Ch 12 Specific Occupancy Details and Hazards
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Ch 12 Specific Occupancy Details and Hazards

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Ch 12 Specific Occupancy Details and Hazards Ch 12 Specific Occupancy Details and Hazards Presentation Transcript

  • 11 Specific Occupancy Details and Hazards
  • Objectives (1 of 2)
    • Determine the unique design and construction details found in buildings based on occupancy type
    • Establish how occupancy-specific building code requirements dictate particular safety features
    11
  • Objectives (2 of 2)
    • Identify the unique details and hazards associated with specific occupancies
    • Understand how occupancy specifics affect firefighting operations
    11 View slide
  • Introduction
    • Occupancy
      • Is the type of use
      • Plays a role in how a building is constructed
      • This chapter gives occupancy types and building hazards
      • Details related to codes are city specific
      • The codes in your locale may differ
    11 View slide
  • Apartment Buildings
    • Garden Apartments
      • Combustible multiple dwellings include garden apartments, modern row houses, and townhouses
      • “Condominium” is not a usefully descriptive term for fire fighters
    11
  • Characteristics of Garden Apartments
      • Solid masonry
      • Brick veneer over platform wood frame
      • Partially solid masonry, partially brick veneer on wood
      • Wood
    11
  • Height Limit
    • Three stories
    • Difficult to reach victims at rear windows of top-floor apartments
    11
  • Individual Living Units
    • Usually confined to one floor
    • Some are multi-floor units
    • Some structures may have both one floor and multi-floor units
    11
  • Balconies
    • Customary in many apartments
    • Combustible or noncombustible construction
    • Cantilevered balconies can collapse in fires
    11
  • Gable Roof Attics
    • These extend over the entire structure
    • Attic fire barriers are frequently not effective because they have been compromised
    11
  • Peaked Roofs
    • Are dangerous to fire fighters
    • They must have a pitch to drain rain­water
    • Pitch creates a void between the tops of horizontal ceiling beams and the sloping roof
    • Fire can spread laterally through this space
    11
  • Interior Construction
    • Is almost totally of wood
    • Multiplies the fire extension potential through the voids inherent in combustible construction
    11
  • Plumbing Fixtures
    • Vertically aligned
    • Piping is run through vertical voids
    • Structural members weakened by cutting
    11
  • Escaping a Burning Structure
    • Escaping from a single-floor ranch home is easier than from the top floor of a combustible multiple dwelling
    • Stairways, enclosures, and attics overhead are combustible
    • Stairways are safe for no one
    11
  • Educating the Management and Tenants
    • Be fully insured
    • Keep property in a bank vault
    • Call the fire department immediately if a fire or gas leak is suspected
    • In a fire, evacuate immediately, even if the fire seems inconsequential
    11
  • Parking
    • Space is generally limited
    • Need minimum of 20 feet of clear width, proper turning radii, red striping of curbs, and signage
    • Illegal parking must be eliminated
    11
  • Building Location
    • Map drill
    • Drill identifies gullies and fences
    • Building owners should be encouraged to provide lettering and numbering on buildings
    11
  • Gas Service
    • Provides special hazards
    • Layout usually done with little thought for fire fighters
    • Meters are grouped together and represent a substantial weight
    • Case example: Gas hangers giving way
    • Case example: Single large gas tank had its regulator fail
    11
  • Water Supply
    • Hydrants often on private mains
    • Should be checked periodically
    • Older complexes often have undersized mains
    • Have the owner conduct a flow test
    11
  • Protected Combustible Construction
    • Fire-rated gypsum board sheathing or shell of the structure prevents the spread of fires
    • Does not yield heat when burned in pure oxygen
    • Gypsum has excellent fire protection characteristics
    11
  • Effect of Fire on Gypsum Board
    • Calcination occurs when gypsum board is heated by fire
    • This process appears to be irreversible
    • Removing all burned gypsum board makes the most sense
    11
  • Fire Rating of Gypsum Board (1 of 2)
    • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 251/American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) E119 fire-resistance test
    • Rating of gypsum board cannot be separated from the test structure of which it was a part
    11
  • Fire Rating of Gypsum Board (2 of 2)
    • Underwriters Laboratory (UL) warns that its rating is not assigned to individual components
    11
  • Gypsum Board Installation —Deficiencies
    • Gypsum board commonly is nailed up over voids with a large or even infinite air supply behind it; ample air exists to fuel fires
    • Nail heads not properly cemented over
    • Joints not properly taped
    11
  • Protective Sheathing
    • Protects the combustible structure from a fire in the contents
    • A single hole can cause disaster
    • Any penetration allows the fire to spread to the structure, thus converting a contents fire to a structural fire
    11
  • Penetrations (1 of 2)
    • Failure to close the gypsum sheath around utilities
    • Failure to install the gypsum sheath behind the bathtub
    • Thin wood door casings are the only sheaths
    11
  • Penetrations (2 of 2)
