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1.

0 Introduction
Fire is human best friend as the source of light and heat used in our daily life.
However, when it is out of control, it has no friends, no moral values and respect no
boundaries. For example, The Great Fire of 1910 was a historical, largest wildfire
incident that burned about three million acres forest over two days, and killed 87
people (mostly firefighters) in northeast Washington, northern Idaho and western
Montana (Teddy Roosevelt 2009). Besides that, shock waves and fire due to the
explosion at a chemical warehouse which stored large amount of hazardous and
flammable chemicals mainly sodium cyanide at Tianjin on 12 August 2015 has caused
thousands of car damaged, large amount of dead fish found in the contaminated river
and more than hundred dead. Based on these two fire incident, it is apparent that
uncontrolled fire would definitely lead to unnecessary tragedy and damages.
The focus of fire protection has always been thought to limit the damage a fire
can cause. In earlier centuries, the goal was to confine fire to a city block. Today's
conventional water systems can confine a fire to a building, a floor and even to the
point of containing a fire within a single room. Water was, and still is, the primary
tool to control structural fires. However, with current technical sophistication,
containing a fire to a single area is not always enough. Critical facilities require an
even higher level of fire protection. Therefore, engineering plays significant and
undeniable role in the fire prevention and control to protect people, property, and their
environments from the harmful and destructive effects of fire and smoke.
The present study focuses on the important findings about the engineerings
potential contributions in fire prevention and control. These findings are the result of
past engineering research conducted in conjunction with the fire service. The scope of
this report includes four areas, which are fire dynamics, advancement of fire
protection technology, .................(zingteng please fill in the blanks)................

2.0 Engineerings Potential Contribution in Fire Prevention and Control


2.1 Fire Dynamics
In United States of America, a fire department responds to fire every 23
seconds (The U.S. Fire Problem 2011). Each of these fires occur due to different
circumstances. For instance, electrical fires happen caused by improper electrical
wiring, overloading electrical outlets or appliance failure. However based on a science
perspective, most fires shares the same similarities. Fires occur due to exothermic
process with the fire triangle which consists of fuel, oxygen and heat as the three
essential elements to sustain the chemical reaction. The concept of fire triangle has
been applied to the fireground to enhance the comprehension of fire behaviour and
affect the choice of fire-fighting strategies. Over the decades, it has been gained great
concern from fire engineering to improve the study of fire behaviour and develop an
engineering approach and guidance to the protection of people and property from
unwanted fire. Therefore, the first engineering contribution in fire prevention and
control is fire dynamics.
There are two primary contributions of engineering discipline in the field of
fire dynamics. First, fire dynamics incorporate the interaction of chemistry and
material science. Fire dynamics is closely related to the study of chemical reaction of
fire which involve how the fire starts, grow, decay and extinguish. The early stage of
fire development where the fire progression is limited to a fuel source and the thermal
hazard is localized to the area of burning material. In the growth phase, the heatrelease rate increases until a critical stage which is flashover, such that the material
surface exposed to the thermal radiation exceeds 600 C and simultaneous ignition
of all combustible material in an enclosed space (Fire Dynamics 2012). The decay
stage occurs when the as the fuel is depleted or the fire triangle breaks. Fire triangle,
as mentioned earlier, is the most fundamental understanding about fire science. Any
fire can be extinguished by removing either one of the elements in fire triangle to
hinder the chemical chain in the combustion process. For example, fire can be put off
by cutting off the oxygen supply using a fire blanket, or pouring water on the fire to
remove the heat.
In terms of material science, fire engineering researchers discover new
materials for fire-fighters protective clothing and equipment, and investigate theirs
applicability and effectiveness in the fireground. The thermal performance of fire

protection equipment is based on the thermophysical properties of the materials used,


