UL FSRI publishes report on coordinated fire attack in multi-family structures

Researchers conducted 13 experiments to evaluate the coordination of fire suppression and ventilation tactics for fires at multi-family dwellings


By Laura French

COLUMBIA, Md. — The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) has released a new research report on coordinated fire attack in multi-family residential structures.

The report is based on 13 experiments conducted to evaluate the coordination of fire suppression and ventilation tactics for fires at multi-family dwellings, according to a UL FSRI press release. The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) Grant Program. 

The experiments were conducted at four three-story, garden-style apartment buildings with 10 apartments each where the main entry path was a common enclosed stairwell. Experiments included bedroom, kitchen and living room fires in one-bedroom apartment units on different levels within the buildings. The buildings used were slated for demolition, and experiments were conducted in collaboration with Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services in Georgia. 

The purpose of the study was to increase fire service knowledge of fire dynamics and the impact of their tactics through a better understanding of how suppression and ventilation are coordinated on the fireground at multi-family residential structures. The report expands upon previous UL FSRI-led research that examined the impact of fire service tactics on fire behavior in single-family residential structures.

The report provides fire dynamics analyses for each experiment, discusses the different control strategies examined and offers tactical considerations developed with the project technical panel.

“Expanding our research with the fire service to multi-family structures provides important insight into coordinating tactics when a fire can impact many potential occupants in apartments on several levels connected by a common stairwell. This research would not have been possible without the amazing partnership with Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services and our fire service technical panel of 24 representatives from across the country,” said Steve Kerber, vice president of research at UL FSRI.

An online course detailing the results of the research and applications to the fireground is in development and will be made available through the UL FSRI Fire Safety Academy.

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