FIRE FOLLOWING EARTHQUAKE
Good Day Mr. Tulisanes,
One of my colleagues in Los Angeles CA., (M.S. Geology) told me that “THERE IS NO PANACEA AGAINST EARTHQUAKES.”
The best methodologies are awareness, preparedness, safety, and counter-measures “EARTHQUAKE SAFETY AND HAZARDS MITIGATION – EARTHQUAKE HAZARDS REDUCTION PROGRAM.”
The ASCE “American Society Of Civil Engineers” emphasized the damaging effects of FIRE FOLLOWING EARTHQUAKE. Usually, the outcome aftermath of Major Earthquake is damages to man-made structures and large-scale metropolitan and industrial fires with some explosions.
In Metropolitan Manila alone, there are so many business and commercial establishments, and industrial facilities who are storing and utilizing huge quantities of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking, heating, and other applications, and also to include residential houses and condominiums who are also using LPG. There are various industrial facilities who are storing and utilizing Hydrogen Gas & Acetylene Gas.
Now, these gases are classified as Hazardous being Explosive & Flammable. How many Petroleum Gas Stations who are storing huge quantities of liquid petroleum fuels.
Many of the above mentioned establishments are not yet equipped or installed SEISMIC GAS SHUT-OFF VALVES (S.G.S.V.s), and Earthquake Actuated Automatic Shut-Off Valve Systems. Also, the highly-toxic liquids and gases should also be provided with Earthquake Actuated Automatic Shut-Off Valve Systems.
So many establishments within Metropolitan Manila (commercial-industrial-to-include residential condominium) being located within Seismic Zone 4 (Peak Ground Acceleration of 0.40 g) approximately equivalent to Intensity VIII or higher in the Modified Mercalli Scale are in great risks. Their existing and operational Automatic Fire Sprinkler Piping Systems have no earthquake protection at all, such as Seismic Sway Bracing & Restraint Systems.
In an event of FIRE FOLLOWING EARTHQUAKE, the Automatic Fire Sprinkler Piping Systems will function to suppress and control building fires and fires within various commercial / industrial facilities.
The above safety methodologies are being stipulated by the applicable Building Model Codes & Standards, such as 2012 International Building Code (IBC), ASCE 7-10 Minimum Design Loads For Buildings & Other Structures, and the NFPA-13 Standard For The Installation Of Fire Sprinkler Systems.
It is the intent of the NFPA-13 Standard that every Fire Sprinkler Systems / Fire Protection Systems be operational before, during, and aftermath of Major Earthquake.
Who are the concerned people : Risk Insurers, Building Owners, Safety Engineers, Professional Design Engineers, Fire Marshals, Building Officials, Authority Having Jurisdictions, and of course the General Public.
Example : The Fire Marshals and Building Officials will not allow any commercial / industrial establishment to operate who are storing huge quantities of LPG without EARTHQUAKE ACTUATED SHUT-OFF VALVE SYSTEMS & EARTHQUAKE BRACING & RESTRAINST for Fire Protection Piping Systems.
Last January of this year (2015) I had a tele-conversation with a project engineer (Fire Protection Systems Contractor) and I have informed him the importance of Seismic Sway Bracing & Restraint Systems for Fire Protection Piping Systems. The reply was that, it is only additional costs.
WHAT . . . . !? It is being stipulated by the 2010 NFPA-13 Standard Section 9.3 “Protection Of Piping Against Damage Where Subject To Earthquakes.” The Fire Code Of The Philippines has no seismic (earthquake) provisions for the Fire Protection Systems. The Fire Code Of The Philippines will prompt you – for earthquake, refer to the NFPA-13 Standard.
So there it is, many are violating and circumventing the seismic provisions being stipulated by the applicable Building Model Codes & Standards.
Lastly, of all Essential Facilities, all Hospitals & Health Care Facilities shall have a comprehensive Earthquake Hazards Protections & Mitigations. Hospitals & Health Care Facilities are the institutions that will accommodate human casualties aftermath of a Major Earthquake. These essential facilities as much as possible shall function aftermath of a Major Earthquake. If these essential facilities were also been damaged by Major Earthquake, these facilities will not able to fully function to accommodate human casualties due to destructive earthquakes.
See the National Structural Code Of The Philippines to see what are other essential facilities should be protected against Major Earthquake.
Thank you very much.
DOMINGO G. LIMETA, JR.
Senior Seismic Engineering Consultant
Nonstructural / Structural Hazards Mitigation
Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program