Fire & Life Safety

Understanding the Consequences of Skipping Fire Suppression

Having smoke and fire detectors without fire suppression technology is like having video surveillance without alarm response.

November 5, 2013
Trans

A fire in 2013 that began in the attic of a Colorado sorority house burned for hours before anyone detected it, resulting in a million-dollar loss. Why? The three-story, wood-frame house had no fire detection system, and a sprinkler system covered the living spaces but not the attic.

In 2007, a college dormitory in Rhode Island suffered a total loss when a fire in an attached garage spread quickly. The eight-unit building was protected by a hardwired smoke detection system, but there were no sprinklers. The building, valued at $500,000 with contents of $150,000, was a total loss, and two civilians and three firefighters suffered non-life threatening injuries.

In 2007-2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 3,810 structure fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities and barracks, and those fires caused an annual average of two civilian deaths, 30 civilian injuries and $9 million in direct property damage, according to a report from the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).

Since 1980, structure fires in these types of residences have increased 18 percent, however, Marty Ahrens, Senior Manager, Fire Analysis Services for the NFPA, says that the increase in fires reported could be due to improvements in fire reporting.

“Today, we have better notification through automatic fire alarms and smoke detection systems – when an alarm is set off, the fire department is notified immediately,” she says. Plus, updates to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS, version 5.0) makes “cooking fire confined to origin” easier to document on reports, leading to more detailed reporting and fewer “undefined” fires, she adds.

Also contributing to the increase in fires, she notes, is the evolution of the definition of a dorm.

“Previously, a dorm was basically a building of bedrooms. Now, many are more like apartments, with kitchens, suites, microwaves, etcetera. This blurs the line of what is an apartment and what is a dorm,” she says.

More than two-thirds (70 percent) of fires on these properties began in the kitchen or cooking area, although seven percent of fires started in the bedroom. Those bedroom fires, however, are responsible for 27 percent of injuries and 21 percent of property damage. According to Ahrens, residents face injury while leaving fires (candles) or cooking implements unattended, often within their living space, but many injuries are minor (smoke inhalation).

September and October are peak months for dorm fires, and weekends typically bring more risk than weekdays – 33 percent of fires occurred on Saturdays and Sundays. Unlike home fires, the peak time for dormitory fires is between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m., compared to 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for typical residences.

Automatic suppression equipment typically lowers damage created by student residence fires. During 2007-2011, 95 percent of automatic suppression equipment present in structure fires were sprinklers, and when wet pipe sprinklers were present in these properties, damage was 65 percent lower than when no automatic extinguishing equipment was present. In the same time period, 57 percent of structure fires in these properties occurred in structures with automatic suppression equipment present, the report notes.

In addition to proper fire suppression equipment and systems, the NFPA also recommends a campus safety outreach program, which could include a targeted focus on fire prevention during September and October, especially with the influx of new students to a college campus.

 


Fire & Life Safety Solutions

 

Integrates into Conventional Security and Fire Panels From System Sensor
This low-voltage, system-connected, combination smoke and carbon monoxide detection solution can integrate into conventional security and fire panel to provide a comprehensive life safety solution. Available in two-wire and four-wire versions, the series features photoelectric smoke and electrochemical CO sensing technologies, and the integration module simplifies installation. Since the module sits next to the panel, the system uses approximately 75-percent fewer wires, which translates into lower installation cost and time without sacrificing performance. The module is compatible with smoke detectors with thermal sensors and built-in sounders, designed for both new installations and retrofits.

Find out more at systemsensor.com/i4
 

Cuts Costs on Wiring, Enables Repositioning From Napco Security
This integrated commercial system offers fast, cost-effective installation options with Quick-Start programming and Auto-Learn/Device Discovery modes, plus, a wireless version enables enterprise security leaders to reduce infrastructure costs and install updated fire and life safety systems in retrofit buildings. Wireless devices can also be removed and repositioned if the needs of the enterprise change. Integrations options include add-on access and badging modules, and even a special snow-day feature for schools.

Find out more at www.napcosecurity.com
 

Designed for Sprinkler Monitoring Applications From Potter Signal
This fire alarm panel was created to handle flow, pressure and tamper switch notifications, and it can synchronize A/V devices from multiple manufacturers for a robust, multi-system fire and life safety program. The small, inexpensive and robust panel has a 1.0 amp power supply that charges the batteries and powers a notification appliance circuit plus auxiliary power. In addition to communicating over IP right out of the box, the panel can also send emails with status updates or to download configuration files. Emails can also drive service and revenue with reminders that inspections or tests are due.

Find out more at www.pottersignal.com

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Security Magazine. 

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

ASIS 2013 Product Preview

ASIS International 59th Annual Seminar and Exhibits, September 24-27 in Chicago, Illinois, will include an exhibit hall packed with innovative security solutions. Here are some of the products that will be shown at ASIS this year.

Podcasts

Virtualization and Data Center Security: What You Need to Know for 2014

Data centers are increasingly becoming the center of the enterprise, and data center and cyber security is following the same path for security departments. According to Justin Flynn, a consultant at the Burwood Group, the virtualization of data centers allows enterprises to scale more easily and faster, with a smaller footprint.

However, hosting enterprise data in the cloud can make intrusion detection more difficult – how can enterprise security leaders team up with other departments to keep aware of cyber risks and traffic, and physical and data compliance during the virtual transition? How can CISOs and CSOs discuss cyber threats with the C-Suite to get the resources they need? And how can the proper infrastructure test and verify possible malicious attacks? 

More Podcasts

Security Magazine

Security December 2014 issue cover

2014 December

This issue of Security Magazine covers our 12th annual Top Guarding Firms list. Check out the best of the best as of December 2014. The 21st century has brought with it new types of security threats. Read how to combat and protect against these threats.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Security Emergency Preparedness Training

Which security personnel emergency preparedness training is the top priority to you and your enterprise?
View Results Poll Archive

THE SECURITY STORE

comptiahighriseproductphoto
CompTIA Security+ Certification Study Guide
CompTIA's Security+ certification is a globally-recognized, vendor neutral exam that has helped over 60,000 IT professionals reach further and higher in their careers. The current Security+ exam (SY0-201) focuses more on being able to deal with security issues rather than just identifying them.
More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook 40px 2-12-13 Twitter logo 40px 2-12-13  YouTube  LinkedIn logo 40px 2-12-13Google+

Vertical Sector Focus: Critical Infrastructures

criticalhomepagethumbFrom terrorism to vandalism, it’s preparedness, response, training and partnerships. Learn about some of the critical security issues facing this sector.

Visit the Critical Infrastructure page to read more.