Michelle K. Donnelly is a fire protection engineer in the Fire Fighting Technology (FFT) Group of the Fire Research Division (FRD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). She is currently studying the effects of fire environments on electronic equipment used by First Responders, including Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS), thermal imaging cameras, and hand-held portable radios. Results from these investigations have been used to develop and revise NFPA equipment standards. In 2008, she received the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award in recognition of this work.
Her previous work at NIST includes operation of the heat release instrumentation and data acquisition systems in the Large Fire Research Facility, where she collected measurements for large scale fire tests, including the World Trade Center Fire Safety Investigation, the Station Nightclub Fire Investigation, mattress flammability experiments, large compartment fire tests, and residential structure separation experiments. Her other research at NIST includes measuring fire signatures using the fire emulator/detector evaluator, and investigating the flammability of refrigerants used as halon replacements. She has worked on several projects measuring the effectiveness of flame suppressants, using apparatus including the transient-agent recirculating-pool-fire facility and the Tsuji burner vertical wind tunnel. She has also conducted research to accurately measure particles as small as 30 nm using the NIST Particle Size Calibration Facility.