Saturday, March 15, 2014

Become a Fire Protection Champion



This week I had the privilege of attending an ORR Protection Systems "Training with the Experts" seminar.  The theme is Become a Fire Protection Champion: Carry the Torch of Life Safety: Inspecting, Testing, and Designing for Serviceability.  This seminar is four hours packed with useful information and valuable resources. 

The expert presenter is Lee Kaiser, Engineering Manager for ORR, he has a personality that is instantly likable.  He presented the information in an entertaining and informative manner, without the use of engineering terms and gobbledygook.  His presentation style adequately engages the mixed audience of facility managers, architects, engineers, inspectors, public fire service personnel, and AHJ's.

The seminar very adequately accomplished its stated goal of helping "you understand the essential elements of your life safety fire systems, the current NFPA code changes you need to know, and what is required for inspection, testing, and maintenance to keep your facilities in compliance."

This seminars objectives are:
  • Learn the key elements for Inspection, Testing & Maintenance of sprinkler, fire alarm, and suppression systems.
  • Discover how to avoid the biggest fire system design problems that can cause maintenance nightmares for facility managers.
  • Learn how to react properly to fire panel alarms, as well as supervisory and trouble signals.
  • Learn what the NFPA code requires for building compliance.

Especially beneficial, for me, was their bonus session.  The bonus session is all about air sampling smoke detection and VESDA systems.  These are systems that many jurisdictions and AHJ's, myself included, do not get much experience with.   So, it was very helpful to get an overview of these systems and obtain an understanding of how they work.

This seminar is traveling the country through May.  They are coming to a city near you!  Click the link below for dates and to register!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sprinklers where required...


Reading through the NFPA standards, one consistently comes upon the phrase "sprinklers where required".  However, in order to find where they are, or may be, required, involves some searching through the code book.  The IFC more conveniently lists the occupancies requiring fire protection under the fire sprinkler section.  

The below is a tool that can be used as a quick guide to what occupancies require fire sprinklers, and where the code can be referenced.

Download a printable version of this document.

                       

Assembly Occupancy (12.3.5/13.3.5):
  • New
    • all of the following (12.3.5.1):
      • bars w/live entertainment
      • dance halls
      • discotheques
      • nightclubs
      • assemblies with festival seating
        • a form of audience/spectator accommodation in which no seating, other than a floor or finished ground level, is provided for the audience/spectators gathered to observe a performance (3.3.221.1)
    • where aggregate occupant load exceeds 300 (12.3.5.2, exception in 12.3.5.3)
  • Existing
    • where occupant load exceeds 100 in the following:
      • bars w/llive entertainment
      • dance halls
      • discotheques
      • nightclubs
      • assemblies with festival seating
    • exhibition or display areas greater than 15,000sq.ft. (see exception in 13.3.5.3)

Educational Occupancy (14.3.5/15.3.5):
  • New
    • buildings exceeding 20,000sq.ft.
    • four or more stories in height
    • portions below level of exit discharge
    • with unprotected openings in accordance with 8.6.6
  • Existing
    • floors below level of exit discharge (see exception in 15.3.5.3)
    • with unprotected openings in accordance with 8.6.6

Day-Care Occupancy (16.3.5/17.3.5):
  • New and Existing
    • areas with unprotected openings per 8.6.6

Health Care Occupancy (18.3.5/19.3.5):
  • New
    • required throughout (alternative allowed for Type I or Type II construction, per 18.3.5.5)
  • Existing
    • throughout buildings containing nursing homes
    • high-rise buildings
    • buildings containing these facilities of the types specified in 19.1.6
    • alternative allowed for Type I or Type II construction, per 19.3.5.5

Ambulatory Health Care Occupancy (20.3.5.1/21.3.5.1):
  • New and Existing
    • isolated hazardous areas to be protected in accordance with 9.7.1.2

Detention and Correctional Occupancy (22.3.5/23.3.5):
  • New and Existing
    • high-rise buildings
    • use condition I, II, III, IV, and V (as defined in 22.1.4)
    • standpipes required
      • class I - all buildings 3 or more stories in height
      • class III - nonsprinklered buildings 3 or more stories in height
      • also, see exceptions in 22.3.5.6

Lodging or Rooming Houses (26.3.6):
  • all new, except those meeting the following:
    • sleeping rooms having a door that opens directly to the outside

Hotels and Dormitories (28.3.5):
  • New
    • all new, except those meeting the following:
      • suites that have a door opening directly to the outside at ground level
      • those having exterior exit access arranged in accordance wih 7.5.3, in buildings 3 or fewer stories
    • hazardous areas listed in Table 28.3.2.2.2.
  • Existing
    • high-rise buildings, with rooms not having direct exterior exit access
    • hazardous areas listed in Table 29.3.2.2.2

Apartment Buildings (30.3.5/31.3.5):
  • New
    • required throughout
  • Existing
    • high-rise buildings, with rooms not having direct exterior exit access
    • hazardous areas listed in Table 31.3.2.1.1

Board and Care Occupancy (32.3.3.5/33.3.3.5):
  • New
    • required throughout
  • Existing
    • high-rise buildings
    • hazardous areas per 33.2.3.2



Mercantile Occupancy (36.3.5/37.3.5):
  • New
    • throughout all if 3 or more stories in height
    • exceeding 12,000sq.ft.
    • below level of exit discharge if:
      • greater than 2500sq.ft.
      • space used for sale, storage, handling of combustible goods
  • Existing
    • anything over one-story that meets the following:
      • any story over 15,000sq.ft.
      • exceeding 30,000sq.ft. in total area
      • below level of exit discharge if:
        • greater than 2500sq.ft.
        • used for sale, storage, handling of combustible goods
    • multiple occupancis protected as mixed occupancies, see 37.3.5(4)

Business Occupancy (38.3.2.2/39.3.2.2):
  • New and Existing
    • high hazard contents areas only

Industrial Occupancy (40.3.2):
  • required throughout high hazard occuapncies, operations, or processes

Storage Occupancy (42.4):
  • new high-rise storage facilities