Ten Years Later — What Have We Learned?


Fire safety and first responder communications have also undergone changes as a result of the World Trade Center attack. Such changes have included increasing the size of the Fire Command Center of buildings to at least 200 square feet, requiring fire service elevator lobbies be a minimum of 150 square feet in size and be kept free of debris and stored materials. Requirements for emergency communications, infamously disrupted during 9/11, have been modified to include installation of an emergency responder radio communications system that provides radio coverage for the entire building.

HVAC System filtration. Illustration by: MIT OpenCourse Ware

Building System Safety
While most of the building code changes reflect issues related to structural integrity and evacuation, combatting chemical, biological and radioactive (CBR) threats are also being addressed as their danger relates to buildings systems. When it comes to CBR, the main system addressed in new regulations is a building’s HVAC system.

HVAC system CBR countermeasures include using nanofilters to reduce the spread of toxic gases and sensors that shutdown a system if a contaminant or intrusion is detected. The design of the system and ductwork are also being examined. One variant includes using HVAC zones that cover only one or two floors to potentially limit the spread of a toxin or smoke.

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Posted by on Sep 1st, 2011 and filed under Feature Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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