0401The American Wood Council is an independentorganization that provides independent, non-proprietaryinformation about timber and wood products toprofessionals and companies involved in building designand construction.The American Wood Council is resourced by:aPrepared by:Ronny J ColemanJeff ShapiroHugh CouncilThis document produced in cooperation withThe Australian Wood CouncilFirst published: June 2014IMPORTANT NOTICEWhile all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of theinformation contained in this publication, The American WoodCouncil and all persons associated with them as well as any othercontributors make no representations or give any warrantyregarding the use, suitability, validity, accuracy, completeness,currency or reliability of the information, including any opinion oradvice, contained in this publication. To the maximum extentpermitted by law, AWC disclaims all warranties of any kind, whetherexpress or implied, including but not limited to any warranty that theinformation is up-to-date, complete, true, legally compliant,accurate, non-misleading or suitable.To the maximum extent permitted by law, AWC excludes allliability in contract, tort (including negligence), or otherwise forany injury, loss or damage whatsoever (whether direct, indirect,special or consequential) arising out of or in connection with useor reliance on this publication (and any information, opinions oradvice therein) and whether caused by any errors, defects,omissions or misrepresentations in this publication. Individualrequirements may vary from those discussed in this publicationand you are advised to check with State authorities to ensurebuilding compliance as well as make your own professionalassessment of the relevant applicable laws and Standards.The work is copyright and protected under the terms of the CopyrightAct. All material may be reproduced in whole or in part, provided thatit is not sold or used for commercial benefit and its source (TheAmerican Wood Council) is acknowledged and the above disclaimeris included. Reproduction or copying for other purposes, which isstrictly reserved only for the owner or licensee of copyright under theCopyright Act, is prohibited without the prior written consent of AWC.

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Contents1Scope of this Document52Federal Regulation73Definitions94Fire Prevention Bureau115Fire Flow156Pre-Incident Plan177Fire Department Capacity188Tactics and Strategy209Fire Investigation2310 Firefighter Safety2411 Site Security2512 Incident Inventory2713. Appendix314

1.1.1Scope of this DocumentBackgroundThe scope of this document is to provide background and information to fire departments that mayexperience the construction of large area buildings in their community. Many fire departmentshave limited experience in the planning and response to these complex buildings. This requires athorough understanding of the fire and building code provisions as well as the proper use of NFPA241, Standard for Fire Prevention in Buildings Under Construction and 1620, Standard for PreIncident Planning.1.2Fire ExperienceLarge loss building fires are not new to the fire service. Over time there have been many buildingsdestroyed by fire during construction. The difference today is that large area buildings thatexperience fire have increased. The term large building is subject to interpretation. In general,building height and area of different construction types is governed by the intended use of thebuilding. The frequency and severity of fires during construction has been well documented. In 2011the U.S. Fire Administration in Topical Fire Report Series: Vol 12/Issue 4, it was reported that from2007 to 2009 there were 900 large loss building fires annually. A large loss building fire is defined asfires that resulted in a total dollar loss of 1 million or more. These fires caused an estimated 2.8billion dollars in property damage and yet they made up than less than 1% of building fires.The National Incident Fire Reporting System (NFIRS) provides ongoing information on fire statistics ona national basis. Therefore, it is possible to be able to measure the effectiveness of fire prevention ifthese statistics are evaluated on an ongoing basis. The risk of fires in these types of buildings can beimproved by focusing on best management practices.In addition, the fire services monitoring of various fire scenarios regarding line of duty deaths (LODD)and attempting to capture near misses. All of these databases should be monitored to determineimproved performance by use of effective code enforcement and effective fire ground operations.The National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) provides ongoing information regarding firestatistics on a national basis. The national fire experience will continue to be evaluated on an annualbasis to determine whether the risks of these types of buildings is deteriorating or improving.In addition, the fire service is monitoring various fire scenarios with a Line of Duty Death program(LODD) and attempting to capture near misses and lessons learned. Both of these databases shouldbe monitored to determine effectiveness of adopted practices in preventing injuries and fatalitieswhen combating fires of this nature.1.3Causes of Construction Site FiresAccording to the US Fire Administration NFIRS has identified six causes of construction site fires. Inorder to understand the types of incidents that are likely to occur, the following causes should beconsidered: Hot WorkSmokingHeating devicesElectrical malfunctionsCooking firesCriminal activity and vandalism5

