ISO Mitigation SLIDERS v04 CommunityFire

Commercial Property Roundtable: Emerging Issues

Pictured at the roundtable are Coleman Henry, senior vice president of corporate underwriting, Philadelphia Insurance Company; David Rathbun, operations division chief, Orange County Fire Rescue; James E. White, chief of department, City of Winter Park’s Fire-Rescue Department; Michael Wajada, training division chief, Orange County Fire Rescue; Kevin Kuntz, assistant vice president, Verisk Insurance Solutions – Commercial Property; and Dan O’Connor, director of customer partnerships, Verisk Insurance Solutions – Commercial Property.

We discussed “green roofs,” also known as vegetated roofs. A well-maintained green roof can reduce the threat of a roof fire since it contains a large amount of aggregate material that doesn’t burn. Those materials, such as crushed clay brick and pumice, expanded shale, and live plants, are largely resistant to fire. However, a drainage failure could add to the roof load, and dead plant material can itself become a source of combustion.

Roundtable attendees also talked about new exterior insulation panels made of plastic, such as expanded or extruded polystyrene. Those materials have many advantages: They are lightweight, made of recycled plastic, and have a high R-value (a measure of thermal resistance). However, most expanded plastics are combustible and can burn rapidly. Under fire conditions, those materials tend to melt, forming a flammable liquid.

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