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The focus of this paper is directed to incipient fires in residential occupancies due to the magnitude of the problem in this occupancy and the availability of data concern with the definition of the fire occurrence in the occupancy. Variables of concern to the designer are identified and discussed relative to the prevention of the ignition and propagation of the incipient fire, for example, flame spread, smoke propagation, rate of heat release and the geometric configuration of interior finish materials and furnishings. The availability and suitability of smoke detection devices and systems to react to the incipient fire are considered relative to the potential savings in human fatalities, injuries, and financial loss. The ultimate control system in the form of the residential automatic sprinkler system are examined with the recent design advances in these systems.
fire safety, incipient fire, residential fire statistics, furniture, furnishings, interior finish, flashover, smoke production, smoke detectors, residential sprinkler systems
Professor and chairman, Fire Protection Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Md.