On Wednesday, July 04, 2001 5:57 AM Mike Lorrey firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
[Michael Lorrey quoting "Fire Safety Regulation in Northeastern Santiago,
John M. Cobin at: http://www-pam.usc.edu/volume3/v3i1a2s1.html ]
> > This paper extends my previous study of fire safety regulation in
> > Baltimore by presenting similar evidence from northeastern
> > Santiago. Like the dramatic increase in Baltimore through 1994,
> > structural fires per capita in northeastern Santiago have soared
> > 8.9 times since regulation began in 1929 despite
> > massive increases in building safety regulation.
> This is a faulty premise. Under fire safety regulations, imposed by
> goverment fiat or insurance requirements,
I think there's a big difference between the two -- between "government
fiat" and "insurance requirements." The latter is voluntary, the former
> one SHOULD expect an inrease
> in the number of fires per capita. Decreasing the incidence of fires is
> NOT the goal of fire safety regs. The purpose is to reduce the overall
> damage and death toll of each individual fire.
But Cobin does go over just this point in the third section of the essay
(http://www-pam.usc.edu/volume3/v3i1a2s3.html) when discussing Santiago's
building code: "The legislation was designed to establish compulsory
construction norms for minimum and maximum building height and the selection
of building materials, plus a means to retard the propagation of fires..."
This code was put into place in 1929, "after a disastrous earthquake struck
Talca [another Chilean city] in 1928..."
> Without fire safety regs, large dense cities frequently had a huge
> devastating fire every few years or decades. One fire would cause untold
> deaths and the loss of thousands of homes and businesses. Today, each
> individual fire that occurs is generally contained within its building
> or within a small part of a building due to the required use of fire
> retardant matnerials, and deaths would be minor due to required
> installation of fire safety equipment (like extinguishers, fire escapes,
> smoke alarms, and public education).
I would hazard to guess -- but confess ignorance here:) -- that, in the
past, most fires, too were small and contained. It wasn't like London
burned done once a decade. You make it sound as if it did.
What we would need to do is find out if government fire codes have had the
impact you believe they have.
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