Results of PPV study anticipated from UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute

Posted by Ventry Solutions, Inc. on

lineup of ppv fans that participated in UL FSRI ventilation study
All ppv fans in the study (including our Ventry Fans with legs. Photo taken by James Neils.

UPDATE (APRIL 19, 2016): Results have been released by UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute. The PPV Study is now complete!
Purpose of the study: “...to increase firefighter safety by providing the fire service with credible scientific information...” ~ Aug 2, 2013, ULFSRI website

The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (UL FSRI) kicked off a $1 million U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant in December 2013 to study the effectiveness of positive pressure ventilation. (Positive pressure ventilation/attack is often abbreviated ppv/ppa and also called horizontal ventilation). The results of the ventilation study were expected the first half of 2016. Ventry Solutions, Inc. supported and participated in the study, and we were anxious and excited to hear their results and recommendations.

James Neils, our CEO, applied to serve on the technical panel of fire fighters, but instead accepted the invitation to serve on the panel of fan manufacturers. He took many photos while attending PPV Fan Flow Testing in December 2014 and Live Fire Testing in January 2015.

The FSRI had conducted similar research on various aspects of ventilation in the past, but as a ppv fan manufacturer, this one is of special interest to us. Simplified drastically, “...Effectiveness of PPV...” translates to a better understanding of when—and when not—to use ventilation fans for horizontal ventilation and aggressive fire attack. Sometimes the fan needs to be left on the truck for safety and consistent recommendations for such situations are much anticipated.

We (VSI) are a small, family- and firefighter-owned business which proudly manufactures a very specialized firefighting tool, Ventry® PPV Fans. We were thrilled that this highly respected and objective agency researched and gathered scientific evidence on the best use of a product we make. Our thanks go to FSRI and Steve Kerber for allowing us to participate and including our fans in this study.

*Another UL FSRI study in 2009 showed dramatic differences between modern and legacy home furnishings in the context of fire fighting. Video posted on Youtube.

We know that ppv, if used when and how appropriate, is life-saving. We also know that if ppv is employed incorrectly, in the wrong circumstances, it can do the opposite, We also know, through direct experience and observation over the last 3 decades, that modern construction and materials* present complications and hazards that demand new approaches to positive pressure ventilation. [1] Clear, consistent, objective, science-based recommendations for the use of ppv as a fire fighting tactic have been seriously lacking all these years.

It is our sincere hope that the UL FSRI’s study advances knowledge and improves the safety of ppv and ppv fans. We’re confident that fans will have an important place in the firefighter’s tool box going forward, and hope for good guidance on when and when NOT to use it.

The motivation for this study is profound and the potential results will benefit the fire service for years to come. We broke this into three parts to highlight the significance:

First, to learn, because PPV “...was introduced without proper scientific research into its benefits and limitations. The changing fire environment and evolution of the fans themselves have created unknown hazards and concerns. This study will examine the use of PPV during fire attack in modern home geometries...”

Second, to teach. “...To address the concerns the firefighter community has expressed and provide a baseline for choosing the most appropriate type or types of ventilation on the fire ground.”

Finally, for the future. “The results and conclusions of this project will be used to improve firefighting tactics, fireground safety and fire dynamics knowledge. A comprehensive fire service outreach program will make sure that this science meets the street.” ~

Dec 2014: Fan flow testing during UL testing. Photo by James Neils.
Dec 2014: Fan flow testing during UL testing with the Ventry Electric PPV Fan. Photo by James Neils.

[1] Originally linked to http://ulfirefightersafety.org/projects_blog/comparison-of-modern-and-legacy-home-furnishings/#more-269, a dramatic comparison of modern and legacy home furnishings in fire fighting context per 2009 UL FSRI study.


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