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Patton Report 36

Patton Report 36

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Published by Richard M Patton

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Published by: Richard M Patton on Jan 05, 2010
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01/04/2010

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NO.36
A RECOMMENDED
RESEARCH PROGRAM
© 1974 Richard M. PattonThere
are
two facets to fire protection. They are:
 A — Humanitarian — The saving of lives.
B — Business — The making of profits in the fire
protection market place.
It has long been my belief that 98% of our fire
safety effort is oriented toward Facet B.Those who make profits from fire are those who
devote most of the time and money to the writing of 
the fire safety codes, establishing criteria for fire
testing,
and enforcing other controls on fire
technology.
Eight Thousand people die in building fires in the
U. S. each year. I believe that at least seven thousand
of these are victims — not of fire — but of our fire
technology controls. By that I mean it is the controls
on fire technology — controls that are profit oriented
— not humanitarian oriented — that prevent the
application of inexpensive, readily available solutions
to fire.
In short, I believe that absolutely fantastic sums of 
money are being poured into profit making fire
technology; and virtually nothing is being directed
toward
actually solving 
the fire problem.
There are more people who love the fire
"problem" than those who love the fire "solution". A
multi billion dollar market place Is not to be fooled
with.
Solving the fire problem would not be difficult
except for the fact that one runs head on Into the
market controls the moment on tries to do something
meaningful from a human viewpoint.
Because I have chosen to challenge the "system"
I have received very little help (but considerable
opposition) even though to date I have personally
brought about some of the most significant changes in
fire technology that gave slipped thru the controls
during this century.
What help I have received has come mainly from
the State and local fire services (these people know
what fire really does to humans) and the building code
authorities. The federal government has, to date,
been Just another obstructor.But,
by hook or by crook, we will get the job done.
I plan to develop and push thru to completion
additional concepts in fire safety with or without help
(and certainly with opposition). One way or another I
expect to
develop the following research program.
Fire testing of structures and components has
been accomplished within the perspective of the
"Standard Time Temperature Curve" ASTM-119 —
NFPA 251. In effect, materials have been Judged on
their characteristics under the conditions of a very
severe fire exposure.
The Intent has been to Judge the ability of 
structural systems to withstand severe and long
duration fire exposures.
But human safety requires different con-
siderations. The human body has very little tolerance
to the severe temperature conditions of the standard
fire test. People are killed long before structural
systems fall.
My drawing represents a more realistic time
temperature curve for humans. It shows a typical fire
as It might grow in a human type occupancy such as a
hotel room or hospital room.
The fire is divided into two phases — the pre
flashover stage and the post flashover stage.
In a
Wan occupancy, it is the Phase I fire that is
a primary concern. It is during this phase that fire is
readily controlled. Also, during this period conditions
progress to the "Deadly" stage. Thus, before
flashover develops, deaths may be already occuring.
The Phase II fire represents a failure of the fire
safety system from a human viewpoint.
While it may be desirable to minimize the extent of 
a failure — it Is far more important to
 prevent 
the
failure. Thus, our concern with the Phase I fire is
far 
more
important than our concern with the Phase 11
fire.
This point is perhaps best Illustrated by analogy
with the airplane. There are two ways to prevent
passengers from being killed thru air crashes. They
are:
1.
Take measures to prevent the planes from
crashing. Traffic control is an example.
2.
Take measures to minimize the adverse results
of a crash. Proper fastening of seats to the frame, and
stronger structural designs are examples.Now note that the primary controls are the more
Important. It is best
not 
to crash the plane to begin
with. The secondary controls — those that come into
play during or after the crash — have value of course.
But it is preferable
no
to have the disaster (the
failure) to begin with.
 