such as thermal conductivity, specific heat, density, thermal spectral properties of
emissivity, transmissivity and reflectivity. One of the significant past research was the
2005 Thermal Protective Performance (TPP) test which was conducted by U. S. Fire
Administration partners with National Institute of Standards Technology to provide
temperature measurement of ten materials used on the surface of the outer shell, at the
moisture barrier layers inside the protective clothing system, and at the thermal liner
surface (Estimates of Thermal Conductivity 2005). This research gives a detailed
picture of how a protective clothing system performs when exposed to a given
thermal environment.
Second engineering contribution related to fire dynamics is the engineering
discipline of fluid mechanics and heat transfer. This two principles helps in the
controlling of flow path of fire. Depending on building configuration, a structure can
have several flow paths. Any fire-fighting operations carried out in the fire flow path
would cause firefighters at significant risk due to the increased flow of fire, smoke
and heat towards their locations. This was the case with the three Fire Department of
New York City (FDNY) firefighters who lost their lives in the Vandalia fire in
Brooklyn, the two Houston firefighters who lost their lives in a ranch house fire, and
the two San Francisco firefighters who were killed in the Diamond Heights fire (Fire
Dynamics 2012). The tactic of controlling fire flow path includes reducing additional
oxygen into the space to limit the fire development, heat release rate and smoke
production. Another way is to control the movement of the heat and smoke conditions
out of the fire area to the exterior and to the other areas within the building. Both
mentioned methods are based on controlling the pressure difference and fire
propagation by varying the building configuration via doors and windows opening
which require the contribution from engineering application of fluid mechanics and
heat transfer.
In addition, fire dynamics simulator is created to model the fire dynamics and
to

solve

practical

fire

problems

in

fire

protection

engineering.

Fire dynamics modelling used by fire engineering solves numerically a large eddy
simulation form of the NavierStokes equations suitable for thermally-driven flow,
with an emphasis on smoke and heat transport from fires. Simulation of fire behaviour
and flow path within a structure provides a better insight for firefighters to understand

the fire dynamics in different actual operating conditions and to control the fire in a
more efficient way.

2.2 Advanced Fire Protection Technology


Apart from the study of fire dynamics, the second engineering contribution is
developing the advanced fire protection technology. The main purpose for technology
advancement in fire prevention and control is to minimise or even eliminate the
limitations and drawbacks of those existing conventional fire protection system,
which often lead to slow fire detection and ineffective fire suppression.
A typical example of the limitation of conventional fire protection system is
conventional heat detector, which generally limited to indoors and is not applicable in
large open spaces such as shopping centres, airports, car parks and forests.
Conventional heat detectors with thermocouples as heat sensors require a close
proximity to the fire and most of them cannot provide additional information about
fire location, dimension, etc. In addition, conventional smoke detectors may take
longer time for carbon particles and smoke to reach the point detector. False alarms
are always triggered due to the presence of larger particles like dust particles inside
the detector chamber, or accidental damage to the alarm system. In the period 20112012, Fire and Rescue Services in Britain received 584,500 callouts in which 53.4
percent were due to false alarms (The Causes of False Fire Alarms 2015). Another
example is the commercially used fire extinguisher powder would cause irritation to
mucous membranes and difficulties with breathing. The dry chemicals which provide
rapid knockdown of flames and are more effective than Halons, however they are
highly corrosive which will corrode and even destroy electronic, electromechanical
and mechanical components.
Over the last decade, building materials, furnishings and furniture have
undergone a major transformation from natural materials, such as wood and cotton, to
synthetic materials. Consequently, the risk to life and property has changed drastically
since burning synthetic materials release not only highly dangerous smoke and toxic
fumes, but also carbon monoxide at rates faster than natural materials, resulting in
dramatic reduction in the available time for escape. Therefore, the progress on fire
detection technologies has been substantial due to the engineering contribution in the
advancement of microelectronics and information technologies, as well as a greater
understanding of fire dynamics as discussed in the previous section. The following

discussion covers some of the recent technologies used in fire prevention and control
contributed by engineering discipline to improve effectiveness in fire detection and
fire suppression.
One of the new and promising technology used in fire prevention and control
is the distributed fiber optic temperature sensor which uses the entire optic fibre as the
heat sensor. The working principle of this technology is the pulsed light is launched
along the length of fibre optic, and any changes in the temperature along the fibre
optic can be measured by detecting the amount of reflected light when the fibre optic
is bent due to heating. The main advantage of optical fibre sensor cable is it can
respond much more quickly to temperature fluctuations due to its low mass. It is also
immune to all kinds of electromagnetic interference emissions. The sensor cable is
available for operation in for wide temperature range between -20 oC and 120 oC
(Review 2003).
Another example of engineering contribution in technology advancement of
fire protection system is the invention of Video Fire Detection (VFD) system which
can detect the presence of flames and smokes for coverage area of 100 km 2 and
reduce the detection time as compared to the conventional smoke and heat detectors.
It also can provide essential information about the growth of fire and direction of
smoke propagation. In 2012, National Research Council Canada (NRCC) performed a
full-scale and environmental test to study the application of VFD systems for the
protection of large industrial applications and atria. The most significant engineered
feature in VFD system is it is able to detect obstructed fires, fires with nuisance
sources, fires under dark light and fires under wind condition very accurate within
short period even via the reflected lights and pattern of smoke produced (Centin et. al
2013).

