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Encyclopedia > Fire protection

Fire protection is the prevention and reduction of the hazards associated with fires. It involves the study of the behaviour, compartmentalisation, suppression and investigation of fire and its related emergencies as well as the research and development, production, testing and application of mitigating systems. In structures, be they land-based, offshore or even ships, the owners and operators are responsible to maintain their facilities in accordance with a design-basis that is rooted in laws, including the local building code and fire code, which are enforced by the Authority Having Jurisdiction. Buildings must be constructed in accordance with the version of the building code that is in effect when an application for a building permit is made. Building inspectors check on compliance of a building under construction with the building code. Once construction is complete, a building must be maintained in accordance with the current fire code, which is enforced by the fire prevention officers of a local fire department. In the event of fire emergencies, Firefighters, fire investigators, and other fire prevention personnel called to mitigate, investigate and learn from the damage of a fire. Lessons learned from fires are applied to the authoring of both building codes and fire codes. For other uses, see Fire (disambiguation). ... Compartmentalisation has two meanings: 1. ... For other uses, see Fire (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see System (disambiguation). ... A building code, or building control, is a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety for constructed objects such as buildings and nonbuilding structures. ... Cranes are essential in large construction projects, such as this skyscraper In project architecture and civil engineering, construction is the building or assembly of any infrastructure. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A Canadian firefighter A firefighter or fireman is trained and equipped to extinguish fires. ...


In the U.S.A., this term is used by engineers and code officials when referring only to fire sprinkler systems, not fire alarm or advance smoke detection. Often the American public will assume it is all-encompassing. How it is used, and by whom, will usually indicate how it is meant.

Contents

Goals

Fire protection has three major goals:

  • Life safety (minimum standard in fire and building codes)
  • Property protection (typically an insurance requirement, or a regulatory requirement where the protection of building components is necessary to enable life safety)
  • Continuity of operations (typically an insurance requirement or an item of self-motivation for building owners - not a regulatory issue). Interruption of operations due to fire damage can be very costly. For instance, a nuclear reactor may cost about one million US dollars per day, if it is not making power that is being sold.

Insurance, in law and economics, is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent loss. ... For other uses, see Building (disambiguation). ... Insurance, in law and economics, is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent loss. ... For other uses, see Fire (disambiguation). ...

Classifying fires

When deciding on what fire protection is appropriate for any given situation, it is important to assess the types of fire hazard that may be faced.


Some jursidictions operate systems of classifying fires using code letters. Whilst these may agree on some classifications, they also vary. Below is a table showing the standard operated in Europe and Australasia against the system used in the United States.

Type of Fire Australasian European United States
Fires that involve flammable solids such as wood, cloth, rubber, paper, and some types of plastics. Class A Class A Class A
Fires that involve flammable liquids or liquifiable solids such as petrol/gasoline, oil, paint, some waxes & plastics, but not cooking fats or oils Class B Class B Class B
Fires that involve flammable gases, such as natural gas, hydrogen, propane, butane Class C Class C
Fires that involve combustible metals, such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium Class D Class D Class D
Fires that involve any of the materials found in Class A and B fires, but with the introduction of an electrical appliances, wiring, or other electrically energized objects in the vicinity of the fire, with a resultant electrical shock risk if a conductive agent is used to control the fire Class E (Class E) now no longer in the European standards Class C
Fires involving cooking fats and oils. The high temperature of the oils when on fire far exceeds that of other flammable liquids making normal extinguishing agents ineffective. Class F Class F Class K

For other uses, see Solid (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Wood (disambiguation). ... It has been suggested that Textile be merged into this article or section. ... This does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Paper (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... A liquid will usually assume the shape of its container A liquid is one of the main states of matter. ... “Petrol” redirects here. ... Pumpjack pumping an oil well near Lubbock, Texas Ignacy Łukasiewicz - inventor of the refining of kerosene from crude oil. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... candle wax This page is about the substance. ... For other uses, see Gas (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Natural gas (disambiguation). ... General Name, Symbol, Number hydrogen, H, 1 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 1, 1, s Appearance colorless Atomic mass 1. ... Propane is a three-carbon alkane, normally a gas, but compressible to a liquid that is transportable. ... Butane, also called n-butane, is the unbranched alkane with four carbon atoms, CH3CH2CH2CH3. ... A combustion reaction taking place in a igniting match Combustion or burning is a complex sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat or both heat and light in the form of either a glow or flames. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For sodium in the diet, see Edible salt. ... General Name, symbol, number magnesium, Mg, 12 Chemical series alkaline earth metals Group, period, block 2, 3, s Appearance silvery white solid at room temp Standard atomic weight 24. ... General Name, symbol, number potassium, K, 19 Chemical series alkali metals Group, period, block 1, 4, s Appearance silvery white Standard atomic weight 39. ... Conduction is the movement of electrically charged particles through a transmission medium (electrical conductor). ...

