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2 Workshop Synopsis Many workshop participants pointed out that design, evaluation, and regulation of fire safety for buildings have undergone a sea change since the 1970s. While buildings were traditionally evaluated and regulated with reference to a checklist of specific code requirements, the trend, worldwide, has been toward performance-based approaches, with the United States lagging behind other developed countries in adopting these approaches. While performance- based building codes were implemented in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand in the 1980s and 1990s, the first model performance-based building code in the United States was not published until 2001 (ICC, 2001). At the time of the workshop, April 2002, no U.S. state or local jurisdiction was known to have adopted one of the model performance-based building codes. In practice, performance-based codes rely much more heavily on fire research, basic theoretical understandings, data, and the ability to predict building safety performance under fire conditions. While in the past it was sufficient to establish that a building met the code, in the future there will be more and more pressure on engineers to predict safety performance under fire conditions. As a result of these discussions, the committee concluded that the scientific foundation is incomplete in terms of its ability to support predictive modeling with an acceptable level of uncertainty. THE ROLE OF THE UNIVERSITY During the 1960s and early 1970s principal investigators at several U.S. universities received ongoing support for fire research under the NSF/RANN program. While modest in scale, this program not only strengthened the body of knowledge but also expanded the nation’s human resource infrastructure by training graduate students who went on to research, teaching, and practice. Perhaps the most significant example of this was the work of Howard Emmons at Harvard. With ongoing NSF/RANN fire research support, Dr. Emmons was able to sustain a small community of first-rate scholars with a focus on fire fundamentals. Through the years, he and his graduate students were able to unlock new understanding of fires in buildings and produce the first generation of mathematical fire models. Dr. Emmons is now regarded as the father of computer fire modeling. During his career, he guided 51 Ph.D. graduates, a few dozen of whom went on to dedicate their own careers to fire safety. The production of advanced degree scholars with a specialized expertise and career interest in fire science and engineering is extremely important for the nation. It is these men and women who will make the discoveries of the future. Unfortunately, the production of career- directed young investigators in fire safety has all but dried up in the United States over the past three decades as research funding has severely declined in real terms.
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It should also be noted that a robust understanding of the fire performance of a building requires an array of many disciplines—from combustion and materials science to human behavior, architecture, and public policy. In the 1960s and early 1970s most university fire research was performed in departments of chemical, mechanical, or civil engineering. Since then, graduate studies in fire protection engineering have emerged here and worldwide. In the United States, two M.S. degree programs in fire protection engineering were launched, one in 1979 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and one in 1990 at the University of Maryland (UMD). A Ph.D. program in fire protection engineering began at WPI in 1991. Brady Williamson and Pat Pagni at the University of California, Berkeley, have graduated a number of Ph.D. students with excellent research backgrounds in fire safety science, some of whom went on to teach at WPI and UMD. These universities represent a new national resource for the United States, each offering an ongoing scholarly focus on the broad, integrated area of fire science and engineering. However, despite these educational programs, overall support for fire research and education in the United States has declined dramatically. A sustainable emphasis on fire safety and security can only be maintained through viable educational and research programs that create new knowledge and produce educated research professionals. Universities are highly selective in determining which research and education programs will be fostered and maintained, and without research funding, no research or teaching programs (including formal fire safety programs) can be viable. The workshop participants identified numerous specific training and education needs: Formal academic courses in explosion protection are extremely scarce in U.S. universities and colleges (Zalosh).1 New human capital must be produced for utilizing and advancing existing tools, as well as for developing future tools . . . . Academically based fundamental research is critical (Dryer). There has been an almost complete demise of basic fire research activity at universities (Dryer). Currently there is very limited graduate training in fire chemistry as it requires the interaction of chemists and civil engineers. Cross-disciplinary knowledge and training are needed (Pearce). We need an interdisciplinary and holistic approach to materials processing and structural design for fire durability (Riffle). Young people at the assistant professor or associate professor level (in the area of chemistry and materials science aspects of fire science) are practically nonexistent in the United States. The United Kingdom, France, Italy, China, Japan, and Russia appear to be training more young people in this area than is the United States (Weil). Students must be taught performance-based structural fire performance analysis (Iding). Concepts in risk characterization, uncertainty, variability, and decision-making processes and tools should be a component of education and training for those at all levels of the regulatory, design, and enforcement communities (Meacham). 1 Throughout this report, the callouts without dates refer to committee members who expressed the opinion or provided the information in the course of workshop discussions or to participants who did the same in the papers they had prepared for the workshop. The background papers are contained on the CD-ROM that accompanies this report.
