Read 44-49NFPA1-02Olympics text version

Olympic-Sized Fire Protection

Public safety officials consulted NFPA standards when planning fire protection for the Salt Lake City Winter Games. ED COMEAU

HE 2002 WINTER OLYMPICS, which will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, from February 8 to 24, is the biggest Winter Olympiad ever with 3,500 athletes representing 80 countries and the safest, if Olympic officials have anything to say about it. Given recent world events, this is no small undertaking, especially for fire safety and emergency response. Past Olympics have been marred by terrorist attacks, so the problem was uppermost in many of the organizers' minds. In 1972, terrorists stormed the Olympic Village during the Summer Games in Munich, Germany, and took nine Israeli athletes hostage. All the hostages and five of the terrorists died. And in 1996, a pipe bomb exploded in Centennial Park during the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, killing one person and injuring 110. After the Atlanta Games, President Clinton issued a directive establishing a national procedure to provide public safety for National Security Special Events, such as the Olympics. The designation "National Security Special Event" gives the U.S. Secret Service the lead in planning for public safety on site, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) the task of gathering intelligence and planning an appropriate federal response to threats, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the lead in consequence management. The state of VISIT NFPA'S REDESIGNED Utah and Salt Lake City will also share WEB SITE AT WWW.NFPA.ORG. in counter-terrorism planning, using federal planning grants that come with ED COMEAU is the owner of writerthe designation., a technical Even before the September 11 writing firm. He is NFPA's attacks, the groundwork for the former chief fire Olympic safety program was being laid, investigator. and extensive training in terrorism awareness was one of the first topics discussed. The original plan was exten-


sive and comprehensive. Nevertheless, following the events of September 11, the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command decided to put in place several enhancements. These include extraordinary measures for combating an airplane threat, more restrictive policies and procedures to gain entry to a venue, and higher levels of security at certain non-competition sites, among other provisions. "The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been providing a lot of support, as have the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms), the FBI, and others concerned about terrorism in the Olympics even before the events of September 11," says Dan Andrus, fire marshal for the Salt Lake City Fire Department. According to Scott Adams, fire marshal for the Park City Fire Service District, there was no need to make any significant changes in the fire protection program to incorporate provisions pertaining to terrorism because terrorism had already been considered when designing and preparing for the Olympics. "Before September 11, we'd been getting anti-terrorism training for two years through the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command," he says. In addition, 1,900 Utah National Guard members will be activated to help with security at the Winter Olympics. By the time the games arrive, virtually every Guard member will be on duty and the Utah Guard will get assistance from 1,200 Guard members from 13 states. The Guard troops will have three main missions: screening vehicles and visitors at Olympic venues, standing perimeter guard duty at the venues, and providing a rapid deployment force in the event of a crisis.

Planning problems addressed

A distinct benefit of the Olympic planning process was the formation of the Fire Marshal's Working Group, which brought the 15 fire marshals responsible for public safety operations in the



SALT LAKE CITY VENUES Salt Lake City and surrounding areas

Salt Lake City area together, says Adams. Among the many challenges they faced was how to protect the 10 different venues on and around the University of Utah campus, where some of the Olympic events will be held. Fortunately, that obstacle was overcome by cooperation and planning. The members of the working group were given specific areas to work on to develop a uniform set of regulations, governing everything from fire access roads and temporary structures to the use of propane gas. "We started meeting in 1999, and one of our first tasks was to develop a uniform set of regulations," says Andrus. "Over a period of several months, we developed a fire inspector's

guide that dealt with temporary structures in the arena, such as tents and canopies." A variety of approaches was envisioned. "We required specialized fire protection systems in the (largest) tents," says Andrus. "In one tent that was 20,000 square feet (1,858 square meters), we required a fire alarm and a sprinkler system." Mike Halligan, fire marshal for the University of Utah, was responsible for the section of the guide devoted to tents and temporary structures. "I looked at NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, and building and fire codes, then wrote down two pages of information that the designers needed to know," Halligan says. "If the designers couldn't possibly meet the requirements, they knew it early on, and this was where they had to talk to me or my peers. "We also spent a lot of time on propane because there was no natural gas (in the venue areas)," he says. "We wrote up that section using NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code, in a format that a designer could get to quickly." Among the other NFPA documents the working group used were NFPA 102, Grand-

The Main Media Center in Salt Lake City.

stands, Folding and Telescopic Seating, Tents and Membrane Structures; NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems; NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code®, and NFPA 70, National Electrical Code®.

