Take Command

takecommand_coverTake Command: Lessons in Leadership: How to Be a First Responder in Business, is the best book I've read this year, and has found its way into my top 5 best books on leadership.  The author, Jake Wood,  is the CEO and co-founder of Team Rubicon, a non-profit disaster relief organisation.  Team Rubicon was started and runs on the military principals that Wood was able to hone as a Marine sniper. 

The books chapters are broken down into the four part process that leaders must take to move forward - prepare, analyze, decide, act.
Take Command provides practical guidance on preparing to lead and building teams, gather and interpreting information, weighing and accepting risk in decision making,  and taking the most intelligible course of action.

Wood defines a team as, "a group of individual egos, united in pursuit of a common mission or goal, often forgoing personal advancement and comfort for the sake of the whole."  (this type of team member is becoming a rare find).  But, Wood takes the team up another level, High-Impact Teams (HIT).  A high-impact team "is defined by some special internal characteristics along with some environmental ones."  A HIT must be faced with a daunting task or high stakes opportunity - a mission with high cost of failure but potential for great reward.  Additionally, the team "must be foolish enough to think it can make a change, daring enough to try, and persistent enough to have a chance."  These are the ingredients of a HIT - foolishness, daring, persistence.  To accomplish great things, and make a great impact, you need to create a high-impact team. 

The key component of working as a team is trust.  Wood explains that trust, and creating that trust, is composed of the four 'TRs":

Trust = Training + Transparency + Trial & Tribulation

Being an effective team requires competence, open and honest communication, and experience together.
Jake Wood discusses a military term that he applies at Team Rubicon, Commanders' Intent. A Commander's Intent is a form of communicating the mission to the team.  It provides critical information by answering the five W's:

Who, What, Where, When, Why

It then identifies the ideal end-state.  The expected outcome of the particular mission.  The final section defines the conditions and circumstances in which operations will cease.

This document is distributed to all team members a few days before any operation or business move.  The application of this document relies heavily on the trust relationship between team members and team leaders. By following the Commander's Intent team members are empowered to improvise or take initiative to accomplish the greater goal.

These are just two of the leadership gems that come from Take Command. This book is a must read for anyone who is a leader (whether by position, or in practice) or desires to lead.  As well as, contributing to leadership, the reading of this book can make anyone a better follower.

Take Command opens with this quote:
Of every one hundred men in battle, ten should not be there.  Eighty are nothing more than sheep.  Nine are the real fighters, we are lucky to have them since they make the battle.  Ah, but the one - one is the Warrior - and he brings the others home.
- Heraclitus, approximately 500 BC

Fire: The Burning Truth

The Burning Truth About Fire

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Buy Now, NFPA 409 - Resource Guide

What do you need to know about aircraft hangars?

Aviation facilities come with their own unique set of challenges, fire protection requirements, and construction guidelines.  Each of these is laid out in great detail within the pages of NFPA 409, Standard on Aircraft Hangars.

This training resources will enable your team to:

  • understand and identify the protection, construction, and maintenance requirements for aircraft hangars
  • practically apply the requirements of NFPA 409
  • implement a plan of action to ensure compliance with the standard

ORDER NOW - $37.97

- 92 page, soft cover book, NFPA 409 - Resource Guide
- .PDF version of NFPA 409 - Resource Guide
Powerpoint and Google Slides presentation 
- Instructors guide
- All checklists, tools, and resources needed for NFPA 409 compliance

NFPA 409 - Resource Guide

Through my career in fire protection, I came to the realization that most people really, truly, just don't know. They are not aware of fire protection and life safety requirements, they don't understand what they need to do to be in compliance, they are pulled in too many directions to focus on any one aspect of their facility.  This is even more true in the specialized field of aviation and aircraft hangars.

This is why I created the, NFPA 409 - Resource Guide.  This guide is meant to be a companion to NFPA 409, Standard on Aircraft Hangars.  The Resource Guide breaks down aircraft hangar requirements into a clear and concise process. It uses common terminology to describe hangar classifications, construction guidelines, and fire protection system installation and maintenance requirements.

The NFPA 409 - Resource Guide, includes all the materials necessary to train your staff or team members on the requirements and enforcement of the NFPA 409 standard.  These training materials include, a powerpoint slideshow, an instructors guide (what to say with each slide), and the audio recording of me presenting this information.  

The NFPA 409 - Resource Guide includes all checklists, tools, and referenced reading materials that a facility will need to maintain full compliance with the NFPA 409 standard.

This valuable training resource will enable your team to:

- understand and identify  the protection, construction, and maintenance requirements for aircraft hangars
- practically apply the requirements of NFPA 409
- implement a plan of action to ensure compliance with the standard

Product release date:  Available now!
Digital download price: $24.95 (available for 5 days only 11/10 - 11/15)
Print price: $34.97 (discounted rate for 5 days only 11/10 - 11/15)
Whats included: .PDF version of NFPA 409 - Resource Guide, audio recording of the presentation, powerpoint and Google slides slideshow, instructors guideall checklists, tools, and resources needed for a NFPA 409 compliance program. 

