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Quick Index to Media Articles

Why Fireproof  Structural Steel? by Phil Mancuso, Life Safety Digest Winter 2011


"Fire Engineering Magazine Article on Sprinkler Failures"

June 2, 2003

Fire Engineering Magazine published an article titled "A $280 Million State of the Art Sprinkler Disaster". The article was written by Francis L. Brannigan, SFPE, who has devoted more than half of his 56-year career to the safety of firefighters in building fires. He is well known for his lectures and videotapes and as the author of Building Construction for the Fire Service, Third Edition, published by the National Fire Protection Association.

The article describes a 1991 warehouse fire that destroyed a 930,020 square foot tilt-slab concrete building. The building was protected by a "state of the art sprinkler system". The document also touches on sprinkler reliability. Sprinkler reliability is a much discussed issue regarding IBC 2000 code reliance on sprinklers.

"Balancing Fire Protection"

May 26, 2003

Issuance of the IBC 2000 building code has created a heated debate on the future effectiveness of providing fire protection for building occupants and emergency personnel as well as reducing property loss. The code changes increased the use of sprinklers and reduced the need for fire and smoke resistant construction. The attached article provides additional detailed information on the need to balance the use of sprinklers with fire resistant construction.

The White Paper, titled "Clarifying The Issue of Fire Protection Balance" was written by Richard Licht, Technical Director, of the Alliance for Fire and Smoke Containment and Control. The article point outs the significant failure rate (17.3%) of sprinklers which when combined with expanded height and area standards allowed in the new code will lead to future building structures with potentially reduced safety levels.

Take time to read this article and share it with your local fire department and building department. They need to be aware of the risk associated with adoption of the new IBC 2000 code for their locale.

"Sprinklers Alone Won't Stop Fires" - Hartford Courant

March 24, 2003

Gene Corley contributed the attached article to the Hartford Courant newspaper in Hartford, CT "Sprinklers Alone Won't Stop Fires". Gene Corley of Skokie. IL was the leader of the team from the American Society of Civil Engineers on the World Trade Center Building Performance Study conducted after 911. The article raises the issue that passive fire protection is needed in conjunction with active protection to protect lives.

NFCA Supports "Balanced Design" in Fire Protection

March 20, 2003

The National Fireproofing Contractors Association supports the concept of "Balanced Design" for fire protection systems in buildings. The IBC 2000 code has increased reliance on using sprinkler systems and reducing passive fire protection while at the same time reducing the overall use of fire protection in buildings.

Several organizations are addressing this issue at the building code level. Two organizations are worthy of industry support. They are the Association of Fire Marshals, and the Alliance for Fire and Smoke Containment and Control. The State Fire Marshals are concerned with code changes that threaten public and emergency responder safety. Currently they are identifying provisions in US building codes that may threaten public and emergency responder safety. Your E-mails to the Fire Marshals can point them to the IBC code provisions that reduce passive fire protection and thus emergency responder safety.

The Alliance is prompting the concept of "Balanced Design" which provides active and passive fire protection to protect both lives and property. The Alliance just released the white paper titled "The Need for Balanced Fire Protection in Buildings". This is a must reading to understand the issues created by the IBC code changes regarding fire protection and the concept of "Balance Design".

The NFCA encourages that you become familiar with the IBC code changes and support the above organizations to further the interest of public safety. Use the links in this article to visit the web sites of these organizations for more information.