Preventing & Responding to Fire
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Among natural disasters, fires may be the most preventable and controllable. However, use changes in buildings—such as office conversions—can generate new storage and electrical challenges that threaten the safety of historic buildings. Moreover, construction sites and certain renovation techniques for removing paint increase the potential for fire in old buildings. This document is a compilation of fire safety and prevention resources aimed at minimized the risk of fire in historic structures.
The most critical resources relating to this topic are marked below with a check.
Fire Prevention Resources
- Fire Safety in Historic Buildings(National Trust for Historic Preservation)
- GSA Fire Safety Retrofitting (General Services Administration)
- Culture Shock: Fire Protection for Historic & Cultural Property(NCPTT) A Boston University-produced training video to raise awareness of fire risks to cultural properties and to provide technical information about fire detection and suppression systems including sprinklers, gaseous agents, and water mist. Also shown are examples of institutions that have sensitively installed appropriate devices
- Fire Damage Assessment(Section 4.5) (Minnesota SHPO). Minnesota's Thinking About the Unthinkable: A Disaster Plan For Historic Properties in Minnesota talks about properly venting heating equipment and reducing fire hazards in buildings.
- NFPA 914: Code for Fire Protection of Historic Structures, (National Fire Protection Association) is used by National Trust properties.
- HUD Guidelines on Fire Ratings of Archaic Materials and Assemblies, (HUD) A 184-page HUD document detailing the fire safety of materials often found in historic buildings but often omitted from contemporary fire ratings sources. This document can assist in the modernization and reuse of historic buildings by providing more thorough information on the fire safety of certain materials.
- Fire Inspection Checklist, (National Fire Protection Association) Designed for professionals but relevant to building and homeowners, this checklist can help identify and reduce fire risks in historic buildings.
- Fire Prevention & Building Code Compliance for Historic Buildings: A Field Guide (Vermont Department of Labor & Industry)
- Fire Protection at Mount Vernon: Incorporating Modem Fire Safety Systems into an Historic Site (Technology & Conservation, 5, pgs 18-25, 1980).
- Preserving History from Fire: Bridging the Gap Between Safety Codes and Historic Buildings (Old House Journal, November/December 2000). Addresses fire code issues for older buildings.
- Automatic Fire Suppression for Historic Structures: Options & Applications (APT Bulletin, v 34, no 4, 35-40)
- Considering Fire-safety Improvements to Historic Buildings (APT Bulletin, v 34, no 4, 35-40)
- Up In Smoke (Preservation Magazine, November/December 2002).
- New Concern for the Flammability of Building Contents (Interior Design, v. 57, pg. 97)
Fire Response Resources
- Reducing Potential Exposures to Asbestos Containing Materials, Guidelines for Contractors and Homeowners(County of San Diego)
- Handling Ash, Debris, and Other Hazardous Material From Burned Structures (California Environmental Protection Agency).