    • Fire can ride the ventilation air flow in attics
    • Floors are easily penetrated downward by a fire with today’s fuels
    • Dangerous, hidden voids are prevalent in the rehabilitation of older buildings
    11
  • Protected Combustible Is Not Fire Resistive
    • NFPA 25/ASTM E119
    • The “fire resistive” characterization should be rejected
    • Even “protected combustible” is overly generous
    11
  • Firewalls/Barriers and Draft Stops
    • Firewalls are often used to separate units in multi-family residential structures
    • Primary defect involves not bringing a masonry firewall through the roof with a masonry parapet
    • Masonry typically not fitted tight enough to roof
    11
  • Overhangs or Mansards
    • Permitting them to project beyond the firewall is another defect in firewalls
    • This provides a gap for fire to pass around the end of the wall
    • Fire can pass around a firewall that ends at the interior of a combustible exterior wall
    11
  • Utilities
    • Often are passed through the firewall
    • Openings around pipes pass fire
    • Better to run utility mains parallel to the building with branches into each unit
    • Utility openings cut into firewalls are often unprotected
    11
  • Openings at the Basement Level
    • Provide access to storage and laundry areas
    • Usually designed and built with proper self-closing doors
    • Often, doors are blocked open
    11
  • Firewall as a Party Wall
    • Creates problems
    • Party walls often have beams or girders from both sides in the same opening
    • Common openings provide a path for fire extension
    11
  • Older Row-Frame Buildings
    • Often had brick laid in the party wall stud voids as a firewall
    • Barrier is incomplete
    • The brick nogging (brick and mortar filling between studs) does not block the floor or attic voids
    11
  • Firewalls/Barriers and Draft Stops
    • Are intended to limit the combustible void area in the attic to which the fire has access
    • Some barriers are now being made of two-inch gypsum plank
    • Cuts produce openings for fire access
    11
  • Effectiveness of the Fire Barrier
    • May range from temporarily reliable to totally useless
    • Never as good as a parapeted masonry firewall
    11
  • Defects in Fire Barriers and Draft Stops
    • Delaminated plywood
    • Barriers that do not extend out to the eaves but stop at the wall line
    • Omitted nail coverings and joint taping, and utilities or structural elements passing through
    11
  • Fire Barriers above the Mid-point of a Room
    • Both sides of the barrier are exposed to fire coming out the windows
    • Fire barrier is placed even if it doesn’t continue a fire separation below
    11
  • A Word about Sprinklers
    • Automatic sprinklers
      • Extinguish content fires
      • Rarely will control any fire that originates in, or extends to, the voids
      • NFPA 13R
    11
  • NFPA 13R Systems and Garden Apartments Complexes
    • Often share the same water main with the hydrants that are in the complex
    • Hooking to a hydrant can take water from the sprinkler system
    11
  • Serving the Citizens
    • Homeowners
      • Have personal property or homeowners’ insurance
    • Renters’ insurance
      • Too inexpensive to be actively sold
      • Renters suffer crushing financial blows
    11
  • Older Row Frame Buildings
    • Frame buildings often erected in rows
    • Structures are contiguous
    • Often have a common attic or cockloft
    • May have party walls
    11
  • Brick or Stone Nogging
    • Is a crude attempt at creating a fire barrier
    • Does not cut the floor voids or the cockloft
    • Served as a heat sink for warmth
    • Acts as additional hazard in a collapse
    11
  • Townhouses
    • New name for row house
    • Rarely does an adequate masonry firewall exist between the separate buildings
    • Without such a firewall, entire structure is all one building
    11
  • The Three Decker
    • Typically found in New England
    • Three-story flat-roofed structures with three apartment units
    • They have porches on each level
    11
  • Porches of Three Deckers
    • Play a critical role in fire spread
    • The porches offer a large surface area on which the fire can burn
    11
  • Atria 
    • A large open space within a structure connecting two or more floors
    • A large void that passes through multiple floors allowing smoke and heat to move vertically through the building
    11
  • Codes Requirements for Atria
    • Full sprinkler protection throughout the building
    • A smoke control system
    • Standby power for the building
    • Floor limited to “low” fire hazards
    • Up to three floors can be “open”
    11
  • Three Levels Open to the Atrium
    • Must be included in the calculations of the smoke control system design
    • Volume is included in the exhaust system
    • System must exhaust smoke from these areas
    • Designs often neglect to provide a means for exhausting these areas
    11
  • Smoke Control System
    • Activation is usually triggered by water flow and smoke detectors
    • Projected beam detectors can cover large areas with a single beam of light
    11
  • Sprinkler Protection
    • Usually straightforward in buildings with an atrium
    • Atrium and floors open to the atrium are zoned separately from the sprinklers in the rest of the building
    11
  • National Experience
    • Limited experience with actual fires in atria
    • Case example: In 1991, a fire occurred in the Polo Club high-rise in Denver
    • Case example: Grand Californian Hotel in Anaheim in 2005
    11
  • Churches and Synagogues
