About 100 are participating in "part 2" of NFPA's Fire & Life Safety Conference here in Orlando, and earning continuing education units (CEUs) as part of the deal. Our four post-conference seminars got underway at 8:00 this morning.
Our one-day session on "Fire Protection Concepts and Analysis for Property Loss Prevention" is covering concepts on risk evaluation to help participants learn how to recognize and alieviate potential hazards in their facilities. Instructor Bruce Clarke of Global Asset Protection Services, LLC, and a member of the NFPA 25 Technical Committee, is leading a discussion on how engineering analyses, which reference NFPA and other standards, can be used to adequately protect property.
Guy Colonna, who manages NFPA's Industrial & Chemical Engineering division and is fresh off of teaching a three-part session on dust explosions yesterday, is back behind the lectern today. He's leading a seminar on "Explosion Prevention and Protection", and focusing on industrial processes that handle flammable liquids, gasses, and combustible particulate solids. Attendees are getting an up-close look at NFPA 68, Explosion Protection by Deflagration Venting, and NFPA 69, Explosion Prevention Systems.
Break out the calculators -- participants in our two-day session on "Sprinkler Hydraulics" are being challenged to determine occupancy classifications and complete sprinkler discharge calculations. Led by Bob Caputo, President/CEO of Consolidated Fire Protection, Inc., and a member of the Technical Committee for NFPA 13, this session is also highlighting water supply and system demand issues.
Craig Schroll, President of FIRECON and a member of the Technical Committee for NFPA 600, is leading our 2-day seminar on "Code Requirements for Maintaining Fire & Life Safety Systems". This broad-ranging seminar is giving attendees a solid overview of the inspection, testing, and maintenance requirements found in more than a dozen NFPA codes and standards.
NFPA Fire Protection Engineer Matt Klaus provided a report on a new standard, NFPA 3 , Commissioning and Integrated Testing of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems. The document is being processed in the Annual 2011 revision cycle. Matt provided attendees with a firsthand review of the draft document as it moves forward, and who needs to be involved in commissioning projects.
Hank Blackwell, former deputy fire chief and fire marshal for the Santa Fe County (NM) Fire Department, was the featured speaker at today's luncheon. Hank, who also serves on NFPA's Wildland Fire Management Committee, talked about the needed shift in public perception about wildfires. He pointed out that wildfires - whether started by humans or by lightening - occur as part of a natural process that helps maintain healthy forests.
A key to preventing large-scale loss of life and property from wildlfires is to take incremental steps - such as choosing and maintaining suitable landscaping materials, and making wise choices about your home's building materials and design -- that can significantly reduce the chances of a wildfire being transferred into urban areas.
"A lot of people still have a suppression mindset," he said, "and they think the answer to preventing wildfires is more firefighters and more fire engines."
Learn more about NFPA's Firewise Communities program, which encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others in the effort to protect people and property from the risk of wildfire.
Combustible dusts can pose a fire and explosion hazard when specific conditions exist. Awareness of these conditions is the first step towards establishing a combustible dust hazard process management program. During the Orlando conference, Guy Colonna's, manager of NFPA's Industrial Chemical Engineering division, presented a three-part educational session on hazard recognition, the evaluation and analysis of a potentional explosion situation, and steps to take to minimize or eliminate a fire or explosion incident.
From NFPA Journal®: As part of its goal to create a new, state-of-the-art refinery following a catastrophic explosion and fire in 2008, Imperial Sugar turned to Ron Allen to help it devise and implement safety features in all of its facilities.
There is a new chapter in the 2010 edition of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code , that deals specifically with emergency communications systems, including all apsects of installation and performance. The requirements for every system that deals with voice, be it recorded voice, synthesized voice or live voice, all reside in this chapter. Dick Roux, Senior Electrical Specialist at NFPA, talks about the new requirements and, in particular, the section that deals with mass notification systems.
Two recent, high-profile incidents highlighted the practice of using flammable gas to purge or clean piping systems intended for industrial appliances. In both instances, the release of the gas to the atmosphere without specific controls allowed the gas to be ignited and produce fatal explosions. Denise Beach, a senior engineer at NFPA, talks about one of these incidents and the steps taken to amend NFPA 54 , National Fuel Gas Code, to help prevent similar tragedies from occuring.
In August, the NFPA Standards Council banned the use of antifreeze solution in residential fire sprinkler systems for new construction until further action by NFPA consensus standards committees. The council action followed new research that was conducted after a fire incident raised concerns about antifreeze in residential sprinkler systems. Chris Dubay, NFPA's Vice President of Codes and Standards, and Chief Engineer, talks about the issue and ongoing technical committee activities.
