MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
The purpose of this report is to analyze and assess the life safety and fire protections systems of the KIPP Academy of Opportunity (KAO) charter school located in South Los Angeles. KAO is a 3-story building with a total area of 27,429 ft2 that was originally built in 2003 to serve 400 students.
Two separate fire and life safety assessments were performed in this project to ensure the building meets the requirements by the building code and fire safety standards. The prescriptive based analysis includes assessment of structural design, construction materials, egress design, fire alarm, communication system, fire suppression system, flammability analysis, and smoke management. The results of the prescriptive based analysis showed that the building complies with the requirements of the building code and fire safety standards.
In the performance-based analysis, two different fire scenarios were evaluated using FDS and Pathfinder programs. The Available Safe Egress Time (ASET) and Required Safe Egress Time (RSET) were calculated for each scenario to evaluate how occupants evacuate the building during a real-life fire event.
The first fire scenario in the performance-based analysis was based on the 2nd recommended scenario in the life safety code. It is based on the assumption that an arson fire starts from a cluttered space under the first-floor stairways, compromises 1 of the 2 exits, and spreads into the corridors. The RSET was calculated as 4 minutes for the first floor, 15 minutes for the second floor, and 13 minutes for the third floor. However, the ASET was calculated as 3, 2.8, and 2 minutes for the first, second, and third floor, respectively. Therefore, the first fire scenario failed because ASET was smaller than RSET. It is recommended that the egress route be kept free of clutter and stairways doors kept closed at all times as a precaution.
The second fire scenario was based on the 3rd fire scenario recommended in the life safety code. This fire occurs in an unoccupied staff lounge next to a multipurpose area which is considered a high occupancy room. Using FDS, the ASET was calculated as 4 minutes for the multi-purpose area and 90 seconds for the staff lounge. Also, the RSET for the multi-purpose area is calculated as 3.7 minutes. Since detection time starts when the staff lounge smoke detector is activated, the RSET is smaller than ASET. Therefore, this design was acceptable.