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On The Rule Of Subjective Probabilities In Fire Risk Management Studies

Noonan, F. and Fitzgerald, R.W., 1991. On The Rule Of Subjective Probabilities In Fire Risk Management Studies. Fire Safety Science 3: 495-504. doi:10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.3-495


If risk management studies in fire protection are to be implemented on a quantitative basis, it becomes necessary to estimate probability loss models for each risk management a1ternative. While actuarial data may exist for quantifying the risk of situations similar to the a1ternatives under review, there are usually enough differences or environmental uncertainties that direct substitution is considered to be inappropriate, and dependency on subjectively assessed probability loss models is a reality to be recognized. In our opinion, a common perception by practitioners in fire protection engineering is that subjective probabilities are "just guesses" and not to be used in any serious or rigorous fire protection risk management study. This paper points out that subjective probability assessments are valid representations of knowledge, and we seek to communicate guide1ines from decision analysis for generating subjective probabilities within fire risk management studies.


fire risk assessment, subjective probabilities, probability loss models

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