Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Story of American Aviation

Aviation found me. It found me nearly fifteen years ago, sitting in class at the fire academy. Out of nearly 400 hours of training to become a firefighter in the state of Florida, aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) is covered for about fifteen minutes. But, it was in these few minutes that I knew I wanted to work in the aviation industry, and ARFF specialty field.  My first fire department job out of the academy was indeed an aircraft rescue and firefighting job, a career I continue to enjoy to this day. 

I am proud to be part of the innovative and storied history, and continuing advancements, of the aviation industry. In 1946, Jim Ray, captured this history in his well written and beautifully illustrated book, The Story of American Aviation. Seventy-four years later, it is my privilege to be part of the team that has brought this book back into print. I consider it an honor to have written the foreword to this new edition.

Click to order.

Jim Ray described that his purpose for this book was “to trace the progress of aviation in America and to tell the story of the men and machines that have given this country supremacy in the air.” Those of use who are fortunate enough to work, play, or otherwise be involved in the aviation industry can consider ourselves part of this story, part of the tradition of men from all corners of the world who endured hardships, ridicule, injuries, and even death, to make flight possible. Our work everyday continues this mission!

In the concluding chapter Ray prophetically writes, “As a commercial transport, the airplane will also serve to keep the peace. Commercial airliners will make the world much smaller, and no nation will be a great distance from another. We shall all be able to travel by air to the most far-distant country in a matter of hours. All nations will be closer neighbors, and we shall all have a better understanding of our neighboring nations. The more we visit and mingle with the people of the entire world the more we can help to spread the doctrine of democracy of America. The airplane will play a great part in eliminating the greed and jealousy that breeds war. The young people of today will govern America tomorrow. The airplane will be the vehicle through which they will learn to know the peoples of the world. Through this better understanding America may always be the symbol of peace and prosperity.”

The Story of American Aviation shows us how we started and where we have been, however, this story is still being written. It was only through persistence that the Wright brothers were able to succeed where others had failed. It will be this same persistence that the miracle of flight, extending into space travel, will continue to be improved, developed, and the impossible to experience made possible. The miracle of flight continues its promise to take us ever farther and further!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

What our readers are reading?

A few months ago we conducted our annual reader survey, and the results are in! Though I use the survey to collect data and measure multiple points there are three areas that I am primarily concerned with - what is your #1 challenge and what are the most valuable posts (MVP’s). It is the answer to these two questions that let me know how this blog can better serve your needs.

#1 Challenge:
The primary challenges stated are all related to the topic of education. The educational challenges are related to one of three areas:
  • Codes, standards, and compliance - knowledge and interpretation of current codes and standards, and how to properly apply them for compliance.
  • Fire protection systems - understanding the guidelines, references, and standards for system designs
  • Building owners - educating building owners on codes and standards, and the importance of compliance, and how to achieve buy-in.

The most valuable posts to our readers are ones that provide explanations and details for specific codes and code sections. A good example is these top viewed posts:

Consistent with the above, many readers stated a desire for training products. These products could include webinars, in-person classes, and courses that provide CEU’s. Moving forward we will potentially be developing content, products, services, and opportunities that fill this need.

This reader survey also asked about what other blogs TheCodeCoach.com readers were also reading.  Here’s the top four blogs and sites that were listed:

As always, thank you for being dedicated readers.  I am always open to feedback and requests. Feel free to contact me anytime!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Introduction to ASTM E 119

The IBC, IFC, and NFPA require minimum fire-resistance ratings for various building materials, components, and assemblies. These fire-resistance ratings are based on the data and testing provided by ASTM, according to the procedures outlined in ASTM E 119. These codes point the user, by reference, to ASTM E 119,  Typically this reference is preceded by terminology such as, “...tested in accordance with”.

ASTM E 119 is the guiding document for the Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials. This document provides the fire-test-response criteria and procedures for structural materials used in building construction. The application of the test procedures contained in ASTM E 119 is to “evaluate the duration for which” building construction materials and assemblies can either contain a fire, retain structural integrity or both. The types of assemblies to be tested include, bearing walls and partitions, columns, floors and roofs, beams, and protective membranes. Specific requirements must be met for these building products to produce a successful (passing) result. These requirements are referred to as “conditions of acceptance”. The conditions of acceptance outline what makes a successful test. If these conditions are not met, then the material or assembly being tested will fail.

The fire-resistance of building materials is determined and based on the standard time-temperature curve. In this temperature controlled environment, building materials receive their hourly rating. The standard time-temperature curve looks like this:

The temperature is measured by the use of thermocouples strategically placed across the product or material to be tested. Utilizing the time temperature curve the temperature data produced by the thermocouples are read and recorded every five to ten minutes.

Both sides of the material, exposed and unexposed, are to be monitored by thermocouples. Both, the IBC and the NFPA, have requirements for nonsymmetrical building assemblies and components. Nonsymmetrical assemblies are constructed of different components on each side. Based on the order in which the materials are assembled, a fire will burn differently, or at a different rate, depending on which side the fire is on. The test report for these types of assemblies will indicate the fire-resistance rating for both sides. This is important to note, as some code requirements state that the fire-resistance rating should be based on the shortest test duration.

Building construction materials and assemblies can be subjected to two types of tests, the fire endurance test and the hose stream test. Based on the type of assembly being tested (floor, wall, column, etc.) there may be a requirement for a load to be applied. To successfully pass, the assembly or material must support the load throughout the duration of time that it is exposed to fire.  The hose stream test is conducted to measure the “impact, erosion, and cooling effects” of a hose stream on the heated surface of the test material. The test types and duration required will be based on the conditions of acceptance for the material being tested.

Video of ASTM E 119 test procedure:

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Ultimate Guide to Fire Door Inspections [for Facility Managers]

Current codes and standards require that all fire doors be inspected at least annually.  Facility managers and building owners are the responsible party for ensuring that these annual fire door inspections are conducted and documented. These inspections can be performed by a "qualified person" who has understanding and knowledge of fire door components, operations, and maintenance requirements.  Documentation of these inspections should be maintained and made available to the fire code official or other authority when requested.

Though it will not make anyone a "qualified person", this interactive guide will provides an educational overview of fire doors, installations, and inspections. Topics covered include:

  • Basic requirements for fire doors
  • Fire door components and installation
  • Inspection, testing, and maintenance requirements and resources.

Fire Doors for Fire Protection and Life Safety

Introduction to Passive Fire Protection - Gain an understanding of how fire doors interconnect with other passive building construction features to contribute fire protection and life safety.

Fire Doors? Whats the big deal? - A brief discussion of why fire doors are important and the the ratings permitted by the code.

Fire Door Testing, Components, and Installation

Testing Fire Doors - Video demonstrates fire door performance under various circumstances and installation.

Smoke Gasketing and Edge Sealing - A series of articles that discuss when and where smoke gasketing and edge sealing are required.

Proper Fire Door Installation - Video demonstrates techniques for proper fire door installation.

Benefits of Fire Door Commissioning - An introduction to fire system commissioning and the role it can play in ensuring proper fire door installation, operation, and maintenance.

Fire Door Inspections, Testing, and Maintenance

Five Step Fire Door Check - Tips for five items of a fire door that anyone can check to ensure operability. 

How to Conduct NFPA 80 Inspections - Tools and resources for creating and implementing a fire door inspection program.