Basement Fires - CEUs


This project was a collaboration of several research organizations, product manufacturers and fire service representatives to examine hazards associated with residential flooring systems to improve firefighter safety.  Funding for this project was provided through the National Institute of Standards and Technology's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Grant Program. The main objective of this study was to improve firefighter safety by increasing the level of knowledge on the response of residential flooring systems to fire.

Experiments were conducted to examine several types of floor joists including, dimensional lumber, engineered I-joists, metal plate connected wood trusses, steel C-joists, castellated I-joists and hybrid trusses.  Experiments were performed at multiple scales to examine single floor system joists in a laboratory up through a full floor system in an acquired structure.  Applied load, ventilation, fuel load, span and protection methods were altered to provide important information about the impact of these variables to structural stability and firefighter safety.

There are several tactical considerations that result from this research that firefighters can use immediately to improve their understanding, safety and decision making when sizing up a fire in a one or two family home.


Course topics

  • Module 1 – Introduction
  • Module 2 – Background
  • Module 3 – Furnace Tests
  • Module 4 – Basement Experiments
  • Module 5 – Basement Fire Growth Experiments
  • Module 6 – Tactical Considerations
  • Module 7 – Building Code Implications
  • Module 8 – Summary


  • List the elements that varied across the experiments.
  • Recognize the importance of a 360 degree size up.
  • Name the two most important factors that influence basement fire tactical considerations.
  • Describe the impact ventilation has on flow paths during a basement fire.
  • Outline the considerations involving overhauling the floor system following a basement fire.
  • Describe the reliability of the use of thermal imaging cameras, floor sag, and sounding the floor as collapse indicators.
  • Apply knowledge of tactical considerations to a given fire scenario in order to predict the results of the fire attack.

Learning objectives will be measured by:

  • Quiz

CEU’s Awarded:

  • Learners who complete the course and achieve a score of at least 80% on the quiz will earn 0.3 continuing Education Units (CEUs).
  • Contact your local jurisdiction for CEU recognition.

Target Audience

  • Firefighters of all experience levels
  • Fire protection engineers
  • Fire researchers
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Time Requirement


Web-Based Modules 3 hours

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