Fires and Historic Structures & Sites: How We Can Further Protect Our Cultural Heritage

24th March 2021 - 15:00-17:00 GMT

Fires continue to adversely impact our historic sites and structures. This includes fires not only in recent years at Notre Dame Cathedral, Brazil’s National Museum, and Shuri Castle (Japan), but also significant fires in the past involving palaces, sacred sites and other structures critical to our cultural heritage. Whether a site/structure within our local community, or a World Heritage Site (WHS), a loss to any part of these represents significant losses to us all and our collective heritage.

In terms of all natural, man-made and climate change related hazards, fire is one hazard that a significant amount can be done to limit its probability from occurring, as well as minimizing damage should one occur. To help further understand the challenges, recurring themes in fire related losses, and methods to further protect our cultural heritage, the following will be covered:

•Common threads & lessons learned from past fires
•Renovation/restoration related work, and significant vulnerabities during this time
•Common misconceptions
•Developing risk-informed, cost-effective and practical prevention & mitigation strategies
•Incorporating indigenous knowledge, methods and materials
•Challenges that arise when relying solely on codes to protect our heritage
•The need to focus on the prevention/mitigation phases
•Preparing for Emergency Response and Recovery Phases
•Keeping it simple
•Case studies of why small fires grew to become so devastating.

By further understanding these, we can help further protect our heritage from fires and their devastating impact to our local and global communities, and to help build resilient communities.

Christopher E Marrion

Christopher Marrion PE, F-SFPE, MScFPE is a Fire & Disaster Risk Management Consultant focusing on protecting our cultural heritage, historic structures, sites and built environment from fire and other disasters. Chris is the Founder of Marrion Fire & Risk Consulting PE, LLC, a special expert for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a

Director for the National Fire Heritage Center’s Board, a Fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), and holds a Master’s Degree in Fire Protection Engineering. Chris’s work focuses on providing risk-informed, performance-based, sustainable, practical, cost-effective prevention/mitigation, emergency response and recovery strategies to protect our heritage. For over 30 years he has worked globally with numerous NGOs, Government entities, private and public clients including UNESCO, UNISDR, ICCROM, NFPA, SFPE et al., to help create awareness, build capacity, develop codes, and provide practical guidance and disaster risk management solutions particularly as it applies to protecting our cultural heritage from fires and other disasters.


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