    • Open area structures
    • Large occupant loads
    • Holidays bring special concerns
    11
  • Older Churches
    • Sometimes have multiple levels of seating
    • Galleries surround the main sanctuary
    • Narrow stairs impede egress
    11
  • Stained Glass Windows
    • Valuable for ventilation
    • Invaluable in terms of cost and heritage
    11
  • Renovations
    • Cutting and welding operations, burning off old paint, and other construction activities have ignited numerous churches and synagogues
    • Case example: 1998 New York City Central Synagogue blaze
    11
  • Covered Mall Buildings
    • A single building enclosing a number of tenants
    • Anchor stores, large stores attached to the mall, have all of their required exits independent of the mall
    11
  • Recent Building Codes
    • Have allowed covered mall buildings to be of unlimited area
    • Predicated on the use of Type I, II, II, or IV construction and having 60 feet of open space around them
    11
  • Vertical Spread of Heat and Smoke in a Fire
    • Malls have the added problem of horizontal spread of heat/smoke
    • None of the tenant spaces have a fire-rated separation from the mall
    • Malls have large occupant loads
    11
  • Physical Separation Between Tenants
    • Must be fire-rated
    • Need not go to the floor/roof deck above
    • A roll down grille-type gate will allow smoke to move into the mall proper
    11
  • Fire Protection in Malls
    • Complete sprinkler protection
    • A smoke control system
    • A standpipe system
    • An emergency voice communications system
    • Standby power
    11
  • System Requirements
    • Require analysis during your preplanning
    • Sprinkler system often separately zoned for mall proper and tenant spaces
    • Feed main supplying the tenant spaces will run along the front of the store
    11
  • Standpipe System
    • Is a Class I system
    • Hose outlets in the mall at the entrance to each corridor and exit passageway
    • Outlets also at each floor level in stairwells and at exterior public entrances
    11
  • Smoke Control System
    • Similar to that of an atrium
    • Attempts to minimize horizontal movement of the smoke
    • Attempts to exhaust the smoke through the roof over the mall
    11
  • City Requirements
    • Some require a standardized lettering and numbering system
    • Letters designate blocks/rows of stores and numbers indicating particular tenants
    11
  • Factories
    • Production equipment can pose a safety risk to fire fighters
    • Hazards include large moving parts, confined spaces, and pressurized vessels
    • The weight of the machinery in a building on fire could cause a collapse
    11
  • The Building Itself
    • Circular stairwells
    • Ship’s ladders
    • Open loading docks, limited access (including lack of windows), and adjacent storage/warehouse areas
    11
  • Hazardous Materials Production and Storage
    • Storage includes the more familiar flammable and combustible liquids as well as more exotic substances
    • Pyrophoric gas is gas that ignites in air without the introduction of an ignition source
    11
  • Fire Codes
    • Hazardous materials management plan (HMMP)
    • Hazardous materials inventory statement (HMIS)
    11
  • Limits on Quantity
    • Codes specify types of hazardous materials that may be stored/used in a building
    • Exempt quantities are permitted
    • Exempt quantities are permitted in control areas
    11
  • When Amount Exceeds the Exempt Quantity
    • Numerous construction requirements apply
    • Special systems or building features will be required
    11
  • Explosives
    • Building codes require that they be handled in buildings with substantial fire-resistive construction
    • This restraint almost guarantees increased explosive destruction
    11
  • Buildings Housing Hazardous Processes
    • Used to be isolated and built of friable construction elements
    • A steel frame covered with an easy-to-replace material is another method
    • If an explosion occurred, the board became dust-like particles
    11
  • Special-Purpose Buildings
    • May be designed to channel the force of an internal explosion in a desired direction
    • Heavy walls can protect one transformer from an explosion in an adjacent transformer
    11
  • High-Rises
    • There are many definitions of high-rise buildings
      • International Conference on Fire Safety in High-Rise Buildings defined a high-rise as a building beyond the reach of aerial ladder equipment
      • Author Brannigan disagrees
    11
  • Fire Department Tactics
    • Preceding definition is acceptable and valid as applied to tactics
    • Other buildings which are not high rises, such as airport terminals and large shopping malls, present many of the same problems
    11
  • High-Rise Buildings: Potential Problems
    • Not just one single problem
    • Fire-significant construction differences exist among high-rises
    11
  • High-Rise Building Design
    • Usually designed to resist the effects of fire on the structural frame of the building and the floors
    • Whether the design concepts used are adequate to cope with all these possible effects is quite another matter
    11
  • General Classifications of High-Rise Buildings
    • Fire-resistive high-rise buildings have evolved over time
    • Buildings built during certain time frames tend to share some common characteristics
    11
  • Early Fire-Resistive Buildings, 1870–1930
    • There were no standards for the protection of steel
    • Cast iron columns and steel ties were often exposed
    • Terra cotta fireproofing was compromised.
