International trends and technologies demanding a fire safety renaissance – what fire safety research is telling us? 

As we move toward more sustainable and resilient technologies in our built environment, we must not forget the ever-present risk posed by fires in our buildings.  When considering the guiding principles of sustainable design choices made for optimizing energy use, protecting and conserving water, optimizing material use and enhancing indoor environmental quality can have a pronounced impact on the fire safety of the building.  When considering sustainable energy designs, systems such as lithium-ion batteries and photovoltaic cells continue to attract attention for their ability to act as a source of ignition and lead to rapid fire growth in buildings and other spaces.  Conserving water has led some communities to reducing pressure in supply lines that can have a negative impact on existing fire sprinklers systems.   Recent fire tragedies have caused us to rethink the optimized materials chosen for external cladding, structural materials and interior furnishings.  Although tighter building construction can have many benefits on out built environment, it can also threaten occupants and emergency responders’ ability to escape buildings.

This presentation will start by briefly reviewing the goals and objectives of sustainable buildings and some of the noteworthy fire incidence where sustainable design resulted in unintended fire consequences.  The discussion will then focus on research into identifying and quantifying fire risk associated with our new and emerging technologies.  Closing remarks will concentrate on tactics, strategies, and policies for managing the risk associated with these new technologies.

Charley Fleischmann

Charley Fleischmann

Principal Research Engineer with UL's Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI), UL

Charley Fleischmann is a principal research engineer with FSRI. Charley has more 30 years of experience in fire engineering research and practice, much of it focused on fire modeling both experimentally and numerically with particular interest in compartment fire phenomena including backdraft and flashover. He is a Fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineering and in 2011 he received the Arthur B. Guise Medal for eminent achievement in the advancement of the science and technology of fire protection engineering. Prior to joining the team, Charley was a professor at the University of Canterbury. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering and fire protection engineering from the University of Maryland. He also holds a master’s degree in engineering and a Ph.D. in fire protection engineering from the University of California. He has more than 100 academic and professional publications and has presented many invited and keynote presentations around the world.