Evaluating Positive Pressure Ventilation in Large Structures: High-Rise Pressure Experiments

Report Date: March 2007

Positive pressure ventilation (PPV) fans, when utilized correctly, can increase the effectiveness of fire fighting operations and the survivability of occupants in high-rise buildings. In a high-rise building, it is possible to increase the pressure of a stairwell to prevent the infiltration of smoke if fire crews configure the fans properly. In this study, NIST conducted 160 experiments in a 30-story vacant office building in Toledo, Ohio to evaluate the ability of fire department PPV fans to pressurize a stairwell in a high-rise structure.


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  • National Institute of Standards and Technology

    The NIST Fire Research Division develops, verifies, and utilizes measurements and predictive methods to quantify the behavior of fire and means to reduce the impact of fire on people, property, and the environment. This work involves integration of laboratory measurements, verified methods of prediction, and large-scale fire experiments to demonstrate the use and value of the research products.

    Through its programs in measurement, prediction, systems integration, and the dynamics of fire and its interactions with the built and natural environment, the division provides leadership for advancing the theory and practice of fire safety engineering, fire fighting, fire investigation, fire testing, fire data management, and intentional burning.

Kerber, Stephen, Daniel Madrzykowski, and David Stroup. Evaluating Positive Pressure Ventilation in Large Structures: High-Rise Pressure Experiments. Gaithersburg, MD: National Institute for Standards and Technology, 2007. NISTIR 7412, Print.

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