This article focuses on the need for synergy between the practical experience of fire departments and cutting-edge engineering practices that could lead to significant improvements in firefighting and firefighter safety. Experiments on Governors Island have been conducted to examine the effects of natural ventilation and positive pressure ventilation on a fire. The experiments would also allow researchers to study the means of egress from the building, and how conditions were affected by the use of wind control devices and high-rise nozzles. These studies provided real-scale data to guide the development of appropriate tactical operations for use under wind-driven conditions. Given the high cost and limited opportunities for full-scale experiments, modeling has used to address the need of understanding how to implement the tactics in buildings and under conditions outside the test parameters before the fire department would fully implement the new tactics as standard operating procedure. The Polytechnic Institute has developed a web-based, interactive multimedia general methodology, as well as a specific tool called Advanced Learning in Integrated Visual Environments (ALIVE).

To Follow Up

A DVD set that includes videos of the experiments and a presentation of findings can be requested at www.fire.gov. The presentation, which was made before an audience of firefighters, includes comments by Peter Van Dorpe, a battalion chief with the Chicago Fire Department, and Jerry Tracy, a battalion chief with the Fire Department of New York.

More information, including additional videos of experiments and fire simulations are available at the Polytechnic Institute's Web site at www.poly.edu/fire.

Publications related to the research program and to wind-driven high-rise fires in general include:

1.
“High-Rise Building Fires,”
John R.
Hall
, National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division, Quincy, Mass., August
2005
.
2.
“Three Firefighters Die in a 10-Story High-Rise Apartment Building - New York,” NIOSH F99-01, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program, Morgantown, W. Va., August
1999
.
3.
“High-Rise Apartment Fire Claims the Life of One Career Fire Fighter (Captain) and Injures Another Career Fire Fighter (Captain) - Texas,” NIOSH F2001-33, NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program, Morgantown, W. Va., October
2002
.
4.
“Extreme Wind-Driven Fireproof Multiple Dwelling Fires,”
John
Norman
, With New York Firefighters, New York, NY, 1st/
2007
.
5.
“1 Lincoln Plaza, Operations of the First-Arriving Units at a High-Rise Multiple Dwelling Fire,”
Gerald
Tracy
, With New York Firefighters, New York, 2nd/
1997
.
6.
“Wind-Driven Queens Fire Provokes Several Maydays,”
James D.
Daly
and
George
Healy
, With New York Firefighters, New York, 3rd/
2006
.
7.
“Fire Fighting Tactics Under Wind-Driven Conditions: Laboratory Experiments,”
D.
Madrzykowski
and
S.
Kerber
, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., NIST TN 1618, January
2009
.
8.
“Fire Fighting Tactics Under Wind-Driven Conditions: 7-Story Building Experiments,”
S.
Kerber
and
D.
Madrzykowski
, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., NIST TN 1629, April
2009
.
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