Development of a Portable Flashover Predictor (Fire-Ground Environment Sensor System)

Report Date: December 2010

Every year, firefighters lose their lives and are injured when flashovers occur during structural fires. A system to provide an early warning of an impending flashover could allow firefighters to exit a structure before the flashover occurs. This report from Worcester Polytechnic Institute chronicles the development of a portable flashover predictor for firefighters and its incorporation into their previously developed integrated firefighter locator and environmental monitor. The report is divided into two sections. The first section of the report explores a better scientific understanding of a flashover and the measurable variables that indicate an imminent flashover. The second section summarizes the implementation of this work into a portable device along with the full-scale testing of the device and results.


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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    One of two graduate level fire engineering programs in the country, WPI Fire Protection Engineering has driven more research, developed more real-world solutions, and graduated more in-demand experts in the last 30 years.

    Whether performing risk analyses with architects, engineering safer ships, investigating explosions, or influencing regulations around the world, fire protection engineers are working in this heroic science to save lives. Protecting our increasingly crowded world from the risk of fire means diving into a stimulating mix of engineering disciplines, mathematics, computer science, and even psychology.

Cyganski, David, R. James Duckworth, and Kathy Notarianni. Development of a Portable Flashover Predictor (Fire-Ground Environment Sensor System). Worcester Polytechnic Institute,, accessed on 24 Aug 2014.

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