This report summarizes a workshop entitled "Quantifying the Contribution of Flaming Residential Upholstered Furniture to Fire Losses in the United States" that was held at the National Institute of Standards of Technology on March 22-23, 2012. The workshop consisted of three sessions including 1) presentations by experts on RUF fire behavior and the collection and analysis of United States fire statistics (primarily the National Fire Incidence Reporting System (NFIRS)), 2) an open, wide-ranging participant discussion addressing several specific topics with the aid of facilitators, and 3) a closing session where conclusions were listed and recommendation developed for a series of actions designed to improve the quantification of fire losses due to flaming RUF with characterized levels of uncertainty. Major workshops findings included 1) fires involving flaming RUF have the potential to grow very rapidly to high release rate levels capable of threatening civilians, firefighters, and properties, 2) fires involving RUF are a major factor in current fire losses in the United States, contributing at much greater levels than their numbers would indicate, and 3) existing statistical analyses likely underestimate the full contribution of flaming RUF to fire losses. An approach based on a matrix analysis is recommended to improve estimates for the contribution of flaming RUF to fire losses in the short term. In addition, a series of longer-term steps designed to improve the accuracy of these estimates and reduce uncertainties in the values are suggested. These include 1) surveys of NFIRS practitioners to better understand how specific items are coded in NFIRS, 2) organize and carry out an NFIRS special study designed to provide targeted information concerning the role of flaming RUF in residential fires, and 3) perform probabilistic fire modeling to better understand the role of flaming RUF in fire growth and spread.
Citation: Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1757
NIST Pub Series: Technical Note (NIST TN)
Pub Type: NIST PubsReport Number:
fire losses, fire statistics, flaming fires, NFIRS, residential fires, residential upholstered furniture, workshop