Monday, July 20, 2015

How to Conduct Hydrant Flow Testing

photo by Jens Knudsen

NFPA 25, Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, requires all fire hydrants to be tested and inspected at least annually, and flow tested every 5 years. This applies to all fire hydrants that are on, and within, private property (shopping centers, mall property, parking lots, etc.).

NFPA 25, Table - frequency of inspections for hydrant components

These testing and inspection requirements are the responsibility of the “property owner or designated representative” and must be performed by “qualified personnel”.

NFPA 291, Recommended Practice for Fire Flow Testing and Marking of Hydrants, outlines the proper procedure required to perform the flow test, and the information to be documented.

The required equipment needed for this test is:
  • Flow test kit
  • (2) Hydrant wrenches
  • Hydrant flow test documentation
  • Hydrant number/location map

The flow testing procedure should be conducted, as follows:
  • Position one personnel at the test hydrant, and one at the flow hydrant.
    • Flow hydrant should be located downstream from the test hydrant, or next in line in direction of flow.
  • Attach gauge to test hydrant.
  • Open hydrant; record static pressure reading.
  • Record outlet coefficient size of flow hydrant.
  • Attach pitot gauge to flow hydrant.
  • Open hydrant; record pitot/flow gauge reading (flow for 2 minutes).
  • At test hydrant, record residual pressure reading (should not be less than 20% of flow)
  • Shut down flow hydrant.
  • Shut down test hydrant.
  • Disassemble gauges from hydrant.
  • Hydrant test is now complete.

Document all gauge readings and complete report.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hyperloop Safety Standard

The Hyperloop is a conceptual high-speed transportation system put forward by entrepreneur Elon Musk. In August 2013 Musk published a 57-page document, Hyperloop Alpha, summarizing his plans for the supersonic Hyperloop that might someday traverse the space between Los Angeles and San Francisco. This report focused on the economics and technology required to build such a system. 

The Hyperloop Alpha document briefly addresses safety and reliability concerns.  The Hyperloop as a new technology has many unique characteristics. These unique traits require specialized knowledge, expertise, and equipment to ensure that this mode of transportation is, indeed, “safer”.

As there does not currently exist a “safety standard” that addresses the Hyperloop mode of transport, it is proposed that a safety standard be created. has started the creation of this document This document is the beginning of this fire protection and life safety standard.  This document outlines specific concerns that should be addressed, and refers to standards that currently exist and can be applied to the Hyperloop.

The Hyperloop Safety Standard is not a fully developed solution. This document is intended to be dynamic. There are safety issues that are currently unforeseen, but will need to be addressed.  This document is intended to be open source so that members of the fire protection, life safety, and emergency services industries can contribute and create a comprehensive safety standard.

Click here to download the current document:  

Click here to to edit and add to the document:  

Our sincere desire is that this safety standard will stimulate discussion and thought on fire protection, life safety, and emergency preparedness features for the future design of the Hyperloop transportation system.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

How to House a Tyrannosaurus Rex

So, Masrani Global, just awarded you the contract to build the world’s greatest theme park, Jurassic World? Aside from knowing the codes for, helipads, sea ports, a state-of-the-art control center, and a massive water tank - the main question you should be asking yourself is, “how do you house a Tyrannosaurus Rex?”

NFPA 150, Standard on Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities provides a five step process for providing a safe environment for both, animals, and the humans that will be visiting them.

Step 1 - Determine the facility class. The first step to applying the code is to determine the facility class. The parks’ draw is the ability for guests to see and experience the prehistoric creatures, so regular public access and interaction with the animal is necessary.  Class 3 facilities are those that house animals with regular general public access.

Step 2 - Determine the animal category. All animals are classified as, either, Category A or Category B. The Tyrannosaurus rex is the largest, existing, meat-eating animal. This creature would “pose a potential risk to the health or safety of rescuers or the general public”, and would be “impossible or impractical to move.”  This classifies the T. rex as a Category A animal.

Step 3 - Determine the enclosure requirements. NFPA 150 requires that enclosures allow enough space for the “animal to express all species-typical postures, social adjustment, behaviors, and movements.”  Furthermore, the animal “shall be able to lie down with limbs extended”, without any obstructions from the enclosure itself. T. rex is 40’ long and 20’ tall.

NFPA 150 does not currently list the T. rex requirements in its minimum areas table in the Annex section of 7.3 (perhaps in the next revision).  However, the tallest animal that is listed, by comparison, is the giraffe.  The minimum enclosure requirements for a giraffe is 225 sq. ft. with 20’ high walls.  The bull elephant is about the equal weight of the T. rex- 15,000 lbs. For the bull elephant, NFPA 150, recommends a horizontal design force of 10,000 lbs., to a height of 8’ (for the giraffe).

Step 4 - Determine the egress requirements. The minimum width of egress openings is required to be “one-and-one-half times the largest average width” of the largest animal using the door.  A fully grown T. rex can be 8-10’ wide, so your minimum egress width will need to be approximately 15’.

Step 5 - Determine the fire protection/special hazard requirements. All facilities housing Category A animals are required to have a fire sprinklers throughout and a smoke control system installed.  A full fire alarm system is required in all Class 3 areas, and fire extinguishers with a rating of at least 2A:10BC is required to be within 50’ of travel.

No matter the animal size, Brachiosaurus to Compsognathus, by following these 5 steps you can protect these creatures from extinction, and ensure that they are with us, far into the future.

provided by, Zoon Solutions

Monday, June 15, 2015

Good Intentions - 10 Time Eaters That Will Keep You From Your Mission

It has been said, “the road to failure is paved with good intentions”.  Many in the work place have great ideas for innovation and improvement.  However, without a clear plan and sharp focus, these end up as just “great ideas” or “good intentions”.  

'Time' by Celestine Chua

In Company Officer, by Clinton Smoke, he lists ten “time eaters”.  These “time eaters” are items that creep in and distract you from your main goals and mission objectives.  Being aware of these is the first step in preventing them from derailing and distracting from the things that matter most.

  1. Lack of personal goals and objectives - have and maintain a clear vision of where you want to go
  2. Lack of planning - dedicate the end or beginning of each day to planning your schedule
  3. Procrastination - complete activities early in the day, do not put off activites that can be completed now for later
  4. Reacting to urgent events, often the result of procrastination - if your day is properly planned, and scheduled, an urgent event will not created major set-backs
  5. Telephone interruptions - keep unnecessary and unschedule phone calls short; turn off the phone when you need to stay focused on certain projects.
  6. Drop-in visitors - be nice, be polite, but be to the point with unscheduled guests
  7. Trying to do too much yourself - do the things only you can do, delegate the rest
  8. Ineffective delegation - delegate the right responsibilities to the right people
  9. Personal disorganization - do what is necessary to maintain focus and organization in your personal life and professional goals.
  10. Inability to say “no” - say ‘no’ to any tasks or items do not further your goals, or contribute to your plan/vision.

Take some time this week to review your goals and objectives, and act on your "good intentions".