Fire Systems & Safety
Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL)
is the national laboratory dedicated to enhancing the competitiveness of U.S.
industry and public safety performance prediction methods, measurement
technologies and technical advances needed to assure the life cycle quality and
economy of constructed facilities. Its products are used by those who own,
design, construct, supply, and provide for the safety or environmental quality
of constructed facilities.
site provides information about the laboratory and its research projects. The
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Information Services (FRIS), provide access to a fire research bibliographic
database, a list of international fire conferences, and related links
Proulx, G., (2001), “Occupant behaviour and evacuation”, Proceedings of the 9th International Fire Protection Symposium, Munich, Germany, May 25-26, 2001, pp. 219-232.
G. (2002) “Understanding human behaviour in stressful situations”, Workshop
to Identify Innovative Research Needs to Foster Improved Fire Safety in the
United States, National Academy of Sciences, Delegate Binder Section 7,
Washington, D.C. (Washington, D.C. Apr, 2002), pp. 1-5. (NRCC-45394)
Available at: <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"
Abstract: Fire safety is a major concern of most maintenance managers in Hong Kong, especially since many recent, serious fires. To maintain a building at an acceptable fire safety level, the building fabric (structural fire protection means), as well as the building services (fire services installations), should be kept to good and efficient standards. However, maintenance budgets do not always meet ever-increasing needs. Priorities must be set for different aspects of maintenance works, including fire safety. Priorities setting is normally based on the professional knowledge and experience of the maintenance managers, whose attitudes may affect the priority setting, as well as the decision making. Describes a study to investigate the attitudes of maintenance professionals of different backgrounds on the priority setting of various fire safety attributes. It was found that the professionals’ backgrounds do influence their priority setting. Nevertheless, they all perceived that structural means of escape and maintenance planning are important areas.
Eric W Marchant, (2000), “Fire Safety System – Interaction and Integration”, Facilities, Vol. 18, no. 10/12, pp. 444-455.
Fire safety is a performance characteristic of buildings. The technological
functions of fire safety systems interact with the systems that are necessary
for other environmental control systems and to fulfil other performance
characteristics expected from the building. For some aspects of fire safety the
systems needed to generate the ambient environment and the control expected over
the ambient environment are conceptually the same systems that are needed for
the control of the environment that changes because of the intrusion of products
of combustion. Outlines the interactions between fire safety needs and the
systems that help to generate and monitor the ambient environment.
G. Ramachandran, (1999), “Fire safety management and risk assessment”, Facilities, Volume 17, Numbers 9/10, pp. 363-376.
The paper discusses the problems encountered in the management and quantitative
evaluation of fire risk and safety in a building. Rational methods for obtaining
solutions to these problems are provided by non-deterministic mathematical
models rather than deterministic models. This is due to the fact that the
occurrence and spread of an accidental (not arson) fire are random phenomena
affected by uncertainties caused by several factors. Non-deterministic models
discussed briefly in the paper include simple statistical and probabilistic
models, regression methods, probability distributions, fault and event trees and
stochastic models. The paper only provides a framework for applying these models
to any type of facility. For any type, it may be necessary to modify these
techniques, collect all the relevant data and perform the analyses to derive
results and conclusions applicable to that type.
John Hinks and Marie-Cécile Puybaraud, (1999), “Facilities management and fire safety during alterations, changes-in-use, and the maintenance of building facilities – a management model for debate”, Facilities, Volume 17, Numbers 9/10, pp. 377-391
This paper reports some interim findings from organisational research into site
fire safety which looks at the relevance of Contractor and Facilities Manager
attitudes to safety as a component of the overall safety process. Presents a
discussion on some of the practical problems associated with Facilities Managers
managing the maintenance of fire safety during alterations works. Commences with
an illustration of the Facilities Management context of site fire safety that
draws upon a number of relevant fire events. It is intended to provoke a wider
debate on the relevance of the Facilities Management role in protecting the
business. A Project Safety Plan checklist is suggested for Facilities Managers,
based on the authors’ review of existing construction site fire safety
guidance and codes of practice. Explores a broadening of the Facilities
Management role, as interface manager, which in most cases of refurbishment and
alterations will constitute the common managerial link to the core business.
