A new NFPA standard for
parking structures is paving the way
for fire protection solutions that prevent
injuries, damage and loss
Automotive manufacturers across the board are opting for more complex synthetic plastics and rubbers as well as lightweight flammable metals and green energy solutions, such as lithium ion batteries. At the same time, lot owners are erecting charging stations and solar panels to accommodate. These changes in production help push us toward a brighter future, but they come at a cost. In practice, that cost is actually a sound investment: a robust sprinkler system capable of protecting occupants, employees and first responders while preventing injuries, damage and loss.
Within the last two years, significant changes were made to both NFPA 88A and NFPA 13 to promote adequate fire protection in car parks.
STANDARD FOR PARKING STRUCTURES
This standard covers the construction and protection of, as well as the control of hazards in, open and enclosed parking structures, including automated-type parking structures, other than those within one and two family dwellings. The 2023 edition of NFPA 88A requires all parking garages to have sprinkler systems installed in accordance with NFPA 13. Prior to this edition, sprinklers were not mandatory in open parking structures.
STANDARD FOR THE INSTALLATION OF SPRINKLER SYSTEMS
The industry benchmark for design and installation of automatic fire sprinkler systems, NFPA 13 addresses sprinkler system design approaches, system installation, and component options to prevent fire deaths and property loss. The 2022 edition of NFPA 13 has increased the recommended hazard classification for parking structures from Ordinary Hazard Group 1 to Ordinary Hazard Group 2 to acknowledge a growing need for advanced protection.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
First responders in metro areas
like LA and NYC are struggling to keep
up with the demands of servicing rising
populations with limited resources
Many lot owners exercise a bare bones approach when it comes to fire safety, such as placing 1-5 fire extinguishers nearby with the belief that these measures will suffice until the local fire department arrives at their facility. However, new information provided by LAFD and FDNY suggests that response times may continue to climb for both fire calls and medical emergencies. It has never been more important to prioritize fixed fire protection to prevent catastrophic loss.
An LAFD paramedic explains: “Our staffing levels have decreased over the years. Our call volume has more than doubled. We’re running around 2,000 calls a day from about 1,000 when I first started. Our number of fire stations has not increased.” “It happens every day,” he said. “You guys don’t ever hear about it. We don’t go public with it, but it’s on a constant basis. Our average response time should be anywhere from three to four minutes; 10 minutes, you’re lucky. Fifteen is common, and 20 is going to be the norm.”
A similar struggle is unfolding on the east coast: “For a second consecutive year, New York City first responders took longer to get to fires and other medical emergencies — and more people died in blazes. Combined response times by FDNY ambulances and fire companies to “life-threatening medical emergencies” were up 20 seconds on average during the fiscal year ending June 30 – or 3.5% – to 9 minutes and 50 seconds compared to the previous 12 months, according to the Fiscal 2023 Mayor’s Management Report. Fire deaths involving civilians jumped by 10.8%, from 92 to 102, the report found.”
THE LUTON AIRPORT FIRE
When parking structure fire protection
is left on the back burner, an incipient
fire can spread rapidly and lead to
Much like emergency workers servicing the United States’ largest cities, first responders in London are faced with increasingly perilous conditions. According to Macrotrends, London’s population has seen a staggering 43.6% increase over the last 40 years. That’s more than double that of New York City’s population growth over the same period.
Following suit, Zurich Insurance Group cited a 150% surge in lithium ion battery related fires reported in London over the last year.
This trend isn’t isolated to lithium ion battery powered devices, e-bikes and electric vehicles. Contemporary vehicles contain an assortment of combustible metals, such as titanium, magnesium and aluminum while housing higher volumes of fuel than makes and models of the past. These factors, in conjunction with the cramped nature of many parking structures, are raising concerns and contributing to unfortunate outcomes.
The New York Times documented a fire that spread through a brand new parking structure at Luton Airport.
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service deployed 15 fire trucks and more than 100 firefighters from Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and London were sent to the blaze.