    • Voids were created by wooden floors placed on piers
    11
  • Other Hazards in Early Fire-Resistive Buildings (1 of 2)
    • Segmental (curved) brick or tile arch floors were tied with exposed steel ties; often laid in an improvised manner
    • Segmental brick and tile arches were supplanted by terra cotta tile arches
    11
  • Other Hazards in Early Fire-Resistive Buildings (2 of 2)
    • No protection was provided for the underside of the steel beams
    • Other common hazards: high fire loads, poor masonry closures, inadequate standpipe systems
    11
  • Later High-Rise Building Construction, 1920–1940 (1 of 2)
    • Generally excellent buildings with typically low fire loads
    • Were universally of steel-framed construction
    • Floor construction and steel fireproofing were often concrete or tile.
    11
  • Later High-Rise Building Construction, 1920–1940 (2 of 2)
    • Small floor areas and each floor was a well-segregated fire area
    • Standpipe systems wet and pressurized
    11
  • Modern High-Rise Buildings (1 of 2)
    • Many floors have substantial areas beyond the reach of hand hose streams.
    • Reinforced concrete became a serious competitor to steel as a construction material
    • Necessity for fireproofing is an apparent cost disadvantage to steel
    11
  • Modern High-Rise Buildings (2 of 2)
    • Electrical services and communications systems have increased, along with flammable insulation
    • Steel-truss floor and ceiling assemblies provide useful voids for fire and smoke
    • Gypsum rather than masonry is often used to enclose elevator and other shafts
    11
  • General Problems and Hazards with High-Rises
    • Multiple problems can exist across buildings of different eras
    • Common issues to consider: exists, stairways (including accommodation and access stairs), possible areas for forcible entry, elevators, building occupancy
    11
  • Exits
    • Should provide a clear path to the outside
    • Model building codes have permitted 50% of exit stairwells to end in the building’s lobby
    • This arrangement is confusing to occupants
    • Case example: 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York
    11
  • Occupancy
    • Offices, hotels, apartments, homes for the elderly, factories, and showrooms are all different
    • Some buildings have mixed occupancies
    • Case example: Different standards applied to apartments versus office in same building
    11
  • Accommodation or Access Stairs
    • Access stairways are usually done as alterations and are rarely enclosed Result is two or more floors becoming one fire area
      • Case example: One Meridian Plaza fire
    • Duplex and triplex apartments often have no exits from the upper levels
    11
  • Forcible Entry
    • Building security (e.g., multiple locks) may make entry difficult
    • Common area for forcible entry: gypsum wallboard on studs
    • Reinforced masonry is difficult to breach
    • Stairways may be locked against re-entry; some codes require no more than four intervening floors between re-entry floors
    11
  • Elevators (1 of 2)
    • Extrication of trapped persons requires detailed knowledge
    • Hardened and robust elevators and shafts recently developed
    • Some elevators inaccessible to fire fighters
      • Case example: One Meridian Plaza fire
    11
  • Elevators (2 of 2)
    • Shaft and elevator door restrictors prevent opening from inside
      • Case example: World Trade Center, September 11, 2001
    11
  • Smoke Movement in High-Rise Buildings
    • Thermal Energy
      • Is the principal smoke-moving mechanism
      • Can be massive
      • Case example: MGM Grand Hotel fire in Las Vegas. The burning rate of the fuel was estimated at 3 tons per minute
    11
  • Atmospheric Conditions
    • Lapse is when the atmospheric temperature decreases as height increases
    • Pause occurs if there is a layer of air warmer than the air below it
    • Inversion layer acts as a roof to rising smoke
    11
  • Wind
    • If the windows are out and the fire is on the leeward side of the building, fire suppression may be “a piece of cake”
    • If the fire on the windward side of the building, it may be impossible to move into the fire floor
    11
  • Stack Effect (1 of 2)
    • The movement of air inside a tightly sealed building
    • Stack effect is not caused by a fire
    • Most significant in cold climates in the wintertime
    11
  • Stack Effect (2 of 2)
    • In winter: delivers smoke that has lost thermal energy to upper floors
    • In summer: makes cold smoke fall downward
    11
  • Air Conditioning
    • Individual room units
    • Single-floor systems
    • One or more building systems for the entire building
    • Modern systems have full-exhaust capability
    11
  • Smoke Removal Systems
    • Questions to ask
      • Will the fire department operate the system?
