Building model enhances NFA training program
A $200,000 model of an office and apartment complex that demonstrates how a building`s mechanical systems can affect smoke distribution has been added at the National Fire Academy (NFA), part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency`s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).
Made of clear plexiglass to 18th scale, the three-floor model–named the “National Towers” by instructors–has east and west wings flanking a center atrium. The first floor is an open retail area, the second contains offices, and the third has residential apartments. A simulated fire can be initiated in 11 locations.
Among the model`s other features are the following:
11 operational smoke detectors,
doors that open and close,
an elevator shaft,
a complex ventilation system,
a model railroad puffer that generates light gray smoke,
a lighting device that produces heat, and
an operational smoke detector system.
While at a control panel, students can manipulate stairwell doors and the ventilation system to observe how smoke moves through a building and how the heating and cooling systems can contain smoke.
The model, according to USFA Administrator Carrye Brown, “provides an effective tool in support of FEMA`s Project Impact: Building Disaster-Resistant Communities.”