The test burns have been completed safely. We are now rendering the massive amount of data from data logging from thermocouples, thermal imaging, and video. What a team! It was a tremendous success. Thanks to all the professionals who gave unselfishly. As we analyze the data, I will post an occasional update. More to come....
What I Have Learned Thus Far....
The major learning from Kill the Flashover so far for me (Joe Starnes) are: 1. There is a critical need to understand fire science / fire behavior and to include that learning in the size up, choice of tactics, ventilation, and stream placement and application in the control of flashover (not the 8 hour class version) 2. Flashover control should be a benchmark in fire suppression 3. Direct attack should be one of the most frequently used tactics and reduce the delay in applying water to the fire (knowledge of over-pressure and under-pressure is a must) 4. Agent does prevent / slow the creation of the amount of combustible gas in the fire rooms and adjacent rooms (should be used). It is also the most effective overhaul tactic we have. 5. Vertical ventilation intensifies the rate of burn and heat rise and is promoting temperature rise which is correlative to the flashover event 6. Controlled air ventilation (PPA) does kill the flashover in the access path for the fire crew/s 7. Closing doors into / out of the burn room lowers heat in the room significant and slows the burn. This should be a standard tactic if available. Evacuate the gases behind the crew, prevent an air intake path for the attack crew and then begin fire suppression. This principle is a skill tactic using the thermal imager reading of the presence of sufficient heat in the access path to potential support a flashover (more to come) 8 Thermal Imagers should be an integral part of the suppression process (temperature go/no go, locating heat sources, following air intake tracks, and the new one is having the back up crew watch the access path of the attack crew for air / heat changes 9. Positive Pressure Blowers are integral to the attack at some point in almost every situation 10. Temperature is the first indicator of the potential of flashover, not flame
KTF - Test Burn 1 ATM - Lead Warren Whitley
Thermocouple readings from the first test burn. This was an ATM tactic into the B-C corner. The thermocouples were mounted away from the wall at 18" and 48" off the floor. The 900 degree reading is from the thermocouple at 48". Notice the first decay/delay (O2 deficient) at approximately the 50 second mark. Each index mark is 5 seconds.
The 600 degree drop in temperature occurred when the inside door was closed. As the fire became a ventilation limited fire, the smoke quickly absorbs heat and was not creating new heat. The outside windows did not fail. A temporary curtain door was used at the entrance to manage the amount of fresh air allowed in the access path of the search and suppression crews. This tactic helps to prevent the ceiling gases from igniting and inhibits the ignition of fire gases from behind the crew. The crew completes the primary search in all the rooms outside of the fire room. An additional outside window in the rear of the house is raised/lowered as the PPV blower is started to clear the gases from the house with the exception of the fire room. At this point, the fire room door is slowly open, assessed, and a fire stream introduced and then extinguishment.
2.5 Gallon Extinguisher with .4 % Solution Exterior Hit
Photo is a two part picture from a TIC with the cross-hairs on the thermal exhaust from a room fire from the 2011 KTF tests. The elapsed time between the two photos is 15 seconds. The fire attack is a 2.5 gallon extinguisher from one pane in the outside window. The extinguisher is a .4 of one percent solution of water and Novacool. The attack at the window was directed to the flaming area of the room using a thermal imager.
Isolate Flames from Gases
Once a fire room door is closed / isolated from the fuel in the access path, here are a couple of notes: 1. If the fire room is not vented, within a few seconds, the ventilation limited container will begin to reduce temperatures dramatically. 2. Introducing a stream in the door area that might produce an exhaust flame will inert the gases around that area 3. Opening the door momentarily and introducing a stream/solution into the room will off set the air allowed into the container and will additional lower the temperature to prevent fire growth. 4. It is a great practice to prevent flame contact to unattached smoke in an area that the crew is operating inside.
Overview Kill The Flashover Project Firefighting Technology Exchange
•Firefighting experts from around the US (and even England) gathered in Shelby for several live fire exercises…up to 80 people •The target structures was fully instrumented to collect critical data capturing detailed, technical, real-time burn conditions •Results will be published in documents and videos for distribution and study throughout the firefighting industry
•Dates: November 9th through 12th, 2011
•November 9th and 10th – leaders
•November 11th and 12th – all attendees for test burns
•Several industry vendors will assist with equipment, instrumentation, technology and displays
•Cleveland Community College Fire Burn class will benefit from the experts during their class
Project Manager: Joe Starnes 704 466 9225
Project Manager: Shawn Oke 704 985 3736
My thanks to the many talented and dedicated people who are giving of their time and talent for this project.
