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Definition and Causes of Fire

Fire is a rapid oxidation process accompanied by the evolution of heat, light, flame and the emission of sound.

The Fire Triangle:

Three elements - fuel, oxygen and heat - are required to start a fire. The oxidation process will not be possible without any one of these elements.

Fuel (Fire Load)

Oxygen (Ventilation)

Heat (Ignition)

Class A:

Classes of Fire

Fire involving:

How to Suppress:
Use Water

Ordinary combustible materials such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber and plastics, etc. Flammable or combustible liquids, flammable gases.
Energized electrical equipment Combustible metals such as potassium, sodium, magnesium and other reactive metals

Class B:
Class C: Class D:

Exclude air from burning materials

No Water; Use electrically non-conductive extinguishing agents such as gaseous systems

Heat-absorbing medium which is not reactive with burning metals

Stage 1:

Fire Growth

Pre-flashover or growth phase
Involves flaming combustion of an item and may lead to a spread of fire; or a smoldering, poorlyventilated fire with substantial smoke. Rapid change from a local fire to one involving all combustible materials in a room. All materials in compartment are alight; maximum rate of heat release is dependent on either available ventilation or quantity of fuel. Gradual consumption of fuel in the compartment.

Stage 2:
Stage 3:

Fully developed fire (Stable phase) Decay (Cooling Period)

Stage 4:


Fire Growth

Architectural Intervention during Fire Growth

Active Fire Protection
Detection, activation and suppression

This graph shows where active and passive fire protection will play an important part during the development of fire.

Passive Fire Protection

Resistance to heat and flames of fire rated constructions



Stage 1 Slow rate of burning

Stage 2 Development of heat and flames

Stage 3

Stage 4

Load bearing capacity of materials is maintained. Prevention of fire spread to other compartments.


Behavior of Fire and Smoke

Vertical Shaft or Duct (Stack Effect) Ceiling Void

Suspended Ceiling

Smoke and Flame likely to re-enter

Enclosed Area

Vertical Shaft or Duct

1.00 m

Outlet to open air

Outlet to adjoining space

Enclosed Area

Through Vertical Shafts

Fire Spread

Internal Fire Spread due to:

Through Air Ducts Through Ceiling and Collapsed Partitions

Origin of Fire Through Non-Fire Rated Doors

Internal Fire Spread between Rooms and Floors


Fire Spread

External Fire Spread due to:

Congested High Fire Load Areas


Fire Spread

External Fire Spread due to:

Loss of Integrity of Fire Wall


Fire Spread

External Fire Spread due to:

Convection Currents

Ignition of Materials

Ignition of Materials

Ignition of Materials

Ignition of Materials

Origin of Fire

Proximity of Buildings

Aims in Fire Safety Design

To prevent fire To safeguard the lives of occupants and firefighters To reduce damage on the building, its contents, and on surrounding buildings


Basic Principles
1 Fire Avoidance 2 Fire Detection 3 Fire Growth Restriction 4 Fire Containment 5 Fire Control 6 Smoke Control 7 Escape Provisions

Basic Principles Fire Avoidance 1


Definition & Implication

Reducing the possibility of accidental ignition of construction materials, as well as fittings and fixtures. This implies:
a. keeping separate heat sources and materials which might ignite readily through proper planning and zoning b. need to specify materials to reduce the risk of fire starting c. reducing fire load

Basic Principles Fire Avoidance 1


Fire Zoning

(eg. Hospitals)

1. Life Risk Areas areas in which all occupants are ambulant and For Most Buildings
able to move unaided away from a fire - eg. Outpatient department; Service Zone

For Hospitals

2. High Fire Risk Areas areas which, due to their function, are
more usually susceptible to an outbreak of fire, or to a rapid spread of fire or smoke. - eg. Kitchen or Boiler Room

3. High Fire Load Areas areas which, because of their

construction or contents, contain large amounts of combustible materials, thereby constituting a fire load in excess of that normally found - eg. Gas Storage, Linen Closets

4. High Life Risk Areas areas in which persons may reside and
are not able to move unaided away from a fire. - eg. Intensive Care Unit, Operating Department

Basic Principles Fire Avoidance1

Fire Zoning
(eg. Hospitals)