Brian J. Meacham, (1999), “Integrating human behavior and response issues into fire safety management of facilities”, Facilities, Volume 17, Numbers 9/10, pp.
Although there is a growing international movement toward the use of engineered
or performance-based fire safety design, current practice is dominated by
prescriptive-based design. In prescriptive-based fire safety design, only those
requirements prescribed by appropriate building regulations, installation
standards, or approved documents tend to be applied. Because these requirements
typically include fire protection measures, such as fire detection and signaling
systems, automatic sprinkler systems, fire compartmentation, and emergency
egress systems, there is often an assumption that occupants, employees, and
users of a facility will be safe should a fire occur. However, there are a
variety of factors that could affect the actual fire safety of a facility that
comply with the appropriate regulations. Fuel type, loading, configuration, and
location can change, leading to an increase in fire risk. Occupants may not see,
hear or understand fire alarm signals as fire alarm signals. Fire detection and
signaling systems, fire suppression systems, or smoke management systems may not
be 100 percent functional at all times. Fortunately, many of these factors can
be controlled for, if they are understood and addressed, within a fire safety
management plan. To assist with such planning, this paper discusses various
human behavior and response issues that may affect life safety during a fire or
emergency, and provides suggestions for integrating these issues into a fire
safety management plan.
Alan N. Beard, Jaime Santos-Reyes, (1999), “Creating a fire safety management system for offshore facilities”, Facilities; 17: 9/10 1999; pp. 352-362
Fire safety management on offshore platforms has been a matter of major concern
since the publication of the Cullen report into the Piper Alpha fire. In order
to be able to achieve and maintain an acceptable level of fire risk it is
desirable to consider the system as a "dynamic whole". The intention
in this research has been to construct a fire safety management system which is
both efficacious and resilient. To this end a systemic approach to fire safety
for an offshore platform has been pursued, employing the Viable System Model and
the Failure Paradigm Method.
Guylène Proulx, (1999), “How to initiate evacuation movement in public buildings”, Facilities; 17: 9/10 1999; pp. 331-335.
Research and experience show that occupants tend to ignore fire alarm signals
and continue their activities in large public buildings. Alternative means to
alert the public in the event of an emergency and to initiate evacuation
movement are discussed. The use of a standardized Temporal-Three fire alarm
signal is advocated to ensure occupant recognition of the fire alarm. Also, a
communication system combined with closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) is
recommended to convey precise information to the public. Building managers are
considered responsible for developing a fire safety plan, and for ensuring that
employees are well trained and that communication among staff is efficient in
order to transmit information to the public that will prompt fast and safe
A review of research, interviews and experiments at an IKEA building are
presented with results that could affect the planning and real time management.
Subjects had to choose between a normal exit and an emergency exit in different
conditions. The results show that the majority of subjects choose the normal
exit even if the distance is double compared to the emergency exit. The only
exception is when the emergency exit is open and it is possible to see the
daylight outside. Findings show that a ring signal is often misunderstood but a
spoken message is understandable.
Megan Walters & E.M. Hastings, (1998), “Fire safety legislation in Hong Kong”, Facilities; 16: 9/10 1998; pp. 246-253
One of the key issues to emerge from disaster literature is that, regardless of
the nature of the disaster, there exist both internal and external
pre-conditions that cause an incident to become a disaster. While it may be
difficult for governments to exert control over internal preconditions, it is
possible to provide a regulatory environment which exerts control over external
preconditions. Increasingly governments are moving towards the adoption of
performance - rather than prescriptive-based codes in the provision of
legislation. By examining a number of disastrous fires which have taken place in
Hong Kong, the paper traces the prescriptive approach adopted by the Government
towards forming fire safety legislation and considers whether performance codes
would provide a more appropriate regulatory environment.
Derek J. Howarth , Chakib Kara-Zaitri, (1999), “Fire safety management at passenger terminals”, Disaster Prevention and Management; 08: 5 1999; pp. 362-369
Discusses fire safety management in passenger terminals. Describes the design,
development, implementation and validation of a fire safety management model for
use in airports, railway and bus stations. The research carried out is based on
a comprehensive analysis of 25 terminals (air, bus, rail and sea) in the UK and
Europe. Develops the relationship existing between fire risk, people and fire
safety management. Although the model is still being reviewed and augmented, it
has already produced interesting results and has proved to be an efficient,
robust and quantifiable tool for use by fire safety managers.
