Targeting Fire Damage Relief
Yoshiteru Murosaki and Yuji Hasemi
National Research Institute of Fire and Disaster, 18-26 Nishifukunokawa-cho, Okazaki, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8326, JapanWaseda University, 3-4-1 Okubo, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-8555, Japan
The relationship between human beings and fire is older than legend, making fire the potential disaster closest to men. This makes the mitigation of fire damage an ongoing community concern. The nature of fire risk has been changing with time due to changes in urban structure, the societal environment, and energy consumption. These changes are related to technological progress such as the development of fireproof materials and firefighting techniques. Technological advances such as the development of new materials and huge space may trigger the emergence of the new fire risks. The terrorist-triggered World Trade Center conflagrations in New York and the accident-induced Windsor Building fire in Madrid in 2004 are high-rise examples of this new vulnerability. The subway line fire that broke out in Daegu, Republic of Korea, in 2003 is yet another case — this one subterranean. An example in new-material risks is the outbreak at solid-waste fuel facilities in Mie, Japan, in 2003. Automobile fuel batteries using hydrogen are yet another case of new risks. Ironically, technology developed to solve global environmental issues such as waste recycling are another example of new fire risks. Advancing hand in hand with these new risks are the age-old examples of housing fires in urban areas and structural blazes in forests and fields. Regional differences are a factor, especially urban fires in Japan’s densely populated wooden residential areas and wildfires in populated forests of Australia and Russia. Studies on fire prevention must provide solutions to mitigating such risks — both old and new. Ambitious research in this field is demonstrated in the papers reported in this special issue – articles that readers are about to find exciting, informative, and endlessly interesting!