The Fire Protection Research Foundation recently published the report “Disaster Resiliency and NFPA Codes and Standards” authored by Kenneth W. Duncan, P.E., Performance Design Technologies. The purpose of this project is to identify those provisions in NFPA codes and standards that embody the concepts of resiliency and compile available information to serve as a technical reference for those documents, identifying key gaps in knowledge. The report includes a literature review, codes and standards mapping and gap assessment.
The literature review provides relevant extracts from a variety of sources and is intended to include a pathway for understanding how the concepts of resilience could apply to the wide range of NFPA codes and standards. The mapping is intended to be both a benchmarking of the current codes and standards and an identification of a path forward for incorporating resilience concepts. The gap assessment is intended to identify knowledge gaps or other barriers to implementation.
Definitions of Resilience
The common themes from the many definitions of resilience can be summarized for their use in characterizing the role of NFPA codes and standards as follows:
1) Resilience includes technical, organizational, social and economic dimensions.
2) Resilience requires actions described as planning, preparing, preventing, protecting, mitigating and responding.
3) Resilience requires preparation and response to be adaptive.
4) Resilience should focus on minimizing damage and disruption to public health and safety, the economy, environment, and national security.
Specific to design standards activities, a fifth theme can be added regarding continuity of functionality:
5) Resilience includes the ability of structures and systems to withstand these external events, whether natural or human-created.
The Fire Protection Research Foundation will be conducting additional work including the development of a Guidance document on incorporating resiliency into NFPA Codes and Standards.