Fire risk Characterization

The stakeholders of a specific "building-occupant" system are mainly interested in the daily performance of their system. In the building-occupant system paradigm associated with the new PBFPD process, "targets" are defined as the actors of this performance. For example, targets can be building occupants (patients including their visiting families and friends and staff in hospitals, pupils and teachers in schools) or building contents (important piece of equipment required to contribute to the performance of the system such as a newly developed micro-chip in high tech industry or a priceless artifact in a museum).

The fire risk characterization step is about translating the fire safety engineering problem from a stakeholders' perspective to a FPE perspective.

During the project definition step at the start of the PBFPD process, the project stakeholders have to agree on the main goals and objectives related to the considered "building-occupant" system and precisely what specific building attributes are of concern (e.g., atrium, high rise configuration). These are considered political aspects of the problem, as decisions are required by others than the FPE alone.

Once decided, all of this information is transmitted to the FPE who starts the technical aspect of the PBFPD process by selecting fire risk acceptance metrics that correspond to the considered project.

Tools that FPEs can potentially use to assess the information relative to the fire risk characterization step are fire risk matrixes or fire risk curves, as illustrated.

Tool Input databases are then related to the assessment of two different types of information:
- fire statistics which would help to quantify the frequency of fire events with their associated impact of the system targets,
- system statistics which would help to quantify the number of systems upon which fire statistics are applied.

In consequence, 'test bed' environments will be set up for specific "building-occupant" systems according to their characteristics. Issues related to a particular 'test bed' environments will be treated in relation to the different natures of targets a specific system contains.

Alberto Alvarez - W3PI (2012-09-28)