Like any other accidental event, fire is usually the result of risks that exist in the individual building. Naturally, we try to reduce the risk of fire initiation with appropriate fire safety planning. Also, we wish to reduce the consequences of a fire,should it occur. Nevertheless, some levels of fire risk to occupants and propertyremain and need to be assessed. In Module 1 of the Skilled to be a Fire expert project, basic concepts of fire risk assessment are presented. Due to ongoing development of probabilistic fire risk assessment and lack of standardized approach in the field, however, the contents of module 1 remain mainly of an informative nature.
The purpose of fire risk evaluation in general is to assist in making decisions about which risks need treatment and the priority for treatment implementation. It involves comparing the level of fire risk found during the fire risk analysis process with fire risk criteria established when the context was considered. The main challenge remains to determine the acceptable level of frequency – consequence concept (often graphically presented by F-N curves). To obtain the required F-N curves the statistical data of past fires is of great importance. The F-N framework assumes that the design of a building can be realised only if all consequences and their frequency are acceptable to society. Any further investments in safety measures should be made on the basis of assessment of the ‘as low as is reasonably practicable’ (ALARP) criterion, i.e., that risks are reduced to the level where further reduction is no longer reasonable.