Live burn test for the edification of the fire service in the area of preventing flashovers during interior fire suppression fire crew activities.
This project addresses the following hypothesises:
* Current ventilations tactics are insufficient and promoting early flashovers during interior fire suppression and rescue tactics
* Current fire stream standards are insufficient to prevent flashovers on interior fire suppression and in some cases are promoting early flashovers during interior fire suppression and rescue tactics
* Current fire suppression standards of water alone (without a wetting agent) are insufficient to prevent flashovers in interior fire suppression and rescue tactics
* Current fire suppression tactics are insufficient due to the delay of fire stream direct application and is promoting fire growth and flashover. This delay is creating a more dangerous condition for the customer and the fire suppression crews.
News - Kill the Flashover Preamble
Kill the Flashover
I always enjoy my conversations with Vickie Taylor ( http://www.firehero.org/about/staff/taylor.html ). We have enlisted Vickie to help us make some sense out of the behavioral motivations that cause us in the fire service to choose a very high risk (unnecessary) tactic in the suppression of a fire. We hold the "rescue" joker card in reserve if our actions border on the stupid part of the reason we spew out of our mouths. So many firefighters have been injured and/or killed in the primary search tactic with the result being that the only occupants in the structure were the firefighters. I hear on many occasions statements like " there might be homeless people in there". Not only do we take abnormally high risks, we often do (in our urgency) these searches without hose lines, water, or with a crew (cowboy). I think some of the motivation is similar to our belief in picking six numbers in the lottery (it just might happen). The difference is that in the lottery we are betting $1, not our life or the lives of our crew.
This legendary story telling plays over and over in the mind of the young recruit or the new officer. We make it our mission to work on the edge of managed acceptable risk, while looking for the opportunity to jump to the other side. We rarely believe that the fire will out perform the dedication, tools and skills we bring to the fire. For goodness sake, only 100 firefighters die out of the millions of calls every year. Surely this is not the fire that will injure or kill me? I bet that the odds are 1 in a 100 million? The exact calculated odds of picking 6 numbers out of 6 is 90,858,768. Won't get me! Yet about every month we label one of our own a hero due to the fire outperforming the firefighter. This doesn't include all the causes of fatalities. Nor does this data say anything about the thousands of near misses that occur.
That brings us to the Kill the Flashover Project. What data, during the fire, is available to better manage the risk of being injured or killed by the performance of the fire (aka flashover). What are the myths that our storytelling have embroidered in the fabric of our response. Even with data, could you convince most firefighters that a fire suppression tactic used every day by thousands of firefighters increases their chances of being burned severely on their next call? Can data with applied science captured on video overcome 200 years of sworn duty and sacrifice storytelling? Is there a correlation to reducing the opportunity to become a hero with the chance of using data to drive change in the fire service tactics and management of the hazard zone preventing firefighter deaths and injuries due to high heat conditions?
The Kill the Flashover Project is not a system to replace anyone's system. This project is not a single or combined panacea to Nirvana. It is not a product endorsement. It is not a program to be on the big show. It is a data approach to selecting tools that can be added to the firefighters skills tool box to be selected by the master craftsman (firefighter and officer) to prevent harm in the suppression of fire. It is time and I hope it is timely.
Joe M. Starnes 2011
Project "Kill the Flashover" Team
Project Kill the Flashover
ISG Infrasys is now a Gold Standard Partner with Project Kill the Flashover. Thanks in helping make this a huge success.
Project Kill the Flashover is in the Data Analysis phase. We conducted 20 burns. Thanks to our supporters: ISG INFRASYS, Tempest Technologies, Scott Safety, Motorola, Novacool, Oak Grove VFD, Interspiro, Argus, AccountabilityTag.com, Fire Rescue TV, FireNews.net, NFPA Electronics Committee, and UNCC worked very hard to make the project a success.
