NFPA Journal - May/June 2013 - (Page 9)

>> in a flash NEWS FROM NFPA + BEYOND xx Strength in Numbers A new study correlates firefighter crew size and rescue times in high-rise buildings by FRED DURSO, JR. A six-person crew responding to a simulated fire on the 10th floor of a commercial high-rise building can complete the bulk of its operational tasks in under 40 minutes, on average, while a three-person crew responding to the same fire takes more than an hour to perform similar duties. The disparity is one of the highlights of a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that pinpoints how various crew responses impact firefighter operations and safety in high-rise settings. The study’s recently released report, “High-Rise Fireground Field Experiments,” includes data from 48 field experiments last year utilizing approximately 6,000 firefighters from 13 Washington, D.C.-area fire departments. NIST partnered with five other organizations to conduct the study, which will likely have an impact on NFPA codes that address firefighter operations. Photograph: Courtesy of IAFF The study sheds light on a hot topic that has relied heavily on anecdotal evidence following recent budget cuts, fire service staff shortages, and department closures. “We watched decision makers make unilateral decisions in an economic crisis,” says Lori Moore-Merrell, the study’s colead researcher and assistant to the general president for the International Association of Fire Fighters, one of the study’s partners. “They were cutting fire department resources with little knowledge of the ramifications of these cuts.” The high-hazard nature and frequency of high-rise fires added to the timeliness of the project. NFPA’s 2011 report, “High-Rise Building Fires,” states that an average 15,700 fires occurred annually between 2005 and 2009 in the U.S., an average of 43 high-rise fires daily. NFPA also estimates that 41 percent of U.S. high-rise office buildings are not equipped with sprinkler systems. As a follow-up to a 2010 NIST study analyzing fire service response in lowhazard residential structure fires, the new study analyzed search-and-rescue times of three- to six-person crews and swiftness SEaRch anD REScUE by a sixmember crew on the fire floor was initiated 22 percent quicker and completed nearly 47 percent faster than the same operation conducted by a three-person crew. in extinguishing a fire based on varying crew sizes. Firefighters’ use of stairs and fire service access elevators when responding to an incident was also taken into consideration. The test facility—a vacant, 13-story commercial structure in Crystal City, Vir- MAY/JUNE 2013 NFPA JOURNAL 9

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NFPA Journal - May/June 2013

NFPA Journal - May/June 2013
First Word
In a Flash
Heads Up
Structural Ops
In Compliance
Electrical Safety
Wildfire Watch
Treasurer's Report
Work in Progress
Amping It Up
Drill Team
Working Together
Code Process 2.0
Routine Maintenance
Here, There, Everywhere
Section Spotlight
Expo Preview: Exhibitors' Showcase
Looking Back

NFPA Journal - May/June 2013