Structural challenges



efore the recent spate of anthrax attacks in the United States, Olympic organizers had already begun planning their response to bioterrorism. They asked the Commissioned Corps Readiness Force (CCRF), a cadre of U.S. Public Health Service officers uniquely qualified by education and skills, to provide four five-person medical strike teams to cover venue events during the Games. These officers will be positioned in a variety of locations so they can respond quickly to a bioterrorist attack. The Olympics organizers also reserved the right to request additional Public Health Service officers for other deployment roles as the event draws closer. Salt Lake City's bioterrorism response plans were further bolstered in November 2000, when the U.S. Department of Energy's Center for the Study of Bioterrorism and Emerging Infections held a tabletop exercise called "Black Ice" in the city. This exercise was the first in a series of activities designed by the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection to help ensure the reliability and security of the energy, telecommunications, transportation, water, banking, and financial systems in critical infrastructures before, during, and after a major public event, as well as the continued support of emergency and government services. More than 200 representatives of 65 federal, state, and local agencies participated.

As for structural protection challenges, the main media center was of special concern for safety officials. For the first time in Olympic history, a single organization, International Sports Broadcasting Utah, will produce all the television and radio broadcasts of the Games and provide the broadcasters with content. Because revenues are tied to broadcasts, it's vital to have a media center operating without interruption. "The media center was challenging," says Andrus, "because of the fuel load, the wiring, and the generators." It's estimated that 32,000 miles (51,499 kilometers) of optical fiber cable will be used in covering the Games. To protect the Athletes' Village, the Salt Lake City Fire Department erected a temporary fire station that provides 24-hour fire protection and emergency medical service. Several engine companies outside the venue will be designated to respond and will be used exclusively for the Olympic venue. The Athletes' Village includes 23 student residence halls the University of Utah built





Olympic Fire Protection

crews, security personnel, athletes, into a nightclub was protected with a sprinkler and others. system, as well as a fire alarm system. "Literally, you had to build a city around the structure," says The importance of inspections Halligan. Safety inspections during the days leading up The fire safety planning process to the Olympics are critical to ensure that the started three years ago when protection provisions the planners specified Olympic management met with are met. For example, the grandstands were Halligan. This process gave him supposed to be made of non-combustible an opportunity to outline how the materials. When they arrived, however, the University of Utah approaches fire supporting structure was found to be comsafety and offer the university's fire bustible. protection staff as a resource for "They held 12,000 people, and in some the organizers. When the engi- places, they were 100 to 150 feet (30 to 46 neers and architects started meters) in the air and hanging off cliffs and arriving, university officials met mountains," says Adams. If they'd caught fire, with them to outline their fire hundreds, if not thousands, of lives could've safety concerns, says Halligan. been lost. "It became a partnership. Even To solve the problem, a deluge system was though we weren't listed on the installed under the grandstands, and a person design team, they worked with us monitoring the event will be at the valve. to ensure that the code requireInspections were planned for before and ments were incorporated into the design of during the Olympics, says Halligan. the Athletes' Village," he says. "Starting in mid-December at the stadium To accommodate the influx of people, a and the village, a new occupancy permit was number of temporary structures were erected issued for each trailer and tent they brought on the campus. Among these are two 7,500- in. Once they're occupied, they'll have inspecsquare-foot (697-square-meter) tents, tors in the villages 24 hours a day doing spot attached to existing buildings, that serve as checks." Another concern was the water supply. In dining halls. Cold and dry storage trailers were the areas of the grandstands, the commentary attached to the tents. "This brings up a whole new set of issues," cabins, and the skiers' waxing huts, there was says Halligan. "Creativity is the name of the none. As a solution, the working group suggested using the snow-making water system. game." For example, the only place a temporary Since that system ran at 200 to 600 psi (14 to kitchen on a raised floor could be positioned was directly over a fire hydrant.To overcome this problem, hoses were run from the hydrant to the perimeter of the kitchen, where removable panels provided access to the hydrant. To protect the main dining facility, fire alarm systems with pull stations and audible and visual alerting devices were installed. A 6,000-square-foot (557-square-meter) ware- The Athletes' Village. At left is Coal, the mascot of the Salt house that was converted Lake 2002 Winter Olympic Games.


