Evaluating Small Board and Care Homes: Sprinklered vs. Nonsprinklered Fire Protection.
Evaluating Small Board and Care Homes: Sprinklered vs.
Nonsprinklered Fire Protection.
NISTIR 5302; 63 p. November 1993.
Sponsor:U.S. Fire Administration, Emmitsburg, MD
Available from: National Technical Information Service
Order number: PB94-206356
board and care homes; sprinklers; fire protection;
computer models; hazard analysis; evacuation time; fire
detection; compartmentation; predictive models; safety;
This report studied the effectiveness of sprinklered and
nonsprinklered fire protection options in small Board
and Care homes. The tools used to compare the
effectiveness of these fire protection options were
mathematical fire models, experimental data and
documented fire incidents. The mathematical models
estimated fire protection effectiveness through a margin
of safety analysis. The margin of safety is defined in
this report as the excess time an evacuee has to reach a
point of safety before that evacuee's exit path becomes
untenable. The margin of safety calculations considered
fire growth, detection/alarm activation, evacuee egress
movement and smoke tenability analysis. Two egress
movement plans were simulated; one plan reflected
necessary movement in a one-exit home, the second plan
reflected movement in a two-exit home. Two fast-growing
large flashover fires (with high and low CO production
rates) and a small, smoldering fire were modeled. Two
sets of full-scale sprinklered and post-flashover fire
experiments, as well as 61 documented fire incidents
were included in the study of fire protection system
effectiveness. The overwhelming majority of B&C
fatalities occur to residents who are challenged by some
disability. This disability can be mental,
developmental or physical. Examination using
mathematical modeling supports the use of
compartmentation/evacuation in providing the same margin
of safety as sprinklers during the first 15 minutes of a
ground floor fire when barriers perform according to
their fire-resistance ratings. Examination of the
historical fire record supports sprinkler effectiveness.
To date, sprinklers are more reliable and more effective
than compartmentation at preventing fatalities and
protecting property in the occupancy. Detection system
false alarms, smoke leakage through concealed spaces,
fire degradation of wall and ceiling sheathing, and
resident injuries which hamper evacuation all contrive
to reduce reliability of the compartmentation/evacuation
system, even when doors are not chocked open.