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Colleges, universities, and professional organizations could more effectively collaborate to offer practical courses and seminars to decision makers in the art of transferring fire safety technology through public policy (Kime). A WORD ABOUT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER DISASTER The FEMA/ASCE report on the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center collapse was released in April 2002 (FEMA, 2002). The report made clear that Towers One and Two withstood the physical impact of the aircraft and that the collapse of both towers was fire induced. Although it is generally understood that the thermal impact of the burning jet fuel, which resulted in the almost simultaneous ignition of the building contents, was a worst-case catastrophic event for the structures, the FEMA/ASCE report does raise questions about our basic understanding of several areas of building fire performance, including fire loadings, fireproofing, structural connections, emergency communications, and human behavior. These areas were spotlighted and discussed during the workshop. In August 2002, Congress appropriated $16 million to FEMA, which in turn is funding NIST to continue the investigation of the World Trade Center collapse. Although this investment to increase our understanding of that event is laudable, the investigation should not be regarded as a surrogate for the huge amount of sustained fundamental fire research needed in the United States. In fact the need for such an investigation is symptomatic of the inadequate body of knowledge that exists regarding the fire performance of structures. THE NATIONAL EARTHQUAKE HAZARD REDUCTION PROGRAM AS A MODEL Earthquake engineering may be an instructive analogy for enhancing fire safety through interdisciplinary research, application, and technology transfer. Earthquake research has had considerable success in changing regulatory attitudes and construction paradigms and moving improved designs, techniques, and materials into practice. This success has been facilitated to a large degree by a network of academic and government research institutions integrated with the educational, design, and regulatory communities. These partnerships can trace their history to action at the federal level in response to unacceptable losses from devastating earthquakes in the 1960s and 1970s. The NSF, the principal government agency charged with support of basic research, has teamed with other federal agencies to support basic earthquake research in the physical, natural, and social sciences, the code and standard development process, engineering applications, and technology transfer. This effort has been successful partly because it addresses the issues from an interdisciplinary perspective and permits all stakeholders to participate in the process. The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) was an important outcome of the national movement to improve earthquake safety. It was created in 1977, when Congress passed the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act (P.L. 95-124). This act was significantly amended in 1990 with the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Act (P.L. 101-614), which refined the description of the agencies’ responsibilities and the program’s goals and objectives. FEMA is the lead agency for this program, but NSF, NIST and the U.S. Geological
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Survey (USGS) also participate. Each of the agencies is tasked with certain functions that contribute to our understanding of earthquakes and that enhance safety in the face of them: In addition to coordinating the program, FEMA manages the federal government’s response to earthquakes, funds state and local preparedness activities, and supports the development of improved seismic design and construction. USGS conducts and supports earth science research into the origins of earthquakes, predicts and characterizes hazards, and disseminates earth science information. NSF funds earthquake engineering research, basic earth science research, and earthquake-related social science research. NIST conducts and supports studies related to improving the provisions in building codes and standards that deal with the effects of seismic events. The total appropriations for the program over the last 3 years has been just slightly more than $100 million per year split unevenly between the four agencies. Similar to NSF’s RANN program and its successor (the program at NIST), the funding for NEHRP has also declined significantly in constant dollars since the late 1970s. However, NSF is still providing approximately $30 million per year for earthquake research (NRC, 2002). Regardless of the decline in real dollars, the NEHRP program has been lauded over the last 25 years for its significant contribution to improving the ability to anticipate and mitigate earthquake damage. An NSF/FEMA-supported project has resulted in the development and periodic update of nationally applicable earthquake design provisions for new buildings. These provisions, which are being incorporated into national building codes and ASCE standards, form the basis for the International Building Code (ICC, 2001). NEHRP has also been directly supporting the drive toward performance-based seismic design (PBSD) through FEMA’s sponsorship of an effort by the Applied Technology Council (ATC, 2002). FEMA’s Existing Building Program has culminated in the publication of FEMA