Fire Protection and Life Safety Issues in Semiconductor and Related Facilities

Eisenberg, Jonathan
(Rolf Jensen & Associates, Framingham, MA)

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Semiconductor and related process facilities contain numerous fire and explosion hazards that impact life safety and operations. This presentation discusses the major fire protection and life safety design aspects for such facilities, including specific requirements contained in the International Building & Fire Codes, as well as applicable NFPA codes and standards. Project examples will be used to illustrate how these aspects are addressed in facility and process design. The presentation will include the code requirements for Group H-5 occupancies and Group H chemical storage and dispensing rooms – including vertical and horizontal location, occupancy separation, approach for associated mechanical spaces, electrical classification, ventilation, fire suppression (overhead and local), fire and gas/vapor detection, emergency alarms and spill control/secondary containment. We will also discuss approaches and ideas on the number, location and function of flammable liquid, flammable and pyrophoric gas, and highly toxic gas storage areas, including piping and delivery philosophy. The presentation will also include special suppression and detection approaches for hazards found in a clean room/fab area, eg. wet bench chemistry involving flammable liquids, and processing that uses hydrogen and/or silane mixtures. We will share our thoughts and experiences on how these systems interact with the rest of the building and the responding fire department. Related industrial issues also to be covered include hydrogen detection and explosion protection. Lastly, we will discuss licensing and permitting issues faced by owners of fab and clean room facilities that store and use hazardous materials, where the hazards are not clearly understood outside of the semi-conductor industry.

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