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Thread: Fire Load ?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Question Fire Load ?

    Can someone give me the definition of "Fire Load". I hear this term used quite often, but I do not fully understand its meaning. Thanks in advance. TR
    TKJ


  2. #2
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    fire load - a measurement of the load of a combustible material per square foot of floor space.

  3. #3
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    How 'bout: everything combustible within the area you are talking about that is not part of the building itself.

    Chairs, tables, beds, boxes of paper,etc etc. If I am not mistaken, wall coverings and wainscoating are part of the fire load as they do not contribute to the structural integrety of the building. Anyone confirm or correct on this?

  4. #4
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    [quote]Originally posted by the rookie:<br /><strong>Can someone give me the definition of "Fire Load". I hear this term used quite often, but I do not fully understand its meaning. Thanks in advance. TR</strong><hr></blockquote>

    <br />Fire load is everything that is burning or can burn in any room on fire. Secondary fire load would be flammable items in surrounding area's that can burn and fuel the fire.
    Doc DC3<br />ex FDNY (E74)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    I think the above definitions of "fire load" are pretty good.

    How it affects tactics is along the lines of "what do we expect the fire load to be..."

    Our experience is generally with "typical" size rooms in our districts, or "typically" constructed buildings in our area.

    One local department had a bit of a surprise a few months ago. Call came in for a reported fire inside an abandoned lumber company warehouse -- perhaps 75' wide and 300' long if I recall the building correctly. With a full first alarm assignment already rolling the first arriving officer saw smoke showing and put the 2nd alarm companies on standby.

    And a minute later the first arriving engine was ordered to bring in a 2.5 gallon extinguisher and all mutual aid was released with thanks -- someone (homeless?) had piled and burned a few pallets in the middle of an otherwise empty warehouse -- very small fire load for that occupancy!

    One of our fires had a basement that was kicking our butts compared to our usual experiences. After the fire, the Fire Marshal told the homeowner he was a bit puzzled, scraping through the debris near the point of origin (a crack in the chimney), there was a lot of this pink goo under deep char. The homeowner's face just dropped...he had stored four 4'x4'x4' cubes of high density polystyrene used for dock floats in the basement -- that's a heck of a lot higher fuel load than we're used to encountering, and that's why it was much tougher fire than our normal experience. Pound for Pound, Polystyrene is bit below Gasoline for heat value!
    IACOJ Canine Officer
    20/50

  6. #6
    Junior Member fire266's Avatar
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    The NFPA Handbook says "Fire Load" or "Fuel Load" is determined by adding up all fuel present and dividing it by the area of the compartment or fire space. I believe basically your figuring the BTU production potential per square foot of the area in question. Standards such as NFPA 13 (Installation of Sprinkler Systems)would use this info to determine size and type of system to install for various occupancy classifications.

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