The Fire Protection Research Foundation has just published a new report, "Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facility Fire Code Gap Analysis" authored by Elizabeth C. Buc, PhD, PE, CFI with the Fire and Materials Research Laboratory, LLC.
Fires are adverse events with tangible costs for property and human life. Quantification of the immediate and direct costs of fire provide a metric for understanding the social and economic impact of fire and for assessing progress in fire prevention and protection. In addition to their most manifest physical costs, however, fires have a range of less immediate and obvious adverse consequences on the natural environment. These include air contamination from the fire plume (whose deposition is likely to subsequently include land and water contamination), contamination from water runoff containing toxic products, and other environmental discharges or releases from burned materials.
Current efforts to improve the sustainability of buildings focus on increasing energy efficiency and reducing the embodied carbon. This overlooks the fact that a fire event could reduce the overall sustainability of a building through the release of pollutants and the subsequent re-build. Several pieces of work exist on the quantification of the environmental impact of fire, but there is a need to pull this information together in a format suitable to be published in a mainstream technical publication and to identify the technical gaps that still exist. The Research Foundation initiated this project to compile and review the existing literature on the environmental impact of fire and document the knowledge gaps for future work.