Structure fires and wildfires result in significant loss of life and property in the U.S. each year. In addition to the direct losses of fighting fires, relocating residents and rebuilding, large fire events can cause substantial indirect losses to communities. There has been an increase in single-family and multifamily structure fire losses, partly due to increased use of combustible construction methods. This article investigates the causes of these fires and provide balanced design recommendations using both active and passive fire protection strategies. It will suggest several noncombustible concrete building systems to help reduce the risk of fire loss in buildings.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the reasons for the increase of losses in single-family and multifamily buildings from structure fires and wildfires.
  • Examine how the building code has evolved to increase the reliance on active fire protection systems and reduced their reliance on passive fire protection systems.
  • Recognize the balance fire design principles that can improve fire safety in buildings.
  • Demonstrate the contribution noncombustible materials such as concrete makes to fire safety.