Occupant Tenability in Single Family Homes: Part II: Impact of Door Control, Vertical Ventilation and Water Application

Nicholas Traina, Stephen Kerber, Dimitrios C. Kyritsis, Gavin P. Horn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper describes experimental investigations of fire service ventilation and suppression practices in full-scale residential structures, including a one-story, 112 m2, 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom house with 8 total rooms and a two-story 297 m2, 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house with 12 total rooms. The two-story house featured a modern open floor plan, two-story great room and open foyer. Seventeen experiments were conducted varying fire location, ventilation locations, the size of ventilation openings and suppression techniques. The experimental series was designed to examine the impact of several different tactics on tenability: door control, vertical ventilation size, and exterior suppression. The results of these experiments examine potential occupant and firefighter tenability and provide knowledge the fire service can use to examine their vertical ventilation and exterior suppression standard operating procedures and training content. It was observed that door control performed better at controlling the thermal exposure to occupants than did fully opening the door. Additionally, the impact of increased vertical ventilation area was minimal, and only slightly reduced the thermal exposure to occupants in a few non-fire rooms. In the two-story structure, the non-fire rooms on the second floor consistently had larger thermal fractional effective rate (FER) values (approximately 2.5× the thermal risk to oocupants) than did the non-fire rooms on the first floor. Water application was also shown to reduce the thermal risk to occupants 60 s after water application 1/3rd the original values on second floor rooms of the two-storry structure and by at least 1/5th of the original values on the first floor rooms of both structures. Data also showed that the impact of front door ventilation on the toxic gases exposure was minimal, as the toxic gases FER actually increased after front door ventilation for several experiments. However, after vertical ventilation there was a 30% reduction in the toxic gases exposure rate in two of the one-story structure experiments.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)1611-1640
Number of pages30
JournalFire Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Fire
  • Fire behavior
  • Firefighting tactics
  • Residential homes
  • Tenability
  • Vertical ventilation
  • Water application


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