Study of Coordinated Fire Attack Utilizing Acquired Structures

Grant-funded research examines the coordination of firefighting tactics utilizing acquired structures

Understanding the sequence of ventilation and suppression tactics on the fireground and the impact on firefighter safety and occupant survivability

Historically, coordination has been identified as an important aspect of fireground operations in fire service training materials, but has not been well defined or explained. Additionally, a lack of coordination with regards to ventilation and suppression has been cited as a contributing factor in several line of duty death (LODD) investigations conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The "Study of Coordinated Fire Attack Utilizing Acquired Structures" project expands on previous studies led by the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) that examined the impact of fire service tactics on fire behavior. Those experiments, conducted in purpose-built structures inside the UL large fire laboratory in Northbrook, IL, were specifically designed to study isolated firefighting tactics.

Specifically, this project expands upon three prior ventilation studies: Impact of Ventilation on Fire Behavior in Legacy and Contemporary Residential Construction, Effectiveness of Fire Service Vertical Ventilation and Suppression Tactics, and Effectiveness of Positive Pressure Ventilation and a prior suppression study, Study of the Impact of Fire Attack Utilizing Interior and Exterior Streams on Firefighter Safety and Occupant Survival,

Using acquired structures, these experiments were designed to bring the laboratory to the street. Several different fire scenarios were tested using tactics that included horizontal, vertical and positive pressure ventilation combined with interior or interior/exterior suppression.

The research also includes collaboration with the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) to develop data on the potential impact of fire conditions on firefighters and civilians. In order to accomplish these tasks, researchers will participate in UL-led fire tests and introduce pig skins in various rooms and locations to simulate human exposure to elevated temperature and humidity. 

Learn more about this research by visiting the UL FSRI project page: Study of Coordinated Fire Attack Utilizing Acquired Structures.

Fast Facts

  • This study aims to provide the data necessary to understand the parameters of a successful coordinated fire attack to provide knowledge so that firefighters can make better decisions with regards to effectiveness and efficiency on the fireground.
  • Experiments were conducted inside acquired single-family homes, multi-family dwellings, and a commercial strip mall.
  • Measurements were taken of gas temperatures, heat flux, flow velocities, differential pressure, and gas concentrations throughout the structures along with standard and infrared video of the experiments. 
  • UL FSRI and its partner, the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), use this research to develop data on the potential impact of fire conditions on firefighters and civilians.