• Volume 17, Issue 3 | 3rd Quarter

    Feature Article

    Construction Site Fire Safety

    By Mark Conroy

    Construction site fires continue a trend of large financial losses. Brooks Equipment reported on this phenomenon in the 2015 first quarter issue of this newsletter. But recent fires suggest this trend continues to be a major fire problem. According to an NFPA Journal magazine article, a massive fire at a construction site near Boston, MA, in July of 2017, caused an estimated $110 million in damages1. The fire reduced most of the buildings under construction to rubble. Construction site fires also result in life losses and injuries. A March 7, 2018 fire reported in the Denver Post started at a construction site and damaged 13 buildings, killed two people and injured six others2. Large buildings under construction have the potential for devastating fires due to the presence of a large amount of flammable and combustible materials, which is only a contributing factor to the final resulting ruin. The main factor might be that building owners (the ones financing the construction) and code enforcement officials lack the information needed to prevent and mitigate these fires.

    To help address this fire problem, with the intent of reducing injuries, fatalities, and financial losses, the development of three informational pamphlets was sponsored by the American Wood Council (AWC). The pamphlets provide best practices for planners, developers, and builders to make informed decisions and ensure safety and help ensure the right fire safety equipment is in place at large building construction sites. The AWC pamphlets are titled:

    • Basic Fire Precautions during Construction of Large Buildings
    • Hot Work during Construction of Large Buildings
    • Fire Department’s Role in Prevention and Suppression of Fires during Construction of Large Buildings

    The pamphlets can be downloaded for free at: Click Here

    The pamphlet on basic fire precautions provides much information on the need for having fire safety equipment in place, including the following:

    • Portable Fire Extinguishers
    • Hydrants and Hose Reels
    • Temporary Emergency Lighting
    • Standpipes
    • Automatic Fire Sprinklers
    • Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm Systems

    There is a specific provision in the pamphlet which says that at least one multi-purpose fire extinguisher, per 3000 ft2, must be provided at all times and references NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers and OSHA Fire Protection and Prevention 1926.150(c)(1)(i).

    In the hot works pamphlet, under “General Precautions,” it says the pre-hot-work check shall determine that fire extinguishers and fire hoses (where provided) shall be operable and located in accordance with NFPA 10. Also there is a specific provision that says a minimum of one portable fire extinguisher, complying with Section 906 (International Fire Code) and with a minimum 2-A:20-B:C rating, shall be readily available within 30 feet of the location where hot work is being performed.

    Although there will always be a potential for a devastating fire to occur at a large building construction site, making these pamphlets available to planners, developers, builders, and local authorities having jurisdiction might help keep them informed so that the best decisions can be made and the most appropriate fire safety equipment will be available to notify workers and help mitigate construction site fires.

    Mark Conroy is an engineer in our Boston office and a member of the NFPA 10 Technical Committee.



    Employee Spotlight

    Meet Stephanie Moss

    Brooks Account Manager

    In December 2015, Stephanie joined Brooks after 10 years working as a Sr. Inside Sales/Training Manager for a local company. She enjoyed what she was doing but wanted more of a challenge, and Brooks fit the bill perfectly.

    Having been in sales and customer service her whole life, it was just a matter of merging her skill set with her newly acquired duties as an Account Manager with Brooks. I have learned a lot about this industry, since starting with Brooks, Stephanie says. Having great teammates at Brooks has helped her a great deal too—Roger Howard and Todd Warner taught me the most about fire safety and its related products, and I appreciate everything they've built into me. From taking orders and building relationships with her customers to learning all that she can about the fire and safety industry, Stephanie has become an indispensable part of the Brooks Team.

    One of Stephanie's biggest joys at Brooks are her coworkers. She smiles and claims it's her coworkers who help her get through the day, a little joke, a laugh, give a smile, get a smile—it helps me press on. She also enjoys treating customers the way I would like to be treated—fairly, honestly, and quickly. And her customer relationships have grown because of it. At this point, my customers are saying, Hello Stephanie, before I can say hello myself, which is pretty neat. They’ve grown to know that I will keep my word and do whatever I can to help them—fast, she says.

    Away from work, Stephanie plays the violin and sings in her church choir. She also leads a Youth Group and teaches Sunday School. She and her husband, Jeremy, have three beautiful boys—Ethan, Grayson, and Zachary, who also serve in the music ministry, singing and playing instruments. Then there's the outdoor stuff—football, baseball, and basketball. And there's martial arts training for her littlest one. Did I mention that she and her husband are busy people? Phew! I'm out of breath just listing all of this…and I'm not done yet. There are four-wheelers and dirt bikes to ride; the beach and the mountains to go to; grocery shopping, honey do's, commuting, shows to watch… :)

    Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in these articles are the author’s only and provide limited information. Although the information is believed to be reliable, Brooks Equipment Company, LLC expressly disclaims any liability for errors or omissions. The user of this article(s) or the product(s) is responsible for verifying the information’s accuracy from all available sources, including the product manufacturer. The authority having jurisdiction should be contacted for code interpretations.