standard 273 for performance- based rehabilitation of buildings. In other NEHRP activities, social scientists supported by NSF have created new tools for understanding the public policy, economic, and societal factors, such as community decision making, that guide state and local adoption of measures to reduce future earthquake losses. To better focus NEHRP resources and create an infrastructure for coordination, NSF decided to reorganize and expand the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research into three distinct university-based earthquake engineering research centers, indicating a national commitment to multidisciplinary research and outreach. Additionally, NSF and the USGS fund the Southern California Earthquake Center as a science and technology center, and NSF has established the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (Arnold, 1998). NEHRP demonstrates that a consensus to invest in risk reduction can be achieved by active collaboration among scientists, engineers, government officials, and business leaders and by their interaction with an informed public. The program also demonstrates that leadership and political effectiveness are key elements in developing a successful program. Although earthquakes and fires both pose serious threats to the American public and the national economy, they are fundamentally different hazards. Serious earthquakes are relatively rare, but a single large earthquake can be catastrophic. Fire events, while far more frequent, are much less likely to cause catastrophic damage to the infrastructure of an entire community. For example, earthquakes have caused, on average, fewer than 10 deaths per year in the United
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States over the past 25 years (USGS, 2002), but just two events, the Northridge earthquake in 1994, which killed 60 persons and caused over $20 billion in damages, and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which killed 63 and caused over $6 billion in damages, account for 85 percent of the deaths and a quarter of the damage in that time frame (Cutter, 2001). Fires, on the other hand, caused, on average, 5,400 deaths annually during the same period (NFPA, 2002) and are estimated to cause about $10 billion annually in direct property loss (Hall, 1999). In addition, the events of September 11, 2001, demonstrated that fire can pose a potentially catastrophic threat, even to large, robust commercial structures. AREAS WITH KNOWLEDGE GAPS As indicated above, the overall goal of the workshop was to identify areas where there are gaps in our knowledge of fire and to explore the potential role of NSF in supporting the research that would fill in those gaps. Continued enquiry into the nature of fire, and its causes, characteristics, and effects on people, products, structures, and the environment can result in even further gains toward the ultimate goal of saving people and property. Improvements in design, construction, and loss reduction strategies for buildings and facilities can be realized if new knowledge, developed through research, has a ready path into practice and the marketplace. The eight areas where participants found knowledge gaps are discussed next. Identifying priorities among them is a significant challenge and beyond the scope of a single workshop. As noted by the various workshop presenters, almost all areas connected with fire safety will benefit from additional resources and intellectual effort. Fire and Explosions Our fundamental understanding of fire has progressed enough in the past 40 years to allow development of the range of engineering methods used today. However, this understanding is still incomplete. Fire and explosion behavior can be predicted only with a thorough grasp of the complex physical interactions that take place. As mentioned earlier, the support of basic fire research at universities has dwindled from what it was in the 1960s and 1970s (NSF/RANN) to what remains in the NIST Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) extramural grants program. Consequently, the performance codes being introduced in the United States lack the necessary science and technology foundation. Fire tests and standards are developing without a science base to support them or to understand and account for uncertainties. The United States simply cannot afford to have an empirical basis for its fire safety infrastructure but needs instead a science base on which to build new, more predictive fire models and tools for performance-based design. The following exemplify the kinds of knowledge that are needed to understand fire and explosions: The properties of turbulent flow phenomena in general and turbulent combustion in particular are still poorly understood and likely to remain so for decades to come (Baum). The most urgent problems peculiar to fire research occur at the interface between the gas- and condensed-phase materials (Baum)
