Archives for pre-fire-planning
- What can you access from this street view of this building, it’s occupancy risks and structural and collapse profile?
- What type of strategies and tactics would you employ upon the first due with a report of a fire in the building?
A large warehouse fire in a 211,000 SF complex resulted from from a transformer explosion this morning at the Wix Distribution Center in Gastonia, NC. The building complex was a former textile mill and was built in 1917.
Published report indicate that more than 60 firefighters operated at the scene to control the fire.
It was reported that Fire Chief Phillip Welch stated firefighters started fighting the fires inside the building after the transformer explosion occurred, but it quickly got out of control.“There was an aggressive attack inside, but just because of the storage fight, we were not able to overcome that nor was the sprinkler system,” Welch said.
Considerations and Thoughts
- How prepared is your department for a large scale fire in a large footprint warehouse?
- Have you completed pre-fire plans, walk through tours and table top exercises for the key at risk buildings or complexes?
- Do you know what the sustained water flow requirements might be for a heavily or fully involved complex or building?
- Practices and honed your skills on establishing and managing a complex, multi-operatonal period incident?
- Have you looked at creating box alarms or pre-arranged greater alarm response and resource requests?
- Have you trained with the departments, jurisdictions and companies that might respond?
- Do you have strategies and tactics identified and have you trained on them for operations in large scale buildings? Don’t implment and treat the incident like you would a residential or small commercial fire….
- Respect the building and predict with conservative decision-making
- Manage and expect compromise and collapse, rapid fire extention and operational challenges to fixed suppression systems and protectivies
- Don’t over extend companies while attmtping to operate in the interior: These are typcially closed building ( lack of immedate exiting capabilties) with a special need for air management and accountability and access control.
All bowstring trusses are not created equal and do not share the same characteristics when found in a building and occupancy.
There are significant differences in terminology when referring to them and tactics that should be employed on the fireground- and yes there are prominent differences between east coast and west coast types and tactics.
Do you know what they are?
- The Heavy Timber Bowstring Truss,
- Arch-Rib Bowstring Truss,
- Laminate Cord Bowstring Truss,
- Lattice Bowstring Truss,
- Easybow Truss,
- Mack Truss,
- Summerbell Bowstring Truss,
- Mono-chord Bowstring Truss
- Duo-Chord Bowstring Truss,
- Segmental Multi-Cord Bowstring Truss,
- Tension Rod Bowstring Truss,
- Bowstring Arch Truss,
- Bowstring K-Truss,
- Split-Ring Bowstring Truss…..to name a few.
We’ll be posting lots more on this on CommandSafety.com as well as expanded coverage on Buildingsonfire.com …. Stay Tuned
Identifying, Establishing and Managing Collapse Zones
I mentioned in a recent post about on-going research and recommendations being developed for a significant report.
- Are you up to speed with criteria for recognizing pre and post collapse indicators?
- Do you have SOP/SOGs for collapse OPS?
At a minimum:
Based on building type, height, materials of construction and type of projected collapse type – the potential for materials to travel beyond the CMZ is probable and should be assessed.
Safety Officers MUST maintain control to restrict access and to ensure companies are aware of potential for secondary collapse of compromised building features, assemblies or materials.
Maintain an acute high level of Situational Awareness, know your surroundings and don’t get tunnel vision on your task assignment.
Great footage from Birmingham, AL at a three-alarm fire in a vacant building at 1811 1st Avene North with the peel away collapse of the upper wall on the Delta Division. Screenshot of collapse below with video link…
“It’s a lot more than just Stretching the Line…and going in….”
Taking it the Streets: Reading the Building
Here’s a simple view from the Alpha street side. I’ll give you the options as to what you’re arrive on or as…Reading the Building requires numerous layers of knowledge and skill based attributes to develop the perspective to “read your buildings” differently.
Arriving companies and personnel at a structure fire need to be able to rapidly and accurately identify key elements of a building, process that data based upon a widening field of variables present on today’s evolving fireground and implement timely actions that address prioritized actions requiring intervention.
Deterministic fireground models for size-up and suppression have to give way to a more expandable stochastic model of assessment. Key to this is having a broad and well developed foundation of building knowledge.
Let’s identify the building type, age, key features based on its profile, inherent characteristics, projected performance, roof system, perimeter walls, hazards, risks..etc. What is the Occupancy Type and Occupancy Risk?
There is a wealth of information you can talk about-IF you know what to look for. Start the dialog. I’ll post interior views in 48 hours.
- Check out the dialog and interaction on Buildingsonfire on Facebook.
- I’ve cross posted to allow for some robust discussions. Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.
Can you Read this building correctly? Or will your view have an adverse affect on operations if you misjudged or just didn’t know or care…just because ” you wanted to just stretch in and do the job-right?”
New for 2013: Reading the Building: Predictive Profiling for the Modern Fireground. An engaging and interactive Training Seminar addressing the Challenges of Today’s Evolving Fireground.
Today’s evolving fireground demands greater insights and an increased understanding of buildings, occupancy risk profiling (ORP) and building anatomy. Recently there has been a movement that has categorized buildings into two groups: engineered and legacy construction.
I strongly believe this is far too limiting and restrictive which is resulting in missed opportunities to develop further insights into other building systems and occupancy risk profiling. In order to refine categories that provide corresponding values related to inherent construction features, systems, collapse and comprise, performance characteristics, fire integrity, resistance etc., the following building anatomy categories are suggested and promoted:
- Integrated Hybrid Systems
- 2002- current …
- Composite Engineered Systems
- 2010 – current …
Give some thought to the time spans and the types of buildings at would compromise each group. I’ll post an upcoming article with expanded narrative on each…..
USFA Releases Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2008-2010) Report “Other unintentionally set, careless” actions and “smoking” are the leading causes
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) issued a special report today examining the characteristics of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings. The report, Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2008-2010) was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and is based on 2008 to 2010 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).
According to the report:
- Ninety-two percent of all civilian fatalities in residential building fires involve thermal burns and smoke inhalation.
- The leading specific location where civilian fire fatalities occur in residential buildings is the bedroom (55 percent).
- Fifty percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings occur between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. This period also accounts for 47 percent of fatal fires.
- Thirty-six percent of fire victims in residential buildings were trying to escape at the time of their deaths; an additional 35 percent were sleeping.
- “Other unintentionally set, careless” actions and “smoking” (each accounting for 16 percent) are the leading causes of fatal residential building fires.
- Approximately 44 percent of civilian fatalities in residential building fires are between the ages of 40 and 69.
- Thirteen percent of the fire fatalities in residential buildings were less than 10 years old.
Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2008-2010) is part of the Topical Fire Report Series. Topical reports explore facets of the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in NFIRS.
Each topical report briefly addresses the nature of the specific fire or fire-related topic, highlights important findings from the data, and may suggest other resources to consider for further information. Also included are recent examples of fire incidents that demonstrate some of the issues addressed in the report or that put the report topic in context.
REPORT DOWNLOAD: Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2008-2010)
News and Features
- Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2008-2010)
- USFA Releases 2010 Fire Estimates
- Trends in Fire Death Rates: 2004-2008
Residential Fire Trends
Click charts below to enlarge.
2008 State Fire Death Rates
|State||Fire Death Rate|
|District of Columbia||32.2|
Fire in the United States
This report provides a statistical overview of fires in the United States and is designed to equip the fire service and others with information that motivates corrective action, sets priorities, targets specific fire programs, serves as a model for State and local analyses of fire data, and provides a baseline for evaluating programs.
Wind Driven Fires
Wind blowing into the broken window of a room on fire can turn a “routine room and contents fire” into a floor-to-ceiling firestorm. Historically, this has led to a significant number of firefighter fatalities and injuries, particularly in high-rise buildings where the fire must be fought from the interior of the structure.
Wind-Driven Fire in a Ranch-Style House in Texas, 2009
On April 12, 2009, a fire in a one-story ranch home in Texas claimed the lives of two fire fighters. (NIOSH REPORT HERE) Sustained high winds occurred during the incident. The winds caused a rapid change in the dynamics of the fire after the failure of a large section of glass in the rear of the house.
Wind Driven Fire in Home, Texas, 2009. Aerial view of damage to the structure. Photo credit: Houston Fire Department.
NIST performed computer simulations of the fire using the Fire Dynamic Simulator (FDS) and Smokeview, a visualization tool, to provide insight on the fire development and thermal conditions that may have existed in the residence during the fire.
The FDS simulation that best represents the witnessed fire conditions indicates that the fire that spread throughout the attic and first floor developed a wind driven flow with temperatures in excess of 260 °C (500 °F) between the den and front door. The critical event in this fire was the creation of a wind-driven flow path between the upwind side of the structure and the exit point on the downwind side of the structure, the front door. The flow path was created by the failure of a large span of windows in the den, in the rear of the structure. Floor-to-ceiling temperatures rapidly increased in the flow path where multiple crews were performing interior operations. In a simulation that excluded wind, the flow path was not created, and the thermal environment surrounding the location of interior operations was improved.
Still image from FDS simulation. Temperatures at 1.5 m (5 ft) above the floor throughout the house 10 s after solarium failure. Image credit: NIST.
Wind has been recognized as a contributing factor to fire spread in wildland fires and large-area conflagrations and wildland fire fighters are trained to account for the wind in their tactics. While structural fire departments have recognized the impact of wind on fires, in general, the standard operating guidelines for structural fire fighting have not changed to address the hazards created by a wind driven fire inside a structure. The results of the “no-wind” and “wind” fire simulations demonstrate how wind conditions can rapidly change the thermal environment from tenable to untenable for fire fighters working in a single-story residential structure fire.
