The Department of Homeland Security has awarded a collaborative grant on the “Quantification of Green Building Features on Firefighter Safety” to Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the University of Maryland, College Park and others. This research effort will address needs identified by the National Association of State Fire Marshals, the Fire Protection Research Foundation and the National Fire Service Research Agenda to understand, quantify and address fire performance challenges of green or sustainable buildings as they impact firefighter safety. The objectives are to begin quantifying fire performance of green building features, to develop a screening tool to aid in identifying risk-significant green building features and appropriate mitigation options, and to better prepare the fire service for fighting fires in green buildings.
Outcomes from this effort will contribute directly to reducing the potential for fire ground injuries and deaths by facilitating recognition of green building related hazards and adopting tactical responses appropriate to expected fire environments and structural performance given contemporary construction and fire loads.
Project partners include the University of Maryland (UMD), the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (MA DFS), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF). The University of Maryland will particularly contribute its expertise on smoke movement and buoyant flows to investigate the impact of natural ventilation systems on firefighter safety. The Principal Investigator is Brian Meacham (WPI) and co-investigators are Nicholas Dembsey (WPI), Michael Gollner (UMD) and Andre Marshall (UMD).