Megan Walters , E.M. Hastings, (1998), “But is fire the issue ...? The problems of managing multiple ownership buildings in Hong Kong”, Property Management; 16: 4 1998; pp. 229-235. http://www.emerald-library.com/pdfs/11316de2.pdf
In common with many other cities in the world, Hong Kong has a large number of
older and less well-maintained buildings which, for predominantly economic
reasons, are still highly utilised by a variety of mixed and non-compatible
uses. In these circumstances, a comprehensive approach to ensuring high
standards of property management is essential, but recently a series of
disastrous fires have highlighted some of the difficulties of managing property
in this environment. The Government's response to fire disasters has been to
enact additional fire safety legislation. While the promotion of a safer
environment in older buildings is to be applauded, it is arguable that such an
approach merely addresses the symptoms - the fires - and not the underlying
cause - the management of such buildings. An examination of property management
practice in Hong Kong indicates there are two important systemic factors which
influence the standards and quality of services provided. The first is the way
in which the property management industry is currently structured, the barriers
to entry and the lack of regulation of property managers. The second is the way
in which the responsibilities and relationships between owners and property
managers are dictated by the method of ownership in multi-ownership property. It
is the impact that this method of ownership has on the twin issues of safety and
property management which is examined in this paper.
The majority of the population in Hong Kong live in multi-storey high-rise
buildings. The safety conditions of these buildings are a major concern of the
Government and the public. Fire safety is one of the major concerns especially
after several large fire tragedies in the past few years. The Hong Kong
Government has introduced a mandatory safety assurance requirement which is
called the "Building Safety Inspection Scheme". Under this scheme,
building owners are required to appoint appropriate building professionals to
assess the safety level of their buildings and to recommend appropriate actions.
One of the major aspects relates to the fire safety. In order to ensure uniform
standards and easy administration, the Hong Kong Government intends to publish a
Code of Practice on the assessment for use by building professionals. This paper
proposes a fire safety assurance approach including the fire safety assessment
method which may form the basis of the Code of Practice.
N. E. Groner, (2001), “Intentional systems representations are useful alternatives to physical systems representations of fire-related human behavior”, Safety Science, Vol. 38, issue 2, PP. 85-94.
, “Time pressure
and stress as a factor during emergency egress”, Safety
Science, Vol. 38, issue 2, PP. 95-107.
Abstract: While human beings, as information processing entities, use environmental cues during route selection in fire emergencies, time pressure, i.e. the limited time available to people, and the stress created by the physical threat of fire, can affect how they process environmental information. This study focuses on theories on decision making under time pressure and stress, and applies them to the area of emergency egress and route selection during fires. Narrowing of the range of cues attended to under time pressure, the emphasis placed on the negative aspects of decision alternatives and filtering of information are some of the examples of distortions in the information processing capacity of the individual. Spatial behavior greatly relies on how environmental information is utilized, and therefore any miscalculations in the use of this information can lead to ineffective spatial, thus exiting, behavior. Furthermore, while some degree of stress can lead to a beneficial vigilance in information processing, further increase in stress can create a hypervigilant state, limiting the capacity of the individual to process environmental information effectively. The article also provides examples from investigative reports of fires to further discuss the topics addressed.
J. D. Sime, (2001) “ An occupant response shelter escape time (ORSET) model”, Safety Science, Vol. 38, issue 2, PP. 109-125.
contrasts the physically deterministic travel/flow model of behaviour in fires,
represented by prescriptive fire codes and performance-based fire engineering,
with an occupant response model. An occupant response shelter escape time (ORSET)
model is advocated as a framework unifying aspects of psychology, architecture,
engineering and facilities management. Important to this are the concepts of
occupancy, occupants and occupant locations, allied to visual and sensory
access/exposure, used to define people's knowledge of their surroundings. The
paper provides a generic outline of ORSET, expressed in terms of occupancy risk
criteria: occupancy population and activity profiles, a pre-movement index,
visual access/wayfinding design/index and means of escape. These serve as inputs
to the appraisal and measurement of occupant response pre-movement and movement,
wayfinding patterns of behaviour and corresponding safety factor adjustments to
minimum shelter and/or travel/flow time calculations. Attention is drawn to the
importance of researching and modelling occupant starting time distributions,
staggered phases of response, arrival and flow rates at alternative exits. The
available safe escape time needs to be greater than ORSET. The paper discusses
the scope, implications, development and applications of the model, concluding
with related recommendations.