The simulation results emphasize the importance of including wind conditions in the scene size-up before beginning and while performing fire fighting operations and adjusting tactics based on the wind conditions. These results are in agreement with NIST studies conducted to examine wind driven fire conditions in high-rise structures.
Based on the analysis of this fire incident and results from previous studies, adjusting fire fighting tactics to account for wind conditions in structural fire fighting is critical to enhancing the safety and the effectiveness of fire fighters. Previous studies demonstrated that applying water from the exterior, into the upwind side of the structure can have a significant impact on controlling the fire prior to beginning interior operations. It should be made clear that in a wind-driven fire, it is most important to use the wind to your advantage and attack the fire from the upwind side of the structure, especially if the upwind side is the burned side. Interior operations need to be aware of potentially rapidly changing conditions.
See full report, Simulation of the Dynamics of a Wind-Driven Fire in a Ranch-Style House – Texas (NIST TN 1729, January 2012)
|F2009-11||Apr 12, 2009||Career probationary fire fighter and captain die as a result of rapid fire progression in a wind-driven residential structure fire – Texas|
Career Probationary Fire Fighter and Captain Die as a Result of Rapid Fire Progression in a Wind-Driven Residential Structure Fire – Texas
Shortly after midnight on Sunday, April 12, 2009, a 30-year old male career probationary fire fighter and a 50-year old male career captain were killed when they were trapped by rapid fire progression in a wind-driven residential structure fire. The victims were members of the first arriving company and initiated fast attack offensive interior operations through the front entrance. Less than six minutes after arriving on-scene, the victims became disoriented as high winds pushed the rapidly growing fire through the den and living room areas where interior crews were operating. Seven other fire fighters were driven from the structure but the two victims were unable to escape. Rescue operations were immediately initiated but had to be suspended as conditions deteriorated. The victims were located and removed from the structure approximately 40 minutes after they arrived on location.
Key contributing factors identified in this investigation include: an inadequate size-up prior to committing to tactical operations; lack of understanding of fire behavior and fire dynamics; fire in a void space burning in a ventilation controlled regime; high winds; uncoordinated tactical operations, in particular fire control and tactical ventilation; failure to protect the means of egress with a backup hose line; inadequate fireground communications; and failure to react appropriately to deteriorating conditions.
NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should:
- ensure that an adequate initial size-up and risk assessment of the incident scene is conducted before beginning interior fire fighting operations
- ensure that fire fighters and officers have a sound understanding of fire behavior and the ability to recognize indicators of fire development and the potential for extreme fire behavior (such as smoke color, velocity, density, visible fire, heat)
- ensure that fire fighters are trained to recognize the potential impact of windy conditions on fire behavior and implement appropriate tactics to mitigate the potential hazards of wind-driven fire
- ensure that fire fighters understand the influence of ventilation on fire behavior and effectively apply ventilation and fire control tactics in a coordinated manner
- ensure that fire fighters and officers understand the capabilities and limitations of thermal imaging cameras (TIC) and that a TIC is used as part of the size-up process
- ensure that fire fighters are trained to check for fire in overhead voids upon entry and as charged hoselines are advanced
- develop, implement and enforce a detailed Mayday Doctrine to insure that fire fighters can effectively declare a Mayday
- ensure fire fighters are trained in fireground survival procedures
- ensure all fire fighters on the fire ground are equipped with radios capable of communicating with the Incident Commander and Dispatch
Additionally, research and standard setting organizations should:
- conduct research to more fully characterize the thermal performance of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) facepiece lens materials and other personal protective equipment (PPE) components to ensure SCBA and PPE provide an appropriate level of protection.
- Although there is no evidence that the following recommendation could have specifically prevented the fatalities, NIOSH investigators recommend that fire departments:
- ensure that all fire fighters recognize the capabilities and limitations of their personal protective equipment when operating in high temperature environments.
Take a moment to look back at an incident: On December 18, 1998, Three FDNY Firefighters died in-the line of duty while conducting suppression and rescue operations at fire on the tenth floor of 10-story high-rise apartment building for the elderly. At 0454 hours Brooklyn transmitted box 4080 for a top floor fire at 17 Vandalia Avenue in the Starrett City development complex. The sprawling complex is located on Brooklyn’s south shore in the Spring Creek section. The 10 story 50 x 200 fireproof building is used as a senior citizen’s residence. Engine 257 and ladder 170, both quartered in Canarsie, were assigned 1st due and arrived within 4 minutes. By that time the fire already could be seen blowing through two windows. Second and 3rd alarms were quickly transmitted.
As the 1st due Ladder Company, L170′s duty is to search the fire floor. Lieutenant Joseph Cavalieri, and fire fighters Christopher Bopp and James Bohan ascended 10 flights of stairs with extinguishers and forcible entry tools. Their mission was to rescue the resident of apartment 10-D who was believed trapped inside.
NIOSH INVESIGATIVE REPORT SUMMARY (F99-01) On December 18, 1998, several fire companies and fire fighters responded at 0454 hours to a reported fire on the tenth floor of a 10-story high-rise apartment building for the elderly. The fire had been burning for 20 to 30 minutes before it was called in because the resident attempted to put the fire out with small pans of water. As the fire fighters approached the building from the rear, an orange glow was observed in the window of Apartment 10D. As the fire fighters were arriving in front of the high-rise, a call was received from Central Dispatch that a female resident in the apartment next door to the fire apartment was trapped in her apartment and needed help. Several fire fighters entered the lobby area, and some took the stairs to the ninth floor, while others took the elevator to the ninth floor. A Lieutenant and two fire fighters on Ladder 170 (the victims), along with the Lieutenant on Engine 290, took the B-stairs from the ninth floor to the tenth floor, and entered the hallway, in search of the fire, while 4 fire fighters on Engine 290 were flaking out the hose line on the ninth floor and in the stairwell between the ninth and tenth floor in preparation for hookup.
During this same time period, other fire fighters had gone to the tenth floor A-stairwell landing to attempt a hose line hookup to the standpipe in the landing. Engine Company 257 fire fighters, who were attempting to make a hook-up on the fire floor landing, experienced trouble with the heat, heavy smoke, and heavy insulation on the standpipe and were forced to abandon this hook-up. The Lieutenant on Engine 290 and the victims, who were on the B-side, were approaching the center smoke doors (see diagram), when the Lieutenant radioed his driver on the outside, and asked, “Where is the fire?”
The driver radioed back, the fire is in the rear, towards exposure 4. The Lieutenant on Engine 290 then left the tenth floor, descended the stairs to the ninth floor and helped his men drag the hose to the A-stairwell, where they met up with fire fighters on Engine 257, who assisted them in stretching their line and hook-up on the ninth floor. The victims proceeded through the center smoke doors in search of the fire. From the information obtained during this investigation, it is believed the victims found the fire apartment, with the door partially opened, allowing smoke and hot gases to enter the hallway. They then opened the door fully, the wind pushed the fire and extreme heat in the apartment into the hallway, and a flashover occurred, exposing the victims to extreme radiant heat that potentially elevated their body core temperature.
The last radio transmission from the victims was a Mayday call. When the victims were found, all were unresponsive, they were treated at the scene and taken to the hospital where they were pronounced dead by the attending physician.
This wind-driven fire event and the lessons-learned contributed directly to the current body of research and new insights on emerging strategies and tactics. The NIOSH Investigative Report HERE. NIST References on Wind Driven Fire Research HERE . FDNewYork.com HERE. New York Times Archived Articles, HERE and HERE. Photos and legacy, HERE
Take the time to remember FDNY Lt. Joseph Cavaleiri, FF Christopher Bopp and Firefighter James Bohan from Ladder 170
High-rise fires cause quarter billion dollars of property damage a year
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is reporting that in 2005-2009, there were an average of 15,700 reported structure fires in high-rise buildings per year with an associated $235 million in direct property damage.
The report, “High-Rise Building Fires,” (PDF, 499 KB) cites apartments, hotels, offices, and facilities that care for sick as accounting for roughly half of all high-rise fires. Structure fires in these four property classes resulted in $99 million in direct property damage per year.
There is a downward trend in high-rise fires. In the last few decades, a range of special provisions have migrated into the codes and standards for tall buildings.
Other findings from the report:
- In 2005-2009, high-rise fires claimed the lives of 53 civilians and injured 546 others, per year.
- The risks of fire, fire death, and direct property damage due to fire tend to be lower in high-rise buildings than in shorter buildings of the same property use.
- An estimated three percent of all 2005-2009 reported structure fires were in high-rise buildings.
- Usage of wet pipe sprinklers and fire detection equipment is higher in high-rise buildings than in other buildings of the same property use.Most high-rise building fires begin on floors no higher than the 6th story. The risk of a fire is greater on the lower floors for apartments, hotels and motels, and facilities that care for the sick, but greater on the upper floors for office buildings.
In 2005-2009, an estimated 15,700 reported high-rise structure fires per year resulted in associated losses of 53 civilian deaths, 546 civilian injuries, and $235 million in direct property damage per year. An estimated 2.6% of all 2005-2009 reported structure fires were in high-rise buildings.
The trends in high-rise fires and associated losses (inflation-adjusted for property damage) are clearly down, but the sharp post-1998 reduction appears to be mostly due to the change to NFIRS Version 5.0, which is shifting estimates to lower levels that also appear to be more accurate.
Four property classes account for roughly half of high-rise fires: apartments, hotels, facilities that care for the sick, and offices. In 2005-2009, in these four property classes combined, there were 7,800 reported high-rise structure fires per year and associated losses of 30 civilian deaths, 352 civilian injuries, and $99 million in direct property damage per year. The property damage average is inflated by the influence of one 2008 hotel fire, whose $100 million loss projected to nearly $40 million a year in the analysis.
The report emphasizes these four property classes.
