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Various organizations throughout the world write fire standards. These include both national and international organizations. In the United States, the most important fire standards writing organization is the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Fire standards are also, however, developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), but they are often similar to the ones issue by ASTM. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) are the primary bodies making international standards. In some cases individual countries subordinate their national standards to regional organizations, such as is the case in Europe, where CEN and CENELEC create some standards that are applicable throughout the European Community (and even beyond it). All these organizations create various types of fire standards, mainly guidance documents and test methods addressing most of the major fire properties. It is interesting that new fire standards throughout the world all tend in the same direction: away from simple ranking tests and geared towards test results that can be used as input into mathematical fire models or fire hazard assessment and research, and real-scale tests to be used for validation of the small scale tests and the models. This is particularly noticeable when considering the geometrical increase in work on heat release standards, a type of fire property which is crucial for fire safety, but was unknown only a few years ago. This paper compares ASTM fire standards (and others still at the draft stage) with standards already issued, or being prepared, by the major international standards organizations (ISO and IEC), and discuss their relevance and applicability.
fire, fire hazard, flame spread, heat release, smoke, smoke obscuration
Queen Mary & Westfield College, University of London, London,
Safety Engineering Laboratories, Rocky River, OH