Monday, April 24, 2017

Design Method for Aircraft Hangar Protection

NFPA 409, Standard on Aircraft Hangars defines hangar group classifications, construction features, and fire protection requirements for aircraft hangars. Group I and II hangars require foam and foam-water type systems.  The design the criteria for these is referenced in NFPA 409, Chapter 6. Determining the correct system design is essential to proper functioning of these systems.  In, Design of Special Hazard and Fire Alarm Systems, Robert Gagnon outlines a 12 step design method for aircraft hangar protection.





Step 1. Determine aircraft hangar group and select protection system type.
Each hangar group permits only specific types of fire protection systems designs. These options can include a foam-water deluge system, with underwing supplementary protection, automatic sprinkler with low-level foam, low-level high expansion foam, or a closed-head foam water system.

Step 2. Determine foam application time.


These times can vary based on the hangar group classification and foam systems utilized.
  • Low-expansion foam - 10 minute application time
  • High-expansion foam - 12 minute application time
  • Foam-water hand hose stations - 20 minute application time


Step 3. Determine system design density.


This will be based on the system coverage area, sprinkler spacing, type of foam used, and design density as outlined in the various component sections of NFPA 409:6.2.


Step 4. Estimate protection discharge rate.


Use the formula:
       D = (A) x (R)
D = foam solutions discharge rate, gpm
A= hangar floor area, square feet
R= application rate (from Step 3), gpm per square foot


Step 5. Estimate concentrate quantity for protection.


Use the formula:
    Q = (A) x (R) x (T) x (%)


Q= foam concentrate quantity, gallons
T= foam discharge time
% = concentrate percentage, decimal


Step 6. Determine aircraft wing area.  


Hangars that house aircraft having a wing area in excess of 3,000 sq.ft. are required to have supplementary under-wing protection. Without this under-wing protection the low-expansion foam system may be blocked from accessing the fire. The most common and effective supplementary under-wing protection is the use of oscillating monitors.




Step 7. Determine under-wing oscillating monitor location.


These should be located perpendicular to the fuselage to provide unobstructed protection beneath the wings.


Step 8. Determine oscillating monitor coverage area.


Monitors by different manufacturers will throw water in a certain radius and distance. When the radius is obtained the area of monitor coverage must be determined.  To determine coverage area use the following formula:
   Monitor area = [(3.1416) x (r2)] x (area of coverage/360)

Step 9. Apply oscillating monitor discharge time and application rate.


Discharge time is 10 minutes. Application rate is 0.10 gpm per square foot.


Step 10. Determine oscillating monitor discharge rate and concentrate quantity.


Use the formula:
   D = (A) x (R) x (N)
   Q = (A) x (R) x (N) x (T) x (%)


N = number of monitors installed


Step 11.  Determine supplementary hose discharge requirements.


A minimum of (2) hose lines at 60 gpm each for 20 minutes is required.


Step 12. Determine hose discharge rate and concentrate requirement.


Use the formula:
    D = (N) x (R)

    Q = (N) x (R) x (T) x (%)

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Fire Service Time Management [PODCAST]





Today's lean fire prevention organizations must function more effectively and efficiently than ever.  The key to achieving effectiveness and efficiency is time management. In his book, The Effective Executive, Peter Drucker provides a 3 step process for time management:
  1. Record time
  2. Manage time
  3. Consolidate time

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Time Management for the Fire Inspector

Today's lean fire prevention organizations must function more effectively and efficiently than ever.  The key to achieving effectiveness and efficiency is time management. NFPA 1730Standard on Organization and Deployment of Fire Prevention Inspection and Code Enforcement, Plan Review, Investigation, and Public Education Operations serves as a benchmark for the essential functions of a fire prevention organization or program.  Though, this standard requires only the essential items, even these can seem overwhelming to the understaffed, and overworked fire prevention organization. However, these, and much more, can be accomplished through the effective and efficient use of the inspectors time.  




In his book, The Effective Executive, Peter Drucker provides a 3 step process for time management:

  1. Record time
  2. Manage time
  3. Consolidate time
Time cannot be managed until it can first be found.  The first step toward time management is to record, track, and log how your time is currently being spent. The best way to accomplish this is through the use of a daily log. I always carry a notebook with me. I document every work task that I complete throughout the day. At the end of each day, I review where my time went that day and I prepare the next days schedule to determine where I want my time to go. At the end of each week I send out a an update e-mail on important projects and issues. This weekly activity provides another opportunity to review and evaluate where my time is being spent. At the end of each year I present all of our inspection data, numbers, and time to the department as bench-marking exercise.  Annually, our fire prevention personnel conduct a staffing/task analysis to determine what exactly is being done, how long it is taking to do, and if staffing levels are adequate. All these activities serve to ensure that our time is being used to its maximum potential.

After reviewing where our time is going, it must be managed. The best way to start managing your time is to diagnose and eliminate non-productive and wasteful activities. To determine if a task is non-productive, apply this 3 part 'diagnostic exam'.
  1. Does this activity need to be done at all? What would happen if it were never done again? 
  2. Can this activity be done by someone else? 
  3. Does this task waste other people's time?
Identify and eliminate those tasks that only serve to waste time and produce no results.  Only do the tasks that require you to do them, otherwise, delegate the task to others.  Eliminate those tasks that waste's others time, or find a more productive way to accomplish the goal, so that no ones time is wasted.