Video Production Plan: Martin Grube with Fire Rescue TV
Photographer from Fire News.net: Jeff Harkey
Psychology program first surveys are back in, compilation in progress
Data coming in for review
Burn Structure work complete
Logistical acquisitions 100% and bills paid
Project Champions / Executive Producers
Joe Starnes 704 466 9225 email@example.com
Shawn Oke 704 985 3736 firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Lead - Liaison : Jim Mastin
Project Lead - NFPA : Bruce Varner
Project Lead - Wetting Agent : Chief Shawn Oke
Project Lead - Burn / Suppression: Chief Perry Davis
Project Lead - Air Track Management/FIre Behavior: Warren Whitley
Project Lead - Fire Science Data Plan: Jeffery Kimble - UNCC and Steve Kerber - UL Labs and
UNCC Fire Safety Engineering Technology: Jeffery Kimble
Project Lead - Structural Engineering: Gregory E. Walden, PE Gratec Inc.
Project Lead - Fire Attack above and below: Kriss Garcia and Shawn Oke
Project Lead - Editor: Kelly Morrison
Project Lead - Safety: RIT- Jon Bradley Jenkins
Project Lead - Communications: Steve Van Buren
Project Lead - National Fire Service Liaison: Tim Sendelbach
Project Lead - Video/Audio: Martin Grube
Project Lead Photographer: Jeff Harkey
Project Lead - Cleveland County Community College Liaison: Perry Davis
Project Lead - Burn Data Gathering Logistics Technical Coordinator: Tim Knezevich
Project Lead - Psychology: Vicki Taylor
Project Lead - Logistics: Steve Van Buren
Project Lead - Transportation: Steve Van Buren Volunteers/Supporters:
Paul Berger - NovaCool
Leroy Coffman - Tempest
Martin Grube - FRTV
Micelle Garrido - Bshifter.com
Bruce Varner - NFPA Committee Chair
Alan V. Brunacini - Hazards Zone Management
William Oke - Novacool Representative
Jeffery Kimble - UNCC Fire Science (data logging)
Bobby Kyle - ISG Thermal Imaging
Andy Topf - Scott Safety Thermal Imaging
Scott DeHart - Interspiro
Paul Simmons - Kair Inc
Al Ursich - Accountability Tag
Joel Margot - E2v - Argus _______________________________________________________________________________ Support Group: ISG INFRASYS Akron Brass Tempest NovaCool Scott Safety Interspiro FRTV ISG Accountability Tag UNCC Motorola Kair Inc E2V - Argus Wesson Septic Tank Service Walmart Distribution
Project Kill the Flashover is a series of live burn evolutions focused on the prevention of firefighter injures and deaths caused by the tactical choices made by firefighters and officers for interior fire suppression and search and rescue. The first test is for Kill the Flashover with a suppression focus. Kill the Flashover – Search and Rescue is scheduled for 2012. Kill the Flashover 2011 test four hypothesis. More information can be found on www.joestarnes.com.
The project’s main tool is to seek the best practices from some subject matter experts, test them individually and then look for synergistic applications of these tactics to be used as a tool box of tactics for the fire officer or firefighter for fire attack.
A tremendous amount of scientific tests have been conducted and documented by many very intelligent people and organizations. What is alarming is that the data from these tests are having a small influence on tactics. One of the comments is our discussions on this project is “so what?”
What data, before, during and after the fire, are available to better manage the risk of being injured or killed by the performance of the fire (aka flashover). What are the myths that our storytelling have embroidered in the fabric of our response. Even with data, can you convince most firefighters that a fire suppression tactic used every day by thousands of firefighters increases their chances of being burned severely on their next call? Can data with applied science captured on video overcome 200 years of sworn duty and sacrifice storytelling? Is there a correlation to reducing the opportunity to become a hero with the chance of using data to drive change in the fire service tactics and management of the hazard zone preventing firefighter deaths and injuries due to high heat conditions?
In this vane, please take a few minutes and give us your thoughts, beliefs, values, prejudices, biases or just your passion around the following questions. These questions are not written to seek a reinforcement of what the project team ideas have provided, but only to find the unknown.
Project Kill the Flashover Psychology of Fire Suppression Tactical Choices
Who or what has influenced your current tactical choices?
Pick one and tell us more why it has such an influence on your view of fire suppression tactics?
Think of a time when you changed your position on a tactical approach to Firefighting?
What created the context to allow you to make the change?
What evidence/data/proof did you need?
How was the evidence/data/proof presented that helped you making the change?
What were the barriers to change?
Project Kill the Flashover Psychology of Fire Suppression Tactical Choices Pick the most appropriate (strongest influence) from each of the following:
My fire ground tactics are most influenced by
1. Firefighters / legends of the fire service I know
2. Firefighters / legends I read about
3. My Fire Officer (Chief, Assistant chief, Training Officer, Captain, Lieutenant)