Some other property uses – such as stores and restaurants – may represent only a single floor in a tall building primarily devoted to other uses. Some property uses – such as grain elevators and factories – can be as tall as a high-rise building but without a large number of separate floors or stories.
- For these reasons, the four property use groups listed above define most of the buildings we think of as high-rise buildings, and their fires come closest to defining what we think of as the high-rise building fire problem.
- By most measures of loss, the risks of fire and of associated fire loss are lower in highrise buildings than in other buildings of the same property loss.
- This statement applies to risk of fire, civilian fire deaths, civilian fire injuries, and direct property damage due to fire, relative to housing units, for apartments, and risk of fire for hotels, offices, and facilities that care for the sick.
The usage of wet pipe sprinklers and fire detection equipment is higher in high-rise buildings than in other buildings, for each property use group. Even so, considering the extensive requirements in NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code, for fire and life safety features in both new and existing high-rise buildings, it seems clear that there are still major gaps, particularly in adoption and enforcement of the provisions requiring retrofit of automatic sprinkler systems and other life safety systems in existing high-rise buildings. NFPA 1®,Fire Code, has sprinkler retrofit requirements.
This has implications for public officials and ordinary citizens in any city. Public officials should make sure that the latest editions of NFPA 1®, Fire Code, and NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code, are in place and that the codes they have are supported by effective code enforcement provisions, including plan review and inspection processes, both for new construction and for continued supervision of code compliance in existing buildings.
The public can take responsibility for their own safety by insisting that their public officials take these steps. As in so many areas of fire safety, we know what to do, but we still need to do it.
The trend had been toward a smaller share of fires being reported each year as occurring in buildings with fire-resistive construction, both for high-rise and other buildings, with the decline being most dramatic in facilities that care for the sick.
- This statistical decline could reflect any or all of the following:
- (a) a shift in construction between the two types permitted by codes, from Type I (442 or 332) construction, which is coded as fire-resistive, to Type II (222) construction, which is coded as protected non-combustible;
- (b) a shift to acceptable alternative designs using more sprinklers and less fire-resistive construction; or
- (c) enough success in containing fires that a rising fraction never are reported to fire departments, because the fires are caught and controlled so early by occupants.
Most high-rise building fires begin on floors no higher than the 6th story. The fraction of 2005-
2009 high-rise fires that began on the 7th floor or higher was 32% for apartments, 22% for hotels and motels, 21% for facilities that care for the sick, and 39% for office buildings. The risk of a fire start is greater on the lower floors for apartments, hotels and motels, and facilities that care for the sick, but greater on the upper floors for office buildings.
- High-rise apartments have a slightly larger share of their fires originating in means of egress than do their shorter counterparts (4% vs. 3%).
- The same is true of hotels (7% vs. 5%) and facilities that care for the sick (6% vs. 4%).
- In offices (4% vs. 6%), the differences in percentages are in the opposite direction, which means that high-rise buildings in those properties have a smaller share of their fires originating in means of egress.
- In all four property classes, the differences are so small that one can say there is no evidence that high-rise buildings have a bigger problem with fires starting in means of egress.
U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) issued the 2010 Fire Estimate Summary Series which presents basic information on the size and status of the fire problem in the United States as depicted through data collected in USFA’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). The data summary series was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and is further evidence of FEMA’s commitment to sharing information with the American public, fire departments, and first responders around the country to help them keep their communities safe.
Direct Links to the USFA:
Information from the USFA web site, HERE
U.S. Fire Administration Fire Estimates
Fire Estimate Summaries present basic data on the size and status of the fire problem in the United States as depicted through data collected in the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). Each Fire Estimate Summary addresses the size of the specific fire or fire-related issue and highlights important trends in the data.1
Residential Building Estimates
Definition of Residential Building
A structure is a constructed item of which a building is one type.
The term residential structure commonly refers to buildings where people live. To coincide with this concept, the definition of a residential structure fire includes only those fires confined to an enclosed building or fixed portable or mobile structure with a residential property use.
Such fires are referred to as residential buildings to distinguish these buildings from other structures on residential properties that may include fences, sheds, and other uninhabitable structures.
- Residential buildings include, but are not limited to one- or two-family dwellings, multifamily dwellings, manufactured housing, boarding houses or residential hotels, commercial hotels, college dormitories, and sorority/fraternity houses.
Fire Estimate Summaries of Residential Building Fire Trends and Causes (2010)
Residential Building Fires (2006-2010)
Residential Building National Estimates (2003-2010)
- Residential Building National Estimates by Property Use (XLSX, 12 Kb)
This spreadsheet contains overall residential building estimates and estimates by property use.
- Residential Building National Estimates by Property Use and Cause (XLSX, 31 Kb)
This spreadsheet contains overall residential building estimates for fires, deaths, injuries, and dollar loss by property use and fire cause.
Nonresidential Building Estimates
Definition of Nonresidential Building
Nonresidential buildings are a subset of nonresidential structures and refer to buildings on nonresidential properties. Buildings include enclosed structures, subway terminals, underground buildings, and fixed portable or mobile structures.
- The term nonresidential buildings refers to those nonresidential structures that are enclosed.
- Nonresidential buildings include assembly, eating and drinking establishments, educational facilities, stores, offices, basic industry, manufacturing, storage, detached garages, outside properties, and other nonpermanent residential buildings.
- The term nonresidential also includes institutional properties such as prisons, nursing homes, juvenile care facilities, and hospitals, though many people may reside there for short (or long) durations of time.
Fire Estimate Summaries of Nonresidential Building Fire Trends and Causes (2010)
Nonresidential Building Fires (2006-2010)
Nonresidential Building National Estimates (2003-2010)
- Nonresidential Building National Estimates by Property Use (XLSX, 17 Kb)
This spreadsheet contains overall nonresidential building estimates and estimates for fires, deaths, injuries, and dollar loss by property use.
- Nonresidential Building National Estimates by Property Use and Cause (XLSX, 36 Kb)
This spreadsheet contains overall nonresidential building estimates for fires and dollar loss by property use and fire cause.
1 Fire Estimate Summaries are based on the USFA’s national estimates methodology. The USFA is committed to providing the best and most current information on the United States’ fire problem and, as a result, continually examines its data and methodology. Because of this commitment, changes to data collection strategies and estimate methodologies occur, causing estimates to change slightly over time. Previous estimates on specific issues (or similar issues) may have been a result of different methodologies or data definitions used and may not be directly comparable to current estimates.
- National Fire Protection Association Estimates
- USFA Residential and Nonresidential Fire Estimate Summaries, 2003-2009 (ZIP, 3.8 Mb – This archive contains files in PDF and XLSX formats.)
- USFA Residential and Nonresidential Fire Estimate Summaries, 2003-2008 (ZIP, 3.8 Mb – This archive contains files in PDF and XLSX formats.)
Links of Interest
- National Fire Protection Association
- World Fire Statistics Centre
- National Center for Health Statistics
- National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
Click charts below to enlarge.
Residential Building Fire Trends: Fires & Deaths
Residential Building Fire Trends: Injuries & Dollar Loss
Residential Building Fires: Causes Of Fires & Deaths
Residential Building Fires: Causes Of Injuries & Dollar Loss
Nonresidential Building Fire Trends: Fires & Deaths
Nonresidential Building Fire Trends: Injuries & Dollar Loss
Nonresidential Building Fires: Causes Of Fires & Dollar Loss
Today December 3, 2011 marks the 12th anniversary of the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire that resulted in the line of duty death of six courages brother firefighters.
For those of you who remember this event, take the time to reflect and honor the sacrifice made this day; to those of you who have not heard about the fire before- take the time to learn about the incident, the firefighters, the building, the operational factors and challenges, the courage, fortitude and convictions that define the American Fire Service, it’s honor, tradition and brotherhood.
The Worcester Six;
- Firefighter Paul Brotherton Rescue 1
- Firefighter Jeremiah Lucey Rescue 1
- Lieutenant Thomas Spencer Ladder 2
- Firefighter Timothy Jackson Ladder 2
- Firefighter James Lyons Engine 3
- Firefighter Joseph McGuirk Engine
On Friday, December 3, 1999, at 1813 hours, the Worcester, Massachusetts Fire Department dispatched Box 1438 for 266 Franklin Street, the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. A motorist had spotted smoke coming from the roof while driving on an adjacent elevated highway. The original building was constructed in 1906, contained another 43,000 square feet. Both were 6 stories above grade. The building was known to be abandoned for over 10 years.
- From last year’s posting and links here at CommandSafety.com: HERE
Los Angeles Firefighters Battle Major Emergency at Townhouses Under Construction
Under-construction building fire forces dozens of evacuations
A townhouse complex under construction caught fire on November 10, 2011, in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles (CA). The six-unit, wood-framed complex was in its construction phase, where at least two of the units were fully involved in fire upon arrival of LAFD companies. Four of those six structures were severely damaged as a result of the construction stage and the degree of open wood frame construction resulting in rapid flame spread and extension to a nearby residential buildings.
According to published reports, the Los Angeles Fire Department was called at 3:37 a.m. to 12315 Gorham Avenue which resulted in a major emergency alarm classification decared and resulted in the dispatch and deployment of over 160 firefighters to the site. First arriving companies found a large townhome development with “heavy fire showing.”
Largely due to an aggressive fire attack by the LAFD, the footprint of this blaze was kept in-check and fully extinguished in one hour and 39 minutes. Fortunately, there were no injuries to any civilians or Firefighting personnel.
Additionally, five adjacent structures were evacuated for precaution. Two of those structures- one, a small apartment complex and the other, a single family dwelling, did sustain significant fire damage. As many as 10 families were displaced from those two occupancies.
Following further investigation, the LAFD stated it believed the fire was intentionally set.