H. Notake, M. Ebihara and Y. Yashiro, (2001) “Assessment of legibility of egress route in a building from the viewpoint of evacuation behavior”, Safety Science, Vol. 38, issue 2, PP. 127-138.
A new framework for a fire safety design method is now in preparation based on
the concept of performance-based design in Japan (Tanaka, 1995. State of the Art
¯¯ Development of a Performance-based Fire Safety Design Method of
Building in Japan. Proceedings of Mini-Symposium Fire Safety Design of Buildings
and Fire Safety Engineering. Building Research Institute). In this paper, the
authors focus on the legibility of the egress route as an important performance
factor in assuring the safety of occupants in buildings, and intensively discuss
its assessment. Relevant, previous work on the evaluation of the legibility of
the egress route is reviewed and studied. The paper considers the legibility of
egress route as the geometric access potential of the egress route network in
the architectural plan. The legibility of the egress route is a function of the
physical measures that allow quantitative evaluation of how quickly occupants
can escape or how easily they can find exits. From this point of view, the
travel distance during an evacuation is one of the most effective and
quantifiable measures of the legibility of the egress route. The assessment of
the travel distance based on several assumptions of the occupants' probable
choice of egress route is introduced. A network modeling technique is utilized
to represent the configuration of the egress route and to calculate the travel
distance. Through numerical computations, an effective configuration is
determined such that the average expected travel distance across the possible
layouts of the egress route is minimized.
P. A. Olsson and M.A. Regan, (2001), “A comparison between actual and predicted evacuation times”, Safety Science, Vol. 38, issue 2, PP. 139-145.
Evacuation times and occupancy movement were observed in three university
buildings during a simulated fire emergency. Two of the buildings were tall
buildings, which contained offices, computer rooms, libraries, study rooms, and
lecture theatres. The other building was a one-storey building, which was
constructed of three large lecture theatres. All buildings were relatively new
and were equipped with emergency lighting, illuminated exit signs, and
evacuation alarms that varied between a siren type, and a pre-recorded PA
message. Human behaviour and movement were studied visually and recorded with
video cameras. The total evacuation time, pre-movement time-lags, and the
non-direct evacuation behaviour were analysed. The building occupant loads were
recorded, and this, together with CAD drawings, served as in data to the
evacuation model Simulex. In addition to the measured data, occupant load
factors recommended in the literature were used to derive input data to a second
set of simulations. The theoretical evacuation times were calculated and
compared with the actual recorded escape times. It was found the Simulex can be
used with confidence to simulate travel times for the buildings previously
described. The pre-movement times presented in the literature for office
buildings and places of assembly seemed to be very conservative in comparison
with the measured time-lags. It was also found that individuals with
pre-recorded PA information were faster in the completion of pre-movement
activities, than those in siren alarm evacuations, though the time difference
were small (<32 s). A difference in pre-movement times was discovered between
the dissimilar activities performed in the enclosures.
D.A. Purser and M. Bensilum, (2001), “Quantification of behaviour for engineering design standards and escape time calculations”. Safety Science, Vol. 38, issue 2, PP. 157-182.
Occupant behaviour in fires depends upon interactions between the occupants, the
building and the developing fire. Although reasonable calculation models exist
for the estimation of movement time (the time required for occupants to flow out
of the building), time required for behaviours taking place before the movement
phase, collectively known as pre-movement time, are poorly described and
quantified. A series of monitored evacuation studies and investigations of fire
incidents in a range of different building types is described. Strategies for
the application of behavioural data to design standards and escape time
calculation methods are discussed.
