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So we continue to tweak and hone in our application of the lessons from the latest fire dynamic research.  One of the issues that continues to be "sticky" is the management of flow path.  While at FDIC 2014, I had the honor to meet Dr. Michael Reick from Germany.  He created a device that has been in use in Germany for over 10 years with reported great success.  In fact, they have more than 14,000 units in service and have documented more than 1,200 successful deployments on working structural fires. From the research I've been able to do, it seems the device has been so successful, that the insurance companies have been providing the devices to the fire service at no costs.  

Below is a photo of the device in operation.  It also appears to be so accepted in Germany, that civilians can deploy it.  Here's a video of a hospital fire safety video where you'll see the nurse deploy it prior to the arrival of the fire department.  It's narrated in German, but you'll figure it out.  

Watch the Video

So what do you think? I know there has been some testing done on the device in South Carolina.  If its so successful in the Germany, can it work in the US? 

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Comment by Christopher Huston on May 1, 2014 at 10:16am

Chief, during the evolutions at KTF 2014 there was discussion with Dr. Reick about the parameters of curtain use during the testing. One key element that I took away from that conversation was when the curtain is placed you must still have an inflow of fresh air to keep the lift of the gases. The curtain is different from a door that still has an opening at the top, however it is restricted. With the curtain, the gap will be at the bottom of the door. Certainly there are many variables that contribute to when, where, how, and why to use inflow restriction. The curtain allows fire crews to place a barrier to further compartmentilize the fire area. This is no different than a wall or door to contain the fire, in this case with the limitation of fresh air to stunt fire progression. It is simple displacement, gases want out but have to be replaced with something else. The curtain allows this balance to occur but incrementally and according to the fire crews design (as much as we can). We have certainly made progress with our understanding of fire dynamics of todays fuels and arrangements. As Firefighters start connecting the dots between the research and tactics, including tactical patience, adding tools such as the curtain to the rigs is not that far off. But do not let the lack of a curtain stop you from controlling the under pressure of the flow path, practice anti-ventilation and control the door!

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