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It is shown that traditional fire test methods have in many cases represented physical models of real prototype fires. The results of applying them serve in a significant way to predict the behavior of a prototype system when exposed to fire. Consequently, the fire safety community has thought of fire tests as yielding information on the behavior of a fire system. Most of the new consumer protection fire tests adopted by the government may be considered as typical of the fire system type. Recently, there has been a trend toward introduction of a new series of tests that measure, often in technical terms, one or more specific fire properties. Many of these properties must usually be considered together to predict the behavior of a fire system. Thus, it becomes important for the user of the fire test to understand the nature of the test he plans to apply. It is unfortunate that explanatory material to assist the user in such understanding is usually not considered an integral part of the test method and is often omitted by those adopting the test for regulatory purposes. Action is proposed to correct such a defect. A table is provided to show the way in which the author has classified representative fire tests.
fire safety, fire tests, materials tests, modeling, property tests, system tests
Center for Fire Research, National Bureau of Standards, Washington, DC