Basic Principles Fire Avoidance 1


Choice of Materials and Knowledge 1 on Material Performance

Concrete Masonry
-high fire resistance - disintegrates at 400-500C - holes in concrete will expose steel structural members - high fire resistance - cracks at 575C - are subject to high temperatures during manufacture

Steel Calcium Silicate

- does not burn - may buckle in fire - high conductivity spreads heat - loses half its strength in 550C - excellent thermal shock resistance - up to 1000C - suitable for cladding structural members

Timber Glass
- combustible - little loss of strength as charcoal formed insulates wood core - spreads flames - standard float, toughened and laminated glass panes do not provide any fire resistance - monolithic fire-rated glass is available

Basic Principles Fire Avoidance 1


Knowledge on Fire Load

the amount of material which is able to burn and release heat and smoke

In a compartment, limiting fuel will help reduce the dangers of heat and smoke. Building contents make up the majority of the fire load, since most fires start from the ignition of these contents.
The total amount of fuel in a building, its accessibility to fire engines, the availability of water, etc. will determine the level of fire resistance and the maximum size of a building compartment.

Basic Principles Fire Detection2

Visual Fire Detection
To visually expose FIRE RISK and FIRE LOAD areas to building occupants.

Patient Room Sto


Patient Room

Nurse Station

Basic Principles Fire Detection2

Visual Fire Detection

fire-prone areas provide peepholes should be visually on doors accessible

Basic Principles Fire Detection2

Mechanical Fire Detection
Makes use of manual and automatic (electric/ electronic) methods of informing the occupants in charge that a fire has occurred in a given location.

Heat and smoke alarm systems inside Fire Risk and Fire Load areas.

Fire alarm systems must be accessible in all zones especially in fire-prone areas.

Basic Principles Fire Growth Restriction3

Aimed at ensuring that the growing fire is extinguished immediately and at providing adequate time for firemen to arrive, control the fire and evacuate the occupants.

Manual Means of Restricting 5 Fire Growth

Actively extinguishing or slowing down the development of a fire before the full involvement of the room. This is done by the rooms local occupants. Means: 1. Fire Extinguisher 2. Water Supply 3. Fire Blanket 4. Bucket of Sand

Basic Principles Fire Growth Restriction3

Rating of Fire Extinguishers :
Class A Extinguishers will put out fires in ordinary combustibles, such as wood and paper. The numerical rating for this class of fire extinguisher refers to the amount of water the fire extinguisher holds and the amount of fire it will extinguish Class B Extinguishers should be used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline, oil, etc. The numerical rating for this class of fire extinguisher states the approximate number of square feet of a flammable liquid fire that a non-expert person can expect to extinguish

Class C Extinguishers are suitable for use on electrically energized fires. This class of fire extinguishers does not have a numerical rating. The presence of the letter C indicates that the extinguishing agent is non-conductive

Class D Extinguishers are designed for use on flammable metals and are often specific for the type of metal in question. There is no picture designator for Class D extinguishers. These extinguishers generally have no rating nor are they given a multi-purpose rating for use on other types of fires

Basic Principles Fire Growth Restriction3

Types of Fire Extinguishers :
Dry Chemical extinguishers are usually rated for multiple purpose use. They contain an extinguishing agent and use a compressed, non-flammable gas as a propellant

Halon extinguishers contain a gas that interrupts the chemical reaction that takes place when fuels burn. These types of extinguishers are often used to protect valuable electrical equipment since them leave no residue to clean up. Halon extinguishers have a limited range, usually 1.2 to 1.8 meters. The initial application of Halon should be made at the base of the fire, even after the flames have been extinguished

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extinguishers are most effective on Class B and C (liquids and electrical) fires. Since the gas disperses quickly, these extinguishers are only effective from 1.0 to 2.4 feet. The carbon dioxide is stored as a compressed liquid in the extinguisher; as it expands, it cools the surrounding air. The cooling will often cause ice to form around the horn where the gas is expelled from the extinguisher. Since the fire could re-ignite, continue to apply the agent even after the fire appears to be out

Basic Principles Fire Growth Restriction3

Mechanical Means of 6 Restricting Fire Growth
Sprinkler Specifications:

-Categories: General Use, Institutional, Residential, Attics, Special Hazards, Storage -3 heads: upright, pendent and sidewall -Rated to 175 psi

Sprinklers can be spaced from 3.6 to 6.0 meters apart.

