As part of the 2013 DHS Grant to study the “Impact of Fire Attack utilizing Interior and Exterior Streams on Firefighter Safety and Occupant Survival” testing was conducted at the Delaware County Emergency Services Training Center in Sharon Hill, PA to measure the amount of air being entrained into the structure by Fire Attack operations. Each test was designed to evaluate differences in entrainment, if any, by looking at different nozzle types, stream types, application patterns, as well as different compartment and ventilation configurations. These tests were conducted over a four day period where more than 150 tests were performed resulting in tens of thousands of data points as well as hours of video and hundreds of still images.
These experiments were conducted in a two-story residential structure with concrete walls and drywall constructing the first floor, and normal wood framing with drywall constructing the second floor. The building size was 20ft. wide, 36ft. long with 8ft. high ceilings. The building had multiple ventilation openings varying in size which allowed tests to be done utilizing different variables to replicate the most realistic conditions firefighters would face in the field. Additionally, the interior geometry of the structure was varied dependent on the type of test being conducted.
Instrumentation was used to measure air flow into the structure caused by the type of hose stream and how it was applied. These devices included bi-directional probes and associated pressure transducers to measure air flow in addition to in-line pressure and flow gauges to ensure the hose streams were applied at the desired pressure and flow per the manufacturer.
The tests covered a range of hose line sizes including 1-3/4” and 2-1/2” as well as different nozzle types: combination/fog and smoothbore. Portable monitor and master stream devices were examined as well. The hose streams varied between smoothbore, straight stream, and narrow fog in addition to the nozzle patterns including fixed, “Z,” “O,” and the Inverted “U.” The first round of experiments was aimed at determining the amount of air entrained by the different nozzles at different hose line sizes and application patterns irrespective of building configuration. The next series of tests examined the impact of varying the ventilation openings both behind and ahead of the nozzle. The final series of experiments focused on a more realistic interior geometry layout involving flowing water while moving down a hallway towards a room. Once again, ventilation openings were varied ahead of the nozzle. During each of these series of experiments, hose streams were applied from both the interior and exterior of the structure to determine the differences in overall entrainment into the structure.