Study of Coordinated Fire Attack Utilizing Acquired Structures

Research Report Analyzes the Coordination of Suppression and Ventilation in Commercial Structures

Fire Safety
April 14, 2020

Commercial strip mall front with smoke and flames showing from the windows

The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) research report, Exploratory Analysis of the Impact of Ventilation on Strip Mall Fires, is based on the third series of experiments conducted as part of the “Study of Coordinated Fire Attack Utilizing Acquired Structures.” This project was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

The purpose of this study is to increase fire service knowledge of fire dynamics and the impact of firefighting tactics through a better understanding of how suppression and ventilation are coordinated on the fireground in acquired commercial structures.

In conjunction with the fire service project technical panel, UL FSRI engineers developed and conducted a series of 7 full-scale experiments inside four units of a twelve-unit acquired strip mall that was slated for demolition. Beginning with a baseline case of no intentional fire service ventilation, three experiments focused on additional horizontal ventilation and three focused on the combination of additional horizontal and vertical ventilation. Control variables included the ventilation method, total ventilation area provided, and timing relative to water application. These acquired structure experiments were conducted in collaboration with the City of Fairborn Fire Department (Fairborn, Ohio).

This report provides a fire dynamics analysis of each experiment, a discussion of ventilation and pressure, and tactical considerations developed with the project technical panel.

“Firefighter health and safety is primary to the work that we do," said Stephen Kerber, Vice President, Research, UL FSRI. "We feel that if firefighters are as smart as they can possibly be, they will be safe, they will be effective, there will be less line-of-duty-deaths, fewer injuries, and more lives saved around the world.”

The final report, which focuses on the multi-family residential experiments conducted for this study will follow soon. Additionally, online courses are being developed and will be available through the UL FSRI Fire Safety Academy.



Relevant Resources: 

RESOURCE #1: Exploratory Analysis of the Impact of Ventilation on Strip Mall Fires Report

RESOURCE #2: Study of Coordinated Fire Attack Utilizing Acquired Structures

RESOURCE #3: UL FSRI Study of Coordinated Fire Attack Utilizing Acquired Structures Project Page