      • Will the building engineer operate it?
    11
  • Fire Control
    • Some say this can be accomplished by manipulating the air supply
    • There is no such thing as a clean-burning, hostile fire
    • In a fire, materials generate toxic and explosive gases
    11
  • Smoke Removal System Design
    • Design is an extremely complicated task
    • Can supplement the primary defense but it is certainly no substitute for adequate protection
    • Complex in larger buildings
    11
  • Compartmentation
    • Some assume that fire-resistive buildings automatically provide compartmentation
    • This may be case in older buildings, but modern buildings often have poor perimeter fire stopping and multiple penetrations for wiring
    11
  • Pressurized Stairways
    • One or more of the stairways equipped to be pressurized when fire occurs
    • Pressure differential will keep the stairways free of smoke
    • Occupants must be trained to use the proper stairway
    11
  • Installation of Special Equipment
    • Equipment designed to function in case of fire should be installed under the supervision of the fire department
    • Fire department should be familiar with its operation and supervise its testing and maintenance
    11
  • Fire Load and Flame Spread
    • Consider interior trim and contents
    • Fires can gain great headway in combustible trim
    • Case example: Multiple layers of wall coverings were a major factor in an Atlanta office building fire; 10 died
    11
  • Contents
    • The new flame spread problem
    • Case example: First Interstate Bank fire
    • Heavy fire loads may be found in special locations in high-rises
      • Heavy plastic loads
      • Wood paneling
      • Office supply areas; telephone rooms
    11
  • Maintenance Operations
    • Can provide unexpectedly serious fire loads
    • Case example: Union Bank Building fire in Los Angeles on July 18, 1988
    11
  • Rubbish
    • Often is concentrated in one location
    • Condition of material results in high heat release rate
    • Case example: A rubbish fire in an elevator
    • Case example: Seven people died when a fire roared 35 stories up a blocked trash chute
    11
  • Alterations to Occupied Buildings
    • Hazard exists when a building is altered or rehabilitated while occupied
    • Hotels and motels tend to store furniture and materials haphazardly during renovations
    • Case example: The disastrous Dupont Plaza Hotel fire in San Juan, Puerto Rico
    11
  • Partial Occupancy of Buildings Under Construction
    • Fire protection systems are not complete
    • Doors may not yet be installed on stairways and elevators
    • LPG may be used in some areas
    11
  • Automatic Sprinklers
    • Only method to limit toxic gases released in a fire
    • The argument against sprinklers is usually an economic one
    • The builder is creating the problem for profit. It is up to the builder to provide the solution
    11
  • Some Building Inventory Item Questions
    • What is the value of “fireproofing”?
    • Will ceiling tile failure permit partial collapse and open fire and smoke passage?
    • Will smoke and fire pass to voids above, via re-entrant space?
    • Are floor joints adequate firestops?
    11
  • Horizontal Containment Questions
    • Are there utility openings or underfloor openings such as for computer cables?
    • Have you considered penetration of relatively lightweight gypsum partitions as a substitute for forcible door entry?
    • Are there deficiencies of stair enclosures?
