Precautions to Provide Life Safety Against Possible Fires in Tent Cities or Container Cities


We wish God’s mercy on those who lost their lives in the earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş Pazarcık on February 6, 2023 at 04:17 and at 13:24 in Kahramanmaraş Elbistan center and affecting 10 provinces, our condolences to all our nation, and we wish a speedy recovery to our wounded.

After the disaster in question, cities consisting of tents or containers that can be produced in factories and transported to the points of need are built in order to meet the need for temporary accommodation for hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their homes. This document is for informational purposes on the precautions to be taken to ensure the safety of life and property against possible fires in tent/container cities. Relevant measures have been determined according to the Turkish Fire Regulation (Regulation on the Protection of Buildings from Fire) and the globally accepted NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) fire protection standards.

Regulation and Standards

Fire prevention and extinguishing measures to be taken in all kinds of structures, buildings, facilities and open and closed area businesses built in our country, including temporary constructions or mobile facilities, came into effect with the decision of the Council of Ministers dated 27/11/2007 and numbered 2007/12937. It is determined by the “Regulation on the Protection of Buildings from Fire (BYKHY)”. However, this regulation is not expected to describe the fire safety measures that can be applied in special cases such as the use of tents or containers as temporary housing. For this reason, while determining the recommended measures for the fire safety of tent/container cities in this article, besides the provisions of the Regulation on the Protection of Buildings from Fire, NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) codes and standards, which are worldwide reliable and where very detailed information can be found on every subject related to fire and life safety. has also been taken into account.

Under the title of “11.11.Tents” of NFPA 101, known as the fire and life safety code, there is information about the safety distances between the tents and the flammability of the tent material. Other NFPA standards in the list below have been used for the safety measures to be taken in the construction of structures such as prefabricated houses and caravans and on the lands where they are located temporarily or permanently. The precautions in these standards are not only limited to fire safety, but also include the structural measures to be taken against floods, storms and earthquakes, as well as the safety rules to be followed in the heating and cooking units, mechanical and electrical installations and chimneys in containers or caravans.

  • NFPA 101 (2021), “Life Safety Code”
  • NFPA 225 (2021), “Model Manufactured Home Installation Standard”
  • NFPA 501 (2021), “Standard on Manufactured Housing”
  • NFPA 501A (2021), “Standard for Fire Safety Criteria for Manufactured Home Installations, Sites, and Communities”
  • NFPA 1192 (2021), “Standard on Recreational Vehicles”
  • NFPA 1194 (2021), “Standard for Recreational Vehicle Parks and Campgrounds”
  • NFPA 5000 (2021), “Building Construction and Safety Code”

The regulations defined in the NFPA standards regarding prefabricated houses are also included in the federal regulations known as “CFR (Code of Federal Regulations)” valid throughout the USA. (HUD – Housing and Urban Development) the following standards have been published.

  • Part 3280, “Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards”
  • Part 3282, “Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations”
  • Part 3285, “Model Manufactured Home Installation Standard”

Building Materials and Potential Ignition Sources

According to Article 27 of the Regulation on the Protection of Buildings from Fire (Turkish Fire Regulation) regarding facades, the facades of buildings with a building height not exceeding 28.50 m must be at least flammable, that is, the fire reaction class of the insulation material on the external walls produced as sandwich panels TS EN 13501- According to the 1 standard, it should be at least “C-s3,d2”. Since this provision of the regulation also covers single-storey small structures such as containers, the insulation materials in the sandwich panels used in the construction of containers must be at least flammable.

According to the tents section of NFPA 101, known as the fire and life safety code, flame retardant fabrics that can be documented successfully passing the burning test specified in the NFPA 701 standard should be used as tent material. Therefore, flame retardant fabrics in accordance with NFPA 701 or standards such as TS EN 13773, which can be considered equivalent, should be used as tent material.

In the NFPA codes, the fire reaction class of the insulation materials used in the sandwich panels used in container construction is also limited, and it is desirable to use insulation materials with low flame propagation regardless of the places of use such as exterior wall, interior wall or roof. However, since the test standards (ASTM E84 or UL 723) based on the NFPA codes to classify the combustion behavior of building materials are not common in our country and in Europe, at least “C-s3,d2” class insulation according to the TS EN 13501-1 standard referenced in the regulation. material can be considered equivalent.

The use of ignition sources such as fuel-burning devices, electric heaters, cooking devices and cigarettes in tents is more risky in terms of fire than in containers, because although such ignition sources can come into direct contact with the tent material, the insulation materials in the sandwich panel walls are covered with metal sheets. Therefore, the use of potential ignition sources and electrical equipment in tents should be avoided as much as possible, and heat-generating sources that can ignite materials should be dead, especially when people are sleeping in tents, and electrical devices should be disconnected from power sources.

As long as the insulation material on the sandwich panel walls in the containers is not difficult to combustible such as rock wool or glass wool, care should be taken that the electrical installations inside the container do not come into contact with the insulation material and details should be created to prevent fire from occurring at the transition points of the electrical cables from the sandwich panel walls. As it is mandatory for all buildings, facilities and structures built in our country, electrical installations in containers; To the Electrical Indoor Installations Regulation published in the Official Gazette dated 4/11/1984 and numbered 18565, to the Grounding Regulation in Electrical Installations published in the Official Gazette dated 21/8/2001 and numbered 24500, It should be installed in accordance with the Electric Power Current Facilities Regulation published in the Official Gazette No. and other relevant regulations and standards.

