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Taming the Fire Triangle

By LEE COATESFire is defined as a rapid, persistent chemical change that releases heat and light and is accompanied by flame, especially the exothermic oxidation of a combustible substance. Annually, it kills an estimated 166,000 people worldwide—nearly 19 fatalities per hour. Some estimates suggest nearly 300,000 deaths per year. The International Technical Committee for the Prevention and Extinction of Fire estimates that the annual cost of fire damage adds up to one percent of international gross domestic product, or $640 billion.The fire regulations on which building safety depends are themselves based on understanding fire dynamics—the fundamental relationship between fue...

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