Skip navigation
All Places > NFPA Today > Blog > 2010 > February

NFPA Today

February 2010 Previous month Next month


Case study presentations from the workshop:


!|border=0|src=|alt=Wrapup|title=Wrapup|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef012877b46401970c image-full !
Richard Gallagher of Zurich Risk Enginering presented the morning keynote at the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s SUPDET 2010 where he summarized the presentations of the previous day. On Wednesday, seven leading engineering firms presented their ideas on how best to protect a high challenge warehouse from fire. During his talk, Mr. Gallagher looked at the differences and similarities amongst the approaches put forward. He further looked at the design challenges of these types of facilities such as water sources, environmental concerns and the hazard of commodities in warehouses. Mr. Gallagher presented a one-slide snapshot of each firms approach and concluded with a discussion of next steps and further issues for future consideration as they relate to research, technology and codes and standards.


View Mr. Gallagher's keynote address  (PDF, 495 KB) or watch his presentation online. Click on the first slide below to get started.

High Challenge Warehouse case study

View more presentations from National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) .


- Lorraine Carli , NFPA Vice President of Communications

The first panel of experts presented their ideas at today’s High Challenge Warehouse Workshop as part of the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s SUPDET 2010.

Seven engineering firms took the challenge to design fire protection in a high challenge warehouse where the local fire chief has made it clear that no interior fire fighting will be attempted to achieve final fire extinguishment. Robots, foam and water mist were some of the concepts mentioned as the first panel presented their ideas. The first group to present today included Schirmer Engineering, Rolf Jensen and Associates and FPI Consortium.

Panel Panelists Garner Palenske and Dan O'Connor from Schirmer, Dick Bukowski from Rolf Jensen and Associates, and Warde Comeaux of the FPI Consortium discuss ideas on how to protect the high challenge warehouse.

The case was presented by Richard Gallagher of Zurich Services Corporation.
Check back soon to see the presentations.

- Lorraine Carli, NFPA Vice President of Communications

Adding to a dynamic afternoon of discussion, the second panel of engineering experts shared their ideas for how they would protect a high challenge warehouse should a fire occur. Their task was full of challenges – protect people, save as much of the commodity as possible, minimize overall damage and extinguish the fire – because, as you remember, the mock scenario said the fire chief said that no interior fire fighting would be attempted.

Communication, pre-incident planning and an analogy to the famed "Back to the Future" movie highlighted some of the thoughts as speakers rose to the challenge of protecting the hypothetical warehouse.


The second panel included Telgian, Summit Fire Protection, a collaborative group from UCSD, Creative FPE Solutions, WPI and the University of Edinburgh, and Hughes Associates.


More than 150 attendees to the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s SUPDET 2010 pushed the panelists a little further on their ideas during the Q&A at this special workshop which was part of the three-day event.


A summary keynote on all of the ideas will be presented tomorrow. But in the meantime, please share your thoughts. Read the hypothetical case and tell us what you would do.


- Lorraine Carli, NFPA Vice President of Communications

We want to hear your ideas, too!
How would you change your approach to the design of a warehouse fire protection system if final extinguishment will not be provided by the fire department? That’s the question being posed to leading fire protection engineering companies at the  “High Challenge Warehouse Workshop” on February 17 in Orlando. Register now.

The workshop, a special program offered at the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s annual “Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications" conference, will challenge the engineering firms – and meeting attendees – to think through the fire protection components of a hypothetical warehouse with the goal, in the event of a fire, to minimize inventory loss with no internal manual firefighter intervention.


“Fire protection principles embedded in NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, involve fire control by fixed fire suppression systems and final fire extinguishment by the fire service,” says Kathleen Almand, executive director of the Research Foundation. “But today’s warehouses present high challenges for both of these fire safety systems. Recent fire experience indicates that there are certain scenarios where it is not reasonable to assume that manual internal final fire extinguishment will take place.”


Among the engineering companies that have accepted the challenge of designing a system for this case study are Schirmer Engineering, RJA, the FPI Consortium, Telgian, Summit Fire Protection, Creative FPE Solutions, and Hughes Associates. Following a brief presentation by each firm, their strategies will be reviewed and critiqued during an open discussion.


Here’s the case study each of the engineering firms are considering:

  • The focus of this case study is a planned combination low and high bay warehouse facility – the first large storage warehouse constructed in rural jurisdiction ABC which is served by a volunteer fire department. The site has limited public water supply.
  • The plastic commodity in the warehouse will be stored on wood pallets in racks that are a maximum 65 foot high and will be handled by both automatic storage and retrieval systems and forklift trucks.
  • The local fire chief has made it clear that the volunteer fire department personnel will not enter this planned warehouse under fire conditions except to rescue people that have been unable to exit the building under their own power. No interior fire fighting will be attempted to achieve final fire extinguishment.


We want to hear from you! Whether or not you’ll be attending the Research Foundation Workshop in Orlando, we’d like you to share your knowledge on this topic. So here’s our challenge to you:

Are you aware of emerging design concepts or new technologies that might provide a solution to this design problem?

Can you share fire experiences that might inform future designs?

What fire protection components would you include to address this high challenge situation, and why?

Remember: The local fire chief has made it clear that no interior fire fighting will be attempted to achieve final fire extinguishment. It's easy to respond: just click on the "comments" link below, enter your name (just your first name is fine) and your e-mail address (this will NOT show in your post), and type your comments in the white box. Then select "post".


As a special “thank you” to anyone who rises to our challenge and submits ideas to this blog, we’ll e-mail you a summary of the concepts presented by the engineering firms at this day-long workshop.

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: