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Wednesday Afternoon Session - page 25 / 67





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so that he can speak into the microphone and be heard by all of us?  He is a very distinguished man in this particular line.  We are very happy to have him here.  [Applause.]

Mr. S. H. Ingberg.  Far from being distinguished, I feel very humble, particularly in this company.  I have spent some years in fire-loss prevention, and I really have not felt that I made more than a very, very feeble start.

One of the objects and outcome of research in fire loss prevention should be establishment of its more important fundamentals on a broad and secure basis.  These cannot be said to be as well developed or established as those for structural, mechanical, electrical, and safety engineering.  While acknowledging the greater complexity of conditions that affect the fire loss, it should be possible to make more effective use of the loss experience in establishing basis of evaluation of hazards for given conditions and the application of appropriate protection measures.

The outlay required for protection should be proportionate to the reduction in the fire loss that can be achieved thereby.  Where life loss is not involved, it is questionable whether it should exceed the expected saving.  Even where protection of life, as well as property, is a consideration, an evaluation on the above basis will give significant information.

The annual cost of loss prevention measures can in general be taken as the sum of recurring items, such as fire inspection, fire brigade, and watchman service, plus a percentage of the initial cost of fire protection equipment, the latter to cover interest on the investment, depreciation, and maintenance.  In arriving at estimates of possible reduction in fire losses for given outlays, due account must be taken of the degree of effectiveness of the measures provided, and an outlay for given measures equal to the expected loss for the unprotected condition is justified on the basis of saving of property only, if such measures, as judged by the experience record, will reduce the loss to a comparatively small percentage thereof.

Considerations such as the above should assist materially in the application of rational analysis to the evaluation of specific conditions from the standpoint of hazard and required protection.  Possibly, as an outcome of further study, a case book might be developed, listing on one side the factors having a bearing on the hazard, such as construction, occupancy, and public protection, and on the other, the more applicable protection measures.  If of sufficient range and suitability arranged and indexed, such a compilation might prove very helpful in the initial appraisement of

given conditions.

An approach such as the above should assist in preventing the proposal of a miscellany of measures on the chance that some of them may be effective.  It would also be helpful in offsetting the tendency to indicate a too limited range in protection measures, where others might equally or better apply.  The essential difference between fire protection engineering and promotion of the various devices and services by which it is in part implemented is the ability to truly appraise the hazard and recommend the most economical and effective measures for the conditions presented.

It should be recognized that a high degree of protection is attainable with a combination of conditions or measures, none of which by itself may rate as of highest effectiveness.  In this

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