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Kader Industrial Doll Factory Fire ,Fire Protection Principles

 

Among the fire protection principles on which the Kader fire has focused attention are exit design, occupant fire safety training, automatic detection and suppression systems, fire separations and structural integrity. These lessons are not new. They were first taught more than 80 years ago at the Triangle Shirtwaist fire and again, more recently, in a number of other fatal workplace fires, including those at the chicken-processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina, USA, that killed 25 workers; at a doll factory in Kuiyong, China, that killed 81 workers; and at the electrical power plant in Newark, New Jersey, USA, that killed all 3 workers in the plant (Grant and Klem 1994; Klem 1992; Klem and Grant 1993).

The fires in North Carolina and New Jersey, in particular, demonstrate that the mere availability of state-of-the-art codes and standards, such as NFPA's Life Safety Code, cannot prevent tragic losses. These codes and standards must also be adopted and rigorously enforced if they are to have any effect.

National, state and local public authorities should examine the way they enforce their building and fire codes to determine whether new codes are needed or existing codes need to be updated. This review should also determine whether a building plan review and inspection process is in place to ensure that the appropriate codes are followed. Finally, provisions must be made for periodic follow-up inspections of existing buildings to ensure that the highest levels of fire protection are maintained throughout the life of the building.

Building owners and operators must also be aware that they are responsible for ensuring that their employees' working environment is safe. At the very least, the state-of-the-art fire protection design reflected in fire codes and standards must be in place to minimize the possibility of a catastrophic fire.

Had the Kader buildings been equipped with sprinklers and working fire alarms, the loss of life might not have been so high. Had Building One's exits been better designed, hundreds of people might not have been injured jumping from the third and fourth floors. Had vertical and horizontal separations been in place, the fire might not have spread so quickly throughout the building. Had the buildings' structural steel members been fireproofed, the buildings might not have collapsed.

Philosopher George Santayana has written: “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.” The Kader Fire of 1993 was unfortunately, in many ways, a repeat of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911. As we look to the future, we need to recognize all that we need to do, as a global society, to prevent history from repeating itself.

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