Fire is a dangerous epidemic. In 2004, fire killed more Americans than all natural disasters combined. Direct property loss due to fires in 2004 was estimated at $9.8 billion. Sadly, many of these fires have occurred in student housing and elderly housing facilities that are not required to have non-combustible firewalls; a crucial part of balanced design.Balanced design includes the use of three important systems: detection (smoke detectors), suppression (sprinklers) and containment (non-combustible concrete firewalls). Because no system is 100% effective, it is important to have all of these systems in place to lessen the chances of fire related deaths and injuries as well as property damage.
The Fire Safety Committee is working diligently to make changes to the Uniform Statewide Building Codes to require balanced design in multi-family residential, student and elderly housing. This will include two-hour NC3 walls which can significantly reduce property damage by preventing the spread of fire.
The Fire Safety Committee is working alongside several other groups including the Mid-Atlantic Fire Safety Construction Advisory Council (MAFSCAC), the Fire Safety Construction Advisory Council (FSCAC) and the Pennsylvania Fire Safety Construction Advisory Council (PAFSCAC).
Masonry is non-combustible. Other building systems literally crumble during a fire, as you will see in this telling video. Watch the concrete masonry wall closely as NOTHING happens!