Fire Engineering and Fire Safety Issues – for Building Designers, Constructors and Users. Essay

Fire technology and fire safety issues – for edifice interior decorators, builders and users.


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Fire is on the most astonishing and helpful thing of all time discovered by the human being. But it besides can be black and lay waste toing. Without fire, the civilisation would be wholly different, or it might non even exist. Fire can rupture apart close people, and one time started, it can destruct everything on its manner. The statistics say that from 2 to 3 people in UK dice in fire every twenty-four hours. By pretermiting the fire safety ordinance, people expose themselves and the one around them to the hazard of Burnss, or in the worst instance, to decease.

Presents it is accepted that complete fire safety in edifices is an impossible end, that’s why fire safety is non merely in footings of the design of the edifices, but besides in the behavior of the people in the peculiar edifice. The built-in fire hazard in different edifices types is usually highlighted merely in serious and fatal instances as the King’s Cross fire in November 1987, when 31 people were killed. Such black instances does non merely remind designers and applied scientists about the importance and duty of a proper edifices design, but besides about the duty of everyone that is involved in the use of the edifice.

Understanding fire. Basicss.

What is fire?

Knowing the nature of fire and understanding the manner it can distribute will assist interior decorators to be after necessary ways to protect the existent edifice, and the people within. So what precisely is fire? The “Oxford English Dictionary describes fire as “the active chief secret agent in combustion” . Combustion is a chemical procedure ; the oxidization of organic stuff with the development of heat and visible radiation. When a combustible stuff such as paper or any fuel reacts with O in the air, it produces heat. Normally this procedure will merely get down when an external beginning of heat – for illustration a illuminated lucifer – is applied to the “fuel” . Once started, the reaction generates its ain heat, frequently adequate to do the procedure self-sustaining. The well cognize fire trigon ( fig. Ten ) shows the three factors that are needed to maintain a fire traveling. The absence of any of this three constituents will interrupt the trigon and halt the reaction.


The trigon in action. The grounds and advancement of fire.

Fires are the seeable manifestation of this reaction between fuel and O. Therefore it is non the fuel itself that Burnss, but the bluess given off as the fuel is heated. Once ignition has begun and the bluess are ignited, these fires will in turn farther warming heat the fuel and increase the rate of production of flammable bluess. In diffusion flames the rate of combustion is determined by the rate of commixture of the fuel and O and this in usually controlled by the grade of airing, the sum of fuel and the constellation of the room – all factors which the edifice interior decorators can act upon.

Fire growing.

Heat – thermic energy – is transferred from hot stuffs to the ice chest 1s by the three rudimentss mechanisms of heat transportation: radiation, conductivity and convention.

  • Thermal radiation – merely like light, can go across empty infinite and the sum which is transferred from one topographic point to another has the same geometrical regulations as visible radiation. Therefore radiation does non necessitate non necessitate an step ining medium between the beginning and receiving system.
  • Conduction is the direct transportation of energy due to the propinquity of molecules. It is dependent on the stuff belongingss of conduction, denseness and specific heat of solids, still fluids or gases.
  • Convention involves the motion of medium and is hence restricted to liquid and gases. From high temperature beginnings, the convective type of heat transportation is normally non so of import as the radiation. It is nevertheless an of import factor in chilling low temperature surfaces.

At the typical fire temperature in a edifice, the chief mechanism of heat transportation through still air will be radiation.

Therefore, a rise of temperature of any cause like heat from a chemical action, infinite warming, human action, computing machines etc, may take to the earliest phases of fire.

The construction of a edifice.

A major for fires is with no uncertainty provided by the edifice contents, as statistic say this is one of the grounds most fires start. This contents are defined by stuffs used in the edifice building, every bit good as the furniture and the adjustments used in the homes of the edifice. The chief job with the adjustments and furniture is the firing features of the stuffs this objects are made, fume and toxic gases they release. This is the cause of the bulk of the human deaths from fire in UK.

Among the edifice stuffs and internal coatings, the greatest hazard of spread of fire is leaded by plastic, because of its chemical composings.

Danger from fire.


As fume can be a terrible factor to damage a edifice, is non the chief ground to do a entire prostration ; nevertheless, utmost heat can wholly destruct a edifice. Steel will lose 2/3 of its strength by the clip it has been heated to 600OC – by no agencies an uncommon temperature in a domestic fire. Concrete is a more fire immune stuffs, but as it’s normally steel reinforced with steel, it should hold sufficient insularity to forestall making critical temperatures. Timber on the other manus, Burnss but is a good structural stuff as combustion occurs a at a changeless so structural lumbers could be oversized to supply a specific step of fire opposition.

