South Carolina Demonstration Impresses Fire Service Participants – Displays Methods of Fire Protection for New and Existing Construction
A recent training event held at the South Carolina Fire Academy in Columbia, South Carolina allowed life safety professionals from around the state to gain a better understanding of how high performance coating technology can enhance fire safety in a number of ways. The training presentation was then followed by a live burn demonstration that put the technology to the test.
The event, representing a collaborative effort between The South Carolina State Fire Marshal’s Office, The Midlands Fire Marshals Association, The South Carolina Fire Academy and No-Burn, Inc. of Wadsworth, Ohio was intended to provide fire professionals in the state with a better understanding of the life safety benefit of fire retardant and fire reactant coatings for residential, commercial and institutional applications. The demonstrations included the use of intumescent coatings for protecting flooring systems constructed of lightweight I-joists, a subject receiving a great deal of attention among fire service professionals throughout the country, as well as the use of other technology to perform such functions as enhancing fire protection of fabrics used for draperies or upholstery.
There are currently several proposals under consideration for inclusion in the building codes used throughout the United States for enhancing the fire protection of lightweight construction materials in single family homes. The use of intumescent coatings as a means of accomplishing this objective was the intent behind one of the demonstrations. Two flooring systems were constructed utilizing engineered I-joists and oriented strandboard (OSB) sub-flooring. One was protected with No-Burn® Plus intumescent paint and the other was left unprotected. Each flooring system was loaded with approximately 500 pounds of weight to simulate two fully equipped firefighters entering the home, and then a full bail of hay was ignited under each structure to simulate a fire involving the contents of the home. The untreated floor collapsed in approximately seven minutes whereas the fuel source slowly burned out below the treated flooring system with no signs of structural fatigue. According to Ron Crawford of No-Burn, Inc. “We were very pleased to have the opportunity to show the performance of our intumescent coating for the protection of lightweight construction here today, especially given the direct involvement of the South Carolina State Fire Marshal’s Office and the state training academy. The comparison between the treated and untreated structure showed very clearly how well our No-Burn® Plus intumescent coating protects these lightweight construction components when exposed to a great deal of heat and fire.” Crawford added, “Our hope is that by working directly with fire service professionals to address some of their most pressing concerns for occupant and firefighter safety, we can become a part of the solution being sought by a host of parties, including representatives of the fire service and building community among others.”
As a separate demonstration, these groups showed the value of applying fire retardant coatings to fabrics such as those that may be found in homes, medical facilities, public buildings and similar structures. This also involved a comparison of treated and untreated materials. Each of the mock structures represented a corner of a room constructed of wood and drywall and containing a chair and a set of drapes. In the protected room the chair, drapes and walls were treated with No-Burn® fire protective coatings. Both structures were then exposed to fire by igniting newspaper that had been placed on the seat of the chair. In approximately one minute, the untreated room was fully engulfed in flames and the fabric was largely consumed. The progression of flames in the treated room was dramatically restricted and even after ten-minutes of direct flame exposure the drapes in the protected room never ignited. This is, again, particularly relevant given the emphasis being put on residential fire protection. Events such as the recent adoption by the International Code Council of model code language that would require the installation of residential fire sprinkler systems, if adopted at the state and/or local level, has brought to the forefront a great deal of discussion about available methods of protecting homes that will not contain sprinklers because they were constructed before the building code change. This demonstration helped to educate participants about simple and inexpensive measures that can be taken to accomplish this objective.
According to John Reich, South Carolina’s State Fire Marshal, “The educational presentation and demonstrations we have seen today serve to highlight that fire retardant products provide another tool in reducing injuries, loss of life and property damage but do not eliminate the need for protection from smoke alarms or fire sprinklers.” Fire Marshal Reich added, “Our office encourages the use of both active and passive fire protection measures and we appreciate the efforts of groups like the Midlands Fire Marshal’s Association and companies like No-Burn in providing educational events such as the one we participated in today, allowing dedicated members of the fire service to remain abreast of highly effective fire prevention measures that can assist us in meeting our life safety objectives.”
No-Burn’s Crawford addressed the role of fire resistive coatings in the overall plan of fire protection in the following manner: “Fire retardants and intumescent paints such as those manufactured by our company represent an excellent solution for a variety of fire protection needs and can be used effectively in a comprehensive fire protection approach in conjunction with other measures such as smoke alarms and fire sprinklers.” Crawford continued, “One of the best things to come out of the recent activity surrounding residential sprinklers is that homeowners and a lot of other people have begun looking at the need to increase residential fire protection in a new light, and this includes both new construction and existing homes. Automatic sprinklers, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, membrane protection and spray-applied fire retardants and reactants can all play a role in reducing the potentially devastating effects of fire – a goal we all share.”
No-Burn, Inc has been leading the way in the field of fire protective technology since 1998. By removing the fuel a fire needs to burn, these products dramatically reduce the possibility of a fire ever starting when applied over substrates such as wood, drywall, fabric, carpet, furniture, fiber-reinforced plastic and many other materials. Equally important, No-Burn® can reduce toxic smoke by as much as 80 percent. All No-Burn® products carry a “Class A” rating and are completely non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. Several No-Burn® products also offer a dual level of protection, reducing the risk of fire and resisting the growth of toxic-black mold. All No-Burn® products are available exclusively through a network of dealers, certified for professional application. To learn more, please visit our Web site: www.noburn.com, or contact us at 800-989-8577 / 330-336-1500.