1.4Pre-Fire Planning and CodesGiven these potential causes of fires, the fire department has a need to conduct two different typesof activities. The first is to conduct pre-fire planning on the site as soon as the building iscontemplated; the second priority is a need to prepare for specific tactics and strategy if a fireactually occurs. Depending upon the timing and sequence of events on a site the presence or absenceof built in fire protection, may aid or complicate a fire fighting operation.When we consider that the fire and building codes are created to provide buildings with a high levelof fire safety, the fire service needs to understand why these buildings are particularly vulnerableduring construction. Chapter 33 of the IFC and IBC provide full chapters on this topic. A review of fireservice features required by the fire code is the beginning of an effective pre-fire planning program.As firefighters, we have an obligation to know what stage of construction may be occurring in ourresponse area and to be proactive to ensure the greatest level of safety in the event a fire occurs.Working closely with the building official and the property developer, as well as visiting these sitesregularly are solid steps in improving fire safety on site.1.5NFPA 241-1620NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations, wasissued by the Standards Council on November 27, 2012. The document contains 11 chapters and 2annexes that provide safeguards for buildings under construction. Its use, along with NFPA 1620,provides a solid framework for risk mitigation on most sites. Furthermore, there are numerous NFPAstandards, such as NFPA 10, Standard for Fire Extinguishers and NFPA 51B, Standard for fireprevention during welding, cutting and Hot Work that are relevant to this discussion.1.6Actions to be TakenIf your community has a large area building under construction that is also multi-storied and will beunder construction for a long period of time, the best strategy for the fire service is to work closely withthe developer from the very outset of the project. This activity should include role clarification andfocusing on the basic precautions for preventing fire. Whenever there is a fire in a building underconstruction there is going to be plenty of challenges for responding fire companies. The emphasisneeds to be placed on prevention. The code requirements contained in model building and fire codesmust be enforced, the planning processes and enforcement practices of NFPA 241 and 1620 need to bemonitored.Simultaneously fire departments need to prepare for an aggressive attack in case an event occurs.Constant monitoring of fire department access and water supply is required in order to be effective inpreventing small fires from becoming big ones.6

2.2.1Federal RegulationOSHA PartnershipThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have initiated partnerships with employers,employees, and employee representatives in a wide range of industries to encourage, assist, andrecognize efforts to eliminate workplace hazards. Participants work together to identify a common goal,develop plans to achieve it, and implement those plans in a cooperative way. Partnerships cantransform relationships between OSHA and an employer or entire industry when properly followed.Former adversaries recognize that working together to solve workplace safety and health problems is toeveryone's advantage. This is especially true in working with the fire service.This manual recognizes that there are two types of involvement with these buildings by the fire service.The first is fire prevention and its involvement with plan checking and ongoing inspection. The second isfire department response and suppression and its ability to perform during an emergency.This manual addresses how to coordinate the building industry’s fire prevention efforts with the firedepartment’s interests in creating a safe community.2.2Federal RegulationA good, effectively managed worker safety and health program can be a big factor in reducing workrelated injuries and illnesses and their related costs. OSHA offers voluntary guidelines to help employersand employees in workplaces it covers developing effective safety and health programs. Safety andHealth Program Management Guidelines (Federal Register 54 (18): 3908-3916, January 26, 1989)identifies four general elements critical to a successful safety and health management program. Theseare: Management leadership and employee involvement;An analysis of worksite hazards;Use of hazard prevention and control initiatives; andSafety and health trainingThe Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 encourage states to develop and operate their own jobsafety and health plans. States that do so must adopt standards and enforce requirements that are atleast as effective as federal requirements. Twenty-four states and two territories have adopted theirown plans, three of which cover only public employees. For more information visit OSHA's website for alisting of states and territories with approved plans. www.osha.gov2.3State RegulationThe respective states adopt model codes under two scenarios. These two are: Mini Maxi States; and, Local control states.Depending upon the state’s decision, there are two mode code families that can be adopted; ICCand NFPA.The International Code Council (ICC) produces both the International Building Code (IBC) and theInternational Fire Code (IFC). Section 3301 of both codes address the issue of fire safety duringconstruction, remodel and demolition. Section 3308.2 identifies the responsibility for the propertyowner to maintain an approved pre-fire plan in cooperation with the Fire Chief. It further statesthat the Fire Chief and the Fire Code Official shall be notified of any changes affecting the use of the7

information contained in pre-fire plans. In states where local adoption is allowed, theserequirements may be more specific. In states where state adoption is the minimum and themaximum the fire authority may be more limited. These two code sections may require furtherinterpretation at the local level.In addition, Section 3310 of the IFC provides information on required access and 3312 of the IFCdefines water supply requirements.The National Fire Protection Association publishes NFPA 1. The Fire Code Handbook defines goalsand objectives for code compliance in a fashion parallel to the ICC process.Chapter 16 of the Fire Code Handbook provides guidance for structures undergoing construction,alteration or demolition operations.2.4 Actions to be TakenWhile Section 33 specifies certain activities, it does not spell out how they need to be done on adaily basis. Local fire authorities, once notified of a building that requires the use of these codesections, should maintain an assertive posture in determining whether the conditions of Chapter 33are being properly met. Failure to obtain compliance could result in conditions where ignition islikely to occur.8

