Evaluation of Fire Safety Standards Impacts on Fire, Smoke Toxicity, and Escape Time

Research showed how product fire standards impact the severity of room content fires. Differences among country-specific fire codes in real-world scenarios can dramatically affect overall fire conditions, including ignition development, smoke generation, escape time, and time available for emergency personnel response.1 Source: Blais, Matthew S., Karen Carpenter, and Kyle Fernandez. “Comparative Room Burn Study of Furnished Rooms from the United Kingdom, France and the United States.” Fire Technology (2019): 1-26.

 Key Takeaways:

  • The furniture standard in United Kingdom (BS5852) is significantly more protective than that in the U.S. or France. Escape time is significantly increased, ˃4X. Performance of French and U.S. furnishings are approximately the same with very short flashover times resulting from a small open flame ignition source. 
  • The smoke generated in the French and U.S. furnishing, which did not include flame retardants, produced more total smoke and more acutely toxic smoke than the British furnishing as seen in the carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen cyanide (HCN) concentration profiles.
  • The more highly protected British furnishings produced less than half of the smoke produced for the French and U.S. furnishings. Both the heat and smoke production were also significantly delayed.