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Fire Fighting Tactics Under Wind Driven Fire Conditions: 7-Story Building Experiments.

pdf icon Fire Fighting Tactics Under Wind Driven Fire Conditions: 7-Story Building Experiments. (58118 K)
Kerber, S. I.; Madrzykowski, D.

NIST TN 1629; NIST Technical Note 1629; 593 p. April 2009.


New York City Fire Dept., NY
Polytechnic Institute of NYU, Brooklyn
Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC
Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, DC
U.S. Fire Administration, Washington, DC


fire fighting; experiments; wind effects; fans; fire fighters; ventilation; wind velocity; water; floors; nozzles; air flow; occupants; structures; fuel load; instruments; uncertainity; doors; test methods; smoke movement; failure time; fire suppression; corridors; stairwells; apartments; flashover; high rise buildings; fire hoses; self contained breathing apparatus; protective equipment


In February 2008, a series of 14 experiments were conducted in a 7-story building to evaluate the ability of positive pressure ventilation fans, wind control devices and external water application with floor below nozzles to mitigate the hazards of a wind driven fire in a structure. Each of the 14 experiments started with a fire in a furnished room. The air flow for 12 of the 14 experiments was intensified by a natural or mechanical wind.. Each of the tactics were evaluated individually and in conjunction with each other to assess the benefit to fire fighters, as well as occupants in the structure. The results of the experiments provide a baseline for the hazards associated with a wind driven fire and the impact of pressure, ventilation and flow paths within a structure. Wind created conditions that rapidly caused the environment in the structure to deteriorate by forcing fire gases through the apartment of origin and into the public corridor and stairwell. These conditions would be untenable for advancing fire fighters. Each of the tactics were able to reduce the thermal hazard created by the wind driven fire. Multiple tactics used in conjunction with each other were very effective at improving conditions for fire fighter operations and occupant egress. Fire departments that wish to implement the tactics used in this study will need to develop training and determine appropriate methods for deploying these tactics. Variations in the methods of deployment may be required due to differences in staffing, equipment, building stock, typical weather conditions, etc. There is uniformity however, in the physics behind the wind driven fire condition and the principles of the tactics examined. The data from this research will help provide the science to identify methods and promulgation of improved standard operating guidelines (SOG) for the fire service to enhance firefighter safety, fire ground operations, and use of equipment. The experiments were conducted by the National Institute of standards and Technology (NIST), the Fire Department of New York City (FDNY), and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University with the support of the Department of Homeland security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Research and Development Grant Program and the United States Fire Administration.