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Research at IFSI


The Firefighter Life Safety Research Center provides state-of-the-art facilities for developing practical solutions to the problems and perils faced by emergency responders.

IFSI enjoys unique advantages from the close proximity of our laboratories to the live testing environments. Researchers have immediate access to equipment and human participants and can quickly measure interactions in the lab. The Center also includes on-site fire and heat chambers that are invaluable in our studies on heat stress.

IFSI's research efforts focus on studies that have a direct impact on firefighters' work, health and safety. Our investigations look closely at biomechanics, physiology and other elements, with research looking at three major components:

  • The individual.
    These projects are designed to identify the causes of injuries and fatalities, reduce risks and improve the health and safety of firefighters. Research areas include heat stress, physical fitness, physiology, psychology and other human factors.
  • The environment.
    These studies examine issues related to the fire-ground's physical surroundings -- including the presence of smoke, heat, water, mud, ice, clutter and other obstructions. The goal is to determine how these varying environments affect the well-being of firefighters and the success of fire-suppression techniques.
  • Equipment.
    Equipment research involves the testing and development of tools and technologies for suppressing fires, protecting firefighters and improving rescue operations. Field exercises are conducted to evaluate and modify existing equipment. IFSI researchers also create and test new designs that may be patented.

Projects are carried out through IFSI's partner organizations on and off campus. Institute researchers also collaborate with dozens of University of Illinois departments on interdisciplinary studies.

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