NIST fire analysis tools featured in online training


A free interactive online training program for fire fighters and arson investigators that features fire research, video footage and expert analysis from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is now available. Launched by the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), the program is the first Internet-based course on, a new educational network.

The course, "Fire Dynamics and Fire Modeling," provides a review of tools an investigator can employ to develop a technical analysis of a fire incident. Daniel Madrzykowski, NIST fire protection engineer and lead researcher in many of the experimental fire tests, helped develop the course and narrates many of its segments.

Course participants can observe fire investigation techniques such as physical testing, hand calculations and zone models, as well as "virtual reality" reconstructions of fire incidents with the NIST Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) and Smokeview software programs. (FDS calculates the movement of the smoke and heat from a fire. Smokeview translates the calculations into moving images on the computer screen.)

Several case studies based on actual fire incidents also are used to demonstrate the capabilities and limitations of fire modeling. The program describes data that must be collected at the fire site to improve computer simulation results, an overview of the uncertainties in the models, and methods for evaluating model results.

A "readings" section, with contributions from leading trade, professional, government and private research organizations, offers additional information. NIST selections, for instance, offer access to FIREDOC, the search engine for the NIST Fire Research Information Services library, research on liquid spill and burn patterns, as well as downloads of the Fire Dynamics Simulator and Smokeview software.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
    Published on All rights reserved.