Klote, J. H.; Levin, B. M.; Groner, N. E., (1994), “Feasibility of Fire Evacuation by Elevators at FAA Control Towers”. NISTIR 5445
G.; Laroche, C.; Jaspers-Fayer, F & Lavallée, R. (2001), “Fire Alarm
The 1995 National Building Code of Canada requires
that fire alarm signals sound the Temporal-Three (T-3) pattern, as defined by
the ISO 8201 i2Acoustics Œ Audible Emergency Evacuation Signalli. This sound
pattern has also been required by NFPA 72 since July 1996. It is intended that
the T-3 pattern will become the standardized alarm signal heard around the world
that will unequivocally mean ieevacuate the building immediatelyly. Although new
and refurbished buildings have, for the past 5 years, been equipped with this
new signal, no formal public education has taken place to inform building users
about the meaning and response expected from them when it sounds. In North
America, discussions are ongoing regarding the necessity to develop a public
education campaign on the subject of this new evacuation signal, and whether an
automatic recorded message should follow the signal to prompt the public to
evacuate. As a first step, we need to ascertain if the public already recognizes
this sound as an evacuation signal.
Alwast, T. and Leung C.H.C. (1997), “An Adaptive Intelligent Architecture for Fire Detection and Fire Management”, IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Processing Systems, ICIPS ’97, Oct 28-31, Beijing, China, vol. 2, pp. 1113-1117.
Santos-Reyes, J and Beard, A.N. (2001), “A Systematic Approach to Fire Safety Management”, Fire Safety Journal, vol. 36, iss. 6, pp 359-390.
approach has been adopted to construct a fire-safety management system (FSMS).
It has been applied to the case of an oil and gas organisation, although the
approach is general. Significant changes have taken place in fire safety
management in the oil and gas industry over the last few years. However, fire
safety still tends to be analysed in isolation, though fire loss is a result of
the interaction of the parts that constitute an oil and gas organisation as a
whole. Fire loss may be seen as a `systemic' failure, not a result of a single
cause. This paper proposes a FSMS for an oil and gas organisation. The approach
aims to help to maintain fire risk within an acceptable range in an oil and gas
organisation's operations in a coherent way. It is hoped that this approach will
lead not only to more effective management of fire safety in an oil and gas
organisation, but also to more effective management of safety, health and the
environment for any organisation.
Hasofer, A. M. and Odigie, D. O. (2001), “Stochastic modelling for occupant safety in a building fire,” Fire Safety Journal, vol. 36, iss. 3, pp 269-289.
presents a stochastic model for the interaction between the spread of untenable
conditions and occupant egress. Safety is measured by the expected number of
deaths. The building is represented by a network for modelling fire spread and
by another network for modelling occupant egress. A major innovation is the
introduction of the concept of discrete hazard function. It allows the
interaction between the various factors involved in the spread of untenable
conditions and occupant egress to be taken into account at the time of their
occurrence during simulations. Two small-scale examples are worked out in detail
and flowcharts for full-fledged programs are given.
Shields T. J. and Boyce K. E. (2000), “A study of evacuation from large retail stores”, Fire Safety Journal, vol. 35, iss. 1, pp 25-49.
This paper presents the results obtained from
unannounced evacuations of four Marks and Spencer retail stores. By unannounced
it is meant that the public and staff had no prior knowledge of the evacuations
and were not informed during the evacuations by voice communication systems. The
four retail stores participating in the study were chosen to represent three-storey
city centre stores and single-storey out-of-town stores in different locations
in the United Kingdom. The evacuations were video taped using in-house
closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) orientated to cover pre-determined
fields of view and additional portable cameras which were positioned and
concealed when the stores were closed for business on the evenings before the
evacuations. The evacuating customers were asked to complete a questionnaire by
teams of researchers positioned outside, but not impeding, each emergency exit.
Data sufficient for occupant characterisation and occupancy profiling for Marks
and Spencer stores were obtained. Analysis of the video tapes also yielded
information on total evacuation times and pre-movement times for each store.
This research provided useful information, which informs the discussion in this
paper of many issues relevant to the development of performance based codes, the
profession and practice of fire safety engineering.
