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Recent increased concern about life safety by various interested public agencies has led to questioning the credibility of small-scale fire tests in predicting the performance of a product or system in a real-fire situation.
It is proposed that many of these fire test methods, though, can be upgraded to fire-characteristic test methods by the application of appropriate criteria. Furthermore, the results from one or more fire-characteristic test methods, plus other parameters, could then be integrated to establish the potential for harm (PH) of a product or a system. The fire hazard of a product or system can then be established by combining the potential for harm with the degree of exposure.
One pragmatic approach to establishing the integration equation for the PH of a product or system is to start with the available fire statistics for that product or system and to prepare a scenario that describes the involvement and the effects of the subject item in a fire situation. Then an integration equation that fits this scenario can be written. This approach would identify the fire-characteristic test methods and parameters that are needed to assess the PH of that product or system. Included in this concept is the idea of using full-scale fire tests either to prove the integration equation for a given product or system or to assess directly the PH of that given product or system.
Alternatively, full-scale fire tests can be used to derive the integration equation for a given product or system when no fire statistics are available for that product or system.
fires, fire hazards, tests
Coordinating manager, Product Fire Performance, Armstrong Cork Co., Lancaster, Pa.