TM 5-852-9/AFR 88-19, Vol. IX
FIRE PREVENTION AND PROTECTION
6-1. General. The need for fire prevention and protection is generally more critical in polar regions than in
temperate climates. Each site must be evaluated in terms of the following parameters when determining the
extent of required fire protection facilities.
a. Isolation. Fire hazards must be especially guarded against at isolated sites because the loss of facilities
and materials during extreme low temperatures constitutes a major threat to survival. The fire hazard at each
site should be evaluated in terms of distance to other facilities, and the availability and reliability of alternate
forms of transportation.
b. Climate. Each building should be evaluated in terms of the effects of local winds and temperatures
on fire fighting capability and on the survivors of a major fire.
(1) Wind. Strong winds can occur for extended periods, making fires spread rapidly and control
(2) Cold. The fire itself will burn more rapidly at colder temperatures for two reasons: the weight
of a unit volume of air will increase with a decrease in temperature, making more oxygen available to the fire
at low temperatures; and the increased thermal gradient between the fire and surrounding air produces an
updraft or "fire storm." Wind velocities at the edge of a large fire can reach 100 miles per hour. Cold also
hampers fire fighting because of decreased personnel efficiency, and the increased possibility that fire fighting
water may be frozen.
6-2. Fire prevention. Information and criteria on noncombustible and fire retardant materials are available
in AFM 88-15, TM 5-812-1, the National Fire Codes, the Uniform Building Code, and the National Building
Code. Fire ratings for various materials are given in the Underwriters' Building Materials List. These materials
can do much to prevent and retard fires and their use should be given special consideration in arctic regions.
The use of many of the common noncombustible building materials may become prohibitive in isolated
locations, however, because of their weight. Fire retardant materials should be considered to obtain the
maximum degree of protection where noncombustible materials cannot be utilized because of economic
considerations. Fire retardant materials should be used sparingly, however, since the adverse climate causes
these materials to leach and deteriorate at an accelerated rate. Consideration should also be given to materials
with fire retardant, intumescent coatings. New noncombustible or fire retardant products should be
considered for arctic construction.
6-3. Fire protection. Fire protection facilities should be provided in accordance with AFM 88-15, TM
5-812-1 and the National Fire Codes. Design for water supplies should be based on TM 5-852/AFAR 88-19,
Chapter 5. Detailed discussions are presented in each of those references. A short summary Is given below.
a. Water supply lines. Outside water supply lines can be protected from freezing by several possible
combinations of heat cables, insulation, circulation, and heat exchangers.
b. Water storage. Underground water sources are often not available in arctic regions. Surface sources
are normally usable only during summer months and winter storage is required. Under these conditions, the
storage tank must have the capacity to store several months' supply of domestic water, in addition to reserve
water for fire fighting. Excessive domestic use can result in partial depletion or consumption of the fire
reserve before new supplies are available in the spring. Therefore, the storage tank should be designed to
make it difficult to draw water for domestic use from the reserve supply. Water storage tanks exposed to
severe cold must be heated and insulated, and the water circulated continuously. The heat source is normally
steam or electricity, with cost and availability being the determining selection factors. Heating techniques
include circulating tank water through a heat exchanger or flow-through type electric heater. In coastal
locations, where heavy ice buildup can be expected, water storage tank design should include special
protection for the tank vent. Driving winds have also been known to block a 6-inch vent, and the vacuum
then produced as water is drawn can cause the tank to collapse. Protection can be provided by venting the
tank in the pumphouse and not having an exterior vent.
c. Fire protection systems. Fire protection systems generally considered where freezing could be a
problem are dry fire lines, dry sprinkler systems, sprinkler systems charged with antifreeze solutions, or inert
gas systems. The installations should be designed and installed in accordance with the appropriate National