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The geometry and construction materials of a building need to be defined while at the same time recognizing that the underlying geometry of the building can be altered by the fire and that this affects how the fire behaves and therefore the impact on the structure (Baum). There is need for explosion research in (1) flame speeds in highly nonuniform gas-air mixtures, (2) deflagration-to-detonation transitions in congested and turbulent environments, (3) dust cloud formation that can lead to dangerous secondary dust explosions, (4) blast wave propagation in buildings, and (5) blast wave generation of secondary fragments and the development of blast resistant/compliant windows (Zalosh). The present level of fundamental knowledge is insufficient for predicting gas-phase extinction (Dryer) and worse for predicting the extinction of flames from solid materials (T’ien). Materials and Retardants Advances in flame-retardant polymers and their composites, together with improved predictive capabilities, could reduce the fuel loads due to contents and structural components, reduce the toxicity of combustion products, and allow for longer egress times during fires. Increasing the fire retardancy of structural polymeric composites will also overcome a potential barrier to the more widespread use of these composites, which could also reduce construction time and labor costs. Important insights mentioned during the workshop include these: [Research is needed in] (1) protective, flame retardant, and intumescent coatings, (2) smart polymers and additives, and (3) flame retardant systems operating by catalytic mechanisms (Weil/Pearce). Our poor understanding of smoke and toxicity is a critical barrier to the further incorporation of polymers and their composites in building contents and structural applications (Weil/Pearce). The literature contains only a few systematic studies of polymer melt, melt flow, and dripping to determine their quantitative effects on fire growth (Kashiwagi). Significant improvements are needed in understanding the high-temperature and flammability properties of materials (Mowrer). More knowledge about the effects of temperature and heat flux on the mechanical properties of polymeric materials is needed for simulating the structural response of buildings in a fire (Riffle/Lesko). There are no fiber-reinforced polymeric materials suitable for all critical fire applications in buildings (Riffle/Lesko). Fire Protection Systems Fire detection is the first step to taking mitigating actions, which include evacuating or relocating people, notifying responders, or initiating other strategies such as smoke control and fire suppression. Commercial efforts have focused on developing detection devices that are less prone to unwanted (nonfire) actuation without sacrificing speed of operation or that are more
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stable without sacrificing sensitivity. Using innovative sensor technologies and signal analysis, fires can be detected with greater speed, accuracy, and clarity. However, developing improved detection devices does not improve fire defenses, protect responding fire fighters, or provide more cost-effective, performance-oriented design. Successful application of new sensor technologies depends on the integrated development of better engineering tools to model the fire stimuli and detection device response to those stimuli. This type of research is well-suited to interdisciplinary teams that include practitioners of the social and decision sciences as well as engineers and physical scientists. In a systems context, there is an underlying need for the sensors to sense what they need to and nothing more and for the actuators to know when and what to actuate and to do so quickly. This is not a problem for engineers alone to solve. Fire suppression research in recent years has largely focused on replacements for halogenated hydrocarbons (halons). The development of new fire suppression strategies, agents, and methods will require a better understanding of the chemical and physical phenomena of fire suppression and flame extinction. Without breakthroughs in research on fire suppression phenomenology, costly trial-and-error approaches to system development and design will continue. Some key insights contributed by workshop participants include the following: The development of new fire suppression strategies, agents, and methods will require a better understanding of the chemical and physical phenomena of fire suppression and extinction (Dungan). Continued research is needed in the area of multisignature detection, particularly detectors for gas and smoke combinations, which hold greater promise for improved performance than detectors for smoke alone (Gottuk). Low-cost sensors for gases, particularly CO and CO2, that are stable and have a functional life of 10 years or more [must be developed in order] to produce marketable multisignature detectors (Gottuk). Owing to the large numbers of deaths and injuries in residential fires, there should be more research on improving detection for residential applications (Gottuk). Reducing the frequency of nuisance alarms should be a key objective for new fire detection technologies (Gottuk). It would be advantageous to have a detection method that could be used for monitoring hazardous chemicals and conditions in addition to providing fast, reliable fire detection (Rose-Pehrsson). One can imagine future advances in fire suppression through smart suppression based on scenario-specific engineering analysis (Hamins). Research is needed on the complicated multiphase processes by which a condensed- phase agent extinguishes a fire (Hamins). A better understanding is needed of the chemical mechanisms associated with halon replacements to provide a scientific basis for improved design of suppressant systems (Hamins). A better understanding of agent mass and heat transfer processes would provide a scientific basis for the creation of rational engineering tools and improved suppressant system design (Hamins).