two years ago with the Olympics in mind. They're fully sprinklered and equipped with fire alarm systems. However, some special considerations also had to be made. "The students' living rooms will become bedrooms for the athletes," says Halligan. "We had to design the location of the smoke detectors and sprinkler heads to account for this. Small things, but they can have a big impact. "The biggest challenge was working to get a lot done in a short time," he adds. "On a normal construction project, you have time to meet with the architect, lay out plans, and work through the design process. That isn't always the case with the Olympics. You have time to discuss things on a general basis, but you have such a short time to design the venue and get it built." Halligan uses the university's 46,000-seat Rice-Eccles Stadium as an example. It was built three years ago but underwent major modifications to provide an additional 10,000 seats for the Games. In addition, Olympic organizers had to provide support structures around the stadium for broadcast


afety and security preparations for the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia, a massive undertaking involving many agencies from New South Wales, began shortly after the International Olympic Organization awarded Sydney the Games in 1993. "There were a lot of meetings from the word go," says John Honeybrook, the manager of the Fire Safety Division for the New South Wales Fire Brigade (NSWFB). "This was the best process I've been involved with. Usually, people come to us too late (in typical building projects). This time, we were involved early and got problems resolved." In 1995, the NSWFB formed a committee to examine the fire protection aspects of the Games. However, it quickly grew in size, becoming less effective, and it was scaled back. John Spiteri, an NSWFB zone commander, was appointed program manager. The NSWFB's responsibility for fire protection for the entire state of New South Wales proved a distinct advantage in the planning and preparation because organizers were able to use a uniform approach. It was clear that a safe Olympics was everyone's goal and to reach it, several strategies were employed. For example, the performancebased Building Code of Australia was used extensively in the planning process. Safety officials also used advice found in "The Book." After each Olympics, a document outlining what was done is passed on to the next host city to provide them with some guidance. Until the 2000 Olympics, fire safety wasn't included. "Fire is now in `The Book,' " says Brett Hume, NSWFB assistant commissioner. "The Book" now details the brigade's experiences in planning for fire protection, as well as the problems encountered during the Games. Another of Hume's strategies was to solicit support, rather than mandate it. "Early in the process, we met with venue managers and gave them a motivational talk about fire, using the Bradford soccer stadium as an example," he says. In 1985, 56 people died and more than 200 were injured when fire engulfed the main stand at Valley Parade Soccer Stadium in Bradford, England. The meeting was a turning point and had a positive influence on the process. However, there were instances in which Hume had to mandate action. The main stadium in which the opening and closing ceremonies were held contained a number of oversized compartments designed to limit


The Olympic Stadium in Sydney, Australia.

the spread of smoke and fire. As a cost-cutting measure, the compartment doors hadn't been equipped with magnetic hold-open devices, so they were always closed.As a result, fork-lift trucks and other equipment were constantly banging into them and damaging them. One week before a football game was scheduled to be played in the stadium, NSWFB threatened to shut down the facility unless the doors were repaired. More than $100,000 (Australian) later, the doors were equipped with magnetic hold-opens interconnected with the fire alarm system. "This made it known that during the Olympics, we would invoke the orders if necessary," says Hume.

Uninterrupted transmission

Like their counterparts at the Salt Lake City Games, Sydney organizers were keenly aware of the financial impact of a fire. "It's estimated that it cost $500,000 per minute for television rights," says Hume. "That was one of the big concerns: not interrupting the television transmission." Providing transmission and production facilities for the Sydney Games was a staggering undertaking. Each television station needed production facilities where the day's tapes could be reviewed, edited, and transmitted to its home country. In addition, broadcast facilities were needed for the on-air talent. To meet these needs, the Royal Agricultural Show building was converted into the Sydney Media Center. Inside the 107,642-squarefoot (10,000-square-meter) building a temporary wooden floor 3 feet (1 meter) high was constructed, and plywood dividers were

41 bars), however, pressure reducers similar to those used in high-rise buildings were installed. The fireworks planned for the opening ceremonies presented another problem. The stadium is landlocked, without a lot of space around it, so placing launch sites and routing people safely took some thought. Officials used local Fourth of July celebrations as an


opportunity to determine what the best solutions were. Some of these included identifying satellite locations for shooting off fireworks and developing spectator traffic patterns that wouldn't expose them to falling debris. The pyrotechnics for the opening ceremonies will be performed in accordance with NFPA 1124, Manufacture, Transportation, and Storage of Pyrotechnic Articles; NFPA 1123,

Fireworks Displays; and NFPA 1126, Pyrotechnics Before an Proximate Audience. Since it's winter, snow was also a concern. "You don't normally think of a snow management plan as an important issue of fire access, but it is," says Halligan. "Where they put the snow is important. You can't block fire access or put it at the end of the lane." Officials had to identify a method of


