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FIRE DEPARTMENT RESPONSE TIMES

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					THE INSTITUTION OF FIRE
      ENGINEERS
 United States of America Branch


     Fire Service Deployment:
   Meeting the Standards of Cover
       Performance Criteria

         Indianapolis, April 2002
FIRE DEPARTMENT
 RESPONSE TIMES


What would it take to make a
       difference?
    John R. Waters, CFPS, EFO

• Chief Fire Marshal
• Director of Safety and Codes
  Enforcement
• Upper Merion Township, PA
NATIONAL FIRE ACADEMY


  Executive Fire Officer Program
         RESPONSE TIMES

• Why take the time to study them?
               BUDGETS!

• response times translate to travel distance
• travel distance translates to number of
  stations
• number of stations translates to $$$$$$$$

• Volunteer vs. Career also translates to
  $$$$$
  It doesn’t matter who provides
            the service.

• proprietary
• by contract

• response times
  changes impacts
  budgets
 UNITED STATES FIRE
  ADMINISTRATION
        1987


 “The United States has one of the
highest fire death rates per capita in
             the world.”
JOHN HALL & ARTHUR COTE
          1997

     “As a nation, the United States
      appears to do a better job in
 protecting property than protecting its
  citizens, at least compared to other
   fully industrialized democracies.”
NFPA Standard 403 - Aircraft
   Rescue & Firefighting
      Services(1996)


  “The principle objective of a rescue
 & firefighting service is to save lives.
 ...Demonstrated response time to any
 point on the operational runway shall
        be 2 minutes or less....”
      Fire Incidents vs. Fatalities

3,500,000                   9,000
3,000,000                   8,000
                            7,000
2,500,000
                            6,000
2,000,000                   5,000   Fires
1,500,000                   4,000   Fatalities
                            3,000
1,000,000
                            2,000
 500,000                    1,000
       0                    0
            1977
            1979
            1981
            1983
            1985
            1987
            1989
            1991
            1993
            1995
            1997
            1999
            2001
        Fire Incidents vs. Injuries

3,500,000                    35,000
3,000,000                    30,000
2,500,000                    25,000
2,000,000                    20,000   Fires
1,500,000                    15,000   Injuries

1,000,000                    10,000
 500,000                     5,000
       0                     0
            1977
            1979
            1981
            1983
            1985
            1987
            1989
            1991
            1993
            1995
            1997
            1999
            2001
                       Fire Statistics
                            % Residential


90
80
70
60
50                                                             Fatalities
40                                                             Injuries
30
20
10
 0
  77

         80

                83

                       86

                              89

                                     92

                                            95

                                                   98

                                                          01
19

       19

              19

                     19

                            19

                                   19

                                          19

                                                 19

                                                        20
    George Miller (1999)

“…while the overall number of home
   fire deaths dropped in 1997, the
    percentage of home fire deaths
 rose…we‟re winning the battle but
            losing the war.”
 PREVENTING RESIDENTIAL
FIRE FATALITIES & INJURIES
        IS THE KEY


         Is this news?
Benjamin Franklin (1770)


“It appears to me of great importance
 to build our dwelling houses, if we
 can, in a manner more secure from
                fire”
   1st National Fire Prevention
        Convention (1913)
   “At the outset of the work we established a
statistical table of fires, returned monthly by the
 fire marshals; and for two years that table has
read exactly alike each month and, at the end of
   the year, totals up the same percentage of
figures, with the astounding result that 60% of
    the fires occur in the homes of people.”
  America Burning (1973)

 Residential fires account for about
half of all fire deaths and a third of all
   property loss. The structures in
 which Americans live must be the
 prime focus of a national effort to
          reduce fire losses.”
             M. Karter (1993)

“If we examine deaths by the type of properties in
 which they occurred, we find that the increase in
  civilian deaths was due in large part to a rise in
 deaths in residential properties…with home fire
  deaths accounting for 78.4% of all fire deaths,
residential fire safety initiatives remain the key to
     reduction in the overall fire death toll.”
                   Fatalities by
                type of residential use
                                   1 & 2 Family
3000
                                   Dwellings
                                   Manufactured Homes
2500
                                   Apartments
2000
                                   Rooming Houses
1500
                                   Hotels/Motels
1000
                                   Dormitories
500
                                   Home Hotels
   0
                                   Other Residential
       Deaths
                                   Properties
              Injuries by
        type of residential use
                           1 & 2 Family
14000                      Dwellings
                           Manufactured Homes
12000
                           Apartments
10000
                           Rooming Houses
8000

6000                       Hotels/Motels

4000                       Dormitories

2000                       Home Hotels

    0                      Other Residential
                           Properties
  Yet, in 1998, there were no
performance standards for fire
department response to house
             fires!


NFPA 1710 Committee appointed - January 1999
        1st Meeting - February 1999
            Adopted - May 2001
NFPA Standards 1710 & 1720
          (2001)


          Deployment Standards
 Standard 1710 - Career Fire Departments
Standard 1720 - Volunteer Fire Departments
 A Philosophical Question

 Compartment fires, do they differ
when the structure protected is served
      by career or volunteers?