According to LAFD.Blogspot.com the following companies were dispatched with Units: E19 RA19 E237 E37 T37 RA37 EM9 BC9 E59 E261 T61 E26 E292 T92 E71 E269 T69 E62 E263 T63 E43 DC3 SQ21 EM14 BC18 BC10 BC4 BC11 BC14 T88 E288 E88 UR88 RA88 RA827 BC5 E63 H6 RA59 RA92 RA71 EM11 E290 AR2 E94 E226 T26 E93 E210 T10 E15 T66 E266 RT59 EA2 EA1 E229 T29 E203 T3 E233 T33 E68 RA17 RA909 RA867 EM17 AR9 AR17 AR11 AR3 T29 E229 T94 E294 E3 E12
Construction Site Operational Considerations (not inclusive)
- Pre-Fire Plan Large Construction Projects
- Understand the various Phases to a Construction Project and how they affect fire operations
- Identify and train for nonconventional Strategic and Tactical operational actions
- Ensure predetermined multiple alarm resources are identified and greater alarms are established
- Train your Company and Command Officers to address Construction site fires
- Maintain an appropriate risk profile balance with operational needs with personnel safety foremost
- Clearly establish multiple Safety Offices and establish geographical resources within the incident management system for reconnaissance, communications, and oversight and focused safety monitoring
- Know you water supply and system capabilities and limitations
- Determine fire flow needs based upon construction phases, as these change over time as the building goes up. Match fire flow demands with resource availability (time of day gaps etc.)
- Identify exposures (Physical structures and Civilians) and ensure they are calculated into the incident action plan at the right before there are identified needs or concerns
- Companies shall maintain a conservative safety posture; this is not the time for overly aggressive firefighting, it is the time for smart firefighting that can be highly efficient
- Always consider collapse zones: partial or complete. Stay out of them!
- Respect the wind; it’s not going to help you
- Consider current and projected weather conditions in your operational and tactical plans and assignments
- Did I already say: Pre-fire Planning?
- Be calculated in the placement of your apparatus, especially in larger scale incidents that are defined under greater geographical divisions
- The fire usually consumes the available fuel load rapidly; going from a Huge fire, to one that is sometimes much more manageable; just watch and control your exposures and degree of fire extension. Don’t help to make the fire even bigger through ineffective and dysfunctional command and control
- Anticipate, Project, Plan and Engage
- Respect the Fire: it’s not going to play by the regular rules of combat fire suppression and engagement as in finished and enclosed structures and buildings.
View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.
View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.
Refer to Construction Site Fire: Three Alarm Fire: Apartment Complex under Construction ignites October, 2011 LA County (FD) CA HERE
Bing Mapping, HERE
View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.
NFPA releases state-level fire service needs assessment for every U.S. state. Findings based on Third Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service with comparisons to earlier studies
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released a fire service needs assessment for each state based on findings from the Third Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service, a study that looked at the current needs of America’s fire departments as compared to those identified in assessments done in 2001 and 2005. The goal of the project was to identify major gaps in the needs of the U.S. fire service and to determine if the Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (DHS/FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) programs are continuing to reduce the needs of fire departments.
The report looked at personnel and their capabilities, including staffing, training, certification, and wellness/fitness; facilities and apparatus; personal protective equipment, fire prevention and code enforcement; the ability to handle unusually challenging incidents; and communications and new technologies.
- Nearly half (46 percent) of all fire departments that are responsible for structural firefighting have not formally trained all their personnel involved in structural firefighting, down from 55 percent in 2001 and 53 percent in 2005.
- Seven out of ten (70 percent) fire departments have no program to maintain basic firefighter fitness and health, down from 80 percent in 2001 and 76 percent in 2005.
- Nearly half (46 percent) of all fire department engines and pumpers were at least 15 years old, down from 51 percent in 2001 and 50 percent in 2005.
- Half (52 percent) of all fire departments cannot equip all firefighters on a shift with self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), down from 70 percent in 2001 and 60 percent in 2005.
- Two out of five (39 percent) fire departments do not have enough personal alert safety system devices (PASS) to equip all emergency responders on a shift, down from 62 percent in 2001 and 48 percent in 2005.
- Except for cities protecting at least 250,000 population, most cities do not assign at least four career firefighters to an engine or pumper and so are probably not in compliance with NFPA 1710, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments, which requires a minimum of four firefighters on an engine or pumper.
Third Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service conducted by NFPA concluded:
- Needs have declined to a considerable degree in a number of areas, particularly personal protective and firefighting equipment, two types of resources that received the largest shares of funding from the AFG programs.
- Some innovative technologies that have not been identified as necessary in existing standards but are known to be very useful to today’s fire service – including Internet access and thermal imaging cameras – have also seen large increases in use.
- Declines in needs have been more modest in some other important areas, such as training, which have received much smaller shares of AFG funds.
- Still other areas of need, such as apparatus, stations, and the staffing required to support the stations, have seen either limited reductions in need (e.g., apparatus needs in rural areas) or no reductions at all (e.g., adequacy of stations and personnel to meet standards and other guidance on speed and size of response).
- Fire prevention and code enforcement needs have shown no clear improvement over the past decade.
- In all areas emphasized by the AFG and SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grants, there is ample evidence of impact from the grants but also considerable residual need still to be addressed, even for needs that have seen considerable need-reduction in the past decade.
- There has been little change in the ability of departments, using only local resources, to handle certain types of unusually challenging incidents, including two types of homeland security scenarios (structural collapse and chem/bio agent attack) and two types of large-scale emergency responses (a wildland/urban interface fire and a developing major flood).
The full report and state reports are available at www.nfpa.org/needsassessment.
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Web Site, HERE
- NFPA 1710: Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments, 2010 Edition, Order HERE
NFPA has conducted a series of national surveys to identify the needs of the fire service for resources required to safely and effectively carry out their responsibilities. The surveys indicated the resources fire departments had, while NFPA codes and standards and other national guidance documents defined the requirements. The gaps between resources in hand and resources required defined the needs.
These reports look at personnel and their capabilities, including staffing, training, certification, and wellness/fitness; facilities and apparatus; personal protective equipment; fire prevention and code enforcement; the ability to handle unusually challenging incidents; and communications and new technologies.
All three studies began with requests from Congress, and the first two studies were conducted with and sponsored by the U.S. Fire Administration and its parent agencies.
A Third Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service (PDF, 1 MB)
June 2011. 216 pages
Updated study examining the needs of the U.S. fire service in such areas as training, certification, personnel, apparatus, equipment, and fire prevention, with particular attention to homeland security type incidents.
The following are state-level reports based on the findings in each of NFPA’s needs assessment reports.
From the NFPA Web site, link above
Four Years Later – A Second Needs Assessment of the U.S.Fire Service (PDF, 4 MB)
Department of Homeland Security, USFA, and NFPA, October 2006. 159 pages
Updated assessment of needs of U.S. fire service in such areas as training, certification, personnel, apparatus, equipment, and fire prevention, with particular attention to homeland security type incidents.
Also see: Download an errata for this report. (PDF, 16 KB)
Matching Assistance to Firefighters Grants to the Reported Needs of the U.S.Fire Service (PDF, 2 MB)
Department of Homeland Security, USFA, and NFPA, October 2006. 41 pages
Analysis of whether grants requested and received have addressed reported needs, by type of need, and whether popular types of grants have resulted in significant change in the overall national level of need.
A Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service (PDF, 1 MB)
FEMA, USFA, and NFPA, December 2002. 160 pages
A comprehensive study done by FEMA, USFA and NFPA examining the needs and response capabilities of the U.S. fire service. Among the factors examined are personnel and their capabilities; fire prevention and code enforcement; stations, apparatus and equipment; and the ability to handle unusually challenging incidents. Results are reported by nationwide and community size.
Also see: “Underfunded, Understaffed, and Undertrained”: Read NFPA President Jim Shannon’s and others’ reactions to the study in an NFPA Journal® Special Report (March/April 2003)
Ten Minutes in the Street: “Rubbish Fire- Fill the Box”
This special weekend edition of Ten Minutes in the Street TM is being offered on CommandSafety.com and is taking advantage of a training video produced by the LAFD in 2009 that involved a basis initial dispatch to a report of a rubbish fire that escalates into two structure fires and resulted in multiple alarm operations.
Take the opportunity to view the video clip and stop at various hold points to discuss and dialog operational considerations and issues affecting strategic command level management as well as tactical company level operational and safety issues.
Consider operational factors that would affect your organization profile and resources. Take the time to entertain open dialog and discussions in a group setting. Deliberate and debate the operational issues, roles and responsibilities, safety considerations, as well as tactical deployment demands and incident priorities.
This version of “On the Fireground” uses live fire footage and talking points to illustrate some lessons learned at a recent fire incident in South Los Angeles.
In this week's issue of the National Fire Fighter's Near-Miss Reporting System's Report of the Week (ROTW) an informative focus was provided on near-miss reports related to ceiling collapse. We're posting the ROTW alert in it's entirety below and are expanding upon this discussion to include materials previously posted on Buildingsonfire.com from the posts that surrounded the LAFD LODD of Firefighter Glenn L. Allen who was killed in the line of duty as a result of being trapped beneath rubble when the roof and ceiling collapsed during a blaze at a 12,000-square-foot mansion in the Hollywood Hills on Feb. 17, 2011. (HERE and HERE)
Included in that reporting was expanded information on gypsum wall board ceiling systems. If you don't know about the National Fire Fighter's Near-Miss Reporting System and the Report of the Week (ROTW) follow these links HERE , HERE and HERE. More importantly, get involved and post some of your current OR past near-miss experiences and close calls, so the fire service can learn and everyone can go home. www.firefighternearmiss.com. Check out the extensive resources and materials avaiable on the site to support your training and operational needs.