Recently,

on

March

2015,

fire

extinguisher that uses low, bass frequencies


sound wave to put out fires was invented by two
engineering students. The sound waves between
30 and 60 Hz produced could be used to separate
the oxygen and burning material. This invention
is taken for further testing, perhaps it poses

Figure 1 Low Bass Fire Extinguisher

potential commercial application in the future (New fire extinguisher 2015).


In short, many new fire detection technologies developed over the last decade
have strong potential to reduce false alarms, increase sensitivity and dynamic
response to a fire as well as improve fire safety. Engineering has contributed
significant portion of effort in eliminating the limitations of conventional fire
detection.

Structural Design
According to NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) survey on the
structural collapsed due to fire throughout US, Canada, Europe, Russia and South
America from 1970 to 2002, there are at least 22 of this kind incident which also
including the 911 incident. In case of building that doesnt consider the fire safety for
the structural element during the design phase, the inconsideration will cause the
building will collapse in case of fire. The reason for this was due to that the fire will
melt down the column, joints, beam and others structural element, increasing the fire
load while reducing the structure elements load bearing capability. One of the
notorious incident was 911 world trade center tower collapsed incident, when the
plane crashed to one of the tower, the intense fire, heat and the explosion caused by
the crash plane produced possessed the temperature higher than 800oC, enough to
melt the its neighbor structure, weakening the structure load bearing capability and
eventually collapsed from the weaken column. Though away from the plane crash site
the structure is not affected by the heat, it was still collapsed due to the sudden
increase in load of the collapsed floor above. Therefore it is important role for
engineer to take fire loading into coincident.
In structural design sector, engineers have been contributed in studying and
researching the fire behavior, thermal response of the structural members and also the

structural response. For fire behavior, engineers study the fire performance of the
building element by conducting fire resistance test such as using the standard furnace
test. Besides that, engineers also study the factor affecting the fire behavior during the
pre and post flash over phase and heat release rate for each type of occupancies. As
for the thermal response of structural element, engineers have also contributed in
researching the temperature rise of the bare or protected element when subjected to
heat and also study the physical capability of the element. Lastly, in the structural
response section, engineers also contribute in obtaining the structural stability when in
fire by going through experiment such as fire test. Throughout the experiments and
tests, the fire resistance rating for the common materials was obtained for design
purpose. Fire resistance rating can be defined as the duration that the material can
withstand in case of fire and it is determined by fire resistance test.
Moreover, engineers also contributed or obliged in reviewing and improving the
standard and the rules for the structural design. For example, in designing the
structural frame for building more that 6th floor, engineers have to follow and design
the structural frame elements with the fire resistance rating of 1hour duration
according to the specific organization or department such as ISO and firefighting
department.

Material advancement
In material advancement sector, engineers have been contributed mostly in
researching and improving the fire resistance material and also determine the site
effect of the fire resistant material. For one example of fire resistance material is the
asbestos, though the material was first found in the ancient Greek island of Ewoia and
became one of the most useful material in the late 1800 century after the industrial
revolution due to its heat resistant capability and also other properties. Through the
research, in the mid of 1900s, the asbestos was found out to be causing serious health
problem and therefore being abundant and banned from there onward.
The example of the material invention and improvement is the fire proximity suit,
which is also known as silver bunker suit, allowing fire fighter to work in aircraft fire
incident. The material for this suit was first using the asbestos material, and change
and improve it by aluminized the suit after informed the healthy issue of using
asbestos material. Another example is the flame resistant polymer coating which is

invented by the Dr Jaime Grunlan, this flame resistant polymer coating was able to
resist fire without burning the polymer and it can be apply to lab cloth, medical
clothing, building, sofa and so on and the material is also environmental friendly. In
addition to it, another example was improvement of fire resisting material in
intumescent paint that is usually used in passive fire protection system such as fire
retardant Acrylic paint.

