Fire Prevention

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fire Prevention


a system of governmental and public measures designed to prevent fires, control the spread of those that occur, and provide for the evacuation of persons from burning buildings and the successful extinguishing of the fires. Fire prevention is the main duty of the fire protection service.

The USSR has a system of state standards, specifications, and rules that regulate fire safety in industrial and agricultural enterprises, warehouses, stores, theaters, clubs, hospitals, schools, and administrative and residential buildings. The directors of industrial enterprises, organizations, and institutions are responsible for seeing that the codes of fire safety are adhered to. The State Fire Control Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs monitors adherence to fire prevention codes. Volunteer fire associations and volunteer fire brigades greatly assist the State Fire Control Office in its fire prevention work.

Fire prevention measures emphasize the anticipation of fires. Public awareness is achieved primarily by broad education campaigns carried out by the fire protection service. Mandatory fire prevention briefings for all workers have been introduced at industrial enterprises, construction sites, scientific research institutes, commercial institutions, and medical institutions. Basic fire-fighting techniques are taught to individuals involved in industrial operations with high fire risks. Students in higher educational institutes and technicums receive required training in fire prevention in a course on occupational safety. Permanent exhibits of fire-fighting technology play an important role in the campaign to educate the public about fire-fighting techniques and fire prevention methods. Public instruction in fire prevention has been conducted in residential buildings since 1974.

Fire prevention measures directed toward limiting the spread of fires and facilitating their successful extinction are implemented largely during the design and construction of buildings. Nonflammable and fireproofed materials are used, fire gaps are established, buildings are divided by fire-resistant walls and roofs into insulated zones and compartments, and the amount of combustible materials used in construction is limited.

Water pipelines and reservoirs, driveways and passages to buildings, and fire escapes permit fire-fighting units and volunteer fire brigades to use fire-fighting equipment efficiently. Buildings with high fire risk are equipped with automatic systems that provide an alarm signal when a fire breaks out and then automatically extinguish the blaze.

Fire prevention is greatly concerned with providing for the successful evacuation of persons from buildings in case of fire. The design of buildings provides for stairways, fire escapes, fire exits, and connecting balconies and loggias to permit persons to escape from buildings in case of fire. Maximum evacuation times and the length of evacuation routes are regulated for public buildings. Of prime importance in high-rise buildings are systems to eliminate the smoke danger in stairwells and enclosed areas during fires.

The other socialist countries also devote considerable attention to fire prevention. There are fire control organs in Poland, the German Democratic Republic, Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia providing governmental supervision of adherence to fire safety regulations in the design and construction of buildings and structures. Great importance is attached to involving citizens in the prevention and extinguishing of fires. State safety codes regulate fire prevention measures in all branches of the national economy.

In most capitalist countries there is no governmental fire prevention service. Fire departments specialize only in extinguishing fires and only to a minor extent perform fire prevention work. Great Britain and Japan are exceptions in that they have preventive measures to safeguard public buildings. Fire safety standards in industrial, civil, and residential construction are not mandatory for private contractors.

Insurance companies in capitalist countries show great interest in fire prevention. They provide insurance relief and rate reductions to builders for fire-resistant construction and alarm and fire-extinguishing systems.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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