From the NMRS & ROTW;
The collapse of a ceiling is one of the more disorienting situations a firefighter can face. Sixty near-miss reports are returned when the keyword "ceiling collapse" is typed into the text box on www.firefighternearmiss.com. Each of these accounts provides lessons on the value of heightened situational awareness, correct use of PPE, rigorous training, and recognizing the effect of fire on building materials. The National Fire Fighter's Near-Miss Reporting System'ss Report of the Week (ROTW) featured report this week, 11-025, recounts one example.
"Our station was dispatched for a residential structure fire and we responded with two engines and four on-duty personnel… The near-miss happened about 30 minutes into the fire and there were two hoselines in place. One hoseline was on the second floor and one hoseline was on the first floor. Most of the fire was extinguished and overhaul was in progress. There were three members of my crew pulling ceiling to reach hot spots. The lieutenant stated to be careful because the floor above was moving when pulling down on overhead material. The firefighter and the lieutenant continued to pull down the ceiling. This is when the second floor collapsed down into the first floor and the room that we were in…"
The overhead world of a fire scene is fraught with hazards. Many of the hazards we can dispassionately discuss at the kitchen table, but seem to overlook when we are engaged in firefighting. Electrical wiring, telecommunication cables, structural support systems and storage are all elements hidden behind the drywall. Whether you are looking up at a ceiling that covers an attic or an upper floor, shoving your hook through the drywall is usually a benign act that simply pulls down a section of sheetrock to expose the hidden area above. However, it can also be a catastrophic act that brings down an entrapment hazard that has you fighting for survival.
Once you have read the entire account of 11-025, and the related reports, consider the following:
- Before ceiling pulling begins, is there an assessment of the structural stability and review of what might be behind the drywall before the first piece is removed?
- Do you and your crews observe best practices when pulling ceilings (i.e., starting at the doorway and working into the room, noting the location of structural members through visual notation of nails, "shadowing" or "ghosting" of studs, etc.) before pulling ceilings?
- Do you consider limiting the number of personnel in a room when ceilings and walls are being pulled?
- Who is responsible for ensuring utilities have been controlled before pulling ceilings and walls? How is utility control documented and confirmed before ceiling pulling begins?
- What is the likelihood that the space above the ceiling you are pulling is being used for storage? If storage is noted, can you determine what effect pulling down the ceiling will have on the structural members resisting the weight of the storage?
Overhaul activities occur during a transitional time in the firefighting process. The adrenaline and effort of the fire attack begins to fade, but there is still enough pent up energy that some members of the crews are propelled from one action to another without an assessment of conditions. The thinking officer and crew make periodic assessments, or benchmarks, to ensure the incident reality still matches the company's perception.
Have you escaped a ceiling collapse due to exceptional vigilance? Have you ever gotten caught in a ceiling collapse? Submit your report to www.firefighternearmiss.com today so everyone goes home tomorrow.
Note: The questions posed above from the NFFNMRS-ROTW by the reviewers are designed to generate discussion and thought in the name of promoting firefighter safety. They are not intended to pass judgment on the actions and performance of individuals in the reports.
The recent events in Los Angeles and the line of duty death of veteran LAFD Firefighter Glenn Allen who died Friday from injuries he sustained when a ceiling collapsed on him in a house fire late Wednesday night in the Hollywood Hills again gives us pause to reflect on the demands and hazards present at all fire suppression operations in buildings on fire. The past two months have borne consist reports of floor, roof, wall and ceiling collapses leading to firefighter injuries and line of duty deaths.
The importance of maintaining heightened situational awareness, identifying and monitoring suspected or inherent building construction hazards coupled with inherent occupancy risk factors, and aligning those with strategic objectives, incident actions plans and tactical deployment operations. Building Knowledge equating to firefighter safety is still a driving principle that is formulative to all firefighting operations in buildings, occupancies and structures. Let’s take this opportunity to gain some insights into the material that compromises nearly all wall and ceiling membrane systems and assemblies in nearly all buildings, occupancies and structures; that is gypsum board components.
I’ve included a number of video clips that center on our discussion, as the videos center on the operation parameters at this extremely large (floor area/square footage) residential occupancy. Most clips have good coverage of the structure and firefighting efforts. Take a few moments to review these clips before you proceed;
Gypsum board is the generic name for a family of panel-type products consisting of a noncombustible core, primarily of gypsum, with a paper surfacing on the face, back, and long edges.
In 1888, Augustine Sackett used plaster of Paris sandwiched between several layers of paper to produce what would eventually become "Sackett Board," the original gypsum board. By the 1950s, many innovations in gypsum board technology had been developed, including the listing of many fire-resistance rated designs, rounded edges, specialized nails, curved partitions, studless partitions, sound control systems, lightweight gypsum lath, plaster, and gypsum board systems that fueled a boom period for the use of gypsum products in both the residential and commercial construction industries.
By 1955, an estimated 50 percent of new homes were built using gypsum wallboard. Lightweight gypsum board systems permitted the use of lightweight steel in steel framed buildings, which enabled the widespread growth of high-rise residential and commercial construction during the 1960s and 1970s.
Today gypsum board, along with a variety of other gypsum panel products, continues to serve as a preferred building material in both residential and commercial construction for interior walls and ceilings, exterior sheathing, fire-resistant partitions and membranes, and liner material for elevator shafts and stairwells. These properties make gypsum board well suited for building and space types requiring cost-effectiveness as well as fire resistiveness and maintainability.
Gypsum board is often called drywall, wallboard, or plasterboard and differs from products such as plywood, hardboard, and fiberboard, because of its noncombustible core. It is designed to provide a monolithic surface when joints and fastener heads are covered with a joint treatment system.
Gypsum is a mineral found in sedimentary rock formations in a crystalline form known as calcium sulfate dehydrate. One hundred pounds of gypsum rock contains approximately 21 pounds (or 10 quarts) of chemically combined water. Gypsum rock is mined or quarried and then crushed. The crushed rock is then ground into a fine powder and heated to about 350 degrees F, driving off three fourths of the chemically combined water in a process called calcining. The calcined gypsum (or hemihydrate) is then used as the base for gypsum plaster, gypsum board and other gypsum products.
To produce gypsum board, the calcined gypsum is mixed with water and additives to form a slurry which is fed between continuous layers of paper on a board machine. As the board moves down a conveyer line, the calcium sulfate recrystallizes or rehydrates, reverting to its original rock state. The paper becomes chemically and mechanically bonded to the core. The board is then cut to length and conveyed through dryers to remove any free moisture.
Gypsum manufacturers also rely increasingly on “synthetic” gypsum as an effective alternative to natural gypsum ore. Synthetic gypsum is a byproduct primarily from the desulfurization of the flue gases in fossil-fueled power plants. Gypsum board is an excellent fire resistive material. It is the most commonly used interior finish where fire resistance classifications are required. Its noncombustible core contains chemically combined water which, under high heat, is slowly released as steam, effectively retarding heat transfer. Even after complete calcination, when all the water has been released, it continues to act as a heat insulating barrier. In addition, tests conducted in accordance with ASTM E 84 show that gypsum board has a low flame spread index and smoke density index. When installed in combination with other materials it serves to effectively protect building elements from fire for prescribed time periods.
Developed through modern technology as a result of specific requirements, gypsum board is mainly used as the surface layer of interior walls and ceilings; as a base for ceramic, plastic, and metal tile; for exterior soffits; for elevator and other shaft enclosures; as area separation walls between occupancies; and to provide fire protection to structural elements. Most gypsum board is available with aluminum foil backing which provides an effective vapor retarder for exterior walls when applied with the foil surface against the framing.
Standard size gypsum boards are 4ft. wide and 8, 10, 12, or 14 ft. long. The width is compatible with the standard framing of studs or joists spaced 16 in. and 24 in. on center. Some thicknesses and types of gypsum board are also produced as a standard 54 in. width material. Other lengths and widths are available as special order materials.
- Depending on thickness and type of gypsum board, the weight can vary from 2 – 4 lbs./ per square foot
- A typical 4 ft. x 8 ft. sheet of 5/8-in gypsum board can weigh 96 lbs.
- A 4ft. x 12ft. sheet can weigh upwards of 150 lbs.
- In large span designs with attachments varying from 16 inches on center to 24 inches on center with z-strips or resilient channels attached to the structural members; these ceiling panels and assemblies can fail and collapse in a monolithic manner creating a significant safety concern to operating companies below.
- As an example a 12ft x 12ft. monolithic assembly collapse ( single layer-gypsum board only) could have a collapse weight of 500 lbs.
- Add the weight of compromised and attached structural members components, fixtures and insulation and the absorption of added water into the gypsum board from hose streams the combined weight of the collapse area may increase to 800-1000 lbs. Increase the size of the collapse area and the weight impacting operating companies is significant.
The various thicknesses of gypsum board available in regular, type X, improved type X and pre-decorated board are as follows:
- ¼-in. A low cost gypsum board used as a base in a multi-layer application for improving sound control, or to cover existing walls and ceilings in remodeling.
- 5/16-in. A gypsum board used in manufactured housing.
- 3/8-in. A gypsum board principally applied in a double-layer system over wood framing and as a face layer in repair or remodeling.
- ½-in. Generally used as a single-layer wall and ceiling material in residential work and in double-layer systems for greater sound and fire ratings.
- 5/8-in. Used in quality single-layer and double-layer wall systems. The greater thickness provides additional fire resistance, higher rigidity, and better impact resistance.
- ¾-in. Used in a similar manner to 5/8-in.
- 1 in. Used in interior partitions, shaft walls, stairwells, chaseways, area separation walls and corridor ceilings. Manufactured only in 24 in. wide panels and usually installed as an integral part of a system.