Components

Structural fire protection (in land-based buildings, offshore construction or onboard ships) is typically achieved via three means: For other uses, see Building (disambiguation). ... Offshore construction is the installation of structures and pipelines in a marine environment for the production and transmission of oil and gas. ... Italian Full rigged ship Amerigo Vespucci in New York Harbor, 1976 A ship is a large watercraft capable of offshore navigation. ...

  • Passive fire protection (use of integral, fire-resistance rated wall and floor assemblies that are used to form fire compartments intended to limit the spread of fire, or occupancy separations, or firewalls, to keep fires, high temperatures and flue gases within the fire compartment of origin, thus enabling firefighting and evacuation)
  • Active fire protection (manual and automatic detection and suppression of fires, as in using and installing a Fire Sprinkler system or finding the fire (Fire alarm) and/or extinguishing it)
  • Education (ensuring that building owners and operators have copies and a working understanding of the applicable building and fire codes, having a purpose-designed fire safety plan and ensuring that building occupants, operators and emergency personnel know the building, its means of Active fire protection and Passive fire protection, its weak spots and strengths to ensure the highest possible level of safety)

Fire-resistance rated wall assembly with fire door, cable tray penetration and intumescent [1] cable coating. ... For other uses, see Fire (disambiguation). ... This article is about firewalls used in construction. ... Active fire protection is one of the three types of structural fire protection. ... Fire sprinklers are an active fire protection measure subject to stringent bounding. ... A Wheelock MT-24-LSM fire alarm horn and strobe. ... For other uses, see Building (disambiguation). ... Active fire protection is one of the three types of structural fire protection. ... Fire-resistance rated wall assembly with fire door, cable tray penetration and intumescent [1] cable coating. ...

Balanced Approach

Passive fire protection (PFP) in the form of compartmentalisation was developed prior to the widespread use of active fire protection (AFP), mainly in the form of fire sprinklers. During this time, PFP was the dominant mode of protection provided in facility designs. With the widespread installation of fire sprinklers in the past 50 years, the reliance on PFP as the only approach was reduced. There is a perception by some fire protection engineers and some members of the fire protection construction industry that the model building codes have changed with too much reliance on AFP.


Lobby groups are typically divided into two camps favouring active or passive fire protection. Each camp tries to garner more business for itself through its influence in establishing or changing local and national building and fire codes. At present, the camp favouring AFP appears to be leading. Fire-resistance rated wall assembly with fire door, cable tray penetration and intumescent [1] cable coating. ...


A balanced approach between all three parts, Education, AFP and PFP, is generally recognised to be the best overall approach, but there are disagreements in emphasis. This is to be expected, considering that many of the proponents of one camp or another have a vested interest in the outcome, as they are involved in the sales or construction of one of the systems. Many insider in the trade, who know how much field conditions can influence matters, conclude that no one side has all the answers.


The relatively recent inclusion of performance based or objective based codes tend to support AFP initiatives, and can lead to the justification for less substantial construction. Some proponents of PFP feel that this new approach is not properly balanced, as the use of automatic suppression with codes allowing performance based designs often favours the cost savings resulting from less solid structures. At times it works the other way around, as firewalls that protrude through the roof structure are used to "sub-divide" buildings such that the separated parts do not require sprinklers. This article is about firewalls used in construction. ... The roofs of Olomouc, Czech Republic. ... For other uses, see Building (disambiguation). ...


The decision to favour AFP versus PFP in the design of a new building may be affected by the lifecycle costs. Lifecycle costs can be shifted from capital to operational budgets and vice versa. AFP, may initially require less capital to install, but due to its nature requires significant operational resources to maintain. PFP on the other hand, may be more costly to install but less costly to maintain. Planners consider the expected life expectancy of a building to make the most beneficial long term decision.

Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...

