Methods of quantifying fire risk in buildings and communities
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Understanding and quantifying fire risk from a property loss perspective is critical to enabling decision makers in the fire safety field to make informed decisions. For example, the impact of various decisions made by fire departments on the fire risk in their community, while qualitatively understood by most parties, is not well quantified. Lack of quantification can lead to communication issues on the value of services that result in sub-par resource allocations that negatively impact constituencies. Additionally, many past attempts at quantifying fire risk, while promising, have not enjoyed wide adoption due to the difficulty of procuring the expertise necessary to utilize them. Available fire incident data is critical to the evaluation of fire risk, and thus an analysis is performed to explore the underlying reporting population of the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), which is the primary source of fire incident data in the U.S. Then, this research presents methods for evaluating fire risk in buildings and communities that improve upon past approaches while outlining paths to automation that can extend the use of these methods to wider audiences, including decision makers. Specifically, a framework for evaluating fire risk in buildings by generating fire scenarios using data provided in building information models coupled with external physical and statistical fire data sources is presented. Additionally, a methodology for evaluating community fire risk is outlined that uses secondary ignition and damage sub models, coupled with physical fire data and fire models to develop time dependent damage curves that are then weighted using statistical fire incident data.