3. DefinitionsAerial Apparatus – Fire apparatus that is designed with an aerial device mounted on it. The device caneither be a ladder or a snorkel or any other combination of technology that will allow the company toreach upper floors on a fire and to provide a master stream platform to be operated from above.Automatic Aid - A plan developed between two or more fire departments for immediate joint responseon first alarms.AWWA – American Water Works AssociationCommand Post - The location where the incident commander and associated staff are located duringan emergency incident.Defensive Attack – This is a decision to fight a fire from the exterior of a building and to protectexposures exposures because of several factors; there is no life safety involved and potential injury ordanger to firefighters is recognized.Fire Flow - The flow rate of a water supply, measured at 20 psi (138 kPa) residual pressure that isavailable for fire fighting.First Due – The engine company that would normally be dispatched to a specific site; the closest firestation to a working site.GPM – Gallons Per Minute; a measurement of nozzle dischargeIncident Commander - The person who is responsible for all decisions relating to the management ofthe incident and is in charge of the incident site.Incident Command System (ICS) - A management system designed to enable effective and efficient onscene incident management by integrating a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel,procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure.Initial Action - The actions taken by those responders first to arrive at an incident siteInitial Attack - Fire fighting efforts and activities that occur in the time increment between the arrival ofthe fire department on the scene of a fire and the tactical decision by the Incident Commander that theresources dispatched on the original response are insufficient to control and extinguish the fire, or thatthe fire is extinguished.ISO – Insurance Services OfficeLine of Duty Death (LODD) - This is an acronym utilized by the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation todescribe a person who is killed in the line of dutyMaster Stream – Large bore nozzles that discharge more than 1,000 gallons per minute. They can beoperated from the ground or from aerial apparatus.Mutual Aid - Reciprocal assistance by emergency services under a prearranged planNFF – Needed fire flowNear Miss Reporting System - This is a system that documents close calls and provides training9

information to prevent reoccurrence of similar incidence.National Fire Information Reporting System (NFIRS) - A national system that collects information fromlocal, regional and state organizations on causes of fire, information on characteristics of fire spread andfire loss statistics.Offensive Attack – This is a decision to fight the fire by engaging in interior operations based upon aneed to save lives or protect extreme values that can be performed safely. The variable factors inoffensive attack include the use of the two in two out rule and having effective SOPs for firefightersafety.SOP/SOG – Standard Operating Procedures/Standard Operating Guidelines10

4. Fire Prevention Bureau Activity4.1GeneralThe fire department has two roles in dealing with fires in buildings under construction. The first role iscarried out between the builder and the fire prevention bureau. The second is carried out between theconstruction staff and the operations division.The following are suggested as key activities for the bureau’s consideration.Model code provides that the private party person who is responsible for Fire Protection Plan activity ata specific site shall develop and maintain an approved fire plan including and approved pre-fire plan incooperation with the Fire Chief. This concept of fire prevention activity means many things to differentpeople according to local policies and procedures.4.2Pre-Fire Planning from a Bureau PerspectiveFrom the fire prevention officer's perspective this is a fire prevention problem. If we can do everythingwe can to prevent an ignition, then we don't have the damage or threat to life. But, the minute we doget ignition it's the Operations Officers responsibility. A fire can grow in size and intensity very rapidlybecause of multiple factors that include open construction and lack of completion of certain mitigationefforts. The phenomena that the fire may burn unobserved for a lengthy period of time is a commonscenario.First off, the Fire Prevention Bureau (FPB) has a different role with an occupancy under construction.The first thing to consider is improving the effectiveness of the working relationship between the FPBand the owner and developer. The fire codes require that there be meetings between the fire serviceand the on-site developer to be better prepared to deal with the issues that are going to occur duringconstruction. These issues could include, but may not be limited to, problems such as access to theworksite, status of water supplies, the actual reporting of emergencies when they do occur, and thestatus of built-in fire protection mechanisms such as fire alarms, detectors, and sprinklers at differentstages of construction. All of these issues need to be discussed before a single shovel has entered theground.Our code enforcement system normally requires that the fire department be involved in the planningfor such occupancies, but the bulk of the actual inspection work done on site will be performed by thebuilding inspectors. The reason for conducting the preconstruction meeting with the Fire Department isto lay the groundwork for a pre-fire plan. NFPA 1620 and NFPA 241 are both fundamental documentsthat should be reviewed during this stage of building the relationship. Among the items that could bediscussed would include the timing of the construction, anticipated weather and climatologicallyconditions that may change during the period of construction and the shifting of content within thebuilding. While this may well fall under the fire prevention bureau to conduct, it is an excellent time forthe operations personnel to become well-informed on what is about to happen. During a fire event isnot an appropriate time to meet a building contractor for the first time. This strategy may appear overlysimplistic, but it has been known to make a significant difference in how the fire department performswhen an actual fire occurs.This technique is not particularly creative, but it is amazing how often it is overlooked in both short andlong range planning to handle future fire problems. The role of fire inspectors in this case are to serve asthe eyes and ears of the operations division. The Bureau should keep tabs on the scheduling andimplementation of construction and they should pass along information to the closest fire station. If thistechnique is employed on a fairly frequent basis the probability of being surprised becomes diminishedquickly.11