Fire Protection System


Fire protection system can be further categorized into two main categories which are
the active fire protection system and also the passive fire protection system. For the
active fire protection system, it can be defined as the fire suppression system that has
to be manually, automatically, or by electrical mean to activate. The purpose of the
active fire protection system is to extinguish the ignition point and suppress the spread
of the fire and detect and giving fire alarm to the occupants. Moreover, the active fire
protection system has to be maintaining from time to time to ensure the condition of
the system. For the passive fire protection system, it can be as the fire protection
system that holding its purpose to contain or slow down the fire spread from floor to
floor or from room to room by using any compartmentation or applying the resistant
door, fire curtain and so on. In addition to it, passive fire protections usually undergo
one installation and need no frequent maintenance on it.
In the fire protection system, engineers have been contributed in designing the fire
protection system and the fire equipment, identify the possible source of fire and
providing installation and maintenance of the system. In the contribution of
identifying the possible source of fire, engineers utilize some of the fire modelling
software or by referring to the Uniform Building by Law and Guideline to Fire
Protection to determine the source of the fire and the fire spread until the flash over
phase in order to determine the appropriate fire protection system to extinguish the
fire. In designation of firefighting system sector, engineer will design the appropriate
system and propose to the fire engineer or firefighting department to verify. The
finalize design after the verification will be used for that project and installation will
be done and maintenance for the firefighting system will undergo. Example of the
fire protection systems that design by engineers are wet riser system, dry riser system,
powered or natural smoke extraction system, external hydrant system, sprinkle

system, CO2 extinguishing system, hose reel system, compartmentation, down comer
system, escape facility and also the fire alarm and detection system. All of the system
design has to be following the basic standard which was set by fire department in
order to maintain the quality the effectiveness of the fire safety.
Besides that, engineers also contributed in the fire protection system as a role of
reviewing and improving the fire safety standard, rule and regulation. This has to be
done in order to improve the quality of fire safety and update the fire safety method as
the method of fire protection system improve from time to time. Example of
regulation that engineers take part in reviewing and improving the regulation is the
Fire Protection Guideline in Malaysia.

Other Contributions
Besides contribution in technology, material and design, engineers also contributed in
researching the possible ways to extinguish fire and the ignition point. One of the
examples was the AFO or Elide fire ball, it can be used to instantly extinguish the fire
point, acting as fire alarm when the fire extinguisher ball activated as it produced high
decibel up 100db to warn nearby people and lastly it can be used for both active and
passive fire protection system.
Moreover, engineers have also contributed in improving in old type building fire
safety. As the fire safety system or methodology improve from time to time, engineers
has to improve the fire safety level of the old type building so that the fire safety level
can be compatible to the modern type building. Besides that, engineers have to
improve the fire safety level when the buildings undergo any renovation or overhaul.
In addition to it, engineers also contributed in holding the campaign and training
sessions like fire drill of fire protection and prevention for the onsite worker or the
society in order to enhance the awareness toward the fire protection and also enhance
the fire response.
Lastly, engineers also contributed in post fire investigation as engineers have to work
out the cause of the fire incident such as the heavy industrial fire, chemical fire, and
explosion and so on. The analysis of the cause of the fire will be used to improve the
fire safety to prevent or minimize the damage of the similar incident.

3.0 Conclusion

4.0 Reference
Teddy Roosevelt And The Fire That Saved The Forests. 2009. NPR Books.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114248029
The U.S. Fire Problem. 2011. National Fire Protection Association.
http://www.nfpa.org/research/fire-statistics/ the-us-fire-problem
Fire Dynamics. 2012. National Institute of Standards and Technology.
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:3yYU2t M0GK8J:
www.nfpa.org/~/media/files/member-access/member-sections/metro- chiefs
/2014-urban-fire- forum/firedynamicsmadrzykowski.pdf%3Fla%3Den+&cd
=1&hl=en&ct=clnk
Estimates of Thermal Conductivity for Unconditioned and Conditioned Materials
Used in Fire Fighters' Protective Clothing. 2015. US Fire Administration.
http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/fire05/PDF/f05100.pdf
The Causes of False Fire Alarms in Buildings. 2015. International Fire Protection
Magazine. http://ifpmag.mdmpublishing.com/causes-false-fire-alarmsbuildings/

