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Marcelo Hirschler - GBH International: Fire Litigation Support & Fire Testing

Fire Litigation - Fire Research
Codes & Standards
Dr. Marcelo M. Hirschler



Marcelo Hirschler (GBH International) provides fire litigation support, codes & standards assistance, contract fire testing & research. Dr. Hirschler, an expert at applying science to a fire problem, has extensive experience in fire testing, and in codes & standards. He can analyze the effects of materials (especially plastics) and products (particularly furniture, mattresses, interior finish, insulation, and wires & cables) on the fire hazard in building and vehicular environments and recommend fire safe alternatives.  Compliance with codes and standards is both a goal and a tool to support both fire litigation and fire research. Dr. Hirschler is also able to report his results in ways that are both understandable and scientifically sound.


   Services Provided  

  • Fire Testing (Especially Heat Release and Smoke Corrosivity)

  • Fire Litigation Support

  • Management of Fire Research

  • Stewardship of Standards Development, With Emphasis on Fire Issues

  • Monitoring of Code Activity, When Related to Fire



  • Diverse Global Experience

Dr. Marcelo M. Hirschler has a background in university, industry and as a private consultant (on technical and legal fire issues).  He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires, where he obtained a first degree in Physical chemistry and a PhD in Polymer Chemistry, in 1975.  He has worked in three continents (South America, Europe and the USA).  After a career in academic research, in Argentina and the United Kingdom, Dr. Hirschler managed the fire testing and research laboratory at a plastics manufacturer, BFGoodrich, between 1984 and 1991 (with large and small scale heat release test instruments, and other fire test equipment).  He chaired the US Technical Fire Subcommittees of the Coordinating Committee for Fire Safety (Society of the Plastics Industry) and of the Vinyl Institute between 1986 and 1991.

  • Expert in Fire Issues

Dr. Hirschler has specialized in fire issues for over 20 years (mainly fire testing, fire hazard, smoke toxicity and smoke corrosivity) and has published some 350 papers and five books: "The Combustion of Organic Polymers" (Oxford University Press, with Charles F. Cullis), "Fire Hazard and Fire Risk Assessment", ASTM STP 1150, "Carbon Monoxide and Human Lethality: Fire and Non Fire Studies", Chapman & Hall), "Fire Calorimetry", NTIS, (Edited by Richard Lyon and Marcelo Hirschler) & ASTM STP 1376, "Electrical Insulating Materials, International Issues" .  The major applications are plastic materials, electric cables, furniture and furnishings, textiles and cigarette smoldering ignitions.

  • Code Development

Dr. Hirschler is involved with the development and amendment of codes, including the building code (IBC and NFPA 5000), the life safety code (NFPA 101), the national electrical code (NEC, NFPA 70), mechanical codes (IMC, UMC), fire codes (IFC, UFC/NFPA 1) and residential codes (IRC).

  • Development of Standards

Dr. Hirschler is also very active in developing fire standards (both nationally and internationally).  He is a member of various ASTM committees, including E5 (fire standards), C16 (Thermal Insulation), D9 (electrical insulation), D11 (rubber), D13 (textiles), D20 (plastics), F7 (aircraft), F15 (consumer products), F23 (protective clothing), F25 (ships) and F33 (correctional facilities).  He chairs various ASTM standards groups, mainly in electrical cables or furniture, and has been instrumental in developing modern heat release standards on small scale or full scale testing of furniture and cables by heat release measurements (ASTM E1537, E1590, E1822, D5424, D5537, D6113, F1550, NFPA 286), and standards on smoke (ASTM E 1995), hazard assessment (ASTM D5425, E2061) and room scale fire testing (ASTM E603, E2067).  He is a member of several NFPA technical committees: Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) and Building Code (NFPA 5000), Fire Tests, Hazard and Risk of Contents and Furnishings, (a committee he now chairs, which is responsible for NFPA Guide 555), Merchant Vessels (a committee responsible for NFPA 301) and Air Conditioning (a committee responsible for NFPA 90A).  He is a former member of an National Electrical Code technical panel.  He is a member of the IEEE technical committees dealing with electrical cables on ships.  He also does international standards work on fire issues as a present or former representative for the USA on IEC TC'89, and a member of USA technical advisory groups to ISO TC’92 and ISO TC’20.  He is also a member of various Canadian Standards Association Technical Subcommittees on Wiring Products.

  • Fire Litigation

Dr. Hirschler has also been involved, since 1984, in fire litigation, particularly in terms of the fire performance of materials and the products into which they are made.  Experience in that area has focused on fire testing, results interpretation and analysis of fire consequences by comparison with known information and with the scenario in question.

  • Academic Research

Dr. Hirschler is an associate editor of the journal Fire and Materials and is on the Editorial Board of several scientific fire journals (Fire Safety Journal, Journal of Fire Sciences, Fire & Flammability Bulletin, Journal of Testing and Evaluation).  During his academic career he worked in various University Chemistry Departments on issues of polymer combustion, polymer chemistry and fire retardance of polymers, as well as gas and liquid phase combustion.  He also supervised a research group, including 12 doctoral students.  After university, he continued managing research, both in his industrial laboratory and for various clients.

About Marcelo Hirschler
Publications by Marcelo Hirschler

FTT Fire Testing Instruments
Links Associated With Fire Issues

Contact Information
GBH International
2 Friar's Lane
Mill Valley, CA, 94941, USA
Tel: (415) 388-8278 - FAX: (415) 388-5546



© GBH International, 2002.