The International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) is utilizing an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program award to continue firefighting research. This funding is allowing ISFSI to partner with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the South Carolina Fire Academy (SCFA), and Spartanburg Fire Department to create firefighter training that will improve firefighter safety.
The first burn will occur on Friday, May 16, 2014 on College Street in Spartanburg, SC. 543 people have registered to participate as observers throughout the burn series, which will conclude on May 21, 2014. Participants from 20 U.S. states + British Columbia have traveled to South Carolina to watch this research in action. Those states include South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Texas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Delaware, Arizona, and Nevada. There are 66 Volunteer Departments, 177 Career Departments, and 194 Combination Departments represented by those registered to attend.
“This is a great example of federal, state, local and private partnerships that will save citizen and firefighter lives,” says Shane Ray, South Carolina State Fire Marshal and former ISFSI Vice President. “We are glad to be part of such important work and are grateful for the partnerships and the community cooperation. Firefighters and fire departments that utilize this information will save lives and property.”
The grant is within the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant category of the Grants Programs Directorate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and will provide funding to conduct six (6) live fire burns with NIST gathering data at each one. The research will test firefighting tactics based on already developed research and science and continue the development of training programs that will focus on firefighter safety in residential fires.
“The ISFSI is honored to be awarded this next phase of funding from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program to continue the valuable research on fire dynamics which is saving lives,” says Chief Steve Pegram, ISFSI President. “We are even more excited about the first deliverable to come from this research which will be a step by step video of SLICE RS. This is consistent with the ISFSI mission to provide quality educational materials to the fire community to use in their instruction to improve firefighter survivability.”
Recent research from UL and NIST indicate the need to change our tactics based on conditions. Firefighters are vulnerable to increased risk of injury and even death due to changing conditions at residential fires. With a newer built environment as indicated in Structural Stability Study and the new contents in homes, as indicated in the Upholstered Furniture Study, we need training outreach that translates the information in these studies into tactics. Recent studies on the impact of ventilation on the fire needs to be expanding into firefighter tactics that are based on science, not stories.
“It’s exciting to be able to observe and be a part of this fire science research,” adds Josh Waldo, ISFSI member and Oak Ridge, TN Deputy Fire Chief who attended the burns last year and is back for this series. “Thinking firefighters and the concept of fast water comes to life when you attend and see the actual scientific research in action. Thank you to the ISFSI for this opportunity to be a part.”
In addition to the grant funded research, the ISFSI is using the opportunity to create a video on SLICE RS. The ISFSI is shooting professional video footage at the 2014 Spartanburg research burns to create this resource. The 40-50 minute video being produced will outline tactical operational plans that incorporate the latest fire dynamic research from UL and NIST. The video will be distributed throughout the fire service via the ISFSI website as well as in partnership with other associations and organizations for free. The ISFSI believes it is vital to get this information to the field as quickly as possible to make our firefighters safer.
The video will demonstrate one method used to incorporate the research into operational plans using the SLICE RS method. While the ISFSI endorses this method, viewers will be encouraged to adopt whatever plan they wish, as long as they incorporate the research into their daily operations.
This video project is being funded with industry partners IAFC Safety Health and Survival Section and the IAFC Volunteer & Combination Officers Section. In addition corporate partners funding the project include BlueCard Command, Honeywell First Responder Products, and Scott Safety.
For more information about the ISFSI, visit www.isfsi.org .