Current Research


Modern Vehicle Hazards in Parking Garages and Vehicle Carriers

Principal Investigator: Combustion Science and Engineering, Inc.

The Research Problem

Modern vehicles present new fire hazards, including increased combustible content and alternative fuels. Modern parking garages have optimized space requirements for vehicle parking and storage and often implement automated retrieval features and car stacking, which presents unique hazards as well. The goal of this project is to quantify the fire hazard of modern vehicles in parking structures and vehicle carriers to provide guidance for standards and fire safety design of these structures.

The Project

The SFPE Foundation collaborated with the NFPA Fire Protection Research Foundation undertake a research needs study to determine priority needs for performance-based knowledge to assist the FPE in evaluating design considerations and codes with a potential focus on risk, egress, detection and suppression.

The project consisted of four components:
• A review of the literature to assess fire incidents, current fire protection requirements, and industry trends in parking structures and vehicle (eg marine) carriers.
• A hazard assessment of modern vehicles in the context of parking structures, and bench-marked against traditional vehicle and fueling systems.
• Based on the above information, an assessment of existing fire protection design criteria with a focus on sprinkler protection.
• Identification of gaps in information needed to provide technical guidance to inform appropriate design criteria.

The Report

Modern Vehicle Hazards in Parking Structures and Vehicle Carriers



The Foundation has initiated a project whose overall goal is to develop a comprehensive set of practical tools that may be used by engineers aligned with the state of the practice as described in the 5th edition of the SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering. The deadline for proposals has passed and the Foundation is currently in the process of reviewing the submitted proposals. The Foundation would like to thank everyone that submitted a proposal. More information will be posted here once a selection is made.