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Fire Protection Engineering Tools In the context of this document, fire protection engineering tools include deterministic fire hazard analysis models and probabilistic fire risk assessment methodologies. These tools permit the hazards and risks associated with fire to be evaluated quantitatively in terms of physically meaningful units of measure. The development of these tools over the past few decades has prompted, as well as permitted, the development of frameworks for the performance-based fire safety analysis, design, and regulation of buildings. Continued development and refinement of these tools and methodologies is needed to implement more fully the rational, more economical performance-based approaches to building fire safety that are based on known levels of safety, risk, and uncertainty. Until now, advances in fire protection engineering tools have been evolutionary. However, performance-based codes and standards, supported by a new generation of fire protection engineering tools, may truly be revolutionary advances. For this reason, research into both deterministic fire hazard assessment and probabilistic fire risk assessment is encouraged. Inputs from workshop participants and committee members included the following: With the increasing use of performance-based fire protection design, it is imperative that predictive tools and methodologies be available to design and analyze fire detection systems (Gottuk). Continued development of deterministic fire hazard analysis models and probabilistic fire risk assessment methodologies is needed to more fully implement rational performance-based approaches to building fire safety (Mowrer). Models, tools, and data are needed to quantify uncertainty associated with input parameters and models for conducting probabilistic fire safety assessments (Siu). From a national fire safety improvement standpoint, it is essential to identify the scenarios that dominate national fire risk (Siu). Models of gas-phase suppression are limited by the use of simple zero or one-step combustion mechanisms in large-scale simulations. Detailed numerical models of small-scale combustion systems are needed (McGrattan). Models of solid-phase suppression are limited by the lack of well-accepted, robust pyrolysis models that have enough physical detail to accommodate the inclusion of water impingement (McGrattan). Structural Fire Protection The current practice in structural fire protection in the United States is based on test methods developed a hundred years ago and test requirements based on the fire science of the 1920s. Many buildings may be significantly overprotected, while others may be unexpectedly incapable of resisting the posited fire threats. The changes in materials and construction methods over the decades have also left gaps in our fundamental knowledge of how structures perform in fire. The collapse of the two towers and Building 7 following the September 11 attacks certainly demonstrated that our understanding of structural fire protection might be incomplete for today’s engineering practice. The opportunities for significant improvement in reliable and cost-effective structural fire protection are great, and there is work that needs to be done to refresh the technical basis for 21st century design. A performance-based approach to structural design for fire
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resistance is gradually gaining favor as an alternative to traditional prescriptive requirements such as hourly ratings and required thicknesses for fireproofing. To make performance-based methods more accessible and acceptable to practicing engineers and building officials, further research is needed, particularly in the following areas: A better understanding of the well-stirred reactor model, burning rate correlations, heat transfer coefficients, compartment openings, and ventilation and flame projections from windows is needed to assess fire severity for performance-based structural standards (Milke). The accuracy of building fuel load estimates for contemporary buildings must be confirmed (Milke). The high-temperature properties of structural materials, including high-strength concrete, structural steel, and fire protective coatings, must be documented (Iding). The performance of structural connections in fires must be better understood (Iding, Beyler). Analytical methods must be codified, peer-reviewed, and approved (Iding). Software for structural fire performance must be developed and verified (Iding). The role of furnace testing must be reevaluated and refined (Beyler). There is an urgent need to develop