Fire Safety Simulation
What is Fire Safety Simulation?
Fire Safety Simulation is a virtual simulation of the occurrence of fire incidents in public spaces such as business premises, homes, schools, hotels etc.
The goal is to provide a report on the effect of any fire incident(s) to different spaces in the building and provide solutions for safe evacuation, without the inherent risk of training with an actual fire.
Fire Safety Simulation is used for the development of virtual scenarios that include aspects of rescue operations, social behavior of building occupants, and basic design requirements to test the current building codes and regulations.
The report also provides a recommendation of best fire extinguishers to be used in such incidents. The simulation can also be used in training(3D Fire Simulation) and its value lies in its ability to have trainees experience incident situations in a safe, contained, comfortable, repeatable, controllable, and measurable environment.
Why Do We Need Fire Safety Simulation?
In recent years, there has been a growing concern over the problem of fire safety evacuation, because of a large number of casualties caused by fire accidents in some large public places. During such emergency circumstances, the priority of people is to be safe and therefore successful escape is one of the most important measures.
Consequently, it is very significant to assess the evacuation capacity of such public places and describe the behaviors of occupant evacuation. Because of the pressing demand for solving the issue of occupant evacuation, it is needed to develop a fire safety simulation software.
This way the software can facilitate the design of the built environment to cope with emergency events. Simulation applications can be particularly useful in pre-planning, predicting possible damage, training responders, raising public awareness, and performance evaluation for reconstruction.
The report from fire simulation software contains tenability limits and criteria of smoke obscuration and chocking levels, exposure to heat and exposure to toxic gases. The reports attained from fire safety simulations can be used in the following areas;
- Development of tenability criteria for design of smoke hazard management systems
- Development of tenability criteria for design of heat exposure hazard management systems
- Development of tenability criteria for design of exposure to toxic gases hazard management systems
Development of tenability criteria for design of smoke hazard management systems
In the design of smoke hazard management systems for buildings, the key objective is to ensure that the occupants have sufficient time to safely evacuate before the egress routes become untenable from the effects of smoke from a fire.
Statistical evidence shows that most fire deaths are not caused by direct contact with the fire, but by smoke inhalation. While a fire may be confined to a localized area in a building, the smoke produced will rise, forming a hot upper layer and may spread rapidly through the building. Hazards to the occupants include heat and toxic gases transported in the smoke and obscuration caused by the smoke.
Engineers and architects designing fire and smoke management systems for buildings, subways and other facilities must be mindful of three key factors: safety of the occupants, structural integrity of the facility, and adherence to government regulations. The task of considering all the variables that comprise fire safety system design - including detection and ventilation - is monumental.
The key to managing fire and smoke starts with understanding the multiple physics phenomena that underlie how fires start, develop and affect a structure. For example, based on the building’s specific layout, how and when might a toxic gas develop, where will it spread, and what triggers it to explode? Virtual testing is the most cost-effective and accurate means of determining these factors. It is also the best way to develop systems to prevent and manage fire.
Fire simulations of smoke and fire propagation offer detailed, accurate representations of real-life scenarios to aid in planning for emergency evacuation and optimal placement for detectors, fans, extractors and other firefighting equipment. The software/analyses can be applied to examine fire suppression systems, low- and high-momentum fires, flashovers, and back drafts. It can be ported to third-party egress software to predict evacuation times.
Simulation allows engineers and designers to analyze the effects of fire and extreme temperature on materials in addition to structural deterioration analysis during catastrophic events such as explosions.
Generally speaking, there are two main approaches to the design of smoke hazard management systems. These are discussed below.
In the second approach, it is assumed in the design that some of the occupants may need to move through tenable smoke environments to evacuate the building.
Fig. 2. Occupants exposed to smoke
No smoke exposure
The first approach is to ensure that the occupants are not directly exposed to smoke — by keeping the smoke layer above the head height of the occupants. This height may be assumed to be 2.0m above the floor level.
Fig. 3. Occupants not exposed to smoke
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