In Sept 2016, three firefighters died as the result of the first floor collapsing to the burning basement. Several other firefighters were injured at this incident. There must be a better way. Over the course of the summer of 2017, experiments will be conducted in a test fixture that represents a single family home with a basement. A variety of tactical approaches will be examined to gain knowledge on best practices in size-up, ventilation control, suppression, and structural assessment. The tactical use of thermal imagers, exterior hose streams, penetrating nozzles, cellar pipes, and PPV fans will be examined.
Experiments will examine the location of the water application relative to the seat of the fire. The access to the basement will be another test parameter. In some cases the basement will have no windows, which requires an access hole to be cut into the floor or wall section of the basement in order to cool the fire gases down. In other experiments, small windows, high on the basement wall will be provided to enable the introduction of water. In these scenarios the fuel package may be obstructed and remote from the area of the water stream access to measure the impact under less than desirable conditions. The third ventilation and access scenario will involve an exterior basement door and large basement windows on one wall.
Experiments will be conducted to examine the impact of gypsum board protection of the floor assembly on the fire development and subsequent fire attack. An experiment will also be conducted to examine the activation of an automatic fire sprinkler system on a basement fire and how that would impact the firefighting and the fire assessment.
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