Depending on the type and the use, gypsum board is manufactured with a tapered, square, beveled, rounded, or tongue and groove edge. Some gypsum board types may incorporate a combination of different edge types. The fire resistance of gypsum board can be described using three distinct terms: regular core, type ‘X’ core and improved type ‘X’ core.
Regular core gypsum board is made of a noncombustible core material composed mainly of gypsum. Although it does not have the specially enhanced fire-resistive properties of type ‘X’, regular core gypsum board affords a degree of natural fire resistance.
In the 1940s different gypsum board formulations were investigated to increase the naturally occurring fire resistance of regular core gypsum board. A new product was eventually introduced that clearly demonstrated “eXtra” fire resistance, hence the name “type X.” The basic components of type ‘X’ that give it a superior fire resistance are gypsum, glass fibers, and vermiculite.
In the 1960s, further modifications were made to the original successful type ‘X’ formulations of gypsum board used in some systems – particularly ceiling systems – without compromising the fire-resistive qualities. The new product demonstrates additional fire resistance over type ‘X’ core, and thus the term “improved type X” was coined. Gypsum board products make up the predominant portion of a family of materials identified as gypsum panel products. Gypsum panel products are defined as sheet materials consisting essentially of gypsum. They can be faced with paper or another material, or may be unfaced. Gypsum board, glass-faced sheathing materials with a gypsum core and unfaced gypsum-based products are all considered to be gypsum panel products. Technically, gypsum board is defined as the generic name for a family of sheet products consisting of a noncombustible core, primarily of gypsum, with a paper surfacing on the face, back, and long edges. In recent years the family of gypsum-based panel materials has grown to include panel products other than those with the familiar paper facers. A number of specialized gypsum panel products and gypsum boards have been developed for specific uses which include:
- Gypsum Wallboard for interior walls and ceilings
- Gypsum Ceiling Board for interior ceilings
- Type X Gypsum Board for fire-resistance-rated building systems
- Fiber Reinforced Gypsum Panels for interior and exterior walls, ceilings, and tile base
- Gypsum Sheathing for exterior walls and roof systems
- Glass Mat Gypsum Substrate for use as sheathing on exterior walls and ceilings
- Gypsum Soffit Board for use on exterior soffits and ceilings
- Water-Resistant Gypsum Backing Board for use as a tile base
- Glass Mat Water-Resistant Gypsum Backing Board for use as a tile base
- Gypsum Backing Board for use as a base for multi-ply systems
- Gypsum Lath for use as a base for gypsum plaster
- Gypsum Plaster Base for use as a base for veneer plaster
- Gypsum Shaft Liner Board for shaft, stairway, and duct enclosures
- Pre-decorated Gypsum Board for accent walls, office and movable partitions
- Foil backed gypsum board for use as a vapor retardent
Identified by their technically correct names, gypsum board products are as follows: Gypsum Wallboard is produced primarily for use as an interior surfacing for buildings. It is the most often used commodity gypsum board and annually accounts for over 50 percent of all the gypsum board manufactured and sold in North America. Gypsum wallboard has a manila-colored face paper and is manufactured in a variety of thicknesses as both a regular- and a fire-resistant core material.
Gypsum Ceiling Board is an interior surfacing material with the same physical appearance as gypsum wallboard. Gypsum ceiling board is manufactured as a ½-inch thick material; it is designed for application on interior ceilings, primarily those intended to receive a water-based texture finish. It has a sag resistance equal to 5/8-inch thick gypsum wallboard.
Predecorated Gypsum Board has a decorative surface which does not require further treatment. The surfaces may be coated or painted, printed, textured, or have a film – such as vinyl wallcovering – applied. It is manufactured in a variety of thicknesses as both a regular- and a fire-resistant core material.
Water-resistant Gypsum Board is a gypsum board designed for use on walls primarily as a base for the application of ceramic or plastic tile. It is readily identified by its green-tinted face paper and is commonly referred to as “Greenboard.” It has a water-resistant core and a water-repellent face and back paper; it is generally installed in bath, kitchen, and laundry areas.
Gypsum Backing Board, Gypsum Coreboard, and Gypsum Shaftliner Panel are all designed to be used as base materials in multi-layer, solid and semi-solid, and shaftwall systems. Gypsum backing board is used as a base layer for other gypsum board materials in systems or as a base for dry claddings such as acoustic tile. Gypsum coreboard and gypsum shaftliner are manufactured with a type X core, using a specific edge configuration to facilitate installation into specialized stud systems and a type X core.
Exterior Gypsum Soffit Board is designed for use on the underside of eaves, canopies, carports, soffits, and other horizontal exterior surfaces that are indirectly exposed to the weather. It has water-repellent face and back paper and is more sag-resistant than regular wallboard. Exterior gypsum soffit board can be manufactured with a type X core and typically has a light brown face paper.
Gypsum Sheathing Board is used as a backing under exterior siding or cladding. It has a water-repellent face and back paper and can be manufactured with a water-resistant core. Depending on the thickness of the board, gypsum sheathing board is manufactured with either a square or a tongue-and-groove edge and a fire-resistive core. It generally has a brown or light black face paper.
Gypsum Base for Veneer Plaster has a distinctive blue-tinted face paper that is treated to facilitate the adhesion of thin coats of hard, high strength gypsum veneer plaster. It is produced in sheets that are the same width as gypsum wallboard and can be manufactured with a fire-resistive core. Application of Gypsum Board
A wide variety of gypsum board application methods are available to meet virtually any need in building design and construction. Gypsum board is applied in either single-layer or multi-layer systems to achieve specific fire or sound ratings. Gypsum board is applied over wood or steel framing or furring. It is also applied to masonry or concrete surfaces, either laminated directly or attached to wood furring strips or steel furring channels. Gypsum board ceilings can be directly attached to joists or trusses or attached to furring or grid systems suspended below structural members. Gypsum board is generally attached to the framing with nails, screws, or staples. Although nails are commonly used in wood frame construction, screws are often preferred because they are applied with automatic screw guns, have excellent holding power, and reduce the possibility of nail pops. A combination of nails and screws may also be used, with nails along edges and screws in the field. Staples are used because they are economical and can be quickly applied with staple guns; however, the use of staples should be limited to the base-layer in multi-layer systems or to gypsum sheathing on wood framing. Gypsum board wall and ceiling surfaces are typically decorated with paint, texture, wallpaper, tile, or paneling. When pre-decorated gypsum board is used, joints are generally covered with matching molding or battens; no additional finishing or decoration is necessary. Single-Layer Application
- Single-layer gypsum board applications are the most common in light commercial and in residential construction.
- These systems rely on one layer of gypsum board attached to framing or furring.
- Although single-layer gypsum board systems are generally adequate to meet most minimum requirements for fire resistance and sound control, multi-layer systems are preferred for higher quality construction and to upgrade beyond the "bare minimums" of many code requirements.
- Multi-layer systems have two or more layers of gypsum board and are used to meet higher sound and fire resistance requirements or to enhance these comfort and safety qualities beyond minimum code requirements.
- They also provide better surface quality because face layers can often be laminated over base layers eliminating many or all of the fasteners in the face layer. In addition, face-layer joints are stronger by virtue of the continuous backing provided by the base layers.
- Nail pops and ridging are less frequent and imperfectly aligned framing has less effect on the quality of the finished surface.
GYPSUM BOARD TYPICAL MECHANICAL AND PHYSICAL PROPERTIES (GA-235-10) A common misconception is that there are just two basic types of drywall—regular and type X—and beyond this difference, drywall products from various manufacturers are about the same. However, laboratory fire tests by United States Gypsum Company and various independent testing organizations provide strong evidence that there are significant fire-performance differences between drywall products from various manufacturers. It is well known in the construction industry that the single most important characteristic of gypsum drywall is its fire resistance. This is provided by the principal raw material used in its manufacture, CaSO4- 2H2O (gypsum). As the chemical formula shows, gypsum contains chemically combined water (about 50% by volume). When gypsum drywall panels are exposed to fire, the heat converts a portion of the combined water to steam. The heat energy that converts water to steam is thus used up, keeping the opposite side of the gypsum panel cool as long as there is water left in the gypsum, or until the gypsum panel is breached.
- In the case of regular gypsum panels, as the water is driven off by heat, the reduction in volume within the gypsum causes large cracks to form, eventually causing the panel to fail.
- In a special fire test designed to demonstrate the relative performance of different types of gypsum cores (described later in this section), it was shown that in a fire with a temperature of 1,850ºF, a 5/8" thickness of regular-core gypsum panels would fail in this manner in 10 to 15 minutes.
- Type X gypsum panels, such as Sheetrock brand Firecode gypsum panels, have glass fibers mixed with the gypsum to reinforce the core of the panels.
- These fibers have the effect of reducing the extent of and size of the cracks that form as the water is driven off, thereby extending the length of time the gypsum panel can resist the heat without failure.
- Fire test results indicate that the same thickness of the type X gypsum drywall exposed to the same temperature (1,850ºF) will last 45 to 60 minutes.
USG has developed a third-generation gypsum drywall product called Sheetrock brand Firecode C gypsum panels that provides even greater resistance to the heat of fire. The core of Firecode C contains more glass fibers than type X—but also a shrinkage-compensating additive, a form of vermiculite that expands in the presence of heat at about the same rate as the gypsum in the core shrinks (from loss of water). Thus the core becomes highly stable in the presence of fire and remains intact even after the combined water is driven off. Tests have shown that this third-generation product resisted the fire for more than two hours, as compared to 45 to 60 minutes for the type X, and 10 to 15minutes for the regular panel under the same test conditions.
