Fire EMS, Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighting

FDIC 2014 Preview: Modular Construction

Acushnet (MA) Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher will present “Tactics and Strategies for the Hidden Hazards of Modular Construction” at FDIC 2014.

Fires across the country have raised questions relative to certain techniques used in modular residential construction. The explosive speed of the fire in relation to the factory-based construction has raised an alarm among fire service leaders. The issues discovered and the threats they pose to fire personnel are discussed, as are the use of highly flammable structural adhesives; large void spaces between levels of habitation; lightweight construction techniques unique to modular construction; the role of factory-based inspectors; and the threat of rapid fire spread and early collapse. Changes in the tactical decision-making process are needed in view of these unique considerations.

KEVIN A. GALLAGHER serves with the Acushnet (MA) Fire & EMS Department, where he has been chief since 2003. He writes a Web column (“Modular Concerns”) for, has contributed articles to Fire Engineering, and has taught several classes at FDIC on the issue of modular construction.