What is acceptable fire risk? Basically, defining the term itself, acceptable fire risk is a degree or level of a certain fire that is tolerable for the general public. Every year, around 4,000 Americans die in different fire incidents and in these fire incidents, more than 25,000 Americans are injured. Moreover, each year, the estimate loss for all properties exposed to these fires is $8. 6 billion (Fire Research 2005). These are only in United States. There are many other fire cases in other countries and the loss of life and property is considered to be huge and enormous.
From certain studies and investigations made about these fires, it was found out that 75% of these fire incidents can be prevented. In the past, the level of which the general public accepted the risk of fire was higher. However, after what happened on September 11, 2001, the level and tolerance of acceptance differed. This event calls for the need to setting a certain level of acceptance. There is a need for greater awareness and knowledge on the first measures needed to be taken on the event of fire. Not only in the US but also in other parts of the world, firefighting measures and drills have been observed (Fire Research 2005).
Accordingly, the events of fire vary on the causes. There are fire incidents caused by accidents and there are also some cases when these fire incidents have been staged. In cases of accidents, it is right that people are aware on what they should do when fire starts to spark. The needs for firefighting devices also arise. Because of this growing awareness about fire, the incidents have been lessened yet the fire incidents can still be considered to be huge. This paper will look through some fire incidents around the world and this paper will also tackle some of the methods used to respond to the fire.
This also aims to investigate whether or not the present knowledge about firefighting is enough to alleviate the losses, injury and death caused by the different fire incidents. Introduction All activities associated with firefighting as well as other rescue activities depend more or less on the extent of firefighter’s capabilities. It may either be on the physiological or psychological aspect of the firefighter. These two must be considered most especially when setting up for the conservative and conventional incidents of fire or terrorist incidents in the premise of natural and built environment (National 2007).
Presently, there is very limited and restricted information available for the different services on fire and rescue incidents wherein the activities that assigned to fire rescuers sometimes go beyond the firefighter’s ability to take on the activity that is comprised on their physical or physiological ability. In order to cover up the limitations and restrictions, some equipment are identified to meet up with the needs and demands for firefighting skills. These are RPE and PPE or the so called respiratory protective equipment and personal protective equipment (Department 2008).
The need to use these equipments is necessary in all fire operations from very simple events down to serious and extreme. As these expectations were acknowledged, it is also accepted that results will vary depending on the activity. Moreover, the risk assessment for all firefighting incidents depends shortly on the guidance of human factors. Case 1 The Eruption of Steam from the Nuclear Power Plant Cooling System Mihama-cho, Japan August 9, 2004 On the 9th of August 2004, a steam erupted on the third floor of the turbine hall of nuclear reactor which is still considered to be very active.
This eruption subsequently caused fire which lead to the death of 4 people, 5 reported to be injured and 2 are reported to be suffering from serious illness from a third degree burn. A few months later, 1 out of the 2 with serious illness subsequently died. Nowadays, one of the sources of danger associated with fire is the accidents that occur in the nuclear power plants. The Incident Accordingly, the incident started when a rupture occurred in one of the steel pipes that connects the generator and condenser.
The steel pipe where the rupture occurred was described to have the following specifications; having 560 mm outward diameter, 10 mm thick, 10 mPa coolant pressures, 142 degrees centigrade temperature and the explosion resulted to eruption of 800 tons coolants (Kansai 2005). The thinnest pipe measuring 0. 4 mm thickness was ruptured. However, accordingly, the safety standards set up a standard measurement of 4. 7 mm. Because the piping was so thin, too much steam of high temperature was released. Response After the incident, several investigations were made.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency took part of the investigation. From the post investigation made, it was discovered that the pipe degradation methods that include the Boiling Water Reactors and thermal power stations. Similar to the PWR, the overtime reduction and erosion of the pipe thickness in PWR results to a problem. According to the investigation made by The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, the accident was caused by inability to inspect safety in the nuclear plants. Due to old age and continuous use, there should be a constant inspection and regular maintenance of these pipes.