Finally, look at the time that you have and consolidate what is there.  This is commonly referred to as, "batching".  This is when you take the time available throughout the day, put that time together, and focus on specific task(s) completion.  It is best if this time can be uninterrupted.  Working in this manner is a more effective and efficient way of working than to jump from task to task, or working in spats of short time spans. For example, schedule all your plan reviews to be conducted on a certain day or portion of ("plan review day"), make one day your day for meetings, set aside a specific time to conduct inspections and stay within the geographical area. 

When considering time management for the fire inspector look to NFPA 1730. This standard provides a formula to determine the time requirements for common fire prevention tasks and demonstrates how to ensure that available time is being used most efficiently.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Agent Re-supply for ARFF Operations



How much fire extinguishing agent should an ARFF department have available? Is there a set amount of agent that is needed? What are some guidelines for determining agent quantity? 

NFPA 402, Guide for Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Operations, acknowledges that it would be impractical to keep a stock of extinguishing agent on hand for the worst case scenario.  To mitigate any issue of an extinguishing agent shortage, pre-arrangements should be made.  Pre-fire plans and mutual aid agreements should detail the expectations for additional agencies to provide aid in the form of bringing additional agent to the scene.  Support should be requested early in an incident.

The initial water supply on a piece of apparatus should be assumed to be used up within 5 minutes of the incident. Based on the fact that ARFF apparatus carry enough agent (foam) for at least 1 water refill, NFPA 403, Standard for Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting at Airports requires 100% refill capability within the critical rescue and firefighting access area.

The critical rescue and firefighting access area is a rectangular area extending 500 feet out from the centerline of the runway, and 3,300 feet beyond each end of the runway. It is within this space that most aircraft accidents are expected to occur.



To determine the 100% capability a needs analysis must be conducted. All water sources and refill capabilities should be assessed. Recommendations for meeting the 100% refill requirements should be made.  These recommendations may include water sources from:

  • Tankers or structural equipment
  • Hydrants
  • Mutual aid agreements
The critical concern is that water is available to provide continuous attack to the fire until extinguished.



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Monday, April 3, 2017

Six Presentation Strategies for Achieving Buy-In (Part 3)

This is Part 3 of a 6 part series collectively titled, McKinsey Method for Fire Protection Solutions. As you read keep in mind that these systems and processes can be applied to  fire protection organization and leadership, and to physical fire protection systems and components.





Even more challenging than creating a problem solution, is communicating that solution and having it accepted for implementation.  The solution presentation has to be structured in such a way that it can be communicated clearly and concisely.  The problem solution must be presented so that it is understood, and generates buy-in from necessary stakeholders and decision makers. Effective communication skills are key to this process.  


Management consultants are the experts in communicating solutions and achieving buy-in.  These skills are critical to their success. Studying and applying the strategies of the firms can enable fire service professionals to effectively communicate solutions to fire protection problems, or gain buy-in from community stakeholders for fire department initiatives.


To effectively present strategies that achieve buy-in, there are 6 steps that should be followed:
  1. Pre-wire the presentation.
  2. Know your audience.
  3. Outline and structure the presentation.
  4. Start with the conclusion.
  5. Make wise use of visual aids.
  6. Document sources.


Pre-wire the presentation.  Management consulting firm, McKinsey & Co. coined the term pre-wiring.  This is the process of taking your audience through the solutions before engaging in a formal presentation.  Pre-wiring the audience will help to avoid any surprises or unknown factors. The problem solution and recommendations should be sent out to the key decision-makers and stakeholders. From the comments and feedback a firm foundations for a successful presentation can be established. This pre-wiring process allows the presenter to:
  • Address major objections prior to the presentation
  • Build consensus in support of the solution
  • Understand audience mindset
  • Gauge reality and feasibility of findings


Know your audience. Any presentation should be custom tailored for the individuals that buy-in must be achieved from. The more that can be known about the audience the greater the chances of success. It is important to know the background, preferences, and communication style of the audience.
Different personalities require different presentation methods.  Does the audience prefer formal communication and presentations, or is a more informal approach acceptable? Is a large presentation in a boardroom required, or is a more intimate discussion most appropriate? Will the audience react better to a text based presentation, or an audio visual  show? Is a lecture based, question and answer, or hands-on format the best option?


Outline and structure the presentation. Any presentation should be structured in logical, clear, and easy-to-follow steps. The problem-solving framework used to reach the hypothesis (see the post, How to Analyze Fire Protection Problems) creates a natural outline for solution presentation. The exhibits used to establish the problem solutions can be compiled and plugged into place in the presentation.


Start with the conclusion.  State the problem solution and benefits in the first slide. Each point of the solution and benefits will make up a section of the presentation.  This method is referred to as inductive reasoning, and can be stated as, “We believe X because of A, B, and C.”


Make wise use of visual aids. There is seemingly no limitation to what can constitute a visual aid. These can  include charts and graphs, scaled models, product samples, and the list could go on.  When creating the presentation all options should be considered. Utilize the visual aid that will have the most impact on the decision-maker. When referencing charts or graphs in a presentation, only one message per chart should be conveyed, and the chart should be easy to read or have the pertinent information highlighted.


Document sources. Documenting all sources of data and information will provide direction for answering questions that may arise.  The referenced documents can serve as an authority outside of just the presenter.  Keeping track of the references and sources can prove useful for future projects.

Applying these six steps to any presentation will go a long way in ensuring successful buy-in.  No matter what process or presentation methods are utilized there is never any substitute for preparation.  The presenter must know the material and fully grasp the concept to be presented. Practicing the presentation multiple times will add to the natural flow of information.  Individuals who are regularly tasked with presenting ideas and solutions should continuously work and study the craft of communication.


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