In a future posting we’ll discuss the issues facing the fire service related to the newest generation of impact resistant gypsum board that will restrict or preclude entirely our ability to breach walls in residential or commercial occupancies. Here are some links and Spec Sheets to look at in advance, HERE , HERE, HERE and HERE
References and Links Summarizing the many different types of gypsum board used in the industry, this quick reference gives typical uses of, and the ASTM and CSA standards for, each type. Also included is the appropriate industry standard designation for the installation of each type of gypsum board, along with the sizes and thicknesses generally available. Download
APPLICATION OF GYPSUM SHEATHING (GA-253-07)
This publication describes the industry's latest recommendations for handling, storing, and installing gypsum sheathing under a variety of conditions. A must for anyone hanging gypsum sheathing or involved in EIFS work. Download
FIRE-RESISTANT GYPSUM SHEATHING (GA-254-07)
This publication describes the advantages, recommended uses, limitations, and properties of gypsum sheathing in exterior walls.
- Reference guide of construction procedures for gypsum drywall, cement board, veneer plaster and conventional plaster.
Trade Associations and other Organizations
- Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry (AWCI)—Provides services and undertake activities that enhance the members' ability to operate a successful business. AWCI represents acoustics systems, ceiling systems, drywall systems, exterior insulation and finishing systems, fireproofing, flooring systems, insulation, and stucco contractors, suppliers and manufacturers, and allied trades.
- ASTM International (ASTM)—Provides a global forum for the development and publication of voluntary consensus standards for materials, products, systems, and services. In over 130 varied industry areas, ASTM standards serve as the basis for manufacturing, procurement, and regulatory activities. Provides standards that are accepted and used in research and development, product testing, quality systems, and commercial transactions around the globe.
- Ceilings and Interior Systems Construction Association (CISCA)—Association for the advancement interior commercial construction, providing education, technical guidance and related resources. CISCA membership includes over 600 of the leading contractors, distributors, manufacturers and independent manufacturer's representatives worldwide.
- Gypsum Association (GA)—Founded in 1930, GA promotes the use of gypsum while advancing the development, growth, and general welfare of the gypsum industry in the United States and Canada on behalf of its member companies.
- ICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES)—Provides technical evaluations of building products, components, methods, and materials and issues reports on code compliance to building regulators, contractors, specifiers, architects, engineers, and the public.
Relevant Codes and Standards
- Department of Defense (DoD) Unified Facilities Guide Specifications (UFGS)
- Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
- Green Construction Specs
NIOSH LODD Report Released on Fire and Collapse Which Killed Two Chicago Firefighters
F2010-38 Two Career Fire Fighters Die and 19 Injured in Roof Collapse during Rubbish Fire at an Abandoned Commercial Structure – Illinois
NIOSH Executive Summary
On December 22, 2010, a 47-year-old male (Victim # 1) and a 34-year old male (Victim # 2), both career fire fighters, died when the roof collapsed during suppression operations at a rubbish fire in an abandoned and unsecured commercial structure. The bowstring truss roof collapsed at the rear of the 84-year old structure approximately 16 minutes after the initial companies arrived on-scene and within minutes after the Incident Commander reported that the fire was under control. The structure, the former site of a commercial laundry, had been abandoned for over 5 years and city officials had previously cited the building owners for the deteriorated condition of the structure and ordered the owner to either repair or demolish the structure. The victims were members of the first alarm assignment and were working inside the structure. A total of 19 other fire fighters were hurt during the collapse.
- Lack of a vacant / hazardous building marking program within the city
- Vacant / hazardous building information not part of automatic dispatch system
- Dilapidated condition of the structure
- Dispatch occurred during shift change resulting in fragmented crews
- Weather conditions including snow accumulation on roof and frozen water hydrants
- Not all fire fighters equipped with radios.
- Identify and mark buildings that present hazards to fire fighters and the public
- Use risk management principles at all structure fires and especially abandoned or vacant unsecured structures
- Train fire fighters to communicate interior conditions to the Incident Commander as soon as possible and to provide regular updates
- Provide battalion chiefs with a staff assistant or chief's aide to help manage information and communication
- Provide all fire fighters with radios and train them on their proper use
- Develop, train on, and enforce the use of standard operating procedures that specifically address operations in abandoned and vacant structures
- Recommendation #1: Fire departments and city building departments should work together to identify and mark buildings that present hazards to fire fighters and the public.
- Recommendation #2: Fire departments should use risk management principles at all structure fires and especially abandoned or vacant unsecured structures.
- Recommendation # 3: Fire departments should train fire fighters to communicate interior conditions to the Incident Commander as soon as possible and to provide regular updates.
- Recommendation # 4: Fire departments should consider providing battalion chiefs with a staff assistant or chief's aide to help manage information and communication.
- Recommendation # 5: Fire departments should provide all fire fighters with radios and train them on their proper use.
- Recommendation # 6: Fire departments should develop, train on and enforce the use of standard operating procedures that specifically address operations in abandoned and vacant structures.
- Recommendation # 7: Fire departments should develop, implement and enforce a detailed Mayday Doctrine to ensure that fire fighters can effectively declare a Mayday.
- Recommendation # 8: Fire departments should ensure that the Incident Commander maintains close accountability for all personnel operating on the fireground
- Recommendation # 9: Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters are trained in fireground survival procedures.
- Recommendation #10: Fire departments should ensure that all fire fighters are trained in and understand the hazards associated with bowstring truss construction.
FULL NIOSH LODD REPORT and RECOMMENDATIONS, HERE
The tragic events in the City of Chicago on Wednesday December 22, 2010, when Chicago Firefighter Edward J. Stringer – Engine Co.63 and Firefighter/EMT Corey D. Ankum, Truck Co.34 were killed in the line of duty while operating at a structure fire in an abandoned one-story brick building in the 1700 block of East 75th Street on the City’s South side, exemplifies the demands, challenges and sacrifice that come with responsibilities, duty and sworn obligation that distinguishes the honorable profession of being a firefighter.
The fire was first reported at about 06:48 hours during the night and day tour shift change, with companies arriving at 06:52 hours reporting moderate fire in the buildings northeast corner. The single story commercial structure was vacant, however it was readily known that squatters were known to seek shelter in the abandoned structure especially give the harsh weather being experienced in the city. The fire was quickly contained at approximately 07:00 hours according to published reports, and radio communications, with coordinated suppression, search and rescue and ventilation operations being conduction by companied both within the interior and on the roof.
- During all operations involving actual or suspected Bowstring Truss Roofing Support Systems Command and Company Officers should be sensitive to risk assessment indicators related to both fire induced conditions as well as environmental and age induced factors.
- Pre-plan your buildings look at the construction, components, features and condition of the building; there is a tremendous amount of information out there. Understand and comprehend what to look for, what it is that you’re looking at and more importantly make sure the information is retrievable for on-scene application and that the information is utilized when formulating IAP and in the dynamic risk assessment process
- During Dynamic Risk Assessment, special attention should be focused on Predicated Building Performance common to identified building systems, features and structural systems that are based upon Occupancy Performance and NOT Occupancy Type.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) issued a special report examining the characteristics of fires in vacant residential buildings. The report, Vacant Residential Building Fires, was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and provides useful insights and recommendations. Link HERE
- When developing incident action plans and operational assignments at incidents involving possible Vacant, Unoccupied or Abandoned structures, command and company officers shall implement a formulative risk -benefit assessment consistent with departmental procedures, policies and expectations.
- Be knowledgable of operational factors and considerations related to operations at Vacant, Unoccupied or Abandoned structures; HERE and HERE
- Read the Newest NIOSH Alert: Preventing Deaths and Injuries of Fire Fighters at Structure Fires, HERE
- Start considering building; age, deterioration, environmental impacts and influences in your IAP and tactical considerations, we at times forget to consider these performance indicators effectively during initial or sustained operations.
- Learn more about Building Construction, Occupancy Profiling, Reading a Building, Occupancy Risk versus Occupancy Type and always consider Tactical Patience.
- Increase your knowledge on Structural Collapse indicators especially for buildings of masonry construction in both Type III and Type IV construction.
- There is a Predictability of Performance in all Buildings and Occupancies with Heavy Timber or Built-up Bowstring Truss Structural Systems; Know what they are.
- Understand what to look for in Heavy Timber or Built-up Bowstring Truss Structural System integrity related to; Age and Deterioration, Gravity, Cross Grain Shrinkage, Wood Defects that are self-evident in chords and web members, Upper Chord Buckling, Lower Chord splitting or failure points, web splitting or pull-outs, multiple roofing systems or membranes, multiple void spaces, compromised bearing walls or pilasters, compromised or degraded bearing points or truss ends.
- Learn to identify masonry wall features and what they mean towards tactical operations
- In smaller single story occupancies; any loss of structural integrity of a single truss component would likely cause the compromise or collapse of adjacent truss components and connective decking planks due to the interdependence and connectivity of the roofing support (trusses), purlins, rafters and roofing planks and outer membrane system.
- Typically the failure of one bowstring truss span will compromise or cause the collapse of each adjacent truss to either side of the original affected truss causing the failure of a sizeable roof area.
- Companies operating on such affected roof area areas are subject to high risk and vulnerability should the roof area fail. Refer to the incident conditions and structural collapse from the Waldbaum’s Collapse, FDNY August 2, 1978. Go to the incident overview at Commandsafety.com HERE.
- In smaller square foot commercial occupancies that have shallow depth bowstring truss components and both limited spans (less than 100 linear feet clear span) and number of trusses (six or less) the likelihood of a catastrophic roof collapse should be considered highly predicable in all incident action plans and during incident status monitoring.
- The loss of load bearing and load transfer capabilities at these wall connections can contribute towards failure and collapse conditions. The end connections points (end cap or end shoe) of a bowstring truss are critical towards maintain truss performance and structural integrity.
