Posted on 29/09/2022 in Building & Construction Fire Safety 2022
Margaret Simonson McNamee, Lund University

Introduced the webinar with a presentation explaining why environmental and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) assessments of buildings should take into account fire risk and fire safety, in the context of the IAFSS agenda for fire safety (International Association for Fire Safety Science, see pinfa Newsletter n°108). This agenda identifies two sets of global challenges for fire safety: population growth – urbanisation – globalisation and climate change – resilience – sustainability. Unintended fires have important environmental consequences, both local (smoke and soot, polluted extinction waters, etc.) and global (impacts of response, replacement of damaged buildings and contents, site remediation, etc.).
Recent work on estimating the environmental impact of response to fires (the Fire Impact Tool project) indicates that the vast majority of the global environmental impact of house fires is related to replacement of the structure and contents (see graphic below). The work was led by Dr Francine Amon of RISE with participation from Dr McNamee amongst others.
To establish a full understanding of the impact fire has on sustainability, LCA should also consider the social impacts of fires (e.g. loss of homes and income, psychological impact etc) and its economic costs (e.g. deaths and injuries, property value, losses to businesses and other resulting costs). In the future there is a hope that these aspects can also be included in the model.
Finally, Dr McNamee presented a methodology for creating a sustainable and fire resilient built environment (SAFR-BE) by designing buildings to meet sustainability and fire resiliency objectives in synergy rather than in potential conflict, and noted that this approach can ensure that fire safety and sustainability are enablers for innovation.

“IAFSS agenda 2030 for a fire safe world”, M. McNamee et al., Fire Safety Journal 110 (2019) 102889
“Fire Impact Tool – Measuring the impact of fire suppression operations on the environment”, F. Amon, J. Gehandler, R. McNamee, M. McNamee and A. Vilic, Fire Safety Journal, 120 (2020),
“Sustainable and Fire Resilient Built Environment (SAFR-BE)”. Meacham, B.J., McNamee, M. (2023). In: Meacham, B.J., McNamee, M. (eds) Handbook of Fire and the Environment. The Society of Fire Protection Engineers Series. Springer, Cham.

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