guidelines for assessing the fire resistance of high- performing materials in civil engineering applications (Kodur). There are questions about our ability to predict fire-induced structural collapse. Little research in this area has been carried out in the United States for the past two decades (Baum). Human Behavior in Fires The impact of fires in buildings is typically measured by their toll in deaths and injuries. These deaths and injuries are often the result of adverse interactions between people and the buildings they are trying to evacuate. This measure of impact is as much a function of how humans behave in emergency situations as it is a function of building design. Some knowledge of human behavior has been gleaned from the analysis of past disasters through survey and interview methods. The application of human factors methods also offers promise in this regard. Human response models can give a better understanding of human behavior in fire based on simulated interactions with the built environment and can lead to improved designs for notification, evacuation, and response systems. These models require different levels of input data to be able to predict the movement and/or response of people to emergency cues. Although such data are scarce and difficult to collect, human response models could prevent fires from becoming high-consequence, mass-casualty events. The prevention of a single disaster such as the West Warwick, Rhode Island, nightclub fire in February 2003 would more than justify the time and effort required for data collection and model calibration. Workshop discussion of important research needs yielded the following insights: Studies should investigate the risk perceived by building occupants since September 11 and how these perceptions might change over time (Proulx). Studies should compare the intended response of high rise occupants during an emergency with the actual response through unannounced drills (Proulx).
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Longitudinal studies should be conducted to assess the impact of September 11 on human behavior over time (Proulx). Building evacuation research is needed across a wide spectrum ranging from flow and counterflow effects in stairs; effects of age and disabilities; and response to cues to decision making; training; effects of alarms; and use of elevators (Fahy). Research is needed to determine what levels of toxic products affect decision making (Fahy). Research is needed on the intersection of user needs and expectations during an emergency situation and how this impacts engineering design (Pauls/Groner). A number of questions from traditional human factors research apply to the emergency evacuation of buildings. Some of this work is ripe for technology transfer while other work remains to be done (Pauls/Groner). Complex adaptive systems that incorporate adaptive human agents in the design of performance-based fire safety systems may offer particular promise in modeling human behavior during evacuation scenarios (Pauls/Groner). Public Policy Fire safety in the United States is influenced to a great extent by public policy. Part of the public policy aspect of fire safety is regulation of the built environment. The regulatory system attempts to reduce risk to a level deemed acceptable by society. This presumes a political process that adopts technically informed regulations to control risk. The political process must be understood and properly integrated to achieve adequate fire safety. However, some believe that we lack the proper technical understanding and that there is little recognition of the political process by which regulation happens. Workshop participants drew attention to the following ideas: There is a need to further refine a risk-informed, performance-based regulatory framework that accommodates the relationship between public policy and technical issues (Meacham). Risk-informed, performance-based engineering and decision-making methodologies must be developed and validated (Meacham). Research is needed to better understand and quantify the magnitude and frequency of fire events of concern, the impact those events could have on buildings and their occupants, and overall building performance (Meacham). A framework is needed to link policy-level demands with technical elements, including tolerable risk (Tubbs). It is very hard (usually impossible) to solve a political problem with a technical solution, yet it is important to recognize that the political solution most generally will require sound science as a foundation (Kime). Broadly consider the criteria commonly selected for evaluating fire safety outcomes (Croce).
