Fire Fighting in Canada

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Canadian fire demonstration test reinforces safety of mass timber

August 24, 2023 
By FFIC Staff

Aug. 24, 2023, Ottawa – Canadian Wood Council (CWC) data shows exposed mass timber structures remained stable and solid after enduring fire tests of varying severity and duration in Ottawa.

The National Research Council of Canada conducted five experiments in 2022 at the Canadian Explosives Research Laboratory. Each test was done in a full-scale, two-storey, 334 square-metre mass timber structure without sprinklers or fire fighting intervention for about 19 hours.

The research tests examined the fire performance of both exposed and encapsulated (gypsum board protected) mass timber in challenging fire scenarios in an open plan office, residential buildings and during construction. The tests also looked at the influence of exposed mass timber on fire severity and duration.

The data can be used to assist with fire safety design, evaluation, and approval of alternative solutions for tall and large mass timber buildings, develop fire fighting strategies for construction sites and finished buildings using mass timber, and inform code development pertinent to mass timber construction.

The Mass Timber Demonstration Fire Test Program was developed to demonstrate the performance of mass timber construction under severe fire conditions. The goal of the program is to create and disseminate fire performance data to construction sector stakeholders and building and fire safety regulators to encourage acceptance of larger and taller mass timber buildings in Canada, reported the CWC.

This was the largest mass timber fire test conducted in Canada to date, stated the CWC.

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