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This study is an analysis of fire hazards affecting safety in libraries and archives. Its purpose is to highlight the most effective methods of putting out fires while ensuring that the method selected does as little damage as possible to the varied media found among library and archives holdings.

We hope that officials who are responsible for protecting valuable archival and library collections will find the information compiled in this study useful in carrying out their very important task. It should not, however, be restricted to those whose jobs are directly responsible for fire protection within these institutions. The archivists, librarians, and technical support personnel who work in archives and libraries should be aware of the actions that should be taken in their everyday work to ensure that these materials are protected from fire hazards. This study can also be used by those archival and library personnel who are involved in designing a new building, rehabilitating an existing one, or evaluating the suitability of a building proposed to house library materials or archives.

Many countries have regulations or standards that define construction requirements aimed at reducing the threat of fire damage in buildings which are to be used as libraries and archives. Coupled with the construction standards are operational procedures spelling out fire prevention rules to be followed within these institutions. These building requirements and fire prevention procedures vary from country to country reflecting local practices and technological capabilities.

This study summarizes the experience of developed countries in protecting libraries and archives from fire damage. It attempts to highlight the main trends in fire protection and summarize operational differences which may influence the selection of specific fire prevention and fire fighting techniques.

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