PREVENTION. Fires, particularly those that originally occurred on storage sites, continue to represent a massive part of the accidentology of the French industrial fabric. More than 10% of the accidents recorded in industry in France are warehouse fires.
This accident rate, among others, highlighted by the DPPR/SEI circular of 21/06/00, has also been the source of more precise and more restrictive fire safety regulations in covered warehouses, covered by heading 1510 of the ICPE nomenclature. Despite the changes and the legislative rigour in place, the accident rate remains high given the significant evolution in the size and number of warehouses on French territory.
A sensitive link in the supply chain
This consistency in claims is partly explained by changes in consumption patterns. With the rise of e-commerce and m-commerce, more and more logistics platforms are being created to meet the growing demand for logistics and delivery needs. The study conducted by the French Federation of E-commerce and Distance Selling (FEVAD) attests to this and lists that more than 500 million parcels will be shipped in France in 2017, marking a 10.5% increase over the previous year.
However, the increase in the number of logistics sites and operating areas is not the cause of accidents. An accident can have several causes and can have more or less serious consequences.
Unlike all other construction projects, which from the outset have a specific vocation and use (a cinema, a building, offices, a hospital, etc.), the project management teams are not always aware of the nature of the future materials stored in an EPL (warehouse and logistics platform) at the time of construction.
This unknown information does not allow them to anticipate a risk linked to a specific use of the building, such as, for example, prescribing the implementation of explosion vents in the technical area of a hospital because medical gas cylinders will inevitably be stored there.
"The major risk in the warehouse is fire."
However, in order to deal with the accidentology identified in recent years and to comply with the legislation in force, architects and technical design offices must take into account the fire risk on the construction level. As Pascale Limonier of the National Centre for Prevention and Protection (CNPP) reminds us, “The major risk in warehouses is fire”.
This predominance of fire risk, relayed by experts in the sector and the extension of fire safety obligations to all covered warehouses are easily understood.
The fire risk is indeed present in the warehouses, even if the stored material is not inflammable or combustible by nature. Packaging and packaging materials (pallets, barrels), often cardboard, wood and plastic, are inseparable from the activity of logistics sites and are highly flammable and conducive to the spread of a fire throughout a building.
This is one of the reasons why EPLs are required to have specific dimensions for storage cells, a maximum surface area for smoke extraction cantons and all other applicable construction provisions in accordance with the decree of 11 April 2017 aimed at preventing and better controlling fires.
Fire system: are the most technological the most infallible?
Fire prevention and safety equipment is becoming more and more efficient. Real-time monitoring or early fire detection systems using thermal cameras combine new technologies with the rudiments of SSI systems to always bring more innovation to fire prevention.
In order to ensure their effectiveness in terms of both prevention and operation, these systems, just like conventional smoke extraction systems, require on-site testing and maintenance every 6 or 12 months in order to carry out the verification and maintenance operations prescribed in standard NF S 61-933.
An infallible SHEVS: as simple as APC
Designed on the same principle of operation as a simple sprinkler, yet effective in 98% of fire starts, the SCDS APC Dayliter is a self-acting, thermo-reactive smoke control device.
When the heat inside the building exceeds the threshold temperature of +82°C, the membrane of this patented dome changes state and retracts from its frame. The surface of the dome is then completely freed to evacuate toxic fumes and combustion gases. The only condition for its effectiveness is the heat caused by the dome.
The strength of this device also lies in the fact that it does not require any human or mechanical action (inert gas cartridges, jacks or other elements likely to jam).
Mandatory maintenance operations are not applicable to this smoke extraction device, which is EN 12101-2 certified. This advantage allows structures to deploy complementary SSI systems using the savings made on the maintenance budget.