Leading engineering firms challenged to create fire protection design concepts for “high challenge” warehouse

Blog Post created by mikehazell Employee on Feb 9, 2010

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.