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Data Although “data” was not one of the original seven topics on the workshop agenda, data needs were mentioned so many times in the course of the workshop that it has been added as a separate section. The data needs to provide fire safety vary from material properties to explosion incidents to human behavior. The following are some of the data needs mentioned at the workshop: It is necessary to have some idea of the building contents, their distribution within the building, and their material properties (data) (Baum). We need an explosion incident database that contains data comparable to the data available from the NFPA and NFIRS fire databases (Zalosh). Without an accurate and broad-based national database, we cannot determine the success being experienced using existing explosion prevention and explosion mitigation technology and practices (Zalosh). Fundamental thermodynamic, thermophysical, and thermochemical property data on commercially available materials are needed to produce science-based models (Dryer, Beyler). There is minimal information available on material properties at elevated temperatures (Pearce). Data are needed to quantify the uncertainty associated with input parameters and models for conducting probabilistic fire safety assessments (Siu). There is a need for data on the high-temperature performance of high-performance materials (Kodur). Human behavior data are needed in order to design, validate, and implement building evacuation models (Fahy). Cost and loss data and metrics are needed to support designers, regulators, and policy makers (Meacham). What is needed specifically are better ways to measure accurate material property data for use in first-principle models (Croce). OTHER TOPICS OF DISCUSSION Other important fire safety topics were discussed at the workshop and by the committee, but since they went beyond the committee’s charge they are not reported here in detail. The issue of fire-safe homes and intrinsically safe appliances was raised in the workshop by committee member Fred Dryer and others. This is an important topic because the majority of fire deaths occur in the home. The discussion revolved around the safety of consumer products and how these products contribute to fires in the home and often serve as a source of ignition. Technologies to improve firefighter capabilities and safety were of considerable interest, particularly in light of the events of September 11. The U.S. Fire Administration has submitted a report to Congress outlining a research agenda for fire service needs that was based on a workshop conducted in 1999 (USFA, 2001). Another potential research topic brought up in committee discussions was wildland fires, especially their interface with populated suburban areas. This has become a serious issue as the human population continues to encroach into areas
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where wildland fires are a natural and common occurrence. Such fires now displace people, cause serious damage, and place firefighters in jeopardy (of the 102 firefighter deaths recorded in 2002, 20 occurred in wildland fires (USFA, 2003)). The threat from wildland fires inspired the development of the National Fire Plan, which provided the impetus for the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP), a collaboration between the Department of the Interior and the USDA Forest Service. The JFSP has administered and managed a large amount of fire research dealing with wildland fuel and fire management programs over the past 5 years (JFSP, 2002). The committee decided in planning the workshop and writing this report that the topics discussed in this section, although extremely important, were not part of its charge. Robust and focused research activities are already under way to address these issues. NSF will be familiar with them and should coordinate its efforts. If NSF decides to reestablish a university grants program in basic fire research, the results of that research will certainly be of interest to those who deal with these other topics. Interdisciplinary Research, Coordination, and Cooperation W. J. Petak (2003) makes a strong case for a holistic approach to fire research similar to the approach to earthquake mitigation research. He notes that earthquake mitigation technology has advanced considerably over the years but deployment has not kept pace, even in earthquake- prone California. He believes one of the principal reasons for the gap is that earthquake risk reduction is viewed by many as a purely technical problem with a technical solution. However, despite the importance of technology, it takes institutions and people to implement workable, sociotechnical systems solutions. Figure 2.1 illustrates how the elements of such a system work together and underscores the value of interdisciplinary research that draws from the social, behavioral, and decision sciences as well as the physical sciences and engineering. For example, performance-based building codes will require realistic expectations of human behavior during a fire and must, by necessity, draw from research into human factors, the social organization of evacuation groups, and the social ties that develop within such groups. FIGURE 2.1 A sociotechnical system view for decision making (Linstone, 1984). Presentations and discussion at the workshop also revealed the need for better coordination, cooperation, and communication among the many stakeholders in the national fire