Review of recent developments in fire detection technologies. 2003. National


Research Council of Canada. http://jfe.sagepub.com/content/13/2/129.abstract
etin, A. Enis, Kosmas Dimitropoulos, Benedict Gouverneur, Nikos Grammalidis,
Osman Gnay, Y. Hakan Habibolu, B. Uur Treyin, and Steven Verstockt.
"Video fire detectionReview." Digital Signal Processing 23, no. 6 (2013):
1827-1843.
New fire extinguisher: Bass hum booms flames out. 2015. CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2015/03/27/us/sound-fire-extinguisher/

Peer Evaluation by Yik Vui Kong


From my point of view, the performance of all presentation team was above
average. First of all, there was not much issue concerning the presentation slides. In
other words, students were able to utilise presentation slides as their visual
communication aid to support the most important part of the presentation. Most of the
teams could design the presentation slides in professional way. Slides were clear, not
overloaded with information, and filled with good quality diagrams. Therefore, it was
the presentation skill and content that made the differences among the presentation
teams. Some of them have excellent presentation skill either natural-born or with past
experience, however they did not manage to perform well due to several reasons like
lack of preparation, insufficient supporting details and did not comprehend well the
contents. On the other hand, portion of the students prepared enough supporting
evidences and facts, however their main problem was they were not able to maintain
interest from audiences throughout the presentation, and lack of confidence. The
following sections would discuss briefly about my opinions regarding the criteria of
both good and bad presenters, and the tangible and intangible experiences gained
from the series of team oral presentations.
Based on my observation, there were few good presenters who can speak
confidently and clearly without rambling. Nevertheless, their presentations were
forgettable and not inspiring. Among the good presenters, the best presenter that I
would like to prefer has done excellent presentation as he poses some good

characteristics that make him to deserve the absolute best. First, he managed to attract
the attention from the crowd due to his professional presentation attire. Most of the
male presenters presentation outfit were semi-formal and they did not wear ties
during presentation. He was the one among those few who put on the tie, and his tidy
and fresh outlook made me feel interested prior to his presentation. His presentation
partner was good in the front part of presentation, but was not that impressive. Indeed,
when it was his turn to take over the presentation, he spoke clearly, correctly,
distinctly and confidently. Unlike majority of the presenters who spoke fast due to
limited time provided, he was good in time management and able to present clear
explanation of his topic in a steady pace. Every statement was backed up with solid
evidence and fact to clarify the messages that he was trying to convey.

His

presentation had logical flow and organised well. Apart from that, he presented with
appropriate and effective gesture, movement, vocal variety and eye contact. In the
end, he offered a conclusion by summarising all the mentioned statements in a clear
and concise manner. His instant reply to the queries from the floor showed that he had
well-prepared in the study of his topic.
In fact, there were also some presenters that were not performed so well in
their presentation. They presented different topics, however they shared similar bad
presenters criteria. Lack of preparation and practice prior to the presentation was the
common characteristics for bad presenters. The presenter just memorised the content
and did not prepare for questions. Whenever they forgot their script, they started to
ramble and said vocalised pauses like ahh, umm and uhh. Some of them even
stopped speaking for more than 10 seconds because they were trying to remember
their script. Besides that, some of the bad presenters brought notes on the small cards
which were used as a prompt to keep them on track. However, most of them kept
looking at their notes without having eye contact with the audiences. Bad
presentations were also given in a flat tone of voice without vocal variety (rate, pitch
and volume). Hence, they could not gain interest from the audience.
Throughout the series of team oral presentations, I have gained some valuable
experience. If I would like to have self-evaluation, I will say that I prepared and
performed well for the presentation from overall perspective. However, my biggest
weakness is fast speaking rate as I feel the intense obligation to share every piece of
information. From this presentation, I have realised that a good presentation should

avoid overloaded information as this might cause the audiences get tired easily. Use of
key words and phrases as well as include only important information are enough to
keep the audiences focused and interested. In addition, I have learnt to have more
interaction with the audience to maintain their interest. This could be done by
approaching audience seats area to make them to feel involved in the presentation, or
even asking questions and listening their response and feedback. Before presentation,
I practiced and rehearsed with my partner for several times. I was just focusing on
how to have a good presentation with smooth and logical flow. After the presentation,
I have understood that having good presentation skills and content are not enough to
impress audience. A good presentation must be able to benefit people via motivation.
Therefore, more efforts have to done to give a more inspiring, impressive
presentation.