The latest scientific fire experiments are providing new data on vertical ventilation and suppression that suggest that fire departments may need to consider different options for size-up, ventilation control and exterior attack. Though a wealth of information is becoming available across the fire service, it can be challenging to determine how to translate scientific findings and implement them into revised training exercises, guidelines and tactics.
In April, the newest tool in the firefighter's toolbox, the Firefighter Safety Through Advanced Research (FSTAR) online toolkit, was launched to help the fire service better understand the latest science and apply changes with balance and purpose.
FSTAR provides a central location for free information on fire behavior and the changing fire environment. The toolkit includes:
- Links to a variety of proven online training resources that simply explain the science of fire dynamics
- Short fact sheets that summarize the latest scientific studies and provide takeaways for action
- Examples of the science in action in departments that have already translated the scientific findings into revised procedures and guidelines
- Tips to ease departments into adopting tactical considerations that will help them meet some of the changing fire conditions head on
The FSTAR program, funded by the Assistance to Firefighters Grant, is part of the IAFC's mission to create pathways to connect the fire service with scientific research.
"Fires today are different than they were 50 years ago," said Bill Metcalf, IAFC president and chairman of the board. "Too often, the research on state-of-the-art firefighting tactics lies dormant in pages of scientific journals and never reaches the firefighting community. This free, online toolkit brings the latest scientific data and firefighting strategies to doorstep of firehouses all over the world."
FSTAR was developed with input from leading fire service experts from across the nation, including representatives from the U.S. Fire Administration, UL, NIST, FDNY, Cleveland Fire Department, Chicago Fire Department, City of Manassas (Va.) Fire Department, Tualatin Valley (Ore.) Fire & Rescue and Rogers (Arkansas) Fire Department.