    11
  • Hospitals and Nursing Homes
    • Non-ambulatory people
      • Are individuals who are not capable of self-preservation
      • The building, the staff, and you must protect them
    11
  • Older Facilities
    • Many lacked sprinkler protection
    • Many have relied on passive protection
    • Case example: An unsprinklered hospital in San Antonio in the late 1980s
    11
  • Key to Patient Safety
    • Move them horizontally, rather than vertically
    • Smoke barriers are one-hour fire-rated walls that subdivide each floor into two or more separate areas
    11
  • “RACE”
    • R: Remove all people in immediate danger to safety
    • A: Activate the manual pull station and have someone call 911
    • C: Close doors to confine the spread of smoke and fire
    • E: Extinguish the fire, if possible
    11
  • Hotels and Motels (1 of 2)
    • Sites of many serious fires in last 75 years
    • The 1990 Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act
      • Encouraged improvements in fire safety for these facilities nationwide
      • Despite improvements, fires continue to occur
    11
  • Hotels and Motels (2 of 2)
    • In older motels, fire spread occurs through voids between the floors
    • In newer hotels, interior corridors are conduits for smoke travel
    11
  • Jails and Prisons (1 of 2)
    • Inmates
      • Are restrained and are incapable of getting out of the building to save their lives
      • They rely on prison staff and the building for their safety
    11
  • Jails and Prisons (2 of 2)
    • Run the gamut from old to new, big to small
    • Some use old technology, and some use new
    • Some have full sprinkler protection, whereas others have none
    11
  • Case Example: Jail Fire in Mitchell County, North Carolina
    • A recent fire in 2002 at the Mitchell County, North Carolina, jail killed eight inmates
    • This was a 1950s-era facility that required the manual opening of doors
    11
  • Starting of Fires
    • Some jail fires start accidentally, but others are intentionally set by the inmates
    • Several fires over the years have involved the use of polyurethane foam in a padded cell
    11
  • Questions to Ask
    • Does the building have a sprinkler or smoke control system?
    • Does it have smoke barriers?
    • Are the inmates evacuated from the building?
    11
  • Museums and Libraries
    • Recent fires
      • 1986 Los Angeles Library fire
      • Holocaust museum in Terre Haute, Indiana, in 2003
      • Biblical Arts Center Museum in Dallas in 2005
    11
  • Fire Suppression System
    • Not always available
    • Some institutions rejected sprinklers as causing too much water damage
    11
  • Life Safety
    • The primary concern of fire fighters
    • Many museums and libraries have magnetic door locks
    • These are illegal
    11
  • Preincident Plan
    • Will assist greatly when a fire occurs
    • Ensure that the plan includes salvage operation details
    11
  • Library Stacks
    • Libraries are the original high stack storage buildings
    • Large main libraries have multi-level stack areas
    • Guarantees the spread of fire and destruction of the books
    11
  • Nightclub Fires
    • Case examples:
      • 1942 Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston
      • 1990 Happyland Social Club arson fire in the Bronx, New York
      • 2003 fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island
    11
  • Within the Club
    • Patrons who are not fully aware of their surroundings
    • Clubs are often overcrowded
    • Locked egress doors complete the potential for a disaster
    11
  • Old, Worn-Out Structures
    • Many clubs are located in such structures
    • Many of these existing clubs are not required to retrofit sprinklers
    11
  • Office Buildings
    • Come in the five types of construction
    • Are large and small
    • Are high-rise or low-rise
    • Now built in the open­office plan
    11
  • Fire Spread
    • Fire in a compartmentalized space is much different than a fire in an open office plan
    • Case example: One Meridian Plaza high-rise fire in Philadelphia
    • Case example: Denver fire fighter killed in low-rise office building
    11
  • Open Area Structures
    • Construction: often of wood, or with an exposed wood plank roof
    • Such a building should be fully sprinklered
    • Objection to sprinklers in a decorative wood structure is understandable
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  • Non-Sprinklered Building
    • Try to keep out the kindling
    • Minimize the minor light combustible structures or elements that can ignite the whole building
    • Small structures should have sprinkler protection
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  • Parking Garages
    • May be partially or totally above grade and open to the atmosphere
    • All garage areas under buildings should be sprinklered
    • Dry standpipes mean it will be slow to get water to the nozzles of your hose lines
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  • Restaurants
    • Common fire location is in the kitchen
    • Model building codes do not require a fire-rated separation between the kitchen and the dining area
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  • Cooking Hood Extinguishing Systems
    • Author Corbett’s experience with them has not been all positive
    • Several of the systems have failed
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  • Preincident Planning
    • Note location of the utilities
    • Make note of the use of propane
    • Case example: The use of propane in a New Jersey shore restaurant where patrons were forced to break windows to escape the fire
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  • Schools: Building Code Regulations (1 of 2)
    • Shaped by the 1958 Our Lady of Angels fire in Chicago
    • Led to better and more frequent fire drills
    • Led to lower and more accessible windows for escape
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  • Schools: Building Code Regulations (2 of 2)
    • Also led to:
      • Abatement of open stairwells
      • Alarm systems
      • Fire-rated corridor and doors
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  • Unique Features of Schools
    • Corridor widths are much larger than normal
    • Egress systems may be unusual
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  • Potential Issues
    • Corridor lengths are particularly long
    • Note special hazards such as woodworking and machine shops
