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published on

August 2020

BakerRisk’s FHMA methodology uses a scenario-based approach to review potential fire hazards and evaluate the site specific capability to manage fire hazards at your facility .  This methodology combines the best features of qualitative, workshop-based scenario development with powerful, scenario-specific consequence modeling to provide a much more customized approach than prescriptive estimating techniques such as those outlined in RAGAGEP.

A prime motivator for facilities performing risk-based analyses such as FHMA is to ensure compliance with applicable regulations, but in a way that helps address specific risks in high-hazard facilities that may not be appropriately addressed with typical prescriptive practices.

Consider the following take-aways from one of our recent FHMA studies:

Our client initiated a capital project to improve their firewater distribution system by replacing aging underground pipe with new, larger diameter pipe.  Two high-value learnings were identified during the FHMA:

  1. Using FHMA’s scenario-based approach, the estimated maximum firewater demand was determined to be about 4,000 gpm more than what the client had previously estimated using RAGAGEP estimating techniques. Their initial estimate would have resulted in an upgrade that delivered only about 57% of the firewater actually needed to contain their design-case fire. Our tailored approach prevented the costly (~$11 million) mistake of under-sizing the upgrade to their firewater distribution system.
  1. One of the scenarios evaluated involved an LPG vessel that was potentially exposed to a fire scenario that, without prompt and adequate cooling by firewater, could result in a BLEVE of that vessel. The subject vessel was one of the few on site that was not protected by a water spray system.  To compensate, the plant relied on first responders to promptly activate and direct firewater monitors to cool the vessel until the plant fire brigade could deploy. While this tactic is allowed by most prescriptive RAGAGEP based practices, the FHMA modeling and subsequent workshop concluded that the existing firewater monitors within reach of that vessel were compromised –  either by being too close to be safely operated during the fire scenario, or because they were obstructed by process structures.  That gap in fixed coverage could expose responding firefighters to an elevated risk of BLEVE.

The FHMA process clearly identified gaps in both existing coverage and planned improvements and provided crucial data for site management to obtain additional funding for a better solution.  As a result, the upgrade to firewater piping was re-designed to meet a more realistic firewater demand at minimal additional expense, and additional fixed protection assets were added to cover the unprotected LPG vessel, reducing the risk of a catastrophic explosion.

Example of scenario-based Fire Hazard and Mitigation Analysis using modeling for fire consequences and mitigation coverage.

The FHMA study clearly helped our client identify and address an undetected risk and ensure a successful firewater upgrade project.

BakerRisk is proud to provide complete, well-rounded mitigation strategies to meet our clients’ needs and keep their worksites safe. We are happy to speak with you find the right approach for your situation. Contact us here!

Or visit our FHMA page here for more information on this service.