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Method for evaluating fire incidents

Created on Saturday, November 12, 2016 and posted in Industry News
evaluating fire incidents

SP Fire Research AS has published a new report that describes a simple method for evaluating fire incidents. The report was prepared for the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB).

What should be evaluated and why?

Evaluation of fire incidents can be a very useful tool to collect experience and knowledge about how fires start and why they develop as they do. The following questions are important:
•    What happened, where and when?
•    What failed?
•    What worked well?
•    Why did it happen? Can underlying causes be identified?
•    How can we most efficiently prevent new incidents?

Through evaluations of fire incidents important data and information about fires can be collected. Such information can be used to assess existing regulations, to develop future regulations, it can be used by insurance companies in risk assessments, by manufacturers of building products, or be useful to other parties working with fire safety. The information will be a valuable supplement to the existing fire statistics, and may reveal needs for improving the fire statistics and the way the statistical data is collected.

The report describes a simple method for investigating and evaluating fire incidents.
The proposed new Norwegian regulation on fire prevention and inspection requires that municipalities assess if the fire preventive work has had the expected effect after fire incidents that had (or could have had) serious consequences for life, health, environment or material property. DSB therefore wanted us to outline a method for the evaluation of fire incidents. The method should especially be relevant for less comprehensive evaluations where there is either a limited number of factors that shall be investigated, or where the situation is relatively clear.

A simple systematic method

As a basis to outline the method we have studied the literature on fire investigation in particular and on accident investigation in general. The evaluation involves a mapping and assessment of the origin and development of the incident. A systematic method will make the assessment simpler. The method describes:

•    How the evaluation can be planned and performed
•    Necessary assumptions and limitations
•    What information could be relevant, and where and how to find the information
•    How to record the information systematically
•    Relevant informants
•    Other factors that could be relevant

The method is applied to a fire incident in a Norwegian nursing home in 2014. The evaluation of this incident is not complete, but is meant to be an example of how the method can be applied.

This article was written by Anne Steen-Hansen, Fire Research AS and published with the permission of Brandposten.

evaluating fire incidents



Main Image taken by Anne Steen-Hansen, Fire Research AS


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