UL Ventilation Course

Impact of Ventilation on Fire Behavior

Earlier this year, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) conducted a series of full-scale experiments to determine the influence of ventilation on fire behavior in legacy and contemporary residential construction (see Did You Ever Wonder?).

UL University recently releases an on-line training program based on this research. Impact of Ventilation on Fire Behavior in Legacy and Contemporary Residential Construction is an excellent examination of the influence of ventilation on fire behavior and discussion of the tactical implications of the lessons learned through this research.

Every Firefighter and Fire Officer should complete
this training program within the next 30 days!

Completion of this on-line program could be the most important 90 minutes of training that you complete in the next year! I do not make this statement lightly. Understanding the relationship between ventilation and fire behavior is a critical competency for firefighters and fire officers.

After completing this on-line training program, consider the following questions and discuss them with the firefighters and fire officers you work with:

  • What are the indicators of a ventilation controlled fire?
  • How do your forcible entry and door entry procedures influence fire behavior?
  • How do you (or do you) coordinate fire attack and ventilation? How can tactical coordination be improved in your department?
  • What hazards are presented when performing VES (Vent, Enter, & Search) under ventilation controlled conditions? How can these hazards be mitigated?
  • What influence do closed doors have on the survivability profile (for either civilian occupants or trapped firefighters)?
  • What other lessons can you draw from this important research?

Research Report

In addition to the on-line course, UL has published a comprehensive report on this important research projects: Impact of Ventilation on Fire Behavior in Legacy and Contemporary Residential Construction.


You can also download an excellent video illustrating the difference between fuel characteristics and loading in legacy and contemporary residential occupancies. This video is a tremendous tool to illustrate changes in the built environment to both firefighters and civilian audiences.

High Resolution Video

Low Resolution Video

Lima Backdraft

I am still working the report on my staff ride to the site of the 1997 backdraft at Luis Giribaldi Street and 28 de Julio Street in the Victoria section of Lima, Peru and should have it posted within the next week.

Ed Hartin, MS, EFO, MIFireE, CFO

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