Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Francis Noonan, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

David A. Lucht, Department Head




A risk-based decision methodology is presented to support United States Coast Guard regulators' determinations of the most appropriate fire safety areas for allocating research and development resources. The methodology consists of risk-based analysis of previous shipboard fire and explosion incidents to establish historical problem areas and trends. The analysis results were then presented to a panel of experts in shipboard fire safety regulations. An analytical hierarchical process was used to encode these experts' opinions on subjective attributes of the decision. Nineteen attributes were selected by the panel and used to rate eighteen potential research and development alternatives. The series of eighteen alternative areas for possible research and development efforts were ranked using a scoring model. A sensitivity analysis was performed on the top five alternatives to assess the relative influence the attributes have on the decision. Information from two marine casualty databases were analyzed to establish the historical problem areas and trends. Fire and explosion incidents were taken from the United States Coast Guard's Marine Safety Information System (MSIS) database and Lloyd's Maritime Information Service Ltd.'s Casualty System (CASMAN). Following the methodology presented, the top five areas for possible allocation of research and development resources are: egress of passengers and crew, development of international design & approval standards for fire protection systems, hazard analysis review of fire safety regulations, development of alternative design assessment methodology, and investigation of lagging requirements for fire protection.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Fire Protection Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





Expert Panel, Analytical Hierarchy Process, Decision, Methodology, Risk, Risk management, Fire prevention, Research, Ships, Fires and fire prevention