Monday, October 15, 2018

Fire Sprinkler Design: An Illustrated Guide for AHJ's [BOOK]

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It has been my great privilege to partner with the premiere fire protection engineering author and illustrator, Joseph Meyer. His drawing and illustration talents bring a fresh dimension to the fire protection system design principles we want to share in these pages. Through the combined efforts of our written content and Joe’s illustrations we hope to bring a better understanding to the art of fire protection and sprinkler design.

Learn the most critical design elements related to:
  • Documentation and installation requirements
  • Obstructions, discharge patterns, and construction features
  • Storage protection, occupancies, and commodity classifications
  • Small spaces and the “small room” rule


An illustrated guide for fire sprinkler design. Create better educated fire protection professional for the promotion of fire protection and life safety.







Monday, October 8, 2018

Top 5 Presentations for Fire Prevention Organizations - #FirePreventionWeek



This week the National Fire Protection Association will sponsor the annual Fire Prevention Week. The theme this year is "Look. Listen. Learn. - Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere."

Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage. This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.

In observance of this Fire Prevention Week, TheCodeCoach.com presents the top 5 most viewed educational presentations (from Slideshare).  Feel free to share and use these resources with your departments and organizations.

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Monday, October 1, 2018

Fire Inspector Qualifications - A Path for Professional Development

Photo credit: Los Angeles Fire Department
It has been almost thirteen years since I walked into the fire academy to get the education I needed for a career. My intention was to become a “firefighter” however, it was in the academy, that I learned of the various pathways that title and role could follow. Of the nearly 400 hours of training that is required to become a certified firefighter in the state of Florida, about four of those hours are dedicated to fire prevention. It was with this brief introduction that I knew the path my career would follow.


A quick search on professional development in the fire service will return a plethora of information on career guidance and advancement. The majority of this information will be based on the operations and suppression side of the industry.  There is a disproportionately small amount of information on career development for the fire prevention, inspections, and plan review divisions of this field.


With the many different certification bodies, educational programs, and course options, it can be difficult to create a clear path for success in the field.  However, with some simple guidance and a bit of persistence success can be had. The starting point is within yourself. You must determine the goals and objectives that you have for your career. Do you want to work for a municipal fire department or an industrial type of department? Do you want to work in public service, or the private sector? Are you excited about a career in your “hometown” department, or are you looking forward to the travel and “adventure” that overseas contract work can provide? What part of fire prevention do you want to focus on - inspections, plan review, public education, or investigations? Where are you now and where do you want to be, and what is the ultimate goal of your career? Do you desire to move up the career ladder - inspector, supervisor, chief? The answers to these questions will help to shed light on your career pathway.


After you have an idea of what direction you want your fire inspection and plan review career to follow, you will need to obtain the necessary certifications.  Typically, you will find that these requirements follow these four primary certification paths. These are State specific requirements, IFSAC/ProBoard, International Code Council (ICC), and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Always start with your state’s requirements. Some states defer the certification process to these other listed certifying bodies, and others have their own programs for certification.  Beyond the state requirements, the chart below, shows the certification levels that are available, in the order they should be obtained within.



For certifications related to advancement, there are many options. There is currently no set standard for obtaining the top rank within fire prevention (such as Fire Marshal or Chief of Prevention). The state of Florida and the state of California are two states that provide a formal certification for these positions. Their programs can serve as a model for other states, departments, and organizations to follow.


Model Programs

Florida

California

The chart below is based on the Department of Defense (DoD) requirements for fire service positions. This can serve as a general guide to professional development and advancement. In the least, this provides a framework to build your career on, it can be modified to meet your particular state or departments requirements.





Keep in mind that the career path presented here is showing only the path of fire inspector and plans examiner, to Chief Officer.  There are additional certification requirements for those who desire to take the fire prevention path of public educator, fire investigator, or community risk reduction specialist. Though there is overlap in the certification process, each of these have their own path to the top positions in this field.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Benefits of Fire Door Commissioning

This guest post is provided by our #FireDoorSafetyWeek partner, Aegis Fire Barrier Consultants, and is written by, Justin B. Biller, P.E., CHFM, CLSS-HC, CFPS | AEGIS Technical Director.



Doors are a major concern for building owners and facility managers. Ongoing maintenance of doors and architectural hardware represents a significant cost margin to building owners. Nowhere, is this more true than for healthcare facility and engineering managers where building footprints are vast - often in excess of 1 million square feet or more. Maintaining all doors in large facilities is always a challenge, but of even higher concern for healthcare engineers is fire and smoke barrier management, wherein door maintenance is a critical component. This point is not lost on a highly accomplished architect, Amanda Adams AIA, who has spent much of her career in significant restoration projects – she has noted first- hand how important fire and smoke door assemblies become in sustaining code compliance, providing a safe and healthy environment for building occupants, and in achieving her overall architectural vision for a space. Ms. Adams highlighted this point to us at AEGIS, wherein she states,


“the foremost requirement of architecture is shelter. This ranks above aesthetics and creative efforts. All building occupants - users, visitors, tenants, residents - expect a building to provide shelter from the elements. At times, emergency situations arise that cause a building to offer shelter or protection from internal threats (often this is a fire threat)....whether that be protect in place or provide a safe exiting scenario. Passive life safety systems hold top priority in life safety; active systems increase safety and provide additional time. Properly functioning fire doors are a critical basic component to the passive system. A door must fit properly in its frame. Closing hardware must work properly. Positive latching hardware completes the barrier.”

The added strain on fiscal responsibilities for healthcare facilities to “do more with less” heightens the need to challenge installers to do the work right the first time – it is often noted on annual inspections of fire and smoke door assemblies that the ongoing challenges to maintenance stem from improper installation (i.e., improperly plumbed door frame and jamb, incorrect or insufficient hardware, incorrect door or glazing type, etc.).
According to the Door Security and Safety Foundation, although doors only represent 2% of a typical construction budget, on average more than 30% of punch-list items are door-related. It is, therefore, the opinion of many within the industry that it is in the best interest of building owners to verify fire and smoke doors are installed properly from the outset – a determination that committee members of NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives also found imperative. In its most current published editions (2016 and 2019), NFPA 80 prescribes in section 5.2.1 that “upon completion of the installation” these assemblies are to be inspected and tested.
Here at AEGIS we believe as well that a comprehensive survey of door installation during construction benefits the building designer and can dramatically decrease ongoing maintenance costs associated with fire and smoke door assemblies. We are here to help you implement this on your next project and can work with your design team through specification and installation through final punch-out.
What is Fire System Commissioning (FCx)
NFPA 3, Recommended Practice for Commissioning of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems delineates that the commissioning and integrated testing process would include both, active and passive components of fire protection systems. Commissioning is a procedure of verifying a quality process from design inception through development and construction and extends through the life of the building by ongoing maintenance and operations. Passive fire protection systems, including fire and smoke rated door assemblies, serve as a primary component for most building life safety systems with varying degrees of complexity (based on factors such as occupancy and building geometry). Fire and smoke rated doors are often integrated with fire and life safety systems such as fire alarm, sprinkler, smoke control, and emergency electrical systems, thus it becomes imperative for the fire commissioning team (FCxT) to include qualified fire door commissioning agents (Cx) to be employed. Along with NFPA 3, NFPA also developed NFPA 4, Standard for the Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing to work in concert with the recommended practices of commissioning, outlined in NFPA 3, to accomplish this task.
AEGIS with its partnerships with engineers and architects, has the practical experience and expertise to support your commissioning team with passive fire protection system components.