Olympic Fire Protection

installed to provide separate work areas. Fire protection devices in this unique environment included thermal heat detection, as well as hose reels, and teams of firefighters stationed in the building. "I'm unaware of any other instance where firefighters have been a part of the performance-based solution," says Hume. Another area of great concern was the 323,000-square-foot (30,000-square-meter) International Broadcast Center (IBC). Journalists from 200 countries were under pressure to get the broadcasts done in a timely manner, the building was equipped with broadcast studios, a 600-seat food court, a 200-seat restaurant, a medical center, a money exchange center, post office shipping offices, a souvenir shop, and other administrative offices. Fire protection for the IBC was a challenge because of the ceiling height and the large fuel load inside the building. "Consequently, fire protection centered around the ability of the occupants being given sufficient time to evacuate before conditions became untenable," says NSWFB Inspector Chris Shapter. To achieve this goal, internal, one-hour fire rated walls provided egress routes and the internal ceilings were designed to collapse, allowing smoke to escape upward toward the high, open ceiling. All areas were equipped with smoke detection devices supervised by a station commander and three firefighters. If a smoke detector activated, it transmitted a signal to the central location and to the NSWFB communications center. The firefighters stationed in the IBC responded on a specially equipped golf cart to investigate the alarm and begin operations if needed. A key fire safety component for all the Sydney venues was the daily inspection of each facility. Inspectors involved in the safety planning and preparation were assigned to inspect the facilities because they were already familiar with them. Problems were quickly identified and corrected, a critical factor in keeping the facilities safe.

Just one aspect

Superintendent John Bowles, "but there was no traffic to deal with, much to everyone's surprise. There was no school, and the government had encouraged people to take vacations." In some areas, using special routes wasn't enough. The only effective way to get apparatus and personnel into certain venues was to position them inside it. In other venues, specialized carts equipped with firefighting equipment had to be substituted for standard fire apparatus, which were too big to get where they needed to go. The firefighters themselves operated out of four identical, specially built fire stations and rotated among the stations and the venues.

Training exercises

Of course, managing the fire prevention program was only one part of the NSWFB's job at the Games. The operational side of the fire brigade did a lot of preparation and planning, too. Security issues made it important to define how apparatus and personnel would get into the venues if an incident occurred. To help streamline access, emergency response vehicles were allowed to use the Olympic Routes reserved for transporting athletes between venues. "We planned for a lot of bottlenecks on the roads," says NSWFB

To prepare firefighters for their Olympic duties, four training exercises were held. "The closer we got to the Olympics, the more complex the exercises became," says Hume. "The plans were simple. We didn't change existing procedures. They were value-added and consistent with our existing procedures." Designated Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta, the exercises were designed to test different aspects of response operations. The first two were tabletop exercises. Exercise Alpha, held in April 2000, involved a ferry fire in Sydney Harbor, while Exercise Bravo, held in June 2000, simulated a fire in the lower level of the Olympic Stadium. In August 2000, Exercise Charlie simulated the release of an unknown substance that overcame emergency response personnel.This was designed to test the combined operations of a number of agencies, including the NSWFB, the military, and law enforcement agencies. Exercise Delta simulated a large-scale incident involving hazardous materials and an explosive device. This exercise was designed to test the system's ability to coordinate the activities of a number of organizations and to fine-tune the operations of the Major Incident Coordination Center (MICC) and other operations centers. During the Olympics, one officer stood by in the MICC to put it into operation if needed. In addition to the exercises, the evaluation process included a quality-control check by another Australian fire brigade, which reviewed the fire prevention and operational plans. Very little had to be changed, says Hume. The extensive and detailed preparation resulted in a successful Summer Olympics. The NSWFB responded to only 143 incidents, none of them major, and only 126 rectification notices were issued during the daily inspections, most for relatively minor violations.

removing snow that didn't infringe on the fire safety set-up. Another area of concern, according to Andrus, was the rest of the city. "Overcrowding in nighttime recreation facilities, lots of temporary `mom and pop' structures where people were selling things-- we had to deal with all these," he says. Three of the Games' venues are in Park

City, about 30 miles from Salt Lake City. In addition to the daytime crowds at events, there will be hundreds of people visiting the city's many restaurants and nightclubs. "We were getting fire prevention people from across the United States to augment the Park City staffing," says Adams, including 20 volunteers assigned to Park City, and another 10 at other venues in the area.

While each Olympics is unique, organizers often learn the best safety procedures from previous Games. "Representatives from Salt Lake City went to Atlanta, Japan, and Sydney to learn what they did right and what they could've done better," Halligan says. "This helps you to get off the starting block a few yards ahead of everyone else."




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