The research in this program (Fire Risk Reduction in Buildings, FRRiB) will enable reductions in the two single largest components of this U.S. structure fire burden: fire protection ($63 B) and direct fire losses ($35 B). FRRiB will develop and apply new fire and structure-fire measurement capabilities and behavior predictive computational tools, standardized fire testing tools and methodologies, advanced fire detection technologies, and advanced fire resistant materials. FRRiB will deploy this research to U.S. standards, codes, and regulatory agencies, and manufacturers to 1) reduce the financial burden ($63 B) of installed fire protection and improved structural performance through the development of performance-based design standards and regulations for commercial buildings, and 2) reduce fire deaths, injuries, and property losses ($35 B) through the development of low flammability residential building structural materials and contents, and advanced fire detection and alarm systems.
This program reduces community fire risk by 1) increasing the fire resilience of wildland-urban interface (WUI) communities and 2) enhancing the safety and effectiveness of fire fighters. In the United States there are over 46 million structures located in 70,000 communities that are either co-located or abut wildland vegetation and forests. WUI communities are especially susceptible to destruction from wildland fires. The 1991 Oakland and 2007 Witch Creek fires in California resulted in property losses of $2.7B and $1.5B, respectively.[i] This program combines lab- and field-scale experiments with computer fire models to characterize the WUI fire exposure in order to develop science-based standards, codes, and practices for fire resistant communities. This program is also working to reduce community fire risk by improving the safety and effectiveness of fire fighters. In 2011, the fire departments in the United States responded to more than 484,500 [ii] structure fires. These fires resulted in approximately 2,640 civilian fatalities, 15,635 injuries and property losses of approximately $9.7 billion.[i] In terms of tactics, most fire ground actions are driven by tradition and experience and are not based on an understanding of fire dynamics and fire science. Fire fighters rely on electronic and personal protective equipment to enhance their safety and effectiveness. Current test methods and standards do not fully characterize the performance of equipment under the extreme fire fighting environments in which they are operated. This program addresses the need to develop performance based metrics and standards for equipment and science-based approaches for tactics.