Minutes after a two-story townhouse caught fire on Feb. 5, engines and crews raced to the townhouse to extinguish the fire and search for victims. No one was injured, however, because this was one of many fire experiments performed this winter by researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and other organizations.
The tests with real fires and real firefighters are part of a landmark study examining the effect of firefighter crew sizes and equipment arrival times on fire growth rates and an occupant’s ability to survive a building fire.
One day these experiments may help cut the number of people injured or killed in fires, as well as reduce property damage, by helping governments make more informed decisions that match firefighting resources with risks to the public and firefighters in their communities.
Fire is a costly problem. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2007 there were 530,500 structure fires that killed 3,000 civilians and injured more than 15,000 while causing $10.6 billion in property damage. About 100 firefighters die in the United States each year—9/11 being the exception. Many more are injured.
The study focuses on the effects of crew size (two, three, four and five persons per fire engine) and apparatus arrival time (all engines/trucks arrive close together or arrive at longer intervals) on the fire conditions within one 2,000-square-foot two-story townhome specially built to survive the many fires required for these experiments. This “burn house” was instrumented with state-of-the-art equipment to monitor the interior temperatures and toxic gas buildup within the structure. In addition, researchers monitored 22 different firefighting tasks at the site.
Each day over the course of two weeks, about 50 firefighters from Montgomery County, Md., and nearby Fairfax County, Va., participated in the experiments held at the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Training Center in Rockville, Md.
“Currently local governments rely on trial and error or a qualitative basis to allocate fire-fighting resources,” explains NIST researcher Jason Averill. “When this study is complete, there will objective data on which to base these important decisions.” The study is due to be completed in Fall 2009.
The research is being conducted by a broad coalition in the firefighting community, including national labor and management organizations, and funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. Researchers in NIST’s Building and Fire Research Laboratory planned these experiments with fire researchers from the International Association of Fire Fighters and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
If the funding is continued, researchers plan to develop and validate a computer model that will allow local government decision makers to conduct “what if” analyses to help them make informed choices about managing resources for public and firefighter safety.
For more details, see “Live Fire Experiments Provide Data on the Effects of Fire Resources.”
Evelyn Brown | Newswise Science News
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.
Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences