MS in Fire Protection Engineering
College of Engineering
Frederick Mowrer and Christopher Pascual
The purpose of this project was to analyze and compare the existing fire protection systems in the college sports center to current applicable codes and standards. Both prescriptive based analysis and performance based analyses were performed.
The prescriptive based analyses included analyzing the structural fire protection, fire suppression, fire alarm, and egress systems. Overall, the majority of the fire protection systems appeared to meet the requirements of the current codes but there are a few items that were found that appear to not meet current code. These items are listed below along with recommendations to mitigate: (1) Placement of certain fire alarm audible and visual devices may not meet current code. It is recommended that additional audible and visual devices be added where required and sound level testing be performed to verify existing alarm sound levels meet current code, (2) Fire alarm audible device layout and sound ratings in arena do not appear to meet current code. It is recommend that sound level testing be performed and an acoustic model be developed to strategically place horns/speakers as required to meet current code, (3) Light hazard sprinkler classification in the arena may not be sufficient for plastic bleacher fuel load. It is recommend that the arena sprinkler system hazard classification be evaluated and, if required, upsize piping and sprinklers to increase density, (4) The width is reduced for the loading dock exits 1-7 and 1-8. It is recommend that exit 1-8 not be listed as a required exit (remove exit signs), and (5) Sprinklers are omitted over ice rink and racquetball courts. It is recommended that automatic detection be installed in these areas and measures be put in place to not permit combustible contents in these areas to meet the IBC requirements.
These items and recommendations are discussed in detail in the prescriptive based analysis.
The performance based analysis included developing a performance based design following the performance based option requirements of NFPA 101 Life Safety Code Chapter 5. The purpose of the performance based analysis was to determine if the existing fire protection systems can meet the goals and objectives of the Life Safety Code. The two main goals mentioned in the LSC that were analyzed were “protection of occupants not intimate with the initial fire development” and “Improvement of the survivability of occupants intimate with the initial fire development.” In this analysis these goals are determined to be met if the required safe egress time (RSET) is less than the available safe egress time (ASET). Three design fire scenarios are discussed in this analysis and one of the design fires is analyzed in detail. The design fire scenario analyzed is a polyurethane foam crash pad fire in the second floor arena corridor. The movement time for the RSET for this fire scenario was estimated using SFPE Simple Hydraulic Model hand calculations and a Pathfinder Model. The RSET was estimated to be 695 seconds. To determine when untenable conditions occur in the corridor, a Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) model was created using Pyrosim. The fire model shows that the first untenable condition reached was the visibility criteria. This untenable condition was reached at 120 seconds after ignition. Results of the ASET (695 seconds ) and RSET (120 seconds) show that the goals of the performance based analysis is not met because all of the occupants in the arena will not be able to escape without encountering untenable conditions in this fire scenario. To mitigate this issue, it is highly recommend that measures be put in place to not allow any kind of storage in the egress corridor especially the foam crash pads. Also, it is recommended that the corridor be split into separate areas by smoke rated partitions with automatic closing doors to reduce the risk of a single fire being able to block the arena exits with smoke. The fire scenarios, results, and recommendations are discussed in detail in performance based analysis portion of this report.