For the heating need in the containers, if possible, a hot water heating system produced from a central heating system should be installed, and in cases where this is not possible, electric heaters should be preferred. It is extremely dangerous for fuel-burning stoves or similar devices to be located directly in the container, especially for people sleeping in this area, even when the stove is not lit. If stoves or similar fuel-burning devices are used in the parts of the containers that are not intended for sleeping, the rules in Article 58 of the Regulation on Fire Protection of Buildings regarding stoves and chimneys must be followed. If there are flammable building materials among the flooring materials on which the stoves are installed, the installation should be done by placing a metal-coated table, marble or similar material under the stove. Materials and details that will prevent fire formation should be used at the transition points of the stove pipes from the walls. If there is no chimney in the room, the stove pipe; The sheet metal should be removed from the window where it is placed, 25 cm away from the eaves and 50 cm high, and should be installed using a hat at the end. The junctions of the pipes should be closed with a circle and by connecting them to the wall and ceiling from this circle, it should be prevented from falling apart and falling apart. Stove covers should not be left open during use, and no flammable or combustible materials such as wood, kindling, coal, matches, gasoline, gas and similar should be kept under or next to them. The fire in the stove should be taken to the barbecue with a lid when necessary. Stoves should be removed during the off-season or tied with wire so that the covers cannot be opened.

Article 109 of the Regulation on the Protection of Buildings from Fire contains provisions regarding the use of LPG cylinders, and in this context, it is prohibited to keep LPG cylinders and devices used with these cylinders in sleeping areas. For this reason, first of all, electric cooking devices should be preferred for the need for cooking in containers.

If LPG-burning cooking devices are used in the non-sleeping parts of the containers, between the tube and the device; Jointless hoses with a maximum length of 150 cm, the connection points of which are tightened with clamps, in accordance with the relevant standards should be used. In order to control gas leaks, soap with plenty of foaming should be used in changing the cylinders and should not be controlled with fire. Replacing empty cylinders with full cylinders should be done by trained personnel of dealers selling tubes and under the responsibility of the dealers. LPG cylinders should be used in an upright position and if it is unavoidable to keep the cylinders in the container, the section where the cylinder is located should be ventilated. The place where the tubes are placed should not be exposed to direct sunlight and no tubes should be placed near radiators, stoves or similar heaters.

Easily flammable building materials and linings should not be used near and in the impact area of the cooking and heating devices inside the container.

Exits from Tents/Containers

According to the Regulation on the Protection of Buildings from Fire, the escape distance is not sought for houses that do not exceed 4 floors, including basements, as well as single houses, twin houses and row houses, and a single exit is considered sufficient.

In NFPA codes and standards, even if there are single-storey buildings excluding the residences protected by the sprinkler system, for each sleeping unit of the residence, it is equivalent to or better than the transition from the sleeping unit to the street or balcony with a window as an alternative to the normal transportation route to the house entrance door. It is desirable to have an acceptable alternative escape route.

Distance Between Tents/Containers

In the Regulation on Fire Protection of Buildings, the safety distances between buildings are mostly defined for fuel stations or tanks and storage buildings where dangerous substances such as flammable and combustible liquids are stored, and no direct value is defined for the distance between containers used as residences.

In the light of the information given in the NFPA codes on the subject, we recommend keeping a distance of at least 3 m between the tents and the containers that do not have fire resistance on their outer walls.

Internal Access Roads for Fire Trucks

Rules for fire brigade response should be determined according to the needs and habits of local fire brigades. For this reason, internal transportation roads in container cities should be designed according to the rules in the regulation (BYKHY). In accordance with Article 22 of the Regulation on the Protection of Buildings from Fire, regarding the access roads to the building, internal access roads should be designed so that the horizontal distance measured from any point of the exterior of each container to the nearest point of the fire truck road does not exceed 45 m. In addition, the usual width on fire truck roads should be at least 4 m (at least 8 m in dead-end streets) and the free height should be at least 4 m.

In places to be arranged as a tent/container city, it should be aimed that the longest arrival time from the nearest fire station to the region after a fire is reported to the fire department is between 3 minutes and 6 minutes depending on the population density in the city. personnel with intervention training should be available.

Fire Detection and Extinguishing Equipment

According to the Regulation on the Protection of Buildings from Fire, it is not obligatory to install any extinguishing equipment other than a portable extinguisher in a container used as a residence. Similarly, simple fire detection and warning equipment such as fire alarm buttons and flashing sirens are not mandatory in small single-storey containers.

According to the 99th article of the Regulation (BYKHY) regarding portable extinguishing devices, in areas of use in low hazard class such as containers, portable extinguishing devices should be positioned as one 6 kg extinguishing device of suitable type in every 500 m2 area and the distance to the extinguishing devices should be determined. should be at most 25 m.

It is appropriate to use dry chemical powder (KKT), water or foam extinguisher tubes as portable extinguishing devices. In addition, the installation of fire cabinets connected to the domestic water lines that will serve the container city will allow early intervention in the initial fires.

NFPA codes and standards require sprinkler system and smoke detectors, which have been made easier to apply by simplifying their design, installation and operation, even for prefabricated houses and containers used as residences. It is allowed to install the sprinkler heads in such houses directly on the plastic branch pipes taken without being separated from the domestic water line serving the container with a valve, not to put sprinkler heads in low-risk areas such as wet areas, and to use even sprinkler heads that are not approved in the system. Similarly, it is considered sufficient that the smoke detectors in the container are installed at least in a way that covers each sleeping room and the corridors that pass to the sleeping rooms, and consists of battery-operated independent equipment without a separate panel or wiring to create an audible warning signal as soon as detection is made.


In order to prevent possible loss of life and property loss due to possible fires in tent/container cities, the recommended fire safety measures have been explained above under different headings, in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation on the Protection of Buildings from Fire, and also by making use of the information provided in the internationally accepted NFPA standards. , we bring to the attention of the public.

21 / 02 /2023


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