The SFPE Engineering Guide to Performance-Based Fire Protection defines “uncertainty” as “the amount by which an observed or calculated value might differ from the true value.” In engineering, there are two types of uncertainly: epistemic and aleatory. Epistemic uncertainty is uncertainty due to lack of (complete) knowledge. Aleatory uncertainty is uncertainty due to random variation. At present, no single, widely accepted methodology exists for dealing with uncertainty in fire protection engineering. This paper reviews the sources of uncertainty that are present in fire protection engineering and methods that are used to address them.
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