Common items to check for to avoid systemic problems

If any one of the three components of Fire Protection fail, the fire safety plan can be immediately and severely compromised. For example, if the firestop systems in a structure were inoperable, a significant part of the fire safety plan would not work in the event of a fire. Since the overall plan depends on all pieces, it is important to see that each item is in fact functional. Likewise, if there were a sprinkler system or an alarm system, but it's down for lack of knowledgeable maintenance, or if building occupants prop open a fire door and then run a carpet through, the likelihood of damage and casualties is markedly increased. It is vital for everyone to realise that fire protection within a structure is a system that relies on all of its components. Firestop after fire exposure during fire test in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ... Fire sprinklers are an active fire protection measure subject to stringent bounding. ... For other uses, see Building (disambiguation). ... This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... A carpet is any loom-woven, felted textile or grass floor covering. ...


There are many things that can and often do go wrong prior to and during the construction of a building. What happens afterwards, however, can also be substantially hazardous, to the point of entirely defeating the fire protection plan that was put in place during the design-phase of a building. Common operator errors include, but are not limited to, the following: failure to regularly clean grease ducts in commercial kitchens (usually every 3 - 6 months), re-entering firestops without proper repairs, damaging and removing spray fireproofing [1] from structural steel elements, changing of the use or occupancy [2] of parts of a building. Any changes that affect the overall fire protection plan, however small they may appear to the layman, legally require the owner to either gain the approval of the fire prevention officer at the municipal fire department or to apply for a building permit with the local, municipal building department. The permit fee is intended to cover the time and expenses for the Authority Having Jurisdiction to evaluate the contemplated change against applicable code requirements. Failure to obtain such approvals make the owner vulnerable to charges of negligence and culpability in a court of law. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Building (disambiguation). ... Firestop after fire exposure during fire test in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ... Fireproofing, a passive fire protection measure, subject to bounding, refers to the act of making materials or structures more resistant to fire, or to those materials themselves. ... is a defined and legal term in building construction and building codes. ... Cranes are essential in large construction projects, such as this skyscraper In project architecture and civil engineering, construction is the building or assembly of any infrastructure. ... Negligence is a legal concept usually used to achieve compensation for accidents and injuries. ... Culpability (Blameworthiness) is the state of deserving to be blamed for a crime or offence. ...

Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...

Questions for inspectors

These two questions can be used as a litmus test for a building, offshore construction or ship owner's degree of due diligence: The term litmus test can be literal or metaphorical. ... Offshore construction is the installation of structures and pipelines in a marine environment for the production and transmission of oil and gas. ... Italian Full rigged ship Amerigo Vespucci in New York Harbor, 1976 A ship is a large watercraft capable of offshore navigation. ... Due diligence is a term used for a number of concepts involving either the performance of an investigation of a business or person, or the performance of an act with a certain standard of care. ...

  • "How many firestops are there in your building/ship, where are they and where do you keep copies of the certification listings that cover each opening?"
  • "Where is your local copy of the current fire code and the construction code(s) that were in effect when you applied for the permit(s)."

The correct responses are the precise number of firestops and a reference to a set of drawings that shows each one with a number and hyperlink or paper reference to the certification listings and the location of the two documents. Firestop after fire exposure during fire test in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ... A Certification listing is a document against which a field installation is compared to make sure that it complies with a regulation, such as a building code. ... // A hyperlink (often referred to as simply a link), is a reference or navigation element in a document to another section of the same document, another document, or a specified section of another document, that automatically brings the referred information to the user when the navigation element is selected by...


The former question tests the owner's knowledge of his or her structure's fire protection and continued compliance with the code by bringing up the example of a common deficiency: the firestopping of existing and new openings in wall and/or floor assemblies required to have a fire-resistance rating. Answers to the latter question expose an owner's ability to keep the fire protection system set up correctly under normal operations and remedial work. The documents are necessary as nobody (including members of an Authority Having Jurisdiction), can be expected to know an entire code by heart. Both fire codes and building codes will refer to one another (to avoid duplication of text). International time/temperature curves used to run commercial furnaces for testing the Fire-resistance rating of passive fire protection systems, such as firestops, fire doors, wall and floor assemblies, etc. ... Cranes are essential in large construction projects, such as this skyscraper In project architecture and civil engineering, construction is the building or assembly of any infrastructure. ...


Examples for remedial work are plumbing work (a new toilet for instance, which could cause the need for a dozen new firestops to be made and breaches of fire barriers), electrical work (say a new recepticle in a wall, which necessitates a conduit and cable), new doors, changing the use of a room, etc.


