From SFPE Engineering Guide to Performance-Based Fire Protection Analysis and Design of Buildings

8.3 Tools Used to Identify Possible Fire Scenarios

A number of analysis techniques are available that can be used to identify possible fire scenarios; some of these techniques are described in the following sections.

8.3.1 Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) [3]

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis is used to study systematically possible failure modes of individual components and the results of each failure, either on the system in general or on other components of the system. [4], [5] FMEA originated in the aerospace industry and is used extensively in nuclear applications. However, the technique can also be generalized to assist in the development of possible fire scenarios in a variety of design applications.

A typical FMEA analysis first identifies the items to be studied. Next, the failure modes for each item are listed. A typical list of failure modes might include spark/arc, overheat, leak, rupture, loss of electrical power, or improper control signal input.

For each failure mode, a cause of the failure is then determined. For example, rupture might be caused by overpressurization, physical damage, or poor workmanship. The analysis then continues to identify the possible effects of each failure. The effects of a rupture obviously depend on what is released. If the material released is a combustible or flammable liquid, the effects might vary depending on a number of factors. For example, in the absence of an ignition source, the release might be only a pollution or cleanup problem; however, if a competent ignition source...

Products & Services
Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) Software
Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) software is used to track trends, generate statistics such as mean time between failure (MTBF), and determine the root causes of field failures (usually for products covered by a manufacturer’s warranty).
Reliability Software
Reliability software enables organizations to improve product safety and reliability by measuring performance against industry-wide standards.
Product and Component Testing Services
Product and component testing services is the evaluation of a finished product or component through performance in electrical, life, environmental exposure, dynamic, ergonomic or other specialized tests.  Also testing to standards such as UL 489, CE or MIL-STD 810.
Inspection Services
Inspection services examine products, parts, equipment, repairs, services, installations, and facilities to ensure quality, consistency, and condition, as well as conformance to required standards and/or procedures.
Boiler and Pressure Vessel (BPV) Services
Boiler services include repair, rebuilding, maintenance and installation of boilers. They may also provide cleaning, calibration, condition assessment, field inspection, failure analysis, and part replacement services.

Topics of Interest

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1. INTRODUCTION Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a form of nonquantitative analysis that aims to identify the nature of failures that can occur in a system, machine, or piece of equipment...