Frantzich, H (1998), “Risk analysis and fire safety engineering”, Fire Safety Journal, vol. 31, iss. 4, pp 313-329.
demonstrates how two quantitative risk analysis (QRA) methods may be used to
evaluate the risk to which the occupants of a building may be subjected if a
fire breaks out. The methods (standard QRA and extended QRA) differ in terms of
how uncertainties in the variables are considered. The extended QRA explicitly
considers uncertainty as it is a part of the methodology. The standard QRA has
to be complemented with a sensitivity analysis to fully provide insight into the
uncertainty inherent in the scenario. Both methods are applied to a calculation
example determining the societal risk for a hospital ward. The analyses are
performed as Monte Carlo simulations.
Proulx, G. (2001) “As of year 2000, what do we know about occupant behaviour in fire?”, The Technical Basis for Performance Based Fire Regulations, United Engineering Foundation Conference, San Diego, January 7-11, pp. 127-129 NRCC-44479
Abstract : This paper attempts to present the state of knowledge in the field of human behaviour in fire as of the end of the millennium. The rapid growth of the field since the 80s has produced a considerable amount of data. It is argued that there are three dimensions that interplay to explain people’s response during fires: occupant characteristics, building characteristics and fire characteristics. Although a lot of data is still needed on human behaviour in fire, there is already a large pool of information available. It is proposed that researchers in the field should develop theories to organise the body of empirical data obtained and to guide future research.
Proulx, G.; Pineau, J. (1996) “Review of Evacuation Strategies for Occupants with Disabilities” Internal Report, Institute for Research in Construction, National Research Council Canada, 712, pp. 19. Also available at: http://www.nrc.ca/irc/fulltext/ir712/
Abstract : In the past decade, there has been a great deal of interest in North America in providing equal accessibility to buildings to all people. For example, a large number of residential, office, institutional and mercantile buildings are now accessible, or being retrofitted for accessibility, to people with different degrees of disability. While accessibility is being promoted, the question of "equal egressibility" is now becoming a subject of concern. Egressibility means that, in case of an emergency, the occupants have the ability to leave a building or to reach an area of safety. It does not mean that every occupant should egress in the same manner or through the same route; rather, it intends to provide an equal level of life safety for everyone.
Liu, Z.G. (2001) “Halon alternative: water mist”, FS-World.com Fire & Safety Magazine, Summer, pp. 37-38, (NRCC-45144). Available at: http://www.nrc.ca/irc/fulltext/prac/nrcc45144/
at Canada's Institute for Research in Construction (IRC) will have implications
for the use of water-mist systems as a replacement for halon in certain
circumstances. Following the ban on halon production by the Montreal Protocol,
IRC's Fire Risk Management Program, in partnership with the Department of
National Defence (DND), has been looking for alternative fire-suppression
systems to use as replacements for existing equipment and in future designs. It
is of primary importance that the use of such systems does not compromise the
firefighting effectiveness currently provided by halon, have negative
implications for the environment nor create unacceptable safety risks.
Kim, A.K. (2001) “Improvement of water mist performance with foam additives”, Proceedings of Fire Suppression and Detection Research Application Symposium (Orlando, FL, U.S.A. Feb, 2001), pp. 439-447, (NRCC-44240). Also available at: http://www.nrc.ca/irc/fulltext/nrcc44240/
Abstract: Previous studies have shown that water mist system is an effective fire suppression system in an enclosed space. Flame cooling and oxygen displacement by steam are considered to be the dominant mechanisms of extinguishment by water spray and it is known that fine water mists are more efficient than coarser sprinkler sprays at absorbing heat. However, extinguishing open space fire with water mist is not always possible. It depends on many parameters, such as spray momentum and spray angle as well as the distance between the fire and the water mist nozzle, for the water mist system to effectively extinguish open space fire. Recently, National Research Council of Canada (NRC), initiated a study to determine the effectiveness of fine water mist system in extinguishing open space fires using single fluid swirl-type nozzles. In the study, the effectiveness of using small amounts of foam forming additives in the fine water mist was also investigated. Tests were conducted using wood crib fires, and heptane and diesel pool fires. This paper summarizes the results of the experiments that compared the relative importance of different suppression mechanisms of the fine water mist system as well as the effectiveness of using additives in the water mist.