These materials need to be known by the operators and staff of the building as any routine, seemingly small act, can defeat the overall fire protection plan, which forms the design basis for the building. For example, the installation of some piece of equipment in the building such as a water pump. Depending on where this is installed, it could be construed as a change in occupancy, which in turn requires a building permit to ensure compliance with regulations. Likewise, added piping or cable to run the equipment might necessitate the breaching of a fire-resistance rated wall or floor, where now a firestop is required, which would also necessitate a building permit. If no application for a building permit is made, the Authority Having Jurisdiction is unaware of the change and if the change is not immediately apparent to a fire prevention officer, nobody is the wiser but the owner is culpable. is a defined and legal term in building construction and building codes. ... Firestop after fire exposure during fire test in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ... Cranes are essential in large construction projects, such as this skyscraper In project architecture and civil engineering, construction is the building or assembly of any infrastructure. ...


It is important to remember that even when a fire prevention officer who conducts an inspection does not find anything amiss, this does not mean that the building is in full compliance with the fire code. There is a limit to the amount of searching and disturbing that a fire prevention officer is legally allowed, financed by the municipality, and able to do. For instance, an inspector may only be given one hour to inspect a school, which would not be enough time for an in-depth check. An inspector may be limited to a quick check on fire extinguishers and maintenance records of the sprinkler system. The written OK given after an inspection is only an "OK" for the parts inspected, which may not include things overlooked which severely breach the code. A passed inspection does not absolve a building owner of his or her responsibility to maintain the entire facility in compliance with the fire code, nor does it give them carte blanche that everything is OK with the Authority Having Jurisdiction. Fire extinguisher A fire extinguisher is a device used to put out a fire, often in an emergency situation. ... OK has many meanings, the most common of which is an expression of agreement or approval. ... Diners Club International, originally founded as Diners Club, was formed in 1950 by Frank X. McNamara, Ralph Schneider and Alfred Bloomingdale. ...


See also

Cranes are essential in large construction projects, such as this skyscraper In project architecture and civil engineering, construction is the building or assembly of any infrastructure. ... is a defined and legal term in building construction and building codes. ... A building code, or building control, is a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety for constructed objects such as buildings and nonbuilding structures. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A Fire Test is a means of determining whether or not fire protection products meet minimum performance criteria as set out in a building code or other applicable legislation. ... Fire-resistance rated wall assembly with fire door, cable tray penetration and intumescent [1] cable coating. ... In structures, such as land-based buildings, traffic tunnels, ships, aerospace vehicles, or submarines, compartmentalization is the fundamental basis and aim of passive fire protection. ... Firestop after fire exposure during fire test in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ... An intumescent is a substance which swells as a result of heat exposure, thus increasing in volume, and decreasing in density. ... In thermodynamics, the word endothermic describes a process or reaction that absorbs energy in the form of heat. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Fireproofing, a passive fire protection measure, subject to bounding, refers to the act of making materials or structures more resistant to fire, or to those materials themselves. ... International time/temperature curves used to run commercial furnaces for testing the Fire-resistance rating of passive fire protection systems, such as firestops, fire doors, wall and floor assemblies, etc. ... Active fire protection is one of the three types of structural fire protection. ... Fire sprinklers are an active fire protection measure subject to stringent bounding. ... A Wheelock MT-24-LSM fire alarm horn and strobe. ... A fire alarm with a strobe light. ... A Siemens MXL fire alarm control panel (top) and graphic annunciator (bottom) for Potomac Hall, at James Madison University. ... A manual call point, usually referred to as an MCP within the fire protection industry, and as a break glass in the UK, is used to allow building occupants to signal that a fire or other emergency exists within the building. ... A false alarm, also called a nuisance alarm, is the phony report of an emergency, causing unnecessary panic and/or bringing resources (such as fire engines) to a place where they are not needed. ... This typical sprinkler head will spray water into the room if sufficient heat reaches the bulb and causes it to shatter. ... A smoke detector or smoke alarm is a device that detects smoke and issues an alarm to alert nearby people that there is a potential fire. ... Gaseous fire suppression is a term to describe the use of inert and chemical agents or gasses to suppress a fire. ... Fire protection engineering is the practice of application of science and engineering principles and experience to protect people and their environments from the destructive effects of fire. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
NEW YORK SCRAPERS - ADDITIONAL INFO III (10924 words)
The intense heat led to the weakening of the trusses on the outer walls and to a subsequent failure of the bolted consoles.
The mortar-like fiber protection in the floor-supporting trusses was doubled to 1.5 inches on 18 floors on 1 WTC and 13 floors on 2 WTC -- the plane hitting the north tower happened to hit the section that was already refitted, whereas on the south tower the impact area was mostly in its old form.
Even in 1975, five years after the tower opened, when a fire on the 9th to 19th floors of the 1 WTC led to sagging of parts of the floor trusses, there was no study on the effects of a major fire on the floor structures.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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