One of the best structural oppositions is provided by bricks, as they have already been kiln-fired at high temperature during the industry procedure.

The sum of the heat produced in a fire defines a measurement tool of the badness of a fire. An apprehension of the stuff belongingss and would let to gauge the degree of heat production in instance of fires, and hence gauge the potency of the existent fire to destruct belongings. The rate of fire will be identified as being dependant of the fuel and airing provided. This two factors determine the heat which will be produced.

Not merely the type and sum of the fuel will act upon the heat end product ; the agreement of the fuel is besides important. The bigger the country of fuel exposed, the bigger is the potency of fire development. The airing is a critical factor that determines the fire badness and heat end product. Both the air supply and air extraction are important. If more O is supplied than needed, the firing rate will be controlled by the available fuel. The last factor which determines the fire badness and heat end product is the size of the room in which the fire occurred. While a larger country contains a bigger sum of fuel, the distance between the ceilings and the walls will significantly decelerate down the fires in the beginning phases.


A little per centum of victims from fire is due to the heat in fire that causes the edifice to prostration. The bulk of deceases are because of fume, either by inspiration of toxic gases. The frequent combustion of organic structures after decease due to toxic gas inspiration could give a false feeling of the comparative dangers of different merchandises. In the edifice planing stage all fume should be considered as potentially deadly, though the toxicity degree will change depending of the type of the fuel.

Fire safety.

“On December 5, 2009, a fire occurred in a cabaret in the metropolis if Perm, Russia. Flickers from pyrotechnic ignited the low ceiling made of fictile stuff which was covered by willow branchlet. The fire rapidly spread to the walls damaging the electrical system, which cause the visible radiations to neglect. More than 150 people lost their lives that twenty-four hours, and up to 160 were injured with serious Burnss. This was the deadliest fire in Russia since autumn of the Soviet Union in 1991. It was stated that most victims died from fume inspiration and C monoxide toxic condition. Moscow Fire Safety Authority motioned suspending activity of 54 cabarets and 450 installations were warned for safety misdemeanors. Some of the typical misdemeanors were deficiency of fire dismaies, bars installed on Windowss, building stuffs barricading paseos etc. The pyrotechnics that caused the ignitions appeared to be out-of-door pyrotechnics, prohibited for usage indoors.

By initial programs, the edifice was designed to hold big Windowss which would hold allowed the crowd to get away, but the concluding built program had critically of import differences, like bricked little Windowss, and in some new extensions, no Windowss at ll.

This catastrophe has some similarities to the 2003 Station fire in United States, that was caused by the improper usage of indoor pyrotechnics. The flammable sound insularity was ignited which led to a really fast combustion of the phase. 100 individuals died.”

The instance survey above might look in some points “ridiculous” and to “exaggerated” in footings of pretermiting the authorization safety ordinances and basic edifice design regulations, but it shows once more how of import is every factor in edifice building design, from material nature used in building, to the layout of every window and door and to the duty of every person involved in the edifice use. Despite the fact that the fire in the instances above occurred due to an improper use of flammable merchandises, all the effects mentioned earlier could be significantly minimized by a proper design of the edifice itself. Fire safety is considered to cover non merely the safety of the people, but besides the safety of the belongings – in the edifice itself and in the encompassing country. Thus the fire safety are divided in two classs – life safety and belongings redemption. The architect’s aim is to guarantee that the edifice should stay safe for adequate clip to evacuate the people safely, an besides to guarantee that every bit much as possible of the edifice can go on to work so it can be repaired and reused.


There are usually five tactics for the fulfillment of the life safety and belongings redemption demands.

  1. Prevention –commanding in progress the ignition and fuel beginnings to avoid a fire start.
  2. Communication– in instance of ignition, the users are informed and any fire safety system is triggered.
  3. Escapethe residents of the edifice have a safe and speedy entree to safe countries before they are affected by the heat or fume.
  4. Containment– guaranting that the fire is retained in the smallest country possible to restrict the sum of the building to be damaged and to maintain the people safer.
  5. Extinguishment– the fire is extinguished rapidly with minimal harm to the belongings



Above is a logical sequence of the five tactics, and of the cardinal one is the bar maneuver. If the bar tactic fails, following tactics are attempted. Prevention is the simplest and most effectual tactic available. There are two ways of forestalling fires which are related to the “fire triangle” we spoke about earlier. This two ways are bar of ignition and restriction of fuel available. The 3rd one, which is O, is about impossible and unwanted to be excluded from the edifice, therefore is non considered as a manner of bar. First two things that should be done in the fire safety planing stage is: 1. – design out the foreseen ignition beginnings ; 2. – to pull off the edifice layout in such a manner so the hazard of ignition is excluded.


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