- Membership & Communities
- Awards, Fellows, & Honors
- Education & Careers
- Conference & Events
- Issues & Advocacy
- Technical Areas
|A Risk-Based Approach for Selecting Fire Safety Alternatives for Life Safety|
A Risk-Based Approach for Selecting Fire Safety Alternatives for Life Safety
By Dr. IJsbrand van Straalen
TNO, the Netherlands
The demand for a risk-informed, performance-based approach to fire safety in the Netherlands is growing. Various major incidents have emphasized the need to upgrade fire safety regulations. All major stakeholders involved have noted that the existing regulations are limited and that a risk-based approach should be developed.
Framework for Life Safety
The framework as developed is based on the hierarchy promoted by the Inter-jurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee (www.ircc.info). Through functional statements and operative requirements, which are quantified by actual risk criteria, the IRCC links the “Life Safety” goal to matching verification methods. The framework is shown below.
The framework starts with the definition of risk criteria for fire safety by translating relevant operative requirements for life safety. The next step pays special attention to the quantification of these risk criteria by accommodating perceptions of risk. To verify a required probability, underpinning scenarios have to be fitted with fire safety engineering tools by using a probabilistic approach. Such analyses will result in a calculated probability that an unwanted event will occur, and that value can be compared directly to the required risk criterion.
Example of a Long-Term Healthcare Facility
To show how the proposed risk-based approach applies to selecting fire safety alternatives for life safety, Van Straalen, et al. , made a detailed study to implement the framework. In this study, examples for two different healthcare facilities have been worked out for various fire safety solutions. One of the examples considers one fire compartment (indicated by the red lines) with 11 sleeping rooms, as shown in the building plan below. The compartmentalization of sleeping rooms according to the Dutch Building Decree is indicated by the green lines.
As a starting point, the target risk-value has been defined as the individual risk to one person. Based on accepted targets in other safety domains, this target has been set at a value of <1.0·10-5 probability of death per year. This value is in line with fire statistics in the Netherlands, which show that this value is of the same order of magnitude. It is noted that this risk-value represents all four risk criteria shown in the diagram above.
The results of those analyses show the following trends:
This example shows that it is possible to evaluate fire safety alternatives applying the developed risk-based approach, which makes use of a target for individual risk of death and probabilistic techniques.