Scientific Research for the Development of More Effective Tactics

Report Date: April 2014

Underwriter Laboratories (UL) Firefighter Safety Research Institute teamed with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to perform a series of full-scale fire behavior experiments with the Fire Department of New York. The goal of the experiments was to test tactical applications of more than 15 years of previous fire dynamics research by UL and NIST, and thereby make the research directly relatable to firefighting operations. Two main tactical applications were explored: the impact of controlling ventilation and flow paths as well as the use of exterior fire attack to improve conditions before initiating interior attack in a structure. The result of this work is an interactive on-line training course from UL titled Scientific Research for the Development of More Effective Tactics that can be accessed here. The course includes videos, data, and interactive examples to present fire research to firefighters of all levels.  


The International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) has published a sample standard operating guideline for structural fires based on this research. It suggests a different order of operations than what has traditionally been used in the United States' fire service. Parts or all of this guideline can be used to provide for more effective and safer fire operations. The sample guideline can be accessed on the ISFSI website here.

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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.

  • UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute

    UL’s Firefighter Safety Research Institute is dedicated to increasing firefighter knowledge to reduce injuries and deaths in the fire service and in the communities they serve. With a team of experts and access to UL’s leading infrastructure, equipment and vast knowledge and insights, FSRI conducts and disseminates cutting-edge research and training programs that focus on the changing dynamics of residential, commercial and industrial fires, and the impact they have on fire service tactics and strategies.

Scientific Research for the Development of More Effective Tactics [on-line course]. Northbrook, IL: Underwriters Laboratories, Inc, 2014. island online course/story.html 

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