Lastly, before we leave the fire prevention bureau, we should discuss the role of the fire inspector andinterfacing with the building inspector. It is not uncommon for the building inspector to be in a buildingalmost daily; sometimes weekly. The fire inspector may only be on-site on a periodic basis to check theinstallation of risk mitigation devices such as alarms, detectors and sprinklers. Fire inspectors shouldengage in dialogue with building inspectors to inform the building inspectors regarding potential firerisks that may occur in this building. Building inspectors generally know a lot about electrical hazards,maybe even flammable liquids and gases, but may have a blind eye to some of the other conditions suchas trash build up and potential ignition sources. The following are a list of hazards that the bureaushould be focusing its attention on in preventing fires.4.3Hazards at Construction SitesThere are a wide variety of hazards that can be present on a construction site. The use of NFPA 241 ishighly recommended for use of the fire prevention bureau and the building contractor. The following isan inventory that the fire department should be aware of and prepared to address in reducing hazards: 4.4Temporary heating equipmentSmokingWaste disposalOpen burningSpontaneous ignitionCutting and weldingElectrical malfunctionsFlammable and combustible liquidsFlammable gasesExplosivesBuilt in Fire MitigationThere are many fire protection devices that are required to be placed in buildings that will not be fullyoperational until the building is certified for occupancy. These might include standpipes, automaticsprinklers and fire alarm systems. The fire department should be aware of the status of those buildingcomponents that will be relied upon during fire attack.Most model codes discuss how to keep standpipes operational and extended as construction progresses.Knowing whether the systems are in service or not, could be the key factor in an Incident Commander'sdecision to go on the offensive or remain outside using defensive tactics.Early activation of a sprinkler system may be an important consideration in reducing fire loss.4.5Operational PlanningFire Authorities should identify the following before construction begins and continues to monitor itthroughout the entire construction phase. The number of fire hydrants and water sources and their location. The types of materials present and the methods of storage of that material Additional resources needed to help with fire i.e. moving vehicles, moving temporarystructures Identify how the local fire department will be contacted by the fire safety planner whenconstruction begins. The following information should be collected and shared early on: Contact number for local emergencies Distance from site by first due company12

Verify address is known by dispatch systemBefore work begins, several elements must be addressed: Do sub-contractors have fire prevention plans as part of their processes? Do they have Emergency Response plans as part of their processes?Proper plans for each of the above would include the following elements: Do they conduct training?Have they a process for conducting a head-count?Have they established a warning system?Is fire equipment provided?Do they have a Hot-Work permit system?Are flash-back arrestors used?Are they bringing compressed gasses on the site, if so how are they stored andmaintained?Are welders inspected and in good shape?What Personal Protective Equipment is in placeOSHA has several elements that must be addressed in Emergency Response training, these include: 4.6Warning employees of potential emergenciesIdentification of proper evacuation for employeesWhere employees will meet after exitingHead count of all employeesDuring ConstructionSome of the elements that must be addressed during the construction phase include, but are not limitedto: Constant maintenance of fire protection equipment. This includes making sure thathydrants are clearly visible, extinguishers are adequate and are being inspected. Theinspection process is important as many times employees will discharge an extinguishereither on purpose or accidentally leaving the extinguisher empty. Maintaining clear access to buildings and access onto the site. In many instances roadsmay not be paved, thus fire trucks can have trouble getting through the site and gainingaccess to buildings. All roads should be kept clear of debris and adequately maintainedfor vehicle use. Keep materials from being built-up around buildings. Piles of wood or other ordinarycombustibles should be kept away from buildings unless they are part of an activeconstruction process. This can also be said for trash piles. Maintain a no smoking policy in or near buildings. Set-up designated smoking areas foremployees. Make sure these areas are covered and protected. If they are not coveredyou are giving employees an excuse to smoke in the building during inclement weather.Monitor the no smoking policy by conducting audits. Hot Work / Burn permits should be used throughout the construction policy. Aneffective policy has the following elements: Pre-inspection of work area Charged fire extinguisher at all times, at the point of the work Monitoring the area for at least 30 minutes after work is conducted. This meansa fire-watch remains at the work area for 30 minutes (with a fire extinguisher)13

