Aspects on fire safety for the retail areas at the airport terminal in Hong Kong

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Aspects on fire safety for the retail areas at the airport terminal in Hong Kong

 

Author: Ng, Min-yee Candy
Title: Aspects on fire safety for the retail areas at the airport terminal in Hong Kong
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2008
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations.
Department: Dept. of Building Services Engineering
Pages: ix, [516] p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2189823
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/2927
Abstract: The Hong Kong airport terminal is a new architectural design with the utilization of the large halls with unobstructed spaces and high ceiling in the retail areas of the departure hall and arrival hall. Life safety and unobstructed operation of the airport terminal have to be ensured. The design target is not to have a fire. Even when a fire occurs, the fire risk should be low such that the occupants can be evacuated safely from the building. Therefore, detailed investigations on the fire risks in the retail and catering areas, evacuation of occupants, and heat release rate given by the combustibles inside the retail areas are carried out to develop the fire safety strategies for the airport terminal. The thesis starts with a review on the fire safety provisions of the airport terminal. Engineering approach is used to carry out an intensive assessment on the safety of the airport terminal. Development of the fire safety strategies should be based on clearly defined goals and objectives. After defining the goals and objectives, the fire risks of the retail areas and Chinese restaurant are identified so as to determine the fire safety strategies for the airport terminal. Models are applied for the fire risk analysis. Fire risks of the retail shops and Chinese restaurant inside the airport terminal are investigated. In order to get a reference from other shopping malls and Chinese restaurants, some shops of a local shopping mall and a Chinese restaurant are selected for fire risk analysis using the software FRAME and simulation of the probable fire environments by the two-layer zone model FIREWIND. Fire safety management is then identified for the retail areas and Chinese restaurant of the airport terminal. The fire risk analysis illustrated that life safety of the occupants is a matter of concern inside the airport terminal. Therefore, evacuation of occupants inside the halls and retail areas of the departure level and arrival level is investigated. As the occupant loading is important for the evacuation simulations, there are queries on using the data specified in the codes in designing the occupant loading of the airport terminal. A field survey on the transient occupant loading of the departure level and arrival level is carried out to justify the maximum allowed loadings specified in the design codes and standards. After the verification of the occupant loading inside the airport terminal, different time components, such as evacuation time, Required Safe Egress Time (RSET) and Available Safe Egress Time (ASET), involved in the evacuation process are illustrated. Simulations under the normal and fire conditions are then carried out for the departure and arrival levels, using the computer software buildingEXODUS and SEMULEX. Total evacuation time (TET) of occupants in each scenario of the arrival level is simulated to identify the number of occupants who can escape within the targeted TET and hence illustrate the worst scenario for the occupants. Simulation results of buildingEXODUS showed that the long TET of occupants is due to the waiting time incurred in the jamming condition. A Waiting Time Index (WTI) is derived to recognize the severity of congestion occurred in a building. Four scenarios of the retail areas and departure hall are taken as examples to illustrate the WTI and hence the jamming condition occurred around the staircases and exits of the departure level. Measures for reducing the waiting time of occupants are also identified. Further, the heat release rate of combustibles inside the retail areas is determined to assess the fire environment of occupants. Full-scale burning tests are conducted for investigating the possible heat release rate of combustibles such as T-shirts and compact discs. The resultant heat release rates by burning those combustibles under pre-flashover and post-flashover conditions are studied. Reduction of the heat release rate of those combustibles by the sprinkler system and water mist fire suppression system are also determined. According to the fire risk analysis, protections for property and business activities are adequate. However, the provision of life safety should be improved with respect to the results of the evacuation simulations. Workable fire safety strategies, i.e. passive building construction for fire safety, active fire services installation, fire safety management and control of risk factors, should be proposed to enhance the fire safety of the airport terminal to a higher standard. Utilization of modern fire services installation, i.e. deluge system, drencher system and WMFSS, is a good solution for improving the fire safety of the airport terminal.

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