A Parametric Fire Risk Assessment Method Supporting Performance Based Approaches – Application to Health-care Facilities in Northern Italy
Danzi, E.
Fiorentini, L.
Marmo, L.
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Danzi E., Fiorentini L., Marmo L., 2017, A Parametric Fire Risk Assessment Method Supporting Performance Based Approaches – Application to Health-care Facilities in Northern Italy, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 57, 301-306.
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Fire risk assessment has always been a challenging issue. Furthermore, performance based approaches to fire engineering showed that risk based decisions and fire scenarios are a fundamental element of the fire safety strategy assurance. In particular, a correct assessment of the risk allows all the involved stakeholders to identify a specific strategy among a pool of possibilities. Risk assessment is the perfect tool to identify comparable fire protection strategies and to measure fire risk reduction associated to the single specific prevention and protection measures composing each different fire strategies. This approach implies the need to abandon a classic, not even conservative approach, that in many cases linked the total fire load to the fire risk level, despite specific dynamics, layouts, prevention measures and risk management issues during time. During the years, a number of different methodologies have been developed: for specific cases, for industrial or civil buildings, to adopt a method enforced by the local law and regulations acts, etc. Methods have been based on matrices, indexes, check-lists, etc. Present paper illustrates a method developed by the authors taking into account several international recognized methods; even coming back to methodologies developed in early seventies. The Method is named “FLAME” (Fire risk Assessment Method for Enterprises), it goes back to the fire safety fundamentals against a generalized approach to fire safety engineering based on complex and time-consuming methods like CFD that deals only with the ‘consequences’ aspect of the fire risk (that is indeed characterized also by frequency estimation) using as reference scheme the “Fire Safety Concept Tree” explained in detail in the NFPA 550 Standard. In order to identify the most appropriate fire safety strategy it is important to identify the associated fire risk that the strategy is intended to mitigate to a certain level. Alternative solutions can be evaluated considering the risk reduction operated by different strategies and by different elements composing the fire strategies themselves and also costs with a modern ALARP approach. A clear advantage is the possibility to get an overview of the whole fire risk as the cumulative risk assessed by the model and not solely related with the consequences evaluation of a limited number of fire scenarios (usually the most obvious ones). Risk level assessment leads to the identification of the fire scenario (or a pool of) that governs and limits the specific situation, declined for both humans and structures (assets) considering that the two vulnerabilities could be linked to different fire risk scenarios. The method has been tested against different buildings occupancies. In the present case results of the FLAME method application to hospitals and health-care facilities are reported. A fire compartment-based risk estimation has been conducted on an overall of about 300 compartments (overall size of about 60000 m2). Coherence has been found among risk estimation by FLAME parametric code and prescriptions of the Italian fire code. There is good agreement when assessing the RSET with the method proposed in FLAME, dealing with the occupants’ behaviour and the actual characteristics of occupants in clinics or hospitals and difficulties due to poor mobility or incapacity to understand emergency cues. In general, the level of risk is identified as shown in Table 1.
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