footage, it was no small assignment.  

The series of experiments conducted last year included five replicate tests using five different training fuels, including fiberboard, oriented strand board (OSB), pallets, particleboard, and plywood. The tests included three to six ventilation cycles in the Fire Behavior Lab – with a cycle defined as the time from “vents open” to “vents closed” where the fuel and air mix to demonstrate dynamic fire behavior.  

This qualitative fire behavior characterization wrapped up in February of this year and the insights gathered from this exercise will enable us to come to a consensus on how we describe fire behavior for each of the training fuels we study. The qualitative consensus will be combined with the quantitative analysis of both the thermal and chemical exposure produced by each of the different fuels. By characterizing the qualitative value of the training fire environments produced by different fuels, the project hopes to support decision making in the selection of training fuels to balance exposure risks and training benefit of live-fire scenarios.  

“The data and video collected from these experiments provides a holistic view of how differing fuels impact both the thermal and toxic exposures within and immediately outside of the training structure.”

Keith Stakes, research engineer at FSRI

The visualization of how the fuels impact training fire environment will improve the effectiveness and safety of firefighters and fire instructors by providing data, information, and training materials that can be used in firefighter training standards, policies and procedures.  

Training Fire Exposures from the Source: Developing a Risk-Benefit Framework is part of a DHS/FEMA AFG supported project that examines the risks and benefits of live-fire training environments with the goal of reducing firefighter fatalities and injuries.  

Training Fire Exposures From The Source: Developing a Risk-Benefit Framework