Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Nelson P. Bryner

Nelson P. Bryner is the Division Chief of the Fire Research Division (FRD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Division develops and utilizes measurement science for innovative fire protection technologies to enhance the disaster resilience of buildings and wildland-urban interface communities, fire fighter safety and effectiveness, and homeland security through cost-effective engineered fire safety for people, products, structures, and communities.

Following his post graduate work in liquid-liquid drop mixing research, he joined the Center for Fire Research at NBS as a research chemical engineer. Nelson participated in aerosol particulate research involving the physical and optical characteristics of combustion smoke (1987-1996). Mr. Bryner supervised the Large Fire Research Facility Laboratory, a medium-scale live fire testing facility (1996 -1998). He lead the Fire Fighting Technology Group (2000 -2009) and served as program manager for the Advanced Fire Service Technologies Program (2004-2009).

Mr. Bryner's past research interests have included demonstrating the feasibility of using electrostatic classifiers to determine the size of small polystyrene latex spheres. This allowed the certification of 0.1 µm spheres for Standard Reference Material 1963. Mr. Bryner also supervised the production of Standard Reference Material 1006d, which is used by industry to calibrate smoke density chambers in the non-flaming test mode. He has contributed to the design, operation, and modeling of a Transmission Cell-Reciprocal Nephelometer which simultaneously measures light scattering and extinction.. He supervised a series of full-scale compartment burns which examined the production of carbon monoxide in real scale rooms. Mr. Bryner has helped to characterize the chemical and physical properties of smoke from crude oil pool fires.

His current research interests include developing measurement science to enable improved effectiveness and safety for fire fighters. Current research projects include: 1) High Temperature Respirator Performance Metrics, 2) Reconstruction of Multiple Fatality Fires, 3) Performance of Thermal Imagers, and 4), Passive Cooling Technology for fire fighter protective clothing. Mr. Bryner is currently involved in projects to enhance PASS device capability, improve fire fighter visibility, self-contained fire fighter data systems, to develop structural integrity monitoring tools, and to incorporate physiological monitors (heart rate, EKG, blood pressure, & core temperature) into fire fighter garments.

Mr. Bryner is a member of NFPA Technical Committee on Electronic Safety Equipment. He has been working with this committee on the development of a new performance metrics for thermal imagers which have been incorporated into NFPA 1801: Standard on Thermal Imagers for the Fire Service. He has also worked with this committee on a new umbrella standard for all electronic safety equipment used by the Fire Service and on the existing NFPA 1982, Standard on Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS). Mr. Bryner is also a member of the ASTM Subcommittee E54.04, Personal Protective Equipment, and E54.08 Operational Equipment.

Mr. Bryner holds a Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in chemical engineering from University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Mr. Bryner has published over 72 papers and reports. He is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, National Fire Protection Association, ASTM, American Chemical Society, Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi (National Engineering), and Omega Chi Epsilon (Chemical Engineering).

Mr. Bryner's awards include the Equal Employment Opportunity Award (2000) from NIST, and the Department of Commerce's Bronze Medal (2004) for Smoke Detector Performance Metrics, Silver Medal (2005) for Rhode Island Fire Reconstruction, Bronze Medal (2007) for Positive Pressure Ventilation and RFID Tag Field Experiments, and Bronze Medal (2008) for Thermal Imager Performance Standards.


Research Roadmap for Smart Fire Fighting

Anthony P. Hamins, casey grant, Nelson P. Bryner, Albert W. Jones, Galen H. Koepke
In 2013, fire departments in the United States responded to more than 480,000 structure fires. These fires resulted in approximately 2850 civilian fatalities

Smart Firefighting Workshop Summary Report

Anthony P. Hamins, Nelson P. Bryner, Albert W. Jones, Galen H. Koepke, casey grant, Anand Raghunathan
This report summarizes the results of the Smart Firefighting Workshop held March 24 and 25, 2014, in Arlington, Virginia and sponsored by the National Institute
Created October 9, 2019, Updated March 4, 2020