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NIST Goes Back to School.

pdf icon NIST Goes Back to School. (155 K)
Kerber, S.

NFPA Journal, Vol. 102, No. 5, 78-83, September/October 2008.


ventilation; experiments; effectiveness; fire departments; fire fighters; fire fighting; education; schools; smoke spread; fire protection; fans; stairwells; high rise buildings; masonry; pressure; temperature measurment


During the past six years, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has conducted numerous experiments examining the effectiveness of positive pressure ventilation (PPV) for the fire service. As a tactic, fire departments frequently rely on PPV to ventilate a structure after extinguishing a fire, allowing them to complete salvage and overhaul operations in a less hazardous atmosphere. PPV has also been used during fire suppression operations to increase visibility and force heat away from the attack team as they locate the blaze. While PPV has been implemented with some success, however, using it also comes with some difficulties. So how should PPV be used? What are some of the best practices for this tactic? To answer these questions, NIST developed a series of experimental studies, with funding from the Fire Protection Research Foundation, that ranged in scale from a single room to a 30-story office building and identified tactical considerations for the most effective use of PPV fans. The results of these studies provide insight into questions such as where to place the fans, how much larger the fire could grow with added oxygen from the fans, and what size fans are needed to pressurize a stairwell in a high-rise building effectively