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  • Single Family Homes
    • The California Bungalow
      • Popular all across the country
      • Often there is no ridge beam in these homes
      • The attic often contains a high fire load of stored materials
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  • The Cape Cod
    • 1 ½-story home with a steep pitched roof
    • Is a platform-framed structure
    • Stairway to the second floor is near the front door
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  • The Ranch House
    • Open interiors, large attics, and extended overhangs
    • Spaced close together
    • Often, there is a failure to place a detector in the attic
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  • The Split Level
    • Top level usually contains the bedrooms
    • The middle level, the dining room, living room, and kitchen
    • The lower level, the recreation room and laundry room
    • Platform-framed
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  • The Victorian
    • Significant amounts of ornamentation
    • Steep pitched roofs
    • Balloon frame construction
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  • Taxpayers and Strip Malls
    • Taxpayers
      • Often of ordinary (Type III) construction
      • Commonly one story in height with full or partial basements and common cocklofts or attic spaces
      • Usually limited to 6 to 10 small stores
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  • Fire Spread in Taxpayers
    • Is typically through the cockloft above all of the stores
    • Movement of the structure below can cause the parapet to fall
    • Hazards include the steel plates on the roof
    • Rotted wood floors also dangerous
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  • Strip Mall Characteristics
    • Construction varies (may be Type II, III or V)
    • Nearly all are one story
    • May or may not have basements; often have common cockloft or attic spaces
    • 15 to 20 small stores and a large anchor store or two
    • Greater store depth than in taxpayers
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  • Strip Mall Surroundings
    • Parking lot can be helpful, but also can be detrimental
    • Private hydrants must usually be used
    • Delivery truck driveway may be poorly maintained
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  • Occupancy Types
    • Variety of tenants
    • Variety of hazards
    • Fire-rated separation
    • Fire walls
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  • Structural Fire Resistance
    • Increase the allowable area by increasing the fire resistance of the structural members
    • “Fireproof” the steel by applying a fire-resistive coating
    • Large nightclubs require a higher level of structural fire resistance
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  • Sprinkler Systems
    • Some building codes require automatic sprinklers for retail sales rooms larger than 12,000 square feet
    • Others require sprinklers for mercantile fire areas larger than 12,000 square feet
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  • Facts to Know about Sprinkler Systems (1 of 2)
    • The areas of the strip mall that are sprinklered
    • Whether the system provides complete protection
    • The type of system—wet or dry
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  • Facts to Know about Sprinkler Systems (2 of 2)
    • The location(s) of the main riser control valve(s)
    • The location of the fire department connection and the areas of the building it supplies
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  • Utilities
    • Most modern strip malls have multiple utility meters/cutoffs
    • The meters/cutoffs should be identified by “suite” number
    • Note the location of the utility meter bank in your preincident plan
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  • Forcing Entry
    • How you will gain access through the front and rear doors?
    • Roll-down metal shutters
    • Rear doors may have metal bars
    • During your preincident visits, make sure doors are identified by number
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  • Firefighting Considerations
    • Fire can spread readily from tenant space to tenant space
      • A roof of solid wood joists
      • A strip mall with steel bar-joists and a built-up roof
      • Fires in wood truss voids
    • You must get ahead of the fire
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  • Theaters
    • Stages and Platforms
      • Stage has a proscenium arch and wall, hanging curtains, drops, and scenery; lighting; and support rooms
      • Platform is a raised area in a building where there are only lighting and sound effects
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  • Requirements for Stages (1 of 2)
    • More extensive fire protection requirements than platforms
    • A fire-resistant proscenium curtain
    • Flame-resistant scenery
    • Heat vents over the stage
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  • Requirements for Stages (2 of 2)
    • Two-hour-rated separations between the stage and appurtenant rooms
    • Sprinkler protection
    • Class III standpipe
    • Case example: 1903 fire in the Iroquois Theater in Chicago
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  • Warehouses (1 of 2)
    • Huge concentrations of fuel
    • Tremendous dollar values
    • Few employees per unit of area
    • Failure to segregate extra-hazardous materials such as flammable liquids
    • Failure to raise the bottom layer of stock above the floor
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  • Warehouses (2 of 2)
    • Vulnerability to arson
    • Failure of management to give attention
    • Inadequate fire protection, either in initial design or in maintenance
    • High rack storage
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  • Pallets
    • Lift truck allows stock to stacked on pallets
    • Pallet storage system provides as much as 36 times the surface area as boxes stacked solid
    • Idle pallet storage is dangerous
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  • Shelving
    • Creates miniature floors
    • Case example: An estimated $14 million loss occurred in a rack storage warehouse in Kernersville, North Carolina, in March 1981
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  • NFPA 13: Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems
    • Fire Department Connection (FDC) used to be optional