The Phase II fire is a condition similar to an air-
plane crash. A 
failure
has already occurred. An "out
of control" fire is already in progress. The only pointthat remains in question is the extent of the disaster.
THE PHASE I FIRE
Until very recently, fire technology was almost
totally controlled by the insurance industry. This
industry has been concerned with protecting
property. Thus the testing procedures that evolvedwere oriented toward Phase II fire conditions.
But, from a human life viewpoint, it is the Phase I
fire that is important for these reasons:
1.
Fire can be readily controlled during the Phase I
stage.
2.
Deadly conditions usually develop late in the
Phase I fire and when the Phase II stage is entered
deaths may have already occurred.
3.
Permitting a fire to pass thru Phase I (where
detection and control is an easy matter) and enter the
Phase II stage represents an unacceptable conditionfrom a human viewpoint.
4.
Those who place human life above the building
value must consider the control of the Phase I fire
their primary concern.
SYSTEMS SAFETY VS STRUCTURAL SAFETY
The structural fire safeguards, such as fireproofing
of the steel, exit ways, and fire compartments are
intended to perform after the fire has entered Phase
I I .
The building is becoming untenable, and the
occupants must leave to survive. The costs of these
systems often run to 20% of the total cost of the
building and sometimes higher. These are secondary
safeguards which become important only after failure
(the entering of Phase II) has already occurred.
The detection and control of the Phase I fire is
simple and inexpensive. Research indicates a water
supply of 5 to
10
GPM is adequate to control fire in
human occupancies. However, because of many
years of improper obstructions to sprinkler system
improvements, current sprinkler designs often require
water supplies in the 250 GPM to 500 GPM range.
Even this represents a major recent breakthrubecause fire regulations had previously forced
sprinkler design into the 500 to 2000 GPM range forhuman type occupancies.
With modest research, a plastic pipe sprinkler
system could be developed that would provide ex-
tremely close to 100% control of the Phase I fire for aprice in the range of 2°/0 to 3°/0 of the building cost.
D. THE HAZARD OF MATERIALS
Fire tests have been developed to test the burning
characteristics of plastic materials and to grade their
"Fire Hazard".
Often these tests have been oriented toward thePhase II fire. That is, a material has been judged on
the basis of an exposure to a severe fire. An example
is the carpet tests where many wood cribs were
burned in a confined area to produce enough heat to
vaporize the carpet on the floor. This proved that a
floor covering can sometimes enter the Phase II fire.But in the Phase II fire
all 
combustibles generally
behave the same way — they burn. Important dif-
ferences in combustibles that are apparent during the
Phase I fire tend to become obscure in the Phase II
fire.
The testing of combustible materials for their
characteristics under Phase II fire conditions could be
defined as testing for conditions where man is already
dead.
The important thing is how a combustible material
reacts in the Phase I fire.
Here are the dangerous characteristics of a
material from the Phase I fire viewpoint.
1.
Spontaneously ignites.
2.
Ignites at a very low temperature (under say500° F).
3.
Has rapid flame spread characteristics.
Note that the characteristics that are considered
dangerous can have the result of 
1.
Initiating a fire.
2.
Rapidly bringing fire thru Phase I into the Deadly
Phase II stage.
The physical state also is important. Normal
combustibles can become unusually dangerous whenfinely divided, or in thin layers, and are otherwise so
arranged as to promote rapid fire development. A 
high pile of wood pallets is an example. Of course,materials that are in the liquid phase at room tem-
perature also have special dangerous characteristics.Materials that produce "unusually toxic" gases or
unusual volumes of smoke also may represent a
special danger. However, the evidence is not clear in
this regard. Why this is so becomes apparent when
fire is properly considered to consist of two phases.
During the pre flashover fire the amount of 
combustibles burning generally is rather small. The
burning of a single overstuffed chair can bring a room
to flashover. During this Phase I period, the fire maybe smoky, and perhaps gases such as HCL are beingproduced. But even so, the total quantity is still quite
small in terms of fire scaling.
Once Phase 11 is entered the rate of production of 
toxic gases, smoke, and heat increases fantastically.
Phase 11 makes everything that happened in Phase I
seem superficial. But once Phase 11 is entered
all 
combustibles behave in a most dangerous manner.
Therefore, when judging the characteristics of 
combustibles, the really serious characteristics may
be
1. An ability to initiate fire (autoignition or very low
temperature ignition).
2.
 A rapid rate of flame spread, or fire
propagation, which will bring about an early enteringof Phase II.
RECOMMENDED
RESEARCH PROGRAM
(CONCEPTUAL)
1.
Establish a recognized "standard" Life Safety
Time Temperature Curve that will be a standard fire
test curve for testing of sprinkler system per-
 
PHASE 31
GENERAL BUILDING FIRE
(
OUT OF CONTROL)
.All occupants of room are dead.
-All combustibles in room are vaporizing and
giving off flammable gases.
-
Room oxygen deficiency produces high rate ofproduction of flammable gas (CO).-Flammable gas (CO) flows along corridorceilings mixin
g
with oxygen and burning as
it progresses.-Temperatures in corridor may become
instantaneously deadly (less than 10 second
survival time).-
Extremely rapid fire spread over large area
is possible.
-
Wide scale spread of smoke. Visibility may
rapidly fall to zero over wide area.-
Gas production and expansion creates pressurethat will force combustion gases thru closed
fire doors.
'Smoke and deadly gases will spread thru air
ducts.
-Blockage of "fire resistive" exitways likely
to occur.
-Steel structural systems may fail.-Electrical systems may fail.
-Huge water supplies may be needed for control.
'Panic is likely with breakdown of emergency
plans.
 
2000
1500
1000
0
u.
w500
c cc c
250
UJ
a.
LU
2
TIME - MINUTESTHE LIFE SAFETY TIME-TEMPERATURE CURVE
 © 1974 RICHARD M. PATTON
"PATTON LIFE SAFETY SYSTEMS"6075 CLEVELAND AVE.
COLUMBUS, OHIO
43229

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