Fire modelling and risk analysis

Fire modeling and risk assessment are important tools to predict, and design measures to minimize, both direct and indirect losses due to fire. Risk assessment, either qualitative or quantitative, is a major task in any framework developed for fire safety management. Fire risk must be assessed quantitatively to determine fire safety measures that provide acceptable levels of protection to life and property. Quantitative risk assessment is also necessary for performing cost-benefit analyses on proposed safety measures and for determining optimal fire safety designs.

Many different mathematical models can be employed in predicting fire behaviour and in quantitative assessment of fire risk. The models can be deterministic or non-deterministic. Deterministic models include engineering correlations, zone, field and CFD models, which are based on scientific theories and experimental results. Non-deterministic models, generally based on data from real fire incidents, are statistical, probabilistic, stochastic simulations or models related to the likelihood of fire spread and damage and probabilistic models concerned with the reliability of fire protection measures. In all cases, uncertainties caused by key factors involved in predicting the development of the fire, behaviour of building occupants during a fire and/or operation of fire protection systems should be included in the model to provide a quantitative evaluation of fire risk and effectiveness of fire safety measures.