- The loss of truss axial orientation, resultant excessive deflection, loss of integrity of chord/ web geometry and connection points can lead to failure mechanisms and a cascading effect due to transferring of loads and possible overstressing and directly lead to subsequent failures.
- It should be noted that fire service personnel should have a high degree of respect for the danger and susceptible risk imposed by compromised or failing bearing and non-load bearing walls.
- Collapse zones must be established and access controlled based upon physical incident scene layout, access and proximal exposure structures.
- All fire service personnel should have awareness level training and an understanding of recognizing collapse indicators for buildings of masonry construction and tactical safety considerations
- Company and Command Officers must have a higher level of knowledge and training to be able to recognize subtle or obvious construction, conditions or indicators that will affect IAP, strategic, tactical or task assignments and be able to act upon those indicators with immediacy and urgency as conditions and risk dictate.
- The Collapse Zone should be at a minimum be equal to the full height of the exterior masonry wall face and also take into consideration additional distance due building material momentum, bounce and toss due to individual bricks, steel lintels and other components and materials acting as projectiles and traveling distances greater than the defined “collapse zone”.
From CommandSafety.com' s 2010 postings: Chicago: Anatomy of a Building and its Collapse and Chicago: Anatomy of a Building and its Collapse-PDF Download
Some additional Insight Materials for discussion from CommandSafety.com and Buildingsonfire.com
- Operational Safety Training Aide: Ordinary and Heavy Timber Constructed Occupancies Training Download from Commandsafety.com
- Lessons Learned: Buffalo, NY Three Alarm Fire and Double LODD Report
- San Francisco: Collapse of Bowstring Truss Roof Seriously Injures Fire Fighter
- FDNY: The Waldbaum Fire Collapse FDNY 1978 Remembrance
- Ordinary Construction Floor Collapse: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200923.html
- Brick Parapet Wall Collapse: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200821.html
- Partial Roof Collapse: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200509.html
- Roof Collapse during interior operations: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face9617.html
- Trapped during fire suppression operations at a millwork facility: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200807.html
- Don’t forget o research some of the Near Miss Reports on the NFFNMRS: http://www.firefighternearmiss.com/
- Chicago: Anatomy of a Building and its Collapse-PDF Download
- Chicago: Anatomy of a Building and its Collapse
- Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week 2011, Days One thru Seven;Training and Preparedness
Note: CommandSafety.com and Buildingsonfire.com is in the process of revising and expanding this Training Download.
We hope to have the update published in early September 2011. Watch for posting announcements
Take at Look at this: Occupancy Risks versus Occupancy Types
- National Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting System Operational Safety Considerations at Ordinary and Heavy Timber Constructed Occupancies PowerPoint Program developed by Christopher Naum, HERE
- Informational Support Narrative download, HERE
The IAFF Fire Ground Survival Program (FGS) is the most comprehensive survival-skills and mayday-prevention program currently available and is open to all members of the fire service. Incorporating federal regulations, proven incident-management best practices and survival techniques from leaders in the field, and real case studies from experienced fire fighters, FGS aims to educate all fire fighters to be prepared if the unfortunate happens.
The program will provide participating fire departments with the skills they need to improve situational awareness and prevent a mayday. Topics covered include:
- Preventing the Mayday: situational awareness, planning, size up, air management, fitness for survival, defensive operations.
- Being Ready for the Mayday: personal safety equipment, communications, accountability systems.
- Self-Survival Procedures: avoiding panic, mnemonic learning aid “GRAB LIVES”— actions a fire fighter must take to improve survivability, emergency breathing.
- Self-Survival Skills: SCBA familiarization, emergency procedures, disentanglement, upper floor escape techniques.
- Fire Fighter Expectations of Command: command-level mayday training, pre-mayday, mayday and rescue, post-rescue, expanding the incident-command system, communications.
Take some time to look at the Photos from Tom Olk at http://olkee.smugmug.com/
There are some discussions emanating and emerging regarding the Medical Center Fire in Asheville, NC that claimed the life of a highly regarded Captain and injured numerous firefighters. Emerging reports are discussing water supply, standpipe operability and integrity and deployment delays affecting fire behavior, growth, intensive and operational risks during the time in which water was attempting to be delivered to hand lines extended on the fire floor of the Medical Center.
The following links have been compiled that provide a variety of insights and perspectives on operations conducted with standpipe systems.
- FDNY F2007-37 Two career fire fighters die following a seven-alarm fire in a high-rise building undergoing simultaneous deconstruction and asbestos abatement – New York (2007)
- Remembrance: Deutsche Bank Fire FDNY LODD- August 18, 2007
- FDNY Deutsche Bank Building LODD Fire Report issued by NIOSH
- Supervisor cleared on all charges in Deutsche Bank Building Fire that killed 2 FDNY Firefighters
- The Complete NIOSH Report is available HERE
- FDNY 99-F01 Three fire fighters die in a 10-story high-rise apartment building – New York (1998)
- FDNY Brooklyn Box 4080: 17 Vandalia Avenue 12.18.98 (1998)
- Houston: North Loop East Fire Report; FF Mayday and thee civiliand Killed, HERE (2007)
- Texas: F2001-33 High-rise apartment fire claims the life of one career fire fighter (captain) and injures another career fire fighter (captain) – Texas (2001)
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: One Meridian Plaza Fire, USFA Report, HERE (1999)
- CommandSafety.com; One Meridian Plaza Fire, HERE
- TheCompanyOfficer.com;One Meridian Plaza Fire, HERE
- Illinois: Cook County Adminsistration Building Fire: HERE, HERE and HERE
- Standpipe and Hose Fire Protection Systems: NIOSH Self-Inspection Checklist (Schools) HERE
- EVALUATING STANDPIPE KITS. Executive Analysis of Fire Service Operations in Emergency, EFO; HERE
- STANDPIPE SYSTEM OPERATIONS: ENGINE COMPANY BASICS: BY ANDREW A. FREDERICKS, FDNY 1996 HERE
- USFA National Fire Academy Coffee Break Training Standpipe Systems
- ENGINE COMPANY STANDPIPE OPERATIONS:PRESSURE-REGULATING DEVICES
- TR-082 Special Report: Operational Considerations for Highrise …
- FDNY Brookly; St. George Hotel Complex 16 Alarm Fire USFA Report: HERE
- High-Rise Firefighting: Are We Losing Touch with “The Basics”? HERE
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) have recently issued a special report examining the characteristics and causes of Large Loss Building Fires (PDF, 834 Kb).
The report, developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center, is based on 2007 to 2009 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).
- From 2007 to 2009, an estimated 900 large loss building fires were reported by U.S. fire departments annually.
- These fires caused an estimated 35 deaths, 100 injuries, and $2.8 billion dollars in property damage.
- In this report, large loss building fires are defined as fires that resulted in a total dollar loss of $1 million or more.
According to the report:
- Forty-eight percent of large loss fires occur in residential buildings.
- Exposures are the leading cause of large loss building fires at 22 percent, followed by electrical malfunctions (12 percent), other unintentional, careless actions (11 percent), and intentional (9 percent).
- A peak in large loss building fires is seen between the hours of 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.
- Attics are the primary origin of all large loss building fires, along with cooking areas or kitchens.
Large Loss Building Fires (PDF, 834 Kb) is part of the USFA’s Topical Fire Report Series.
Topical reports explore facets of the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in NFIRS. Each topical report briefly addresses the nature of the specific fire or fire-related topic, highlights important findings from the data, and may suggest other resources to consider for further information.
Also included are recent examples of fire incidents that demonstrate some of the issues addressed in the report or that put the report topic in context.
The following are some recent examples of large loss fires reported by the media:
- October 2010: A fire in a Franklin, TN, home resulted in $2.5 million worth of damage. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but the fire began in a patio fireplace. The family of four present in the house at the time of the fire was able to escape safely. Four firefighters were injured while fighting the fire; two of them were treated at the scene and two were sent to the hospital for minor injuries.
- June 2010: A Palo Alto, CA, two-alarm house fire caused between $1 and $2 million worth of damage. The family of four living in the house was awoken by their son when he heard the smoke alarm. The fire is believed to have been started by an unattended candle or cigarette the son left in a second-story room. The fire was brought under control in about 45 minutes and no deaths or injuries were reported.
- June 2010: A fire that started in a Carmel, IN, shopping mall is believed to have been caused by lightning. Investigators have determined that the fire started in a restaurant located at the north end of the mall. There were no deaths or injuries as a result of the fire, but investigators estimate that the fire caused over $5 million worth of damage.
- May 2009: A fire that started in a Gallery Furniture storage warehouse located in Houston, TX, resulted in at least $15 million worth of damage. Investigators have determined that the fire was caused by arson. Thirty to 40 employees were present when the fire broke out. The fire was determined to have been started in an area only accessible to employees. There were no injuries or deaths as a result of the fire.
Additional reports of interests include;
- One- and Two-Family Residential Building Fires (PDF, 779 Kb)
- Multifamily Residential Building Fires (PDF, 775 Kb
- Vacant Residential Building Fires (PDF, 744 Kb)
- Fire in the United States Fifteenth Edition (2003-2007) (PDF, 5 Mb)
- 14th Edition (PDF, 4.1 Mb)
- 13th Edition (PDF, 1.3 Mb)
- 12th Edition (PDF, 2.3 Mb)
- 11th Edition (PDF, 1.7 Mb)
- 10th Edition (PDF, 2.0 Mb)
- 9th Edition (PDF, 3.7 Mb)
- Profile of Fire in the United States Fifteenth Edition (2003-2007) (PDF, 1.3 Mb)
- 14th Edition (PDF, 2.7 Mb)
- 13th Edition (PDF, 806 Kb)
- 12th Edition (PDF, 1.7 Mb)
View more videos at: http://www.nbcdfw.com.