Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Firefighter Radios May Fail During High-temp Fires

Date:
October 2, 2006
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Summary:
A recently NIST study shows that first responders can't rely on their unprotected handheld radios even in routine firefighting situations, much less in higher-temperature fires, where good communications are especially crucial.

Firefighters sometimes find themselves fighting blazes in temperatures as high as 500 degrees F (260 degrees C). Firefighter gear and self-contained breathing apparatus can allow firefighters to safely work for a limited time during these conditions. A recently released National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) study,* however, reveals that first responders can't rely on their unprotected handheld radios even in routine firefighting situations, much less in higher-temperature fires, where good communications are especially crucial.

Related Articles


The NIST fire engineers tested three representative portable radio models from three different manufacturers in a wind tunnel designed to simulate thermal conditions at three different degrees of intensity that firefighters are equipped to withstand--Thermal Class 1, with a maximum temperature of 212 degrees F (100 degrees C) for 25 minutes; Thermal Class 2, with a maximum temperature of 320 degrees F (160 degrees C) for 15 minutes: and Thermal Class 3, with a maximum temperature of 500 degrees F (260 degrees C) for 5 minutes. Each of the radios tested listed their maximum operating temperatures as only 140 degrees F (60 degrees C).

One radio of the three samples would not transmit or receive after 25 minutes at 212 degrees F though it did begin working after a cooling off period. In another 15-minute experiment at 320 degrees F, one radio went dead within 8.5 minutes. The other two radios suffered significant performance problems from transmission and reception shutdown to signal degradation or fluctuation. None survived the Thermal Class 2 test and cool down period.

Portable radios inside pockets or firefighter turnout gear fared much better. All survived temperature tests at Thermal Class 1 and Thermal Class 2 maximum heats and times. Pocket protected radios also survived Thermal Class 3, but exposed cords, speakers and microphones did not, effectively limiting the radios to Thermal Class 2 electronics. The NIST engineers suggest that small design changes on the speaker/microphones and cords could allow all the protected radios to reach a Thermal Class 3 rating.

NIST conducted the study to evaluate the general performance of portable radios at elevated thermal conditions, to identify shortcomings and to suggest standards for the radios. The results will be used to develop test methods and recommendations that will be submitted to the National Fire Protection Association and other appropriate standards-setting bodies. The NIST study was conducted by the Building and Fire Research Laboratory for the NIST Office of Law Enforcement Standards with funds from the Department of Homeland Security.

*W.D. Davis, M.K. Donnelly and M.J. Selepak. Testing of portable radios in a fire fighting environment. NISTIR 1477.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Firefighter Radios May Fail During High-temp Fires." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060930094159.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2006, October 2). Firefighter Radios May Fail During High-temp Fires. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060930094159.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Firefighter Radios May Fail During High-temp Fires." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060930094159.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WikiLeaks Refuses To Let Sony Hack Die, Posts Database

WikiLeaks Refuses To Let Sony Hack Die, Posts Database

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) WikiLeaks&apos; Julian Assange says the hacked emails and documents "belong in the public domain." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 17, 2015) American scientists build a self-powering camera that captures images without using an external power source, allowing it to operate indefinitely in a well-lit environment. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The State Of Virtual Reality

The State Of Virtual Reality

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Virtual Reality is still a young industry. What’s on offer and what should we expect from our immersive new future? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cybercrime Could Cost $400 Bln

Cybercrime Could Cost $400 Bln

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2015) Representatives from around 160 countries gather at the Hague to discuss cyber space and cyber security, including the dilemmas and challenges regarding the evolution of the internet. Ciara Lee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins