Building Construction and Firefighter Safety
BuildingConstruction and Firefighter Safety
Firesafety is an important aspect to consider while constructing any typeof house. Fire safety may be defined as the reduction of thepotential for harm to life as a result of fire in buildings. Althoughthe risk of being injured or killed in case of a fire cannot be fullyeliminated, it is vital that we minimize the risk to the least levelspossible. Saving the lives of both the victims inside the burningbuilding and the firefighting officers trying to put out the firedepend entirely on the design and materials used during constructionof the building. Architects should always anticipate fires and risksrelated to fire incidents when designing a building.
Firehazards during construction
Firehazards may be considered as threats to fire safety. These aresituations or conditions that will increase the occurrence of a fireor prevent the effective firefighting procedures or impede escape ofvictims from a burning building. These fire hazards are likely tooccur during construction of the building for example, the use ofcombustible building materials. This is the use materials which arehighly susceptible to fire, increase fire severity, increase thespread of fire and prevent fast putting out of fires. Secondly, thelack of effective means of escape. Some building may have poor fireescape exists which are either limited in numbers, have a limitedcapacity, inadequately lit, inadequately protected from fires orunsafe and easy to access (Fire service manual, 2001). Thirdly,buildings may lack an early fire warning by an automatic detectionand warning system. This may be inform of an alarm or automaticallyconnected water outlets that are sensitive to smoke or fire.Fourthly, buildings may lack good ventilation that will allow smoketo escape easily. Lastly, buildings may also lack access andfacilities for the fire service to use while putting out fires. Thesemay be insufficient means of external access to enable fireappliances to be brought near to the building for effective use andinsufficient means of access into, and within, the building forfirefighting personnel to effect rescue and fight fire (Jerry,2014).
Offensiveand defensive firefighting attacks
Asmentioned earlier, the lives of the victims are as important as thelives of the fire fighters. Therefore, before engaging in anyfirefighting activities, the fire-fighting officers must make severaldecisions that will ensure a smooth operation without putting livesin danger. The officers must ‘read the building’ to identify itsclass and method of construction to determine their goals andobjective, their overall plan and the safety of their officers. Oneof the decisions they have to come up with is whether it is anoffensive or a defensive fire attack. An offensive fire attack is amethod of firefighting in which the fire extinguishing agent forexample water or carbon dioxide is taken into the seat of the firedirectly by the firefighters while a defensive fire attack is amethod of firefighting whereby the officers pump the extinguishingagent from a safe distance (Lac Vieux Desert Casino Watersmeet,2000). Factors that determine whether an attack is offensive includeif the victims inside the structure are alive and can be rescued, ifthe conditions are safe for the firefighters to enter without beingharmed and finally if the fire is internally contained and shows noseverity of spreading externally. Factors that determine the use of adefensive attack method include if there is a possibility of anexternal spread of the fire, if the fire is too severe for interiorattack, if the structure is unsafe for firefighter due to high riskof collapsing and when no lives can be saved since the fire is out ofcontrol.
Otherfire hazards and fire safety resources
Someother fire hazards that may be present in a building may include,flammable fluids or aerosols exposed to heat, combustible things withminimal protection, unattended cooking which may lead to kitchenfires, poor electrical conditions, candles and other open flames.Some other resources which promote fire safety include, heavybuilding materials for example heavy timber which take long to burnand do not easily collapse, fire resistant roof covering which willprevent external spread of fire and finally the use of heatinsulators and linings inside a building which may help contain thefire.
Fireservice manual, (2001). Fire Safety basic principles of buildingConstruction. Fire
ServiceCollege Library & Information Resource Centre. volume three,
LacVieux Desert Casino Watersmeet (2000) Principles of buildingconstruction: combustible.
studentmanual: fema/usfa/nfa-pbc: c-sm. 2nd Edition, 1st Printing Michigan
American,Jerry, (2014) Fire Safety Disaster. Canadian Healthcare FacilitiesVolume 28 Issue
3,ed Amie Silverwood. Spring. 26.
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