Publications and Research

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Working Paper

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Historically, a high-rise building has been described as one which (1) was taller than the reach of fire
service apparatus and, therefore, required interior firefighting, (2) posed the potential for significant
stack effect (vertical interior smoke movement), and (3) required unreasonable time for occupant
evacuation. High-rise buildings require firefighters to access the building and travel to an upper fire
floor by using either stairs or elevators. The fire continues to grow during the time needed to apply
water on the fire. This paper demonstrates ways for using Discrete Event Simulation (DES) to estimate
the time for firefighters to access a fire floor using stairs. The results are compared to those produced by
using DES to model the travel time to the same floor using elevators. One can develop a sense of
proportion for comparisons of fire sizes at “first water” applications for the two different access

The method used in this paper can be extended to analyze time duration to stretch hose lines for interior
fire attack routes in any building layout. This type of analysis will give insight into the ways in which a
building design can help or hinder interior fire suppression activities.


Originally published online by RaCERS: The Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies. John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. Working paper 10-02.



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