I had the pleasure this week of spending a few days in Tampa, Florida where I attended the annual Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) conference. This year’s theme, “Fortified Nation,” focused on the benefits of building stronger structures and stronger communities to increase resiliency against disasters.http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134892e8f9f970c-popup
A major topic included the unveiling of IBHS’ new 20,000+ square foot disaster research and training facility. Located on a 90-acre parcel of land in Chester County, South Carolina, this lab is designed to test the strength of homes and light commercial structures against the perils of hazards. Although initial tests focused on wind conditions tested against a house, future research will be geared toward the understanding of wildfire. The facility plans on creating a wildfire scenario to test how embers ignite a house. Cameras will record, for example, how leaf debris on the roof may catch fire after a flying ember lands on it, or how embers can enter through vents and begin burning the home’s interior.
Capturing this on video will be a great educational tool for homeowners to learn and understand Firewise concepts and the science that the program is built on. Look for more information next spring as research gets underway!