This presentation will focus on the key points and tactical considerations from the basement fires study conducted by the ISFSI and UL FSRI. This work was funded by a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant.
Many firefighters have been injured or killed while trying to extinguish a basement fire or a fire on a level below them. This presentation will review research that shows the high risk to firefighters due to unexpected floor collapse and high heat. Prior research also indicated that many techniques and tools that firefighters have traditionally used to determine the structural integrity of the floor offer little value with lightweight construction. Past experiments in small basements have indicated that the most effective method of fighting a basement fire may be to start suppression from the exterior of the building.
The ISFSI/UL FSRI basement study focused on fire attack methods and went beyond earlier research by increasing the size of the basement and incorporating three different ventilation and access conditions to the basement. Those access conditions include: no exterior access to the basement, limited exterior access to the basement, and exterior access to the basement. The results of the experiments demonstrate the importance of identifying a basement fire, controlling ventilation, and flowing an effective hose stream into the basement from a position of advantage, as soon as possible. Data and videos from a range of experiments will be presented. Questions and discussion will be encouraged.