According to data presented by the National Fire Protection Associaiton (NFPA), an estimated 3% of all 2007-2011 reported structure fires were in high-rise buildings. Although the trends in high-rise fires and associated losses have fallen, high-rise buildings present several unique challenges:
Underwriters Labratories (UL) have concluded that homes today burn eight times faster than in past decades. In fact, flashover, the point when intense heat causes an entire room to become engulfed in flames, now occurs less than five minutes after a fire starts. A flashover used to take 30 minutes or longer to occur. This means that people have far less time to safely exit a home!
Several factors driving this change are:
Open floorplans. The stylish home design of an open floor can faciliate the spread of fire.
Engineered Construction Materials. For instance, engineered lumber, a structural member made of wood fibers and materials bonded with adhesive or other methods that is used as a composite joist or beam, burn significantly faster than natural materials like solid wood. Having a sprinkler system installed can control the fire until the fire department arrives.
Synthetic furnishings. Modern materials like drapes, the fillings in pillows, cushions and mattress burn hotter and faster, often consuming all the oxygen in a room by the time the fire crew arrives on the scene.
All-wood window frames. When windows fail, they admit more oxygen into a burning building to feed the fire.
Migrate Your Risk
This printable brochure can help your association be prepared.
What to do in a fire