Liu, Z. G.; Kim, A. K.; Carpenter, D. W.; Yen, P. L. (2001), “Portable water mist fire extinguishers as an alternative for Halon 1211”, 2001 Halon Options Technical Working Conference (Albuqurque, U.S.A. Apr, 2001), pp. 435-439, (NRCC-44693). Available at: http://www.nrc.ca/irc/fulltext/nrcc44693/
Fixed water mist fire suppression systems as an alternative for
total-flooding halons have already demonstrated their capabilities in providing
protection in machinery spaces, gas turbine enclosures and other applications
[1, 2]. However, studies of portable water mist extinguishers are limited. There
is one type of commercial portable water mist extinguisher for use on fires
associated with wood and paper (Class A) and electrical equipment (Class C) .
The capability and limitation of portable water mist fire extinguishers as an
alternative for Halon 1211 against flammable liquid fires has not yet been
studied. Previous research  showed that it was very difficult for water mist
to extinguish flammable liquid fires with flash points below normal ambient
temperatures, such as n-heptane (C7H16, FP = -4 oC), because fuel
temperature cannot be cooled enough to reduce the vapour/air mixture above the
surface of the fuel to below its lean flammability limit. In addition, it is
also very challenging for water mist to extinguish cooking oil fires, because
the hot cooking oil has a strong propensity for re-ignition due to its high
burning temperature (approximately 400oC) and low auto-ignition
temperature (approximately 330oC) with respect to its burning
temperature . Currently there is no commercially-available water mist
extinguisher for use on flammable liquid fires.
Liu, Z. G.; Kim, A. K.; Su, J. Z. (2001) “Examination of performance of water mist fire suppression systems under ventilation conditions”, Journal of Fire Protection Engineering, 11, (3), August, pp. 164-193 (NRCC-44676). Available at: http://www.nrc.ca/irc/fulltext/nrcc44676/
Abstract: This paper describes water mist fire suppression effectiveness under various ventilation conditions. The full-scale fire test series were conducted in an empty enclosure and in a simulated machinery space. Fire scenarios in the tests included small and large pool fires, spray fires and wood crib fires that were placed at different locations within the compartment. The ventilation conditions varied from non-ventilation, natural ventilation to forced ventilation. A single-fluid/high pressure and a twin-fluid/low pressure water mist system were used, respectively, in the tests. The test results showed that water mist suppression effectiveness was dependent on ventilation rates, fire size, type and location in the compartment as well as the characteristics of the water mist system used. During tests, both single- and twin-fluid water mist systems effectively extinguished fires under natural ventilation. Under forced ventilation, however, water mist fire suppression effectiveness was substantially reduced due to the strong mass exchange between the room and its surroundings.
G.D.; McCartney, C.; Taber, B.C. “Sprinklered mercantile fires”, ASHRAE
Transactions, 107, (1), pp. 730-743, 2001 (NRCC-44234). Available at:
Abstract: This paper presents results of a project initiated by ASHRAE and the National Research Council of Canada to investigate smoke movement resulting from a sprinklered fire in a communicating space into an adjacent large open area, such as an atrium or retail mall. As part of the joint project, a large-scale test facility was established to investigate smoke flow for sprinklered fires. In this paper, the results of two full-scale fire test series are discussed. In the first series of tests, a propane burner system was used to simulate design fires, which have an initial unsteady stage followed by a fire with a constant heat release rate. A fast t-squared fire was used for the initial fire growth. This fire was allowed to grow to a predetermined heat release rate and subsequently maintained constant. The second series of full-scale tests were conducted using three fire scenarios simulating typical fire load arrangements found in retail stores. The three scenarios used were as follows: paper towels in cartons, clothing stored in boxes, and children's toys.
G.D.; McCartney, C.; Taber, B.C. “Smoke movement for sprinklered fires”,
ASHRAE Transactions, 106, (Pt. 1), pp. 605-619, 2000
(NRCC-43138). Also available at:
G.P. “NRC Report: Advancements and advantages of compressed air foam
systems”, Canadian Fire Chief, Spring, pp. 45-46, 1999 (NRCC-42881). Also
Abstract: Fire fighting foam has been in use in the Fire Services for over 75 years. It was originally designed as a surfactant to improve the absorption of water into Class A combustibles such as wood and paper. It quickly found use in fighting flammable liquid spill fires since the foam could float on the surface of the burning fuel and extinguish the fire by sealing off the surface. This separates, the fuel from the flame, absorbs the fuel vapour and prevents thermal feedback to the fuel. As a result, foam concentrates evolved along two lines: AFFF or "Aqueous Film Forming Foams" for Class B or liquid fires and Class A for wildland and structural fires.
