The impact of a PEER funded research project “Post-earthquake Fire Performance of Industrial Facilities” is highlighted below. The project Principal Investigator is Erica C. Fischer, Assistant Professor, Oregon State University.
The losses from post-earthquake fires can be comparable to those experienced only from earthquakes. Typical building design allows for plastic deformation of the building and does not require fire suppression systems to be operable after an earthquake. This type of design approach leaves many structures vulnerable to post-earthquake fires without the capability of operational automatic fire suppression systems. In addition, if a building has already experienced plastic deformations, the structure is already weakened and potentially has residual deformations when the fire initiates. As both the earthquake and fire engineering fields move toward performance-based fire engineering approaches, more buildings may be designed to have operational fire suppression systems post-earthquake and limited plastic deformation of the structural system; however, there are still many vulnerable existing buildings in high seismic regions that have not designed with performance-based engineering practices in mind. This work has direct impact on the structural engineering and emergency management practice. Through evaluation of industrial facilities in post-earthquake fires, this project will identify the vulnerable components of these facilities and targeted improvements that can be made. The results of this research can provide important information regarding emergency management of cities and communities. By identifying types of structures vulnerable to collapse or partial collapse in post-earthquake fires, communities can realistically plan for their recovery after a disaster. The results of this research project would be the foundation for a much larger project that uses OpenSees to evaluate critical transportation infrastructure for post-earthquake fires. The results of the research would contribute to both the performance-based earthquake engineering and performance-based fire engineering design methodologies.