FDNY/NIST Flow Path Study

There has been a lot being said lately in the American fire service on the research of fire behavior. A tremendous amount of information has been streaming across fire publications and on-line sources. It’s a lot for the firefighter and chief to be able to absorb and process. Dan Madrzykowski and John Ceriello have been working together since 2006 when the FDNY reached out to NIST to better understand the effects of wind when a high-rise structure is on fire. With Dan’s expertise and experience on the research side and John’s knowledge and time in the field the attendee will have a unique combination of science and practical fire-ground knowledge to tap into. These two presenters will be able to express the true essence of what the latest research means to all levels of the fire service from probationary firefighter to Chief of the Department. Dan and John will use a multi-media presentation to show how and more importantly why it’s so important to take heed in the latest research so intelligent decisions can be made on the fire ground where it counts the most.


About Dan Madrzykowski

Daniel Madrzykowski is a fire protection engineer in the Fire Fighting Technology Group of the Fire Research Division (FRD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Mr. Madrzykowski has been conducting fire research at for more than twenty-five years. He began studies at NIST to measure the ignition inhibiting properties of compressed air foam (CAF) fire suppressant. Utilizing new measurement methods developed at NIST, the ignition delay time of “foamed” wood samples relative to untreated wood samples was compared at different heat flux levels. This work has continued with large scale fire experiments utilizing CAF and gelling agents applied to exterior siding materials. The data from this study is the only information available to characterize CAF and gelling agent exposure protection capabilities. This work has the fire service community evaluating the benefits of CAF and gels for fire exposure protection, especially in the wildland/urban interface areas.

Mr. Madrzykowski has conducted a study with 20 MW gas/oil well fires to determine the radiation reduction effects of small quantities of water spray entrained near the base of the fire. The information from that study is important for blowout fire control on off-shore drilling platforms. Mr. Madrzykowski utilized his blowout fire research experience as a member of the team from NIST that went to Kuwait to make ground based measurements on the oil well fires in 1991. This unique data set of flame height and radiation measurements and energy release rate analysis has been used by other agencies in their evaluations of the environmental effects of the fires.

Mr. Madrzykowski has led projects to determine the effects of sprinklers and water mist systems on temperature and toxic gas concentrations of fire gases. These studies, along with a post-flashover exposure study, provide information to enable fire protection engineers to make educated decisions on means of protecting an area adjacent to a fire and the people in that area.

Mr. Madrzykowski has also been the project leader for a sprinkler fire suppression study. The heat release rates of several office furniture fuel packages were measured, in a free burn condition and under the influence of a sprinkler spray. He used the heat release rate data to develop a sprinkler fire suppression algorithm, which is used as the suppression model for FPETOOL and FASTLITE.
As part of a multi-disciplinary team, Mr. Madrzykowski made two trips to Kobe, Japan in 1995 to investigate the post-earthquake fires which destroyed more than 6,400 buildings. The study focused on the perimeter of the fire areas to determine what physical features halted the fires progress.

Mr. Madrzykowski is a registered professional engineer. He is a member of the National Fire Protection Association and serves on their technical committees for Fire Service Training and Fire Investigations He served as the Chair of the NFPA Residential Sprinkler Systems Committee from 1996 to 2006 and as the Chair of the NFPA Research Section from 2004 to 2009. He is also a Fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and he currently serves on their board of directors.

Mr. Madrzykowski is a world expert on fire service operations, tactics and technologies. His research has been recognized through his receipt of the 2009 George D. Post Instructor of the Year Award by the International Society of Fire Service Instructors and the 2006 NIST Colleagues Choice Award. In 2009, he was elected Vice-President of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. In addition, he was invited to participate in Vision 20/20 Steering Committee, a group of high level fire safety professionals, developing national strategies for fire loss prevention. Mr. Madrzykowski serves on 7 standards-related committees and chairs 3 of those committees, which is an exceptionally high number. Mr. Madrzykowski was awarded the 2008 Department of Commerce Gold Medal, which was the result of a ten year research effort on fire fighter tactics with an emphasis on advancing the science and understanding of positive pressure ventilation and wind-driven fires. He has worked to transfer this knowledge to the fire service, arson investigators, and codes officials and in FY2009 more than 20,000 CDs were requested and disseminated to fire service personnel. The research has already led to implementation of his science-based fire fighting tactics in the New York City and Chicago Fire Departments. Other fire departments across the world are following suit. His participation provides seamless transfer of NIST research to fire protection engineers, private industry, other Federal agencies, and the fire service. He is currently completing his Ph.D. with the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

About Captain John Ceriello

John Ceriello is a 26-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department, 14 of those years was spent in Special Operations Command. He is a Captain and currently assigned to Division of Training. He has been an integral part in the FDNY & NIST Wind Impacted Fires Project that introduced stairwell pressurization, wind control devices and high-rise nozzles into the field. He also was part of the implementation of new concepts of ventilation and flowpath control to the FDNY. John is on Underwriter Laboratories advisory panel for a number of projects including their most recent research on horizontal and vertical ventilation.

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The Lieutenant Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation, Inc. (Foundation) exists to assist fire departments with their ability to purchase and train with rescue equipment. Toward that end, the Foundation does so without regard to race, religion, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation or age. The Foundation’s By-Laws, Annual Report, and Conflict of Interest Policy are available by writing to the Foundation at its home address.