This emergency led to
1. The hospitalization of six firefighters due to smoke inhalation.
2. The hospitalization of one civilian due to smoke inhalation.
3. A partial structural collapse at Terminal Car Park 2.
4. An estimated 1,200 damaged vehicles.
5. Suspended flights at Luton Airport until 3 PM Wednesday.
Responding firefighters stated the Luton Airport car park was not fitted with sprinklers
Paving The Way
The best time to begin prioritizing
fire protection for parking structures
was 20 years ago. The second best
time is now
Investing in an engineered fire suppression system as versatile as a Chinese proverb can provide peace of mind and save lives in the event of an emergency. An eco-friendly fire protection solution equipped to contain and mitigate today’s multi-class high hazards is essential. When you utilize a 3% F-500 Encapsulator Agent solution in your parking structure’s sprinkler system, your hazard mitigation capabilities will expand that much further.
In September of 2023, a pioneering fire extinguishing system was successfully certified by the international inspection, testing and certification company Applus+. The parking garage fire protection system developed is specifically designed for effective use in blazes involving ICE, hybrid and electric vehicles in underground structures. This certification marks a significant milestone in fire suppression technology.
ICE, HYBRID & EV PROTECTION
F-500 EA NOT ONLY EXTINGUISHED
THE FIRE EFFICIENTLY, BUT ACCOMPLISHED
THIS FEAT WHILE PREVENTING FIRE SPREAD
TO ANY OTHER VEHICLES
The successful development of this system can be attributed to the use of F-500 Encapsulator Agent and the Diamond Doser admixing system; a water driven proportioner engineered to work hand in hand with Encapsulator Technology. This innovative extinguishing technology has made it possible to design an extremely efficient and targeted fire protection system that is specifically adapted to the special requirements of fires involving hybrid and electric vehicles.
During a groundbreaking certification test in Spain, three varying vehicles were parked side by side to accurately depict typical conditions within an underground parking garage structure. The lithium ion battery adhered to one vehicle was driven into thermal runaway to simulate an electric vehicle fire.
A sprinkler system fashioned overhead accompanied by our Diamond Doser water driven proportioner unit deployed a 3% F-500 Encapsulator Agent solution that successfully contained the fire in 10 minutes flat and extinguished the blaze completely in under an hour without any manual intervention.
Prioritizing Fire Protection
Without adequate fire protection,
your facility could potentially suffer a
number of consequences in addition to
a loss of life and property damage
1. Fines from a local governing body.
2. Higher insurance premiums, penalties and refused coverage.
3. A significant loss of revenue during the period of re-building.
4. An irreparable reputation.
The Diamond Doser is a water-driven proportioner specifically designed to dose F-500 EA concentrate directly into your sprinkler system’s water stream. While incipient fires involving more organic materials used to take several minutes to become fully involved, the fires industrial facilities face today contain flammable, explosive and toxic vapors that can cause blazes to spread rapidly. The complete Diamond Doser suppression system offers unmatched fire protection for parking garages while providing multiple benefits that a standalone sprinkler system cannot. When every second counts, water is not enough.
An engineered system designed to work hand in hand with NFPA 18A recognized Encapsulator Technology, allowing for:
1. Class A Fire Protection
2. Class B Fire Protection (Polar/Non-polar/Three-dimensional)
3. Energized Environment Fire Protection
4. Class D Fire Protection
5. Lithium Ion Battery Fire Protection
An uninterrupted system as long as water and concentrate are available. If the tank is depleted, concentrate can flow continually from a separate drum or tote.
A system that is always predictable, producing solution with a consistent ratio that doesn’t fluctuate if additional sprinkler heads open at your facility.
Installation, operation and maintenance are simple. The system is driven by water flow alone with no need for constant calibration or pressure balancing.
A flexible system with a wide pressure range of 2-12 or 2-16 bar that automatically corrects admixture accordingly. Testing is convenient, producing no agent waste.
Instant savings on system installation as well as retaining thousands over time through effective fire suppression and economical annual NFPA mandated testing.
Avoid unexpected system discharges, contamination and disposal costs with a reliable system that utilizes fluorine free, biodegradable and noncorrosive Encapsulator Technology.
We’re Here To Help
Prioritize safety with an innovative
water-driven proportioner capable of
pumping eco-friendly F-500 EA directly
into your water stream
Are you ready to invest in superior fire suppression with F-500 EA? We can help you implement a proactive approach that budgets for invaluable fire protection. Take the first step and contact our team of Encapsulator Technology Specialists to set up a free consultation.