Dougal Drysdale (2000) “Learning from Experience: Fire Investigation in Great Britain”, Fire Engineers and Fire Prevention Magazines.
“Study shows low public recognition of the temporal-three evacuation
signal”, Construction Innovation, 6, (4), Fall, pp. 1, 6, 2001. Available at:
J.Z.; Crampton, G.P.; Carpenter, D.W.; McCartney, C.; Leroux, P. “Fire
detection and suppression studies at Kemano
Village", Sixth Fire Suppression
& Detection Research Application Symposium (Tampa,
FL, Jan, 2002), pp. 1-12, 2002
Kemano, British Columbia, was a company town built
50 years ago by Alcan Smelters and Chemicals Ltd. to support its hydroelectric
station. When the station became essentially automated, making the town
obsolete, an idea was born. The deserted town was donated to British Columbia's
fire services for training and research, which has been known as the Kemano
Public Safety Initiative (KPSI). In addition to becoming a proving ground for
firefighting, abandoned houses filled with donated furniture and props made an
ideal, full-scale experimental site. Using this unique opportunity, the National
Research Council of Canada (NRC) completed two series of fire experiments at the
Kemano Village: one to study the response of smoke detectors in houses, and the
other to evaluate the performance of a cross-linked-polyethylene (PEX-a) pipe
sprinkler system. The sprinkler project is now complete and the results of the
experiments are presented in this paper. NRC researchers are still analyzing the
experimental data produced from the smoke detector tests. This paper includes an
overview of the smoke detector project.
N.; Hadjisophocleous, G.V.; Torvi, D.A.; Vollhoffer, S.R.; Reid, I. (2002)
“Hazard analysis of a multi-occupancy building using FIERAsystem,” 4th
International Conference on Performance-Based Codes & Fire Safety Design
Methods (Melbourne, Australia, Mar, 2002), pp. 310-321 (NRCC-44984).
Available at: http://www.nrc.ca/irc/fulltext/nrcc44984/
With the move to performance/objective-based codes, design tools are needed to
demonstrate that proposed designs meet the code’s objectives and requirements.
One such tool is FIERAsystem (FIre Evaluation and Risk Assessment system), a
computer model that has been developed to evaluate fire protection systems in
light industrial buildings. FIERAsystem uses time-dependent deterministic and
probabilistic models to evaluate the impact of selected fire scenarios on life,
property and business interruption. FIERAsystem has been designed as a tool that
can be used to evaluate performance-based fire protection engineering designs.
It is intended for use by a wide variety of individuals, including fire
protection engineers, building officials, fire service personnel and
researchers. To demonstrate the utility of FIERAsystem, case studies were
recently performed to evaluate fire protection systems in Canadian Department of
National Defence (DND) facilities. This paper presents the procedure used in
FIERAsystem to perform a hazard analysis and describes a case study of hazard
analysis done for an aircraft hangar. In addition, the paper provides a brief
description of the framework for FIERAsystem and its main models.
G. (2002) “Evacuation
Planning for Occupants with Disability”,
In 1996, the Institute for Research in Construction (IRC) at NRC published the
IRC Internal Report 712 entitled “Review of Evacuation Strategies for
Occupants with Disabilities”. This report received substantial interest and
numerous requests for copies by managers, educators, researchers and students,
as well as members of the general public. In the year 2000, the English report
and a French version were placed on NRC’s website and could be downloaded for
free. Since the initial literature review was conducted in 1995, it was felt
that a new literature search should be conducted and an update of the report
published. With the support of the Office of the Fire Marshall of Ontario this
task was initiated in early 2002. This actual report contains most of the
information initially published in IRC Report 712 with a thorough update of the
references, concepts and strategies currently discussed to plan the evacuation
of occupants with disabilities in office, residential and public buildings.