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safety effort, including fire researchers and academics, the fire services, public officials, codes and standards groups, private industries, government agencies, and professional societies. Workshop participants suggested a number of possible strategies the nation could deploy for achieving this goal, including the following: The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) model (Anderson), Use-inspired research agendas, Pasteur’s quadrant (Croce), A national network of technology centers (Quintiere), and A federation of stakeholder groups with a champion (Kime, Croce, Tubbs). Several excerpts from the workshop presentations are included to underscore this point: It is not clear which community owns the problem (Baum). Current explosion research in the United States is highly fragmented (Zalosh). European explosion test facilities are not only more numerous in all sizes, they are also used for integrated explosion programs with coordinated participation of government, industry, and university research laboratories (Zalosh). We need a coordinated university-industry-government explosion research program (Zalosh). It is important that a federal agency or large industrial consortium recognizes explosion protection as an important part of its mission (Zalosh). The Pasteur’s quadrant approach to research, discussed by Croce, introduces the concept of use-inspired fundamental research and defines what should motivate all research (Dryer). A coordinated effort is needed between modelers, experimentalists, and manufacturers in developing detector performance metrics and accurate models for the calculation of detector responses under realistic installation conditions (Gottuk). There has been remarkably little interaction between researchers in the various fire communities—those involved in automatic protection, the fire service, and those in the forest fire community who are interested in the fire protection of buildings. The potential for cooperation among these various communities appears to be large (Hamins). A nationally coordinated network of technical centers is needed to facilitate fire safety design through education and research linked tightly to the needs of codes and standards (Quintiere). NSF has experience in other emerging structural engineering areas like earthquake engineering that will facilitate the process of conducting and implementing breakthrough, scientifically based engineering methods [in structural performance] (Beyler). A federation should be formed to identify technologies that should be adopted, to demonstrate their public value, and to generalize demonstration projects to the broader community (Kime). An effective stakeholder organization should be established, including a champion and societal decision makers such as the fire service and key industry, trade, and
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professional groups . . . to obtain stakeholder buy-in on key fire research directions, needs, approaches, and goals (Croce). A use-inspired fundamental research model should be considered (Croce). A group of appropriate stakeholders should be formed to help guide the process and gain acceptance for new methods in design and construction (Tubbs). Research priority goals, time lines, and milestones can be developed following a technology roadmap approach (Lyons). REFERENCES Applied Technology Council (ATC). 2002. ATC-58 Project: Development of Performance-Based Seismic Design Guidance. Available at http://www.atcouncil.org/pdfs/WorkPlanP1-073102.pdf [April 3, 2002]. Arnold, C. 1998. Reducing Earthquake Risk: NEHRP at the End of the 20th Century. Testimony to the United States House of Representatives, Committee on Science Subcommittee on Basic Research: Hearings on the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program. Washington, D.C. Available at http://www.wsspc.org/publicpolicy/nehrp/arnold_022399.htm [April 3, 2003]. Cutter, S. 2001. American Hazardscapes: The Regionalization of Hazards and Disasters. S. Cutter, ed. Washington, D.C.: Joseph Henry Press. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 2002. World Trade Center Performance Study: Data Collection, Preliminary Observations, and Recommendations. FEMA 403. Washington, D.C.: Federal Emergency Management Agency. Hall, J. 1999. The Total Cost of Fire in the United States Through 1996. Quincy, Mass.: National Fire Protection Association. International Code Council (ICC). 2001. ICC Performance Code for Buildings and Facilities, December. Falls Church, Va. Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP). 2002. 2002 Business Summary. Available at http://jfsp.nifc.gov/2003business_summary.pdf. [April 7, 2003]. Linstone, H. 1984. Multiple Perspectives for Decision Making: Bridging the Gap Between Analysis and Action. New York, N.Y.: Elsevier Science Publications. National Research Council (NRC). 2002. Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Petak, W.J. 2003. Earthquake Mitigation Implementation: A Sociotechnical System Approach. 2003 Distinguished Lecture, 55th Annual Meeting of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, February 5-8, 2003, Portland, Oreg. United States Fire Administration (USFA). 2001. United States Fire Administration’s Fire Research Agenda. Submitted to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the United States Senate and the Committee on Science of the United States House of Representatives. Available at http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/ doc/agenda.doc. [April 7, 2003]. USFA. 2003. 102 Firefighter Deaths in 2002. Available at http://www.usfa.fema.gov/inside-usfa/media/03-005.cfm [April 25, 2003]. United States Geological Survey (USGS). 2002. Deaths from Earthquakes in the United States. Available at http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/us_deaths.html [December 9, 2002].
Representative terms from entire chapter: