Code Development: The Fire Control of Structures Based upon Fire Dynamics

Posted: June 15, 2015 in Fire Investigation

by: Jason A. Sutula

Last week, Peter Raia discussed the need for research into the fire dynamics behind the penciling and full-flow techniques for fighting a compartment fire. The timing of his article fits nicely with the proposed development of a new standard on the fire control of structures based upon fire dynamics.

At an April 2015 meeting, the Standards Council of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) considered the request of Richard Dyer of Kansas City, Missouri on this particular topic. The council voted to solicit public comments and expertise to sit on a new technical committee on the Fundamentals of Fire Control Within a Structure Utilizing Fire Dynamics. Additionally, a page was developed to facilitate public comments and applications for the technical committee (

The scope for the new project is extremely pertinent to Mr. Raia’s discussion on using science and research to better understand the most efficient way to extinguish structural fires. According to the justification at the NFPA, the new document will be designed to assist government, military, and private industry fire fighters in developing recommended procedures, strategy, and tactics for combating fires in all types of structures. Even more importantly, the long term goal will be for a unification of standard operating procedures at fire departments throughout the United States.

Daniel Gorham, Associate Engineer with the NFPA, is helping to drive interest in the new standard. Please take the time to click on the above link to the main page for the proposed project. The public comments close today, so if you are interested in putting in public input, you will need to get those in before the end of the day. Technical committee applications will be accepted through July 22, 2015.

Finally, for those of you who may be wondering about why this proposed standard and further research is necessary, please take a look at the embedded YouTube video. This was shot and posted by Anthony Bendele of Truck 542 from Sunbury, Pennsylvania. It is a helmet cam video of the everyday fight our fire service personnel experience. Protecting our most valuable asset in the fire service, the men and women who serve, will always be a noble goal.

  1. Vincent Brannigan says:

    Language is important and I am afraid this title is incredibly confusing. Exactly what is “fire control OF a structure” whether based on fire dynamics or fire ground experience or crystal balls? I have no problem with “Fire control IN a Structure” and I suggest a change in language. The second issue is “fire dynamics” Fires are dynamic physical/chemical processes . Fire fighters have therefore always dealt with “fire dynamics”. I suspect what you mean is “using RESEARCH into advanced understanding of fire dynamics.” That certainly is a clear and notable and hopefully attainable goal.

    Prof. Emeritus Vincent Brannigan
    Department of Fire Protection Engineering
    University of Maryland


    • It is an absolute pleasure to receive your comment, Professor Brannigan. That particular title was taken directly from the NFPA’s webpage dedicated to assessing the interest in potential standards development activity on that subject matter. The proposed technical committee title is, “Technical Committee on Fundamentals of Fire Control Within a Structure Utilizing Fire Dynamics.” It seems that the committee title addresses one of your concerns, and I truly hope as well that “fire dynamics” will be based as you say on “…RESEARCH into advanced understanding of fire dynamics.” I hope you continue to comment throughout this blog.


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