Countermeasures This incident was so far one of the biggest and after this incident, different safety and nuclear associations started to become strict in their inspections most especially in the nuclear plants that are more likely to start up incidents of fire. Accordingly, the measurement of thickness reduction should be done regularly. Moreover, the NISA has set standards on which the piping be replaced when a certain thickness has been reached. Case 2 Subway Station Fire in Daegu City, Korea February 18, 2003
One of the cases that is directly associated with fire is arson. Accordingly, around 15% of fire cases around the world are due to arson. One notable arson case was the one that happened on the 18th of February. It was investigated as arson however; the incident became worse because of negligence and mistake committed by commander and driver of stations and cars. This accident led to the death of 192 people and injury of 146 people (MacKinnon 2003). Moreover, it was discovered that in this accident, suppression of a certain public corporation was noted.
The Incident At around 9:45 to 10AM, the train was approaching to the first line of Daegu Station when suddenly, a man strewn an inflammable liquid and subsequently lit the train. The first thing that the fire caught was the arsonist clothes which then started to burn quickly. According to emergency rule, if at any time the fire breaks, the train has to pass or stop through the fire scene. Unfortunately, the station commander did not know what was happening then and he was not able to command the train to stop near the station.
Because of this, the train still proceeded and stopped directly at the Daegu station. The driver of the train exerted effort to start back the train so as to move away from fire. However, right after the fire sensor detected the fume and smoke, the electricity system responsible in operating the train also stopped that was why the fire eventually leaped on to the train. Another mistake was when the driver of the train got out however he accidentally locked the train automatically closing the doors. Moreover, the emergency battery failed to work thus leaving the passengers in the train.
People could not do anything to escape so much more when the fire was already growing bigger and spreading quickly from the first floor to the last floor. According to the investigation, the number of people who died in this incident was 79% of all the passengers aboard on the train. Response The fire incident was noted to start at 9:54AM, just a minute before the break-out started. The Daegu City Fire-Defense arrived at the fire scene at exactly 9:58AM. The break-out was so quick that when the firefighting team arrived, there were already injured and dead people.
The very first thing that they could do was to carry out rescue and first aid service and then stop the fire. Countermeasures After the Daegu subway station fire incident, it appears from the subsequent investigation that what actually happened was caused by arson; however, the bigger part of it was contributed by the failure of staffs who were supposed to know what they should do in this kind of situation but the government policy was more focused on developing facilities like for example materials for fire safety standards and establishing extinguishing facilities, installing emergency lights, evacuation.
However, because of too much focus and attention given to necessary equipments and facilities, the training for human skills has been neglected. After this incident, the Korean Fire Brigade has been very extensive in their goal to provide training to firefighting and rescue volunteers. Conclusion Fire, no matter which side we look at and no matter which caused it to happen, still suggests the underlying notion that a person or an entity needs to know the measures and precautions needed to stop the fire or save oneself. Any risks of fire, if not given the right actions will never be acceptable.
The loss will be as big as the others, the injury will still happen and worse thing is that it may lead to death of some. Thus it is necessary that everyone, young and old, all types of establishments, private and public, small and big be aware of how they to make a fire risk acceptable. This may be divided into three stages; before, during and after (FEMA 2006). Accidents are unexpected and sometimes no matter what you do, if an accident is to spark, it will spark but the aftermath differs on how you tried to avoid it.
It is very important that all individual houses, businesses and establishments have a smoke alarm installed in their premises and it is also necessary that these alarms be monitored and checked once in a month. Every person in a certain premise needs to be knowledgeable on how he could escape from fire and most of all a person should know the first aid and rescue measures so that he can apply this to whoever was affected by fire badly. Moreover, after the fire, it is very essential that a person know what to do right away.
These include calling 911 or ambulance or hospital assistance and call for investigation immediately. Acceptable fire risk may be better than completely losing everything. It will help best with the aid of proper knowledge and awareness most especially since it is implicit knowledge that fire comes at the time you least expect it. References Department of Public Safety (2008). Fire and Building Safety. Retrieved March 15, 2008 from http://www. dps. state. vt. us/fire/rules. htm FEMA. (2006). Fire. Retrieved March 15, 2008 from http://www. fema. gov/hazard/fire/index. shtm
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