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Impact of Sprinklers on the Fire Hazard in Dormitories: Sleeping Room Fire Experiments.


pdf icon Impact of Sprinklers on the Fire Hazard in Dormitories: Sleeping Room Fire Experiments. (13343 K)
Madrzykowski, D.; Walton, W. D.

NIST TN 1658; NIST Technical Note 1658; 96 p. January 2010.

Sponsor:

Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, DC

Keywords:

sprinklers; impact; fire hazard; dormitories; sleep; experiments; corridors; fire tests; fire data; heat flux; gas concentration s; large scale fire tests; temperature measurements; tenability; doors; smoke detectors; sprinkler activation; instruments; uncertainty; fire statistics; sprinkler systems

Abstract:

As part of a U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) initiative to improve fire safety in college housing, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted two series of full-scale fire experiments in abandoned dormitory buildings. The objective of the study was to compare the levels of hazard created by room fires in a dormitory building with and without automatic fire sprinklers in the room of fire origin. Five experiments were conducted which included variables such as an open/closed door between the room of origin and the corridor, and with/without sprinklers in the room of origin. Gas temperatures and concentrations (oxygen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide) were measured continuously in each experiment. This report contains analysis of the data collected and a detailed discussion of the experimental conditions, such as fuel load in the room of origin, geometry and construction of the room, and the locations of instrumentation. The results of this study demonstrate the potential life safety benefits of smoke alarms, compartmentation, and automatic fire sprinkler systems in college dormitories and similar occupancies. These experiments were conducted by NIST in cooperation with the University of Arkansas and the Fayetteville Fire Department. The other series of experiments was conducted with the fires initiated in a day room area open to the corridor of the dormitory. These experiments were conducted by NIST in cooperation with the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Redevelopment Authority, the Myrtle Beach Fire Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). The results of these experiments are presented in the report, Impact of Sprinklers on the Fire Hazard in Dormitories: Day Room Fire Experiments, NISTIR 7120. For further information on the USFA College Campus Fire Safety Program contact: www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/college/.