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Report on Residential Fireground Field Experiments



Jason D. Averill, Lori Moore-Merrell, Adam M. Barowy, Robert Santos, Richard D. Peacock, Kathy Notarianni, Doug Wissoker


Service expectations placed on the fire service, including Emergency Medical Services (EMS), response to natural disasters, hazardous materials incidents, and acts of terrorism, have steadily increased. However, local decision-makers are challenged to balance these community service expectations with finite resources without a solid technical foundation for evaluating the impact of staffing and deployment decisions on the safety of the public and firefighters. For the first time, this study investigates the effect of varying crew size, first apparatus arrival time, and response time on firefighter safety, overall task completion, and interior residential tenability using realistic residential fires. This study is also unique because of the array of stakeholders and the caliber of technical experts involved. Additionally, the structure used in the field experiments included customized instrumentation; all related industry standards were followed; and robust research methods were used. The results and conclusions will directly inform the NFPA 1710 Technical Committee, who is responsible for developing consensus industry deployment standards. This report presents the results of more than 60 laboratory and residential fireground experiments designed to quantify the effects of various fire department deployment configurations on the most common type of fire—a low hazard residential structure fire. For the fireground experiments, a 2,000 sq ft (186m2), two-story residential structure was designed and built at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy in Rockville, MD. Fire crews were deployed in response to live fires within this facility. In addition to systematically controlling for the arrival times of the first and subsequent fire apparatus, crew size was varied to consider two-, three-, four-, and five-person staffing.
International Fire Service Journal of Leadership and Management


firefighter, safety, fire service, structure fires, deployment, fire safety


Averill, J. , Moore-Merrell, L. , Barowy, A. , Santos, R. , Peacock, R. , Notarianni, K. and Wissoker, D. (2011), Report on Residential Fireground Field Experiments, International Fire Service Journal of Leadership and Management, [online], (Accessed June 22, 2024)


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Created November 7, 2011, Updated February 19, 2017