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Full-Scale Fire Tests with Automatic Sprinklers in a Patient Room. Interim Report.


pdf icon Full-Scale Fire Tests with Automatic Sprinklers in a Patient Room. Interim Report. (2592 K)
O'Neill, J. G.; Hayes, W. D., Jr.

NBSIR 79-1749; 50 p. June 1979.

Sponsor:

Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington, DC

Available from:

National Technical Information Service (NTIS), Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Springfield, VA 22161.
Telephone: 1-800-553-6847 or 703-605-6000;
Fax: 703-605-6900; Rush Service (Telephone Orders Only) 800-553-6847;
Website: http://www.ntis.gov
Order number: PB-297417

Keywords:

health care facilities; hospitals; mattresses; smoke movement; sprinkler systems; polyurethane foams; cotton; bedding

Abstract:

The Center for Fire Research is conducting a research program to examine the use of automatic sprinklers in patient rooms of health care facilities. This is an interim report of eight full-scale fire tests in which the effectiveness of automatic sprinklers was measured in terms of fire control and overall life safety. These fire tests simulated the scenario in which mattresses with bedding constituted the burning items. Analysis of test results indicate that prior to sprinkler operation, smoke obscuration reached critical levels in the burn room doorway and adjacent corridor such that rescue of patients in the burn room and the use of the corridor as an exit way would have been seriously impeded. Immediately following sprinkler operation, there was total obscuration from floor to ceiling throughout the corridor and lobby area. For several tests, a privacy curtain was installed between the sprinkler head and the bed. The shielding action delayed extinguishment and the carbon monoxide concentrations increased significantly. In these cases it was estimated that the carboxyhemoglobin level for a patient in an adjacent bed would reach levels for a patient in an adjacent bed would reach levels considered hazardous. In other tests where the privacy curtain was not installed and this shielding did not occur, the estimated hazardous threshold was not reached.