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Thermal Environments of Structural Fire Fighting.

pdf icon Thermal Environments of Structural Fire Fighting. (1155 K)
Lawson, J. R.

NIST SP 911; February 1997.

Firefighter Thermal Exposure Workshop: Protective Clothing, Tactics, and Fire Service PPE Training Procedures. Proceedings. National Institute of Standards and Technology. June 25-26, 1996, Gaithersburg, MD, Lawson, J. R.; Jason, N. H., Editor(s)(s), 21-23 pp, 1997.
Order number: PB97-153712


fire fighters; protective clothing; burns (injuries); fire departments; heat release rate; temperature effects; training; conferences


A great deal of research has been done to evaluate structural fires as they relate to building design, materials and contents. Only small elements of these data have been used to evaluate the thermal environment around firefighters during normal attack situations. Results from studies clearly demonstrate the severity of thermal environments at fire attack staging areas. The flow of hot gases from a doorway or through a window may be well above 500 deg C (932 deg F) and may extend tens of meters down a corridor or across an adjoining room ceiling. Thermal radiation from a room's open doorway or window may reach levels which will cause burn injuries to exposed skin and cause charring or ignition of protective clothing fabrics which result in burn injuries to protected skin. Surface temperatures of solids within this staging zone may easily exceed 200 deg C (392 deg F), and touching these surfaces without adequate protection could result in a sudden burn injury.