I want to first say a special thanks to Steve Kerber, Christopher Hasbrook,Bob Backstrom and Chief Peter Van Dorpe for allowing me to experience so many wonderful things they do to make the fire service safer.
This post is only to share my experience with you. It is not meant to be a report because it was only one day of many tests that UL are conducting to produce the report on Impact of Vertical Ventilation for the fire service.
United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program funded Underwriters Laboratories to conduct these test to examine 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.
Test 1: on 2/7/2012
Was conducted in single story legacy ranch home. The fire was started in a coffee pot and then got into cabinets and was allowed to flashover. The door was then opened and after few minutes water was applied from straight stream at the door for 10 seconds and with fog nozzle. The purpose of water application was to see if a post flashover fire could be pushed out of kitchen down hallway. NO Fire was pushed in this test however there has been 7 test before and still one more to go. All the data will have to be analyzed before this can be confirmed.
Other things tested was 5 different smoke detectors, visibility on exit lights in smoke and they also examined activation time versus time needed to evacuate determined by temperature, gas concentration and smoke obscuration.
Test 2 on 2/7/2012
Two story modern home with open concept design. This fire was started in a trash can in upstairs bedroom and allowed to grow (it did not flashover due to the lack of oxygen) then the bedroom window was taken and it transitioned to flashover and later the front door was opened. The open door allowed for a flow up through the foyer to the bedroom window which intensified the fire and allowed it to burn at the door to the room and the window of the room, resulting in a higher heat release. The vertical ventilation hatch was opened and this seemed to localize the fire but UL will have to examine the data and videos before they can conclude anything. This test was a good example of multiple types of ventilation being coordinated and the hose stream application from the outside quickly knocked the fire.
Note my videos are amateur and shot on just a 35 mm camera so excuse my shaking hand LOL
Bob Backstrom teaching NIPSTA recruits
Test 2 videos
Once again this post is only about my experience on 2/7/2012 which is only part of the study that is being conducted. So I am looking forward to Steve Kerber and his group to releasing the full report.
Lt. John Shafer