Richard D. Peacock is a chemical engineer in the Engineered Fire Safety Group of the Fire Research Division (FRD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In this capacity, Mr. Peacock is responsible for the development of the CFAST zone fire model, its application to performance-based design and for extensive research on the evaluation and verification of fire models. Most recently, he has been studying occupant egress during building fires through experimental measurements during actual building evacuations, through modeling of movement in buildings, and a part of the team that studied evacuation experiences as part of the NIST Investigation of the World Trade Center disaster on September 11, 2001. In 2005, he was awarded the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for his part in "the four-year, $16 million federal building and fire safety investigation of the World Trade Center disaster."
Mr. Peacock is a prolific writer with more than 130 publications to his credit.
Mr. Peacock conducted an evaluation of current and emerging smoke alarm technology responses to common residential fire scenarios and nuisance alarm sources. The results of the project provide details of the response of a range of residential smoke alarm technologies in a controlled laboratory test and in a series of real-scale tests conducted in two different residential structures. These provide both insight into siting and response characteristics of residential smoke alarms and a set of reference data for future enhancements to alarm technology based on fires from current materials and constructions. In 2004, Mr. Peacock received the U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award for "research into the characterization of the performance of home smoke alarms."
Mr. Peacock was in charge of a multi-year project on the application of fire hazard analysis techniques to the fire-safe design of passenger rail vehicles to demonstrate the practicality and effectiveness of heat release rate based test methods and hazard analysis methodology in quantifying the threat of catastrophic fire conditions in a passenger train environment.
Mr. Peacock was key in the development of the fire hazard assessment methodology known as HAZARD I and for evaluation of the predictive capability of computer-based fire models. This project united the output of varied research programs including fire modeling, toxicology, and human egress to predict the hazard associated with unwanted fires. In 1990, he received the U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal Award which cited his efforts in "producing the world's first quantitative fire hazard assessment methodology."
For the Fire Performance and Validation group at the Center for Fire Research, he served both as chemical engineer and as group leader. In this capacity, he was responsible for research on the fire hazards associated with mass transportation systems, including trains, subways, and automated people mover systems; the analysis of large scale fire test data with application to determining the accuracy of computer based predictive fire models; and the fire safety of solid fuel burning appliances. In 1987, he was recognized for this research with the U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award for "contributions to fire safety through engineering research on the fire safe installation and operation of solid-fuel heating appliances," and with letters of commendation from the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
After receiving his degree, Mr. Peacock was hired as a chemical engineer for Program for Flammable Fabrics at the Center for Fire Research, National Bureau of Standards. His research responsibilities included the study of hazardous materials, upholstered furniture, and general wearing apparel.