Basic Principles Fire Containment4

Definition and Implication
Assumes that measures to control a growing fire may not be successful, hence its maximum size needs to be restricted both to reduce the risk and to allow effective firefighting.
This implies: 1. 2. Fire cladding of structural components to ensure stability of structural frames. The use of fire-rated walls and slabs to contain fire in rooms, sub-compartments and compartments so as to segregate areas where fire may occur. Others: plugging all holes; extending CHB walls up to the slab; providing a 1-meter ledge to prevent fire from creeping up exterior walls into the floor above through windows.

Extend CHB walls up to slab

Provide 1 m. ledge to prevent spread of fire

3. -

Basic Principles Fire Containment4

Concepts of Fire Compartmentation
Containing fireprone areas by means of fireresistive enclosures

-To limit fire and smoke spread -To allow longer escape time -To reduce the maximum potential size of the fire

Room Sub-Compartment Compartment

Fire-Rated Surface

Compartment Sizes

The more combustible the contents of a building, the smaller the compartment should be.
Joints must be filled with non-combustible materials to prevent the spread of smoke or flame.

Basic Principles Fire Containment4

Concepts of Fire Compartmentation
Department Rooms

Basic Principles Fire Containment4

Fire Rating of Construction Systems
Concrete Masonry Wall Units
2 Hour 4 Hour

Gypsum Walls
1 Hour Wood Steel Wood 2 Hour Steel

-One layer 12mm type X veneer base nailed to each side of 50mmX100mm wood studs 400mm O.C.

-One layer 16mm type X gypsum wallboard or veneer base applied to each side of 40mm metal studs 600mm O.C.

-Two layers 16mm type X gypsum wallboard or veneer base applied to each side of 50mmx100mm wood studs 600mm O.C.

-Two layers 16mm type X gypsum wallboard or veneer base applied to each side of 62mm metal studs 400mm O.C.

Basic Principles Fire Containment4

Fire Rating of Construction Systems
Ceiling Systems
1 Hour 2 Hour 3 Hour

12mm gypsum wallboard applied to drywall resilient furring channels 600mm O.C. and nailed to wood joists 400mm O.C. Wood joists supporting 25mm T&G finish floor.

12mm gypsum wallboard applied to drywall furring channels. Furring channels 600mm O.C., attached with 18 gauge wire ties open web steel joists 600mm O.C. supporting rib metal lath on 28 gauge corrugated steel and 62mm concrete slab.

12mm 25mm



Basic Principles Fire Containment4

Fire Rating of Construction Systems
Door Openings
1 Hour 2 Hour
125mm min

For 1.2m X 3.0m single hollow metal doors (ga.20 steel face), with labeled single-point or 3-point latching hardware, steel hinges or pivots
3 Hour

1.370m max

0.83m max

-Maximum glass area: 0.83 sq.m

-For openings in walls or partitions

125mm -Maximum glass area 0.063 sq.m min -6mm thk Wire glass in a steel frame
-For openings in enclosures of vertical

-Flush Metal Door

-No Glass Permitted -3mm clearance at jambs -10mm clearance at non-combustinle floor -For openings in fire walls or walls that

between rooms and corridors having a fire resistance rating of 1 hour or less

communications through buildings and in 2-hour rated partitions providing horizontal fire separations

divide a single building into fire areas

Basic Principles Fire Containment4

Load Bearing Capacity, Integrity 2 and Insulation
Load Bearing Capacity
Collapse or excessive deflection

Passage of flame

Temperature increase

Structural Performance: Building still stands during an emergency Ability to carry load without collapsing

Ability to resist the development of crack or perforations so as not to allow passage of smoke and flame

*Insulated building elements will not ignite in fire and will ensure passage of human beings without damage on the other side of the separating element.
Ability to prevent heat transfer from one face to the other face.

Basic Principles Fire Control5

Definition and Implication
Covers those devices and systems which aid firefighters in actively extinguishing the fire and bringing it to an end earlier than a free-burning fire.

