Reducing Furniture Flammability - Design Strategies and Research Tasks
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A presentation by the National Fire Protection Association on reducing furniture flammability by identifying the size and trends of the problem. The presentation identifies potential design strategies ...

A presentation by the National Fire Protection Association on reducing furniture flammability by identifying the size and trends of the problem. The presentation identifies potential design strategies and research tasks.

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Reducing Furniture Flammability - Design Strategies and Research Tasks Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Reducing Furniture FlammabilityThe Size and Trendsof the Fire Problem and its PartsPointing Toward Design Strategiesand Research TasksKathleen AlmandVice President for ResearchNational Fire Protection AssociationApril 2013
  • 2. Size of the problem Upholstered furniture(in 2006-2010) as first item ignited OR primary item contributing to fire spread. 610 civilian deaths per year (24% of totalhome fire deaths) 1,120 civilian injuries per year $566 million in direct property damage per year in 8,900 home structure fires per year
  • 3. Trend in deaths with furniture as firstignited item (down 61%, 1980-84 to 2006-2010)1,22048002004006008001,0001,2001,40025% of home total19% of home total
  • 4. Size of the problem and trends Summary: Fires and losses have declined sharply, bothin numbers and as shares of the home fireproblem. Decline in numbers means success. Decline in shares probably means a majorcontribution from furniture regulations But upholstered furniture remains the #1burnable item for home fires and losses
  • 5. Major parts of the problem (2006-2010)FiresCivilianDeathsCivilianInjuriesDirect Damage(in Millions)Lighted tobaccoproduct1,900 (21%) 270 (45%) 320 (29%) $97 (17%)Open flame fromother fire2,200 (25%) 130 (21%) 280 (25%) $138 (24%)Operatingequipment1,500 (17%) 70 (12%) 140 (13%) $81 (14%)Small open flame 1,400 (16%) 60 (10%) 220 (20%) $69 (12%)Ember, ash orother or unclassi-fied hot or smol-dering object1,300 (15%) 60 (10%) 130 (11%) $150 (27%)Unclassified,other or multipleheat source600 (7%) 20 (3%) 30 (3%) $31 (5%)Total 8,900 (100%) 610 (100%) 1,120 (100%) $566 (100%)
  • 6. Trend in deaths by scenario Decline (1980-84 to 2006-10) in deaths: 67% for cigarette ignitions 61%with ember, ash and other hot orsmoldering heat sources added to cigarettes 73% for small open flame ignitions 45% for arcing or heat from operating equipment For comparison and context, 44% for all homefire deaths and all causes Can’t calculate “other burning item” ignitions for 1980-84. The data elements we use now were not availablethen.
  • 7. Types of design strategies Strategies to improve fire performance bychanging the furniture: Change covering or filling material Flame-retardant treatment of covering or fillingmaterial Fire barrier systems
  • 8. Specific research questionsby scenario Cigarette – How much can be done just withcover fabrics or filling materials? Ember, ash or other hot or smoldering object– Do these behave like cigarettes? Operating equipment – Can we get detailson common detailed ignition sequences? Other burning item – How much can bedone with barrier systems? Small open flame – How much can be donewith barrier systems?
  • 9. What do we need? We need a strategyfor the 5 scenarios thataccount for at least 10% of deaths Each design strategy needs a test-basedstandard based on one or all of following:Prevention effectivenessPeak intensity (rate of heat release). Assumes thatless severe fires mean less fire spread, which meansless fire loss.Time to peak intensity or to room flashover.Assumes that slower fires provide more time forescape and intervention to suppress by occupants orfire department.
  • 10. What do we need? Each test-based standard needs:Specifications of the test procedureTest conditions for each scenario to be evaluatedEvidence that the test results validly predict real-scale furniture performanceThreshold(s) for acceptance on evaluation scalesEvidence that products passing the test havesignificantly better fire performanceNail down all the related questions
  • 11. What do we need? That is a lot of research work. We need everybody who can contribute to takeon part of that work. But we need a shared vision of where we aregoing … and an integrated plan so that theparts all contribute to standards that willaddress this fire problem. NFPA and the Fire Protection ResearchFoundation are committed to addressing thisissue and are ready to do our part.