Smoke Management & Containment

smoke and fire containment

Smoke management is a term used to describe the methods implemented to passively or actively control the movement of smoke within the built environment in the interest of providing safety to occupants, fire fighters and property. Smoke management methods include compartmentationdilutionpressurizationairflow and buoyancy.

The following is a brief description of the different methods that are currently considered when designing smoke management systems. These systems can be implemented individually or in conjunction with one another. Read more

Fire safety in buildings

fire safety in buildings

Fire safety in buildings is determined by a number of factors: the provisions of means of escape in case of fire, the ability for a building to resist the effects of fire and to minimize the spread of fire and smoke and the provision of means of access to enable firefighters to effect rescue and fight fire. Read more

Apartment and Condos Fire Safety

Fire safety in apartments and condos

“Stop, drop, and roll” is a fire safety mantra that has probably been drilled into your head since elementary school. While that is great advice with some truth to it, fire safety is a bit more complicated than those three simple actions. Fire safety is more than just what you do in the moment, and it requires prior planning and prevention measures, especially when you live in an apartment. According to the American Red Cross, once a fire has been detected by a smoke detector, an apartment resident has two minutes or less to safely escape.

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Historical Industrial Fire: Imperial Foods

Imperial Foods Fire door

The fire began due to pressurization of fluid leaking from a hydraulic line. The leak, in combination with heat, caused immediate vapor and flames. This ignition transpired into heavy smoke making it a serious hazard very quickly. When workers attempted to escape they realized that the designated fire escapes were blocked and the doors were locked. It was common for the doors to the facility to be locked during working hours, but this often made the workers uncomfortable. Read more

Authorities Seek Cause of CA Fuel Fire

CA Fuel Fire

A tank burns as fire breaks out at a refinery in Crockett, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. A fire burning at an oil storage facility in the San Francisco Bay Area prompted a hazardous materials emergency that led authorities to order the residents of two communities to shelter in place and stay inside with all windows and doors closed. Contra Costa Fire Department spokesman Steve Hill said that an hour into battling the blaze, firefighters seemed to be making progress and were continuing to keep adjacent tanks cooled with water. (Anda Chu/San Jose Mercury News via AP)

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The High Street Lofts Fire

Lofts Fire

By Braden Peter One of the largest and most devastating fires the Petersburg (VA) Fire Rescue and Emergency Services (PFRES) experienced occurred on the morning of January 16, 2018. The structure fire at 424 High Street taxed our firefighters to their breaking point as they faced perhaps the largest fire in the city’s history. The Building The fire started in the old Seward Trunk and Bag Company at 510 High Street and ultimately reached a fifth alarm. This mega manufacturing plant and warehouse, built in 1878, was then the largest building of its type.

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Industrial Fires

Industrial Smoke & Fire

An industrial fire is a type of industrial disaster involving a conflagration which occurs in an industrial setting. Industrial fires often, but not always, occur together with explosions. They are most likely to occur in facilities where there is a lot of flammable material present.

Such material can include petroleum, petroleum products such as petrochemicals, or natural gas. Processing flammable materials such as hydrocarbons in units at high temperature and/or high pressure makes the hazards more severe. Facilities with such combustible material include oil refineries, tank farms, natural gas processing plants, and chemical plants, particularly petrochemical plants. Such facilities often have their own fire departments for firefighting. Sometimes large amounts of dust or powder are vulnerable to combustion and their ignition can cause dust explosions.

Minneapolis high-rise fire

High Rise Building Fire

A 3-alarm fire which broke out on the 14th floor of a public housing high-rise in a heavily immigrant neighborhood of Minneapolis early Wednesday killed five people and injured three, according to reports. Read more

Fire Service Concerns of Tall Timber Buildings

Timber Building

Recently an article, Construction Concerns: IBC 2021 Heavy Timber Proposal[1] , appeared in Fire Engineering that raised concerns regarding the now newly passed “Tall Mass Timber” code additions to the International Building Code (IBC) 2021 Edition. The article briefly outlined some of the central code changes that will permit tall mass timber buildings.

A brief examination of all the Tall Mass Timber (TMT) code provisions that will be included in the 2021 International Building Code (IBC) will demonstrate that the fire safety protection required by the new code changes provides for the life safety of occupants and firefighters that will respond to emergencies in these buildings. Read more

High-rise buildings and Fire

High Rise Building

High-rise buildings present several unique challenges not found in traditional low-rise buildings; longer egress times and distance, evacuation strategies, fire department accessibility, smoke movement and fire control.

High-rise buildings have garnered significant attention in the fire safety world over the years. The multiple floors of a high-rise building create the cumulative effect of requiring great numbers of persons to travel great vertical distances on stairs in order to evacuate the building. The public, code bodies, local, regional and federal governments, as well as the design, build, and ownership communities are all affected by high-rise building safety. Read more