Access Road

access road for firetrucks

ensure that all areas inside and outside the building are covered by reach of the firehose

Basic Principles Fire Control5

Site Access for Fire Control8:

Fire apparatus should have unobstructed access to buildings.

Bollards and fences used for traffic Prevent time-consuming, hazardous control must allow for sufficient back-ups at dead-ends by using Topen road width for fire truck turns and cul-de-sacs




Place hydrants at max. 3 meters from curb. Siamese connection to standpipes must be visible and within 60m from hydrant

Hydrant must be unobstructed; Fire hose connection should be at least 0.3m above grade

Utility poles, kiosks, sculpture, fountains, plant boxes can impede fire rescue operations

Basic Principles Fire Control5

Aerial Apparatus Specifications:

30 m.

25 m.

75 (safe angle)


20 m.


8.5 m. Approx. 10 storeys

6.7 m. Approx. 8-9 storeys

5.6 m. Approx. 6-7 storeys

Basic Principles Fire Control5

Concept of the Firefighting Shaft
Provides access to a building, especially in high rise buildings, for fire brigades. Is fully-equipped with firefighting equipment, service elevator, stair and lobby. Provides a sufficiently secure operating base and a rest area in between firefighting operations.
Fire-rated doors Elevator shaft Wet and Dry Risers

Basic Principles Smoke Control6

Definition and Techniques


Measures which can assist to some extent occupants in the fire zone but are particularly needed for others in adjacent areas or compartments. Techniques of Smoke Control
Extraction of Smoke
Ceiling Reservoir


Smoke Plume

Mall Make Up Air

SMOKE CONTAINMENT/ BARRIER technique of restricting the movement of smoke by the provision of fire resisting elements. SMOKE DISPERSAL technique of clearing smoke locally by provision of natural cross-ventilation or mechanical venting.

Smoke Barrier

Basic Principles Smoke Control6

Definition and Techniques
c. PRESSURIZATION technique whereby air is blown into spaces which are designed to be kept clear of smoke.

Uses barriers including walls, floors and doors, to contain pressurized air generated by mechanical means to keep smoke away from protected areas such as escape staircases and corridors.

High Pressure Low Pressure

Basic Principles Escape Provisions7

Cover a range of passive or active systems which permit the occupants to move or be moved to a place of safety within or to the outside of a building.
direct, not tortuous simple lay-out no barriers, cul-de-sacs, bottlenecks doors open out, not in easily detectible, not hidden from view

fire escape stairs designed to be used daily for familiarity of escape route well-maintained (not used as storage of junk)

Basic Principles Escape Provisions7

Protected Escape Routes
To provide safety, the routes must be properly protected from the effects of fire and smoke for an acceptable time period, usually a minimum of 60 minutes.
This can be achieved by:
- Compartmentation - Fire resistance of escape route structure - Use of smoke control systems to keep smoke out of escape routes

Escape Route Leading to:

Protected Escape Route Place of Safety Place of Safety

a. Protected Escape Route

Protected Lobby Place of Safety Place of Safety

b. Protected Lobby
Stairway Enclosure Place of Safety

Protected escape routes are designed in such a way that they lead to a place of safety, and once inside the occupants are safe from the immediate danger from fire and smoke.

Place of Safety

c. Protected Stairway Enclosure

Basic Principles Escape Provisions7

Alternative Means of Escape
Place of Safety

Place of Safety



Alternative Means of Escape

-Doors should be as far as possible from each other; preferably on opposite walls -Both doors should not open into the same compartment


subcompartment courtyard




Access through Courtyards

Basic Principles Escape Provisions7

Design of Fire Resisting Doors
Additional width to allow for door swing

Reqd. width of escape route

Design width

90 min

90 min

Design width

Basic Principles Escape Provisions7

Primary Considerations in the

Design for FIRE Safety 1 of Hospitals

1. The presence of patients with various degrees of dependency and immobility on one hand and the constant presence of staff on the other. 2. It is assumed that there should be no reliance on external; rescue or such manipulative types of escape appliances as chutes or fire ladders. 3. The staff would be fully responsible in assisting patients within their area of control to a place of safety in an emergency.

Basic Principles Escape Provisions7

Progressive Horizontal Evacuation