    • NFPA 13 now requires the connection except for systems of 20 sprinklers or less
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  • Modern Rack Storage Warehouses
    • Now found across the country
    • Noncombustible construction
    • The size can be unlimited
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  • Merchandise
    • Handled by mechanical equipment
    • Operation is fully or partially automated
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  • Rack Storage Warehouse Fire Resistance
    • Like a multi-storied building without the fire resistance provided by even the poorest floor
    • Early suppression fast response (ESFR) sprinklers can suppress a fire without in-rack sprinklers
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  • Dry Storage of Boats
    • Special type of rack storage warehouse
    • Stacks boats several levels high in open or partially enclosed rack structures
    • Boats are of combustible fiberglass, and many contain fuel
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  • Warehouse Concerns
    • Modern contents of warehouses are increasingly higher-hazard materials
    • Automatic sprinkler systems that are adequate for the job as installed can be defeated by changes in the operation and storage patterns of the warehouse
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  • The Building
    • If a building is concrete, it is inherently noncombustible
    • Building is not inherently fire resistive
    • Concrete T-beam roofs
    • Conventional metal deck built-up roof
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  • Static Defenses: Fire Walls and Fire Doors (1 of 2)
    • Fire walls in steel structures
      • Probably are not free standing
      • Offer passive fire protection as long as no openings exist
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  • Static Defenses: Fire Walls and Fire Doors (2 of 2)
    • Solid masonry wall parapeted through the roof is the most dependable fire barrier, but may be decorative or pierced
    • Combined elements may not function together effectively
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  • Dynamic Defenses: Automatic Sprinkler Protection
    • Unparalleled record of suppression or control of incipient fires
    • Record cannot be taken as an indication of what can happen in a high or dense storage warehouse
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  • Failure in a Sprinkler System
    • Early distortion and collapse of the steel roof from which the sprinkler system is suspended
    • Exacerbated by the exposure presented by a fire in stored pallets
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  • Fire Hazards Growing
    • Fixed oscillating nozzles may be used
    • Such systems used for large lumber piles and refineries
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  • Foam System Protection
    • Some sprinkler systems deliver low expansion foam
    • Used for flammable liquid fires
    • Case use: The Chicago Tribune’s rolled-paper warehouse
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  • Attitudes: Management
    • Unlikely that management is fully familiar with the details of serious fires
    • Case example: Smithsonian Institution
    • Case example: Warehouses holding what they were not designed to hold
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  • Fire Department Actions
    • Initial planning and plan review
    • Inspection of construction
    • Routine and special inspections
    • Regular liaison with the warehouse manager
    • Adequate planning for fire suppression
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  • Preplanning
    • Liaison officer disseminates information to all who should have it
    • Warehouse manager should designate a specific senior subordinate to maintain relationship with the fire department liaison officer
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  • On the Fire Ground
    • Watch for these collapses or failures
      • Combustible metal deck roof fires
      • Pretensioned concrete T-beams
      • Truss roof
      • Connections of heavy timber roof
      • Tilt-slab walls, outward and inward
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  • Racks
    • May be erected across the openings at the far end of aisles
    • May make dead-end aisles
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  • Fire Fighter Access Doors
    • Should be every 100 feet in a high-piled stock warehouse
    • The doors should be opened/forced early in the fire to provide emergency egress for fire fighters
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  • Solid Rack Shelves
    • Garment making generates huge amounts of combustible scraps
    • Case example: Triangle Shirtwaist fire (New York, 1912)
    • Misunderstanding about unsprinklered shelving
    • Sprinkler spray blocked by shelves
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  • Ventilation
    • Better to close up the building and let the sprinklers do the job, or to vent it and attempt a combined attack?
    • Case example: Smoke removal fans for a fire in a walk-in dumpster
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  • Handline Operations
    • “Follow the hose back to safety if lost”
    • Hose line fed from an interior hose outlet is not a lifeline
    • If interior outlets are used, lifelines should be strung to the exterior from the outlet
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  • Personal Safety
    • All planning should place the safety of fire fighters first
    • No one else is going to take care of it
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  • Summary (1 of 3)
    • Occupancy influences building construction
    • Combustible multiple dwellings include garden apartments, modern row and townhouses and similar structures
    • Hospitals and nursing homes have numerous non-ambulatory people
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  • Summary (2 of 3)
    • Jail and prison inmates rely on staff and fire fighters for evacuation
    • Houses of worship span the five basic types of construction and can present a myriad of challenges for fire fighters
    • Office buildings can be built using any of the five types of construction
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  • Summary (3 of 3)
    • Nightclubs are typically overcrowded and occupant judgment may be impaired
    • Warehouse rack storage has brought major fire problems to Anyplace, USA
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