New Online Training Resources on Science-Based Firefighting

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) measurement science research on ventilation and suppression is leading the way to changes in firefighting tactics that are improving both the safety and effectiveness of responders. Through collaborations with fire departments and other organizations across the nation, the agency’s Fire Fighting Tactics Project effectively delivers practical results of its studies to the fire service.

FDNY/NIST/UL Governors Island Results
Online course offered by the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) highlights the tactical application of nearly two decades of research at the NIST and Underwriters Laboratory (UL) on how best to fight modern fires. The New York City Fire Department, NIST, and UL FSRI set fire to abandoned townhouses on Governors Island, NY, in a series of experiments to examine tactics for controlling fires and rescuing occupants inside burning homes. The focal point of the free course is the results from a series of live fire experiments conducted by NIST, UL, and the Fire Department City of New York (FDNY) in 2012 on Governor's Island. View the free course here.
The Principles of Modern Attack SLICE-RS Training Video 
Produced by the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI), this new training video outlines tactical operational plans that incorporate the latest fire dynamic research from NIST and UL. ISFSI has distilled the new knowledge and lessons learned from this research into SLICE-RS, which stands for Size-up, Location of the fire, Isolate the flow path, Cool from a safe distance, Extinguish, and then Rescue and Salvage. NIST partnered with ISFSI on developing the video, which was released at the 2014 Fire-Rescue International Conference and is available on the ISFSI web site at:
ALIVE: Modern Fire Dynamics
With support from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG), the Polytechnic Institute of New York University has developed a web-based, interactive firefighter training program – ALIVE (Advanced Learning through Integrated Visual Environments). ALIVE simulates critical decision-making aspects of firefighting and reinforces research-based firefighting safety concepts though interactive tactical scenarios.

ALIVE now consists of three training modules. One on the hazards of wind driven fires and how to fight them incorporates results of NIST's fire experiments. The latest – the product of a collaboration that included NIST, UL, and fire departments in New York City, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles County, and Bloomington – provides a basic overview of the science of fires in modern structures. For more information and to access the videos, go to:
Firefighting Research Online
Recently, there has been a high level of interaction between fire researchers and the fire service. The objective of the interaction has been to generate research results that can be used to increase the safety and the effectiveness of firefighters. The research demonstrates the changes that fuel loads and construction methods have had on the fire environment within residential structures. These changes have altered the model of fire behavior taught to the fire service for decades. In addition, firefighter protective equipment has also changed over the years.

All these factors lead to an assessment that firefighting tactics may need to evolve in order to keep in step with the changing conditions on the fireground. As noted, these findings are the result of research conducted in collaboration with the fire service. To get some insight into this research and the potential applications on the fireground, a list of web based presentations given by NIST , UL, and fire service leaders from across the country are provided with hyperlinks below. The links listed below have been posted within the last year. This is just a partial list of the many free firefighter training resources that are available on the internet. 

  • From the IAFC – The Firefighter Safety Through Advanced Research (FSTAR) toolkit is building bridges between the academic world, laboratory settings, and the fireground. The FSTAR web portal includes "one pagers" on state of the art research topics, links to free online training sources, and videos of presentations by NIST researchers and fire chiefs that are implementing the research on the fireground.
  • IAFC Webinar Under Fire Prevention – The Changing Severity of Home Fires. Presenters: Steve Kerber (UL), BC Sean DeCrane (Cleveland Fire Department), and Dan Madrzykowski (NIST).
  • From the IAFF John P. Redmond Symposium on the Occupational Health & Hazards of the Fire Service – Fire Behavior and Tactical Considerations. Presenters: Dan Madrzykowski (NIST) and Steve Kerber (UL).
  • NIST and UL Research: Studying Fire Behavior and Fireground Tactics Workshop. Presenters:  BC Derek Alkonis (LA County FD), Dan Madrzykowski (NIST) and Steve Kerber (UL)
  • ISFSI Training Modules (DHS/AFG Supported) – You have to register but the training is free. This link,, will take you to the newly launched ISFSI Online Learning Management System. Several training modules are available including the most recent, ISFSI Single Family Detached Dwelling Fire Tactics Program.
  • Los Angeles County Fire Department has a web site where they share videos that they have developed for in-service training. A few of the training video topics include: door control, wind driven fires, and exterior fire attack.
  • NYU-Poly Advanced Learning and Integrated Visual Environment (ALIVE) (DHS/AFG Supported)  – Training courses on Wind Driven Fires and Modern Fire in Residential Construction.
  • Firefighter Safety Research Institute (DHS/AFG Supported) – This site offers comprehensive training programs on basement fires, horizontal and vertical ventilation tactics and is updated on the continuing research involving attic fire and positive pressure ventilation.