NFPA's Matt Klaus took a break from his many presentations at NFPA's Fire and Life Safety Conference in Orlando to talk to Mike Hazell about a couple of the topics that having been drawing crowds in his sessions. Matt speaks on camera about NFPA 25, Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection System as well as the new NFPA 3, Commissioning and Integrated Testing of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems. His videos will be up later this week.
"The Power of a Dream" was the theme of today's luncheon presentation by Tom Moses, city manager for the City of Lake Buena Vista, FL. Tom, who worked for the Reedy creek Improvement District - a 40-square-mile independent governmental entity whose biggest landowner is the Walt Disney World Company - for more than 30 years, today talked about his perspectives on the vision and development of the Disney empire, truly one of the happiest - and safest - places on earth.
Tom said that in 1969, he was lured away from a career in Birmingham, AL, by a phone call from Roy Disney. He said Mr. Disney flew him to California to meet with a team of architects and engineers who had worked on the Disney property in Anaheim, but had bigger and better plans for a 28,000-acre parcel of land in central Florida. Tom said he was impressed by all of the creative thinking and the intense planning that was going on, but didn't think the plan was feasible. Famous last words! Tom eventually signed-on with the project, thinking it might be a "fun proposition" for the next few years.
Fast forward several decades and Tom can now look back at a career where he's helped overee fire- and life-safety for a succession of Disney developments, including Disney World’s four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. About 46 million people visit Disney World’s various resorts each year.
One of the many stories Tom shared with today's luncheon attendees was that right from the start, it was decided that the Disney properties in Florida would all be protected with automatic sprinkler systems. "It was the best decision we ever made," he says proudly, noting that in the past 43 years, the total fire loss for the complex that includes 4 theme parks, more than 30 hotels, and hundreds of commercial facilities, is less than $250,000.
Tom also talked about the many fire and life safety features that were built into the properties, all a reality, he says, because someone had a vision. He encouraged meeting attendees to think big. "The key to better, safer communities is the ability to dream,' he said.
You can read an interview with Tom Moses and Jerry Wooldridge, who Tom hired in 1998 and now serves as building official and manager of building and safety for the Reedy Creek Improvement District, in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.
Tom Moses meets with luncheon attendees after his presentation. He encouraged attendees to approach their work with positive, innovative action. Success begins, he said, in the minds of dreamers.
Tom Moses poses with Jerry Wooldridge, Building Official and Manager of Building and Safety for the Reedy Creek Improvement District, and Robert Solomon, manager of NFPA's Bullding Fire Protection and Life Safety Codes division.
NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, has included guidance on the use of antifreeze solutions in fire sprinkler systems since the 1940 edition. Recent fire incidents, analysis of available literature, and preliminary testing have identified concerns with the use of certain antifreeze solutions. Under certain conditions, solutions of glycerin and propylene glycol antifreeze have been found to ignite when discharged from automatic sprinkler systems.
Day 2 of NFPA's Fire & Life Safety Conference here in Orlando...and the energy level remains high, both from speakers and our attendees.
In our "Building & Life Safety" track, Joe Versteeg, principal of Versteeg Associates and a member of the Technical Committee for NFPA 101, led attendees through the process to determine occupancy classifications for multiple occupancy buildings.
In our "Codes & Standards" track, Craig Schroll, president of FIRECON, and a member of the Technical Committee for NFPA 600, talked about effective emergency planning. He said the foundation of any emergency plan - from simple evacuation plans to a comprehensive continuity of operations plan - is a complete threat assessment and a deep understanding of the things that might create emergencies.
In the "Fire Suppression" track, Mark Conroy, a senior engineer at Brooks Equipment Company, spoke about the requirments for inspecting, maintaining, and recharging portable fire extinguishers, as outlined in NFPA 10. Among the topics covered in this morning's session were inspection and maintenance procedures and the difference between the two, certification of maintenance personnel, recharging of rechargeable extinguishers, and hydrostatic testing requirements.
In our "Detection & Alarm" track, Warren Olsen, a partner at Fire Safety Consultants, Inc., and a member of the Technical Committee for NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, talked about the process of fire alarm plan reviews. He walked participants through what actually happens during the review process and well as available tools and resources.
During the most recent revision cycle of NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities, there has been an ongoing debate about the definition of "wet locations" in hospital operating rooms. The Technical Committee responsible for NFPA 99 is proposing that operating rooms are a wet location unless a risk assessment has determined otherwise. Rich Bielen, Manager of NFPA’s Fire Protection Systems Engineering Division, walks us through the issue.
