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Parking Garage Fire Protection and Mitigation

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Parking Garage Fire Protection and MitigationTelgian Engineering & Consulting, LLC (TEC) Chief Engineering Officer Tracey Bellamy recently explored how parking structure fires can lead to large economic losses in the article Fire Protection Evolution: New Vehicle Materials & Power Sources Drive Increased Risk for Parking magazine, the official publication of the National Parking Association. Two parking garage fire protection factors identified include the increased flammability of today’s auto parts (including a greater reliance on the use of plastics) and the potential instability and long burn time of newer alternative fuel vehicles, which have created unique fire hazards that older structures were never designed to withstand.

“One example is the 1600-vehicle capacity, 8-level concrete parking garage on King’s Dock in Liverpool, England which was destroyed in 2017, resulting in a £20m loss,” Bellamy says. “According to Reuters reporting, ‘Firefighters said an accidental fire within a vehicle caused other cars to ignite.’ The enhanced danger of this domino effect is echoed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which in its recently released “Modern Vehicle Hazards in Parking Structures and Vehicle Carriers” (July 2020) states that, ‘… data on modern vehicles imply there is a small, and shrinking, margin of error when a single vehicle fire can develop into a conflagration.’”

Since plastics and alternative fuel vehicles are here to stay, is there anything that can be done retroactively to improve the safety of older structures? Bellamy says that the specific answer to this question can vary widely but must always start with first understanding the specific risk exposure at hand for your circumstance.  This assessment of the risk exposure should then be evaluated by the various stakeholders involved to develop a plan of action to achieve the risk mitigation necessary to achieve a manageable level risk for those parties involved.

Bellamy has more than 30 years of experience in fire protection engineering and extensive experience with fire suppression system design, fire hazard analysis and fire protection system inspection and testing. He is licensed as a Professional Engineer in 49 U.S. states and is a Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS) as well as a Certified Water Based System Professional (CWBSP). In addition, he serves on several NFPA technical and correlating committees including NFPA 1, 11, 13, 15, 25, 30, 30B, 101 and 5000.  

In addition to Fire Protection Evolution: New Vehicle Materials & Power Sources Drive Increased Risk, Bellamy is a sought-after author on a variety of fire protection topics. Recent articles include Improving Warehouse Fire Safety in Five Steps for Fire Middle East magazine, Fire Protection of Dry Dock Storage Facilities for Marina Dock Age magazine, and Lives vs. Assets: What Residential Sprinkler Design Standards Should be Used for Reeves Journal.

Click to read Fire Protection Evolution: New Vehicle Materials & Power Sources Drive Increased Risk in its entirety.

Tracey Bellamy, TelgianAbout Telgian Engineering & Consulting, LLC (TEC)

Leading the industry since 1985, Telgian Engineering & Consulting, LLC (TEC) is a full-service global engineering and risk mitigation consulting firm specializing in complex, multi-discipline public and private sector projects. TEC provides professional services related to the protection of people, property, information, and organizational mission against preventable losses. Solutions include strategic/enterprise risk management, fire protection engineering, fire alarm system design, emergency management, operations continuity consulting, and construction administration services. TEC professionals are dedicated to delivering value through effective protection solutions that meet today’s unique risk challenges. Contact TEC for immediate support at 1.770.432.3882 or tec@telgian.com.

For media interviews with Tracey Bellamy or additional Parking Garage Fire Protection information, please contact Susan McNeill, smcneill@telgian.com.

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