02/07/14 311 W - + 2 - 0 Kill the Flashover Starts Next Week

There's a neat fire service research project happening on the grounds of the South Carolina Fire Academy in Columbia next week. Called Kill the Flashover (KTF), it's three days of test burns (with three burns each day) along with classroom instruction, scenario critiques, debrief discussions, and leadership round tables.

This is the fourth edition of KTF, which was co-founded by Joe Starnes and Shawn Oke. Starnes is a former fire chief and current firefighter with Oak Grove Fire Department in Cleveland County, NC. Oke is the Fire Chief of Albemarle Fire Department in Stanl County, NC.

Here's an article by Starnes on the subject, from 2011 issue of B-Shifter magazine (PDF download). Start reading on page 35. Here's the B-Shifter web site.

The project's goals are simple: understand fire behavior in structure fires, to help fight such fires more smartly and more safely. Most importantly, KTF doesn't advocate specific tactical measures. They're simply striving to collect and analyze data. As their tag lines notes "We test, we demo, we share, you decide."

The burn rooms, for example, contain real, actual furniture and furnishings to replicate real world conditions as close as possible, including sheetrock, carpeting, glass windows, etc. Typical NFPA training burns, by contrast, are done with wood pallets and straw.

Each burn is extensively documented using thermal-imaging cameras and other monitoring equipment. The emphasis this year is on fighting fires in decay, pre-treating surfaces, and indirect fire attacks through adjacent compartments. Past projects have included attacking ventilation limited fires, extinguishing agents, PPV, fire attack with curtains, transitional attacks.

This year's program will feature sixty participants. The dates are February 10-14, 2014. Media queries should be directed to Public Information Officer Jeff Harkey, whose contact information is contained in this pre-event press release (PDF).

Now get out there and push learning, since you can't push fire.

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