The 2006 edition of NFPA 101 introduced a new chapter and new concept on building rehabilitation for existing buildings. NFPA Fire Protection Engineer Kristin Collette talks about the requirements for building rehabilitation and the application of Chapter 43.
During the break between education sessions this afternoon, attendees gathered in the foyer for soft drinks and some business networking. Small groups were scattered up and down the hallway, all chatting about the sessions they had just attended. Several people told us that getting to meet other participants -- and sharing ideas, challenges, and solutions -- is one of the top reasons that they traveled to Orlando for this event.
What are the hottest issues in healthcare delivery? Today in Orlando, Robert Solomon, manager of NFPA's Building Fire Protection and Life Safety Codes division, presented an overview of recent trends in healthcare and how NFPA's safety codes and standards are being positioned to addresses these changes.
“Emerging Issues in Fire Protection” was the theme of today’s luncheon presentation, hosted by Chris Dubay, NFPA’s Chief Engineer and Vice President of Codes and Standards. Chris and his co-presenters, NFPA staff engineers Robert Solomon and Guy Colonna, presented the audience with more than a dozen topic ideas, and then based on attendee suggestions, briefly spoke about the issues at hand. Discussions were wide-ranging, from NFPA’s new program to train first responders on how to respond to emergencies involving electric vehicles, to new trends in the delivery of healthcare and their impact on safety standards. One of the topics addressed was the use of elevators as a means of egress in high-rise buildings, an issue that offers many challenges, according to Robert Solomon, including re-educating the public, who’ve been told for years to avoid elevators during an emergency evacuation.
NFPA's Guy Colonna and Chris Dubay NFPA's Robert Solomon
A full room listened attentively as NFPA's Kristin Collette talked about one thing -- doors. In another of the morning's sessions, Kristin gave an overview of NFPA 80 Standard for the Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives. NFPA 80, which was originally published in 1911, regulates the installation and maintenance of assemblies and devices used to protect openings in walls, floors, and ceilings against the spread of fire and smoke within, into, or out of buildings. The standard applies to many opening protection systems, including fire doors, fire windows, fabric fire safety curtains, and fire dampers. It does not apply to non fire-rated assemblies.The 2010 edition is only the second new edition of NFPA 80 since the 1999 edition. NFPA Journal featured an online exclusive when the latest edition came out as well as a podcast on the changes.
NFPA's Dick Roux's second of five sessions on various aspects of NFPA 72 was a hot topic as he delved into Elements of an Effective Inspection, Testing and Maintenance program. He earlier spoke about emerging communication systems and will hit on Performance Requirements for Circuits and Pathways, elevator recall and Commuicatoin Methods for Supervising Station Fire Alarm Systems before the day is out. Dick will be featured in one of our video clips from the conference later on the blog.
Plenty showed up early to get front row seats for the first round of sessions at NFPA's Fire and Life Safety Conference in Orlando this morning to hear some of the most sought after NFPA staffers talk about their documents. The conference has four tracks -- Building and Life Safety, Codes and Standards, Fire Suppresssion and Detection and Alarms. The morning line up included from NFPA Kristen Collette on Methods of Passive Fire Protectoin, Rich Beilen on the new NFPA 99, Matt Klaus on changes to NFPA 25 and Dick Roux on NFPA 72.
We're off and running this morning at the Hilton in the Walt Disney World® resort. Over the next few days, we'll be offering more than 50 intensive education sessions that are designed to keep attendees up to speed on the the latest code information. Sessions in four educational tracks, which just got underway, are being taught by NFPA staff and technical committee members who work directly with the codes.
Keep coming back to this blog for updates from the conference, including video interviews with some of our presenters.
We'd also love to hear from you, so we invite you to share your thoughts or questions with us. It's easy to participate -- just click on the "Comments" link below any blog post to get started.
The Research Foundation’s 15th annual Suppression, Detection and Signaling Technical Working Conference is scheduled for March 22–25 at the Orlando DoubleTree Resort. A featured interactive workshop available to all attendees will provide the owner’s perspective and engineering solutions for Fire Protection Challenges in Telecommunications and Information Centers.
Keynote presentations at SUPDET 2011 include:
Residential sprinkler research on antifreeze and sloped ceiling effects;
The latest human behavior research and case study implementation of emergency communication messaging in the fire context;
Detection technology research updates from UL Oakridge National Labs and others;
Commodity classification and sprinkler protection of storage, including HVLS fans;
Naval Research Laboratory research updates on Hi-Ex foam.