Glossary of Terms and Acronyms

acetate group
activation energythe minimum amount of energy required to start a reaction; the energy barrier between the reactants and the products
BFRLBuilding and Fire Research Laboratory (a part of NIST)
Class A FoamFoam intended for use on Class A or woody fuels; made from hydrocarbon-based surfactant, therefore lacking the strong filming properties of Class B foam, but possessing excellent wetting properties. (from FIREWISE)
combustion(1) an act or instance of burning (2) a usually rapid chemical process (as oxidation) that produces heat and usually light; also : a slower oxidation (as in the body) (3) violent agitation : TUMULT (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged at, accessed 3/13/03)
conflagrationA raging, destructive fire. Often used to describe a fire burning under extreme fire weather. The term is also used when a wildland fire burns into a wildland/urban interface, destroying many structures. (from FIREWISE)
dry hydrantAn arrangement of pipe permanently connected to a water source other than a piped, pressurized water supply system that provides a ready means of water supply for firefighting purposes and that utilizes the suction capability of fire department pumpers. (from FIREWISE)
duff (or duffage)The layer of decomposing organic materials lying below the litter layer of freshly fallen twigs, needles and leaves and immediately above the mineral soil. (from FIREWISE)
endothermica process or chemical reaction that absorbs heat
exothermica process or chemical reaction that releases heat
FEMAFederal Emergency Management Agency
fire resistant roofingThe classification of roofing assemblies A, B or C as defined in the Uniform Building Code (UPC) Standard 32.7. (from FIREWISE)
fire resistant treeA species with compact, resin-free, thick corky bark and less flammable foliage that has a relatively lower probability of being killed or scarred by a fire than a fire sensitive tree. (from FIREWISE)
fire retardant Any substance except plain water that by chemical or physical action reduces flammability of fuels or slows their rate of combustion. (from FIREWISE)
fireproof1. (adj.) proof against or resistant to fire (Date: circa 1638) 2. (transitive verb) : to make fireproof (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged at (date: 1867)
fire-resistive ratingThe time that the material or construction will withstand fire exposure as determined by a fire test made in conformity with the standard methods of fire tests of building, construction and materials. (from FIREWISE)
firestorm(noun) 1 : a large usually stationary fire characterized by very high temperatures in which the central column of rising heated air induces strong inward winds which supply oxygen to the fire; 2 : a sudden or violent outburst (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged at (date: 1945)
flameproof(adj.) resistant to damage or burning on contact with flame; - flameproof transitive verb; - flameáproofáer noun (Date: 1886) (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged at
flame-retardant(adj.) made or treated so as to resist burning (date: 1947) (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged at
flame stitch(noun) a needlepoint stitch that produces a pattern resembling flames (Date: 1936) (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged at
flammable(adj.) capable of being easily ignited and of burning quickly - flammable noun (Etymology: Latin flammare to flame, set on fire, from flamma Date: 1813) (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged at
flash-ignition temperaturethe temperature at which gases evolved from the material can be ignited by a spark or flame
flashover(noun) the sudden spread of flame over an area when it becomes heated to the flash point (Date: 1892) (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged at
flash point(noun) 1 : the lowest temperature at which vapors above a volatile combustible substance ignite in air when exposed to flame 2 : a point at which someone or something bursts suddenly into action or being (Date: 1878) (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged at
heat of combustion the heat change associated with the reaction of a substance with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide, water and other common combustion products that result from complete combustion.
heat of formation the heat change associated with the formation of a substance from the elements in their standard states.
inflammable(adj.) 1 : FLAMMABLE 2 : easily inflamed , excited, or angered : IRASCIBLE; - inflammability noun; - inflammable noun; - inflammableness noun; inflammably adverb (Etymology: French, from Medieval Latin inflammabilis, from Latin inflammare Date: 1605) (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged at
intumescent(adj.) of paint : swelling and charring when exposed to flame (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged at (date: 1953)
kineticsthe study of rates of reaction (how fast reactions occur) and the factors that influence the rate
metrology(noun) 1 : the science of weights and measures or of measurement; 2 : a system of weights and measures - metrological (adj.) - metrologist (noun) (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged at (date: 1816)
National Fire Danger Rating SystemA uniform fire danger rating system that focuses on the environmental factors that control the moisture content of fuels. (from FIREWISE)
NFPANational Fire Protection Association
NISTNational Institute of Standards and Technology (see BFRL)
nitro group
Nomex®Du Pont's registered trademark for a nylon related manmade fiber. Nomex is an inherently flame resistant fiber (i.e., it's not a treatment that can wash out). (from
nonflammable (adj.) : not flammable; specifically : not easily ignited and not burning rapidly if ignited; nonflammability noun (Date: 1915) (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged at
Proban®A flame-retardant treatment applied to fabrics of 100% cotton. (from
retardant(adj.) : serving or tending to retard ; - retardant noun (Date: 1642) (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged at (Note: FIREWISE defines retardant as: substance or chemical agent which reduces the flammability of combustibles.)
self-ignition temperaturethe temperature at which the reactions within the material becoming sustaining to the point of ignition
SFI SEMA Foundation, Inc.SEMA = Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association. Organizes and manages an industry specification program for racing car driver garments. Includes tests for measuring garment material flame resistance, heat resistance, and thermal insulation. (from
thermochemistrya subset of thermodynamics that deals with the heat flow associated with chemical reactions
thermodynamicsthe field of chemistry (o.k., and physics) that studies energy, work, etc. associated with various processes
TPPThermal Protection Performance - test results are reported as a time-to-second-degree burn. (from