UL FSRI Releases Research Report on Coordinated Fire Attack in Commercial Malls

Expanding on previous research to understand the impact of coordinated suppression and ventilation during a commercial strip mall fire

April 17, 2020 —The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) has released a new research report, “Exploratory Analysis of the Impact of Ventilation on Strip Mall Fires” based on the third series of experiments conducted as part of the “Study of Coordinated Fire Attack Utilizing Acquired Structures.” This project was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

The purpose of this study is to increase fire service knowledge of fire dynamics and the impact of firefighting tactics through a better understanding of how suppression and ventilation are coordinated on the fireground in acquired commercial structures.

In conjunction with the fire service project technical panel, UL FSRI engineers developed and conducted a series of 7 full-scale experiments inside four units of a twelve-unit acquired strip mall that was slated for demolition. Beginning with a baseline case of no intentional fire service ventilation, three experiments focused on additional horizontal ventilation and three focused on the combination of additional horizontal and vertical ventilation. Control variables included the ventilation method, total ventilation area provided, and timing relative to water application. These acquired structure experiments were conducted in collaboration with the City of Fairborn Fire Department (Fairborn, OH).

This report provides a fire dynamics analysis of each experiment, a discussion of ventilation and pressure, and tactical considerations developed with the project technical panel.

“Firefighter health and safety is primary to the work that we do. We feel that if firefighters are as smart as they can possibly be, they will be safe, they will be effective, there will be less line-of-duty-deaths, fewer injuries, and more lives saved around the world,” said Steve Kerber, Vice President, Research, UL FSRI.

The final report, which focuses on the multi-family residential experiments conducted for this study will follow soon. Additionally, online courses are being developed and will be available through the UL FSRI Fire Safety Academy.

For a behind-the-scenes look, watch this video. Access the report here.

About UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute

UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) advances fire research knowledge and develops cutting edge, practical fire service education aimed at helping firefighters stay safe while more effectively protecting people and property. Guided by a global advisory board comprised of fire service personnel, UL FSRI investigates residential, commercial, and industrial fires through full-scale testing, field-testing, and modeling to replicate actual fires faced by firefighters. Research results are shared through interactive training courses that have reached hundreds of thousands of firefighters globally. To learn more, visit ULFirefighterSafety.org. Follow UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

About Underwriters Laboratories

Underwriters Laboratories is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the UL public safety mission through the discovery and application of scientific knowledge. We conduct rigorous independent research and analyze safety data, convene experts worldwide to address risks, share knowledge through safety education and public outreach initiatives, and develop standards to guide safe commercialization of evolving technologies. We foster communities of safety, from grassroots initiatives for neighborhoods to summits of world leaders. Our organization employs collaborative and scientific approaches with partners and stakeholders to drive innovation and progress toward improving safety, security, and sustainability, ultimately enhancing societal well-being. To learn more, visit UL.org.

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