after work has been completed. It may also be required to have a fire monitorat the work area while hot work is occurring.4.7Actions to be TakenThere are two roles that the fire department plays in buildings under construction. The first is to beengaged in fire inspection practices aimed at reducing the probability of fire. This involves the fireprevention bureau. The second role is to be able to cope effectively if a fire does occur. Frequentinspection and continued emphasis on fire prevention behaviors are considered instrumental inreducing costs.14

5. Fire Flow5.1Applied Fire FlowThe determination of basic fire flow is a common practice by fire prevention bureaus. Manual M31(2008) 4th Edition published by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) addresses how fireflow is determined for an occupied structure. The Insurance Service Office (ISO) has a term todescribe this flow requirement called Needed Fire Flow (NFF). The NFF is the rate of flow considerednecessary to control a major fire in a specific building for the fires duration once it is occupied.The actual calculation of a NFF in gallons per minute (GPM) considers a multitude of factors includingconstruction type, building size and availability of built-in fire protection (sprinklers). It also assumesthat the building has been certified for occupancy. This information package focuses on building underconstruction which have not yet received a certificate of occupancy, therefore their NFF needs might begreater.Calculating fire flows for a building assumes all mitigation features are in place. That is not true if the fireoccurs when these systems have not been made operational, nor are they even connected. Thecalculation of fire flow for a finished structure therefore, is not the same as fire flow required when anunprotected building catches fire. This is not a commonly discussed phenomenon, yet review of almostall of the scenarios from fires that burned down during construction contains the observation that "thebuilding was fully involved before we got there" – or, “the heat was so intense that the primary prioritywas exposure protection”. This observation has led many incident commanders to remark that thedecision to "go defensive right away” is justified in their mind. Writers in fire publications havesuggested that these types of fires should always be fought from a defensive point of view as a safetyissue.The real issue for fires during construction is that peak heat production occurs differently than it wouldfor an occupied structure and that single factor may determine the effectiveness of initial attack andultimate strategy.5.2Heat Production During Construction FiresIn a structure fire, the amount of energy given off can is commonly measured in two terms. The first istotal heat release and the second is peak heat release. Total heat release is the total number of BTU’sreleased when all of the fuel is consumed. Peak heat release is when the discharge of BTU’s is at itshighest rate. Peak heat release rate of a fire is a key factor relating to exposure fires. When buildingsreach a peak heat release this is when they are most likely to have an effect on neighboring structures.As a result two different fires may have the same total heat release but can have different peak heatrelease rates.For example, a small fire load of lumber could result in a slow burning situation presenting a low peakheat release rate. But, a larger fire load can create a fast burning situation which releases a higher peakheat release rate.5.3Action to be TakenIn summary, a building may have two different fire flow demands. One is calculated to protect thebuilding when it is approved for occupancy. The other is the reality of what happens when a building isstill under construction. The most important consideration when evaluating the difference between15

these two fire-flows is to determine that tactics and strategy may be different because the building isnot completed.Water supply and access will be very important to the ability of the local fire department to deliver fireflow if a fire actually occurs. In many cases this one factor may be what determines whether offensiveor defensive tactics are used.16

6. Pre Incident Plan6.1NFPA 1620In Section 4, we discussed the role of pre-fire planning in preparation to respond to an emergency.NFPA 1620 is a document that provides criterion for developing pre-incident plans. We have also notedthat many communities have adopted their own standard. A pre-incident plan proces

4 Fire Prevention Bureau 11 5 Fire Flow 15 6 Pre-Incident Plan 17 7 Fire Department Capacity 18 8 Tactics and Strategy 20 9 Fire Investigation 23 10 Firefighter Safety 24 11 Site Security 25 12 Incident Inventory 27 13. Appendix 31 . 5 1. Scope of this Document 1.1 Background The scope of t