     If not, why two standards?
Fire Department Response Times

         RESEARCH QUESTIONS:

• At which point does a fire in a structure
  become deadly?
• What would it take for the fire department
  to respond and intervene prior to that point?
                1st Research Question

• At which point does a fire in a structure
  become deadly?
          James Milke (1984)

 “Flashover is considered the point of transition
 from a „small‟ fire to a „large‟ fire involving all
   objects in the room. Once a fully developed
room fire exists, life safety for occupants within
 that room is no longer of concern because the
  room is obviously untenable after flashover.”
    Richard Bukowski & Richard
          Peacock (1995)


 “The occurrence of flashover within a room is of
  considerable interest…it is perhaps the ultimate
signal of untenable conditions within the room of
origin as well as a sign of greatly increased risk to
         other rooms within the building.”
         T.T. Lie (1997)

  “Thus the time interval between the
 start of the fire and the occurrence of
flashover is a major factor in the time
that is available for safe evacuation of
              the fire area.”
         John Hall (1998)


“The majority of people killed in home fires
 (51.5%) are killed in a room other than the
room of origin by a fire that spreads beyond
the room of origin, which suggests flashover
          in the room of origin.”
Victim Location
  1994-1998



              Intimate w/ignition
              In Room of Origin
              Not in Room of Origin
              Not classified
   WHAT IS “FLASHOVER?”

A stage in the development of a contained fire
 in which all exposed surfaces reach ignition
temperatures more or less simultaneously and
  fire spreads rapidly throughout the space.

                                 NFPA 555 (1996)
       Richard Custer (1997)

• Triggering conditions for flashover
  – temperature of upper gas layer of 600C
  – radiant flux of 20kW/meter2
How long to flashover?
  National Bureau of Standards
             (1980)

• < 4 minutes
  – heavy flame pouring our the full height of
    doorway
• 6 minutes
  – average gas temperature at 700C
  National Bureau of Standards
             (2001)

• 2 minutes 12 seconds
  – living room flashes over
   Fire Power (1986)


first flame to flashover took only
        3 minutes 41 seconds
Fire:Countdown to Disaster


 first flame to flashover took only
        2 minutes 12 seconds
Institute for Research in Construction

Fire Evaluation and Risk Assessment System


       Modeled restaurant kitchen fire
           flashover occurred in
          4 minutes 30 seconds
         Flashover Time (average)

• 4.3 minutes




 • It is interesting to note, that the for the purpose of NFPA Standard
   1710, the committee used the standard time-temperature curve, as it
   relates to flashover, as the basis for fire department response times..
              2nd Research Question

• What would it take for the fire department
  to respond and intervene prior to flashover?
Fire Department Response Time
                     (Traditional)
                        (Total)
• ignition and pre-burn
• smoke detector activates and sends alarm
• alarm arrives to central station & is processed to dispatch
  center
• dispatch center processes alarm
• dispatch
• turn-out time
• travel time
• set-up time
    Alarm to central station &
     transferred to dispatch

• 15 seconds to arrive
• 30 seconds to process
• TOTAL - 45 seconds
      Dispatch Time (average)

• 56 seconds
       Turn-Out Time (average)

• leaving the fire station
  – staffed - 57 seconds
  – unstaffed -184 seconds



• NFPA 1710 allows 60 seconds for turn-out
                    Travel Time

• from fire station to arrival at fire scene



• NFPA 1710 defines this as response time
   – from time apparatus clears the station to arrival on
     scene
      • 4 minutes for 1st unit
      • 8 minutes for balance of 1st alarm
                Set-Up Time

•   arrival at fire scene
•   disembark apparatus
•   pull hoseload from apparatus to front door
•   charge hoseline
•   don SCBA masks
•   advanced hoseline into the building
•   apply water
        Set-Up Time (average)

• 98 seconds
                   Compare

• average time to flashover -      4.3 minutes
• average FD response time
  – not including detection time
  – not including travel time
     • staffed                     4.2 minutes
     • unstaffed                   6.3 minutes
        Fire Dept. vs. Flashover
                     Time in Seconds
                       Does NOT include travel time

450

400

350

300

250

200

150

100

50

 0

      Ignition   Smoke Detector   Processing   Flashover   Staffed   Unstaffed
       Fire Dept. vs. Flashover
                        Time in Seconds
                        allows 240 seconds for travel time

700


600


500


400


300


200


100


 0

      Ignition              Smoke Detector      Processing       Flashover
      Staffed Turnout       Unstaffed Turnout   Staffed Travel   Unstaffed Travel
      Staffed Set-Up        Unstaffed Set-Up
                   Compare

• average time to flashover - 4.3 minutes
• NFPA standard response time
  –   30 seconds to answer the call (NFPA 1221)
  –   60 seconds to dispatch the call (NFPA 1221)
  –   60 seconds to hit the street (NFPA 1710)
  –   240 seconds to travel to the scene (NFPA 1710)
• TOTAL                              6.5 minutes
              Conclusion(s)

• We can‟t beat flashover
• Alternatives
  – non-combustible construction - possibly
  – non-combustible furnishings -unlikely
  – non-combustible contents - nearly impossible
The Long-Term Answer?

   The widespread use of fixed
protection (read sprinklers) in all new
construction, with an emphasis on
residential occupancies, including
     single-family dwellings.
With whom do we work to solve
        the problem?
               • International City
                 Managers Association
               • National Fire Protection
                 Association
               • International Code
                 Council
               • Elected Officials
                 Associations
               • Building Officials
                 Associations
               • Insurance Service Office
Upper Merion’s Modifications to
  the Model Building Codes
    International Building Code
           Modifications

• Section 903 (as modified) requires sprinklers
  in all use groups if over 2,000 square feet in
  area or 35 feet in height
  – Exception: open parking structures
• originally adopted in 1987
  International Residential Code
           Modifications

• Section 317 (as modified) requires an
  automatic sprinkler system to be installed in
  all new One and Two Family Dwellings
• originally adopted in 1988
   John R. Waters, CFPS
     Executive Fire Officer

         Chief Fire Marshal
Director of Safety and Codes Enforcement
       175 W. Valley Forge Road
       King of Prussia, PA 19406
              610-205-8513
        jwaters@umtownship.org

				
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