Public Session Addresses Post-Sept. 11 Fears

Formed in order to serve as a resource to the building industry and to combat misinformation that has been published since Sept. 11, ASHRAE's Presidential Study Group on Health and Safety Under Extraordinary Incidents presented its preliminary report to a crowded audience at the Winter Meeting.

02/01/2002


Formed in order to serve as a resource to the building industry and to combat misinformation that has been published since Sept. 11, ASHRAE's Presidential Study Group on Health and Safety Under Extraordinary Incidents presented its preliminary report to a crowded audience at the Winter Meeting.

"ASHRAE's mission calls for us to be the foremost, authoritative, timely and responsive source of technical information," says William Coad, P.E., president of ASHRAE. "Much of our technology and knowledge developed for improved indoor-air quality and fire safety can be applied to protecting building environments."

The group, chaired by James E. Woods, Ph.D., P.E., chairman of ASHRAE's Environmental Health Committee, offered some preliminary recommendations for building owners and operators, including:

  • Verifying that air filters offer the highest minimum efficiency reporting value possible.

  • Ensuring that the quantity of outside air meets current ASHRAE standards.

  • Controlling access to air intakes, air-handling units and other sensitive building areas.

  • Coordinating ventilation and fire/life-safety systems.

  • Presenting safe, easy instructions for emergency egress.

  • Pressurizing egress routes against affected areas.

  • Placing ventilation fans on the emergency power circuit.

  • Creating a preparedness plan in case of an emergency.

In addition to these recommendations, the group also offered a list of actions not to take without consulting building officials or experts first, including:

  • Closing outdoor-air intake or blocking ventilation paths.

  • Changing design airflows.

  • Modifying the fire-protection and life-safety systems.

In the Q&A that followed, a former panel member criticized the group for releasing what he felt was an incomplete report. Others asked for additional information, to be disseminated quickly and called for more definitive "marching orders."

Woods noted that anyone interested in sharing information should contact the main ASHRAE office.

The group is slated to give its next progress report in June.





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