By utilizing an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program award, the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) is studying fire behavior by burning eight acquired residential homes in Spartanburg, S.C.
Since firefighters are vulnerable to increased risk of injury and even death due to changing conditions at residential fires, this 2013 award funding allows ISFSI to partner with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the South Carolina Fire Academy for the research and creation of a training module that will improve firefighter safety.
Almost 500 fire service personnel, and other interested parties, from 15 states are registered as observers throughout the eight days of burns, which concludes Jan. 31.
The 15 states include South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington, District of Columbia, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, and West Virginia. Firefighter attendees include:
- 41 percent - Combination departments
- 31 percent - Volunteer fire departments
- 28 percent - Career departments
The first burn occurred Tuesday, Jan. 22 on Folsom Street. Retired Fire Chief Alan Brunacini (Phoenix Fire) observed the burn.
“We have finally asked the fire, and now we need to listen to what it says,” Brunacini said. “This is a lot bigger than you would think, this research is important to the fire service.”
The South Carolina State Fire Marshal and former ISFSI Vice President, Shane Ray, is also on hand during the 10 day event.
“This is a unique opportunity for us to utilize the latest research work of UL and NIST to create reality training focused on the National Fallen Firefighter Foundations Life Safety Initiatives, partner with NIST and gather new information that will be included in a new firefighter training module that explores firefighter behavior at residential fires,” Ray said. “We have all learned a lot this week. From the youngest firefighter to the most experienced fire officer, from all non-fire service visitors to the fire protection engineers - using what we have learned to do it different will make a difference that, ultimately, saves lives and property.”
The grant is within the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant category of the Grants Programs Directorate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The research will test firefighting tactics based on already developed research and science and develop a training program that will focus on firefighter safety in residential fires.
“This grant is an example of federal, state, local, and private partnerships conducting research and creating training programs that improve service to the citizens and firefighter safety,” Ray said.
For more information about the ISFSI, visit www.isfsi.org .