High-Cost of a Hangar System Discharge

NFPA 409, Standard on Aircraft Hangars clearly outlines fire protection system requirements, components, and design criteria.  These system designs are based on several factors including, hangar class, hangar size, fueled or unfueled storage, and the presence of hazardous operations.  These criteria are laid out in order to provide the greatest level of coverage and fire protection, with the least chance of a false activation or accidental discharge.

As we discuss these false activations, we are talking about an instance when the sprinkler and/or foam system activate, agent is expelled from the sprinkler heads, but there is no fire event in progress. The cost of an accidental discharge can be astronomical and have far-reaching consequences.  These costs are related to:
  1. Damage to aircraft
  2. Cost to recharge/refill foam supply
  3. Cost to retain and remove foam contaminant effluent
  4. Manpower costs
  5. Loss of future business
Foam and water discharge can cause significant damage to an aircraft engine and avionics, especially when the nacelle (casing around the engine) is open for servicing.  An almost equal amount of damage can be caused to sensitive electrical components if the system discharges into an open cockpit.  If a discharge happens under these conditions, each part must be inspected, cleaned, and treated.  A study by the Navy estimated the repair cost to be half that of a full replacement.

Based on where you look, the cost of foam (AFFF) concentrate starts at around $1,000 for 55 gallons. Hangars requiring foam systems would require thousands of gallons of this concentrate.  A 1,000 gallon tank recharge/refill could cost nearly $20,000. 

The foam discharged is required by environmental protection guidelines to be captured, retained, and properly disposed of.  If a system is activated, the discharge should flow into the trench drainage system, it would then flow to a holding area.  All the discharged liquid will have to be removed by tanker trucks, this would also have to include the wash down water from cleaning the foam residue left in the trench and on the hangar surfaces.  Low estimates for this are around $1 per gallon transported.

The clean up and additional aircraft maintenance and repair all require manpower.  This is unplanned work that an employee must be paid to fulfill (often at overtime pay rates).

Perhaps, the biggest cost, could be the economic factor, a loss of future business.  An accidental discharge could cause current and future customers to lack faith in the organization, stop current programs, or prohibit future purchases.  The loss of one large contract could put the company out of business.

The most common reason for a false activation or accidental discharge is improper maintenance and lack of following proper testing procedures.  NFPA 409 provides clear guidance on the inspection, testing, and maintenance of these systems.

The book and resource guide, NFPA 409 - Resource Guide, is available now.  This guide is intended to be used in conjunction with NFPA 409, Standard on Aircraft Hangars.  

The Resource Guide provides clarification on the code requirements, outlines hangar classifications, describes the construction process, and defines the fire protection system installation and maintenance procedures. Purchasing this guide provides access to a complete training program for you and your staff, an audio presentation, and a collection of checklists to ensure that compliance is maintained.  

Answer this in the comments section:
Have you ever experienced a false system discharge?  What was the root cause?

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NFPA and Aircraft Hangars

Storing and maintaining aircraft comes with its own unique set of hazards.  The primary hazard is concerned with the amount of fuel and the fire load and heat output that this fuel, if impinged upon by fire, would emit. In light of the unique hazards presented, the National Fire Protection Association, has identified special considerations for facilities housing aircraft and aircraft operations.

When searching the NFPA codes a good starting point is NFPA 101, Life Safety Code and NFPA 1, Fire Code.  NFPA 101 is helpful as it is separated by occupancy use/type.  Let's work step by step through the code.
  • We decide that the building will be used only for the storage of aircraft (as opposed to servicing)
  • We must go to Chapter 42, Storage Occupancies
  • The building must comply with all parts of this chapter
  • NFPA 101: 42.6 outlines, "Special Provisions for Aircraft Storage Hangars"
  • This lists several modifications for enhanced life safety and egress for buildings housing aircraft
Now let's assume that the building will be used for the servicing and maintenance of aircraft.
  • The occupancy type that this type of activity fits most closely into is "industrial"
    • NFPA 101: defines these as, " used for operations such as...assembling...finishing...repairing, and similar operations"
  • We must turn to Chapter 40, Industrial Occupancies
  • The building must comply with all parts of this chapter
  • NFPA 101: 40.6 outlines, "Special Provisions for Aircraft Servicing Hangars"
  • This section lists several modifications required to enhance life safety and egress functions
NFPA 1 is broken down into more "process based" sections.  Chapter 21, "Airports and Heliports" provide guidance on aviation facilities, including terminal buildings, rooftop helipads, and hangars.  The direction included in the above NFPA 101 sections is also listed here.  This section goes into further detail related to terminal buildings. NFPA 1: 21.1, states that the construction and protection of hangars shall comply with NFPA 409, Standard on Aircraft Hangars.  This standard is also referenced in the Annex A for NFPA 101:40.6 and NFPA 101:42.6.

As fire inspectors, fire protections specialists, facility managers, and aviation officials, we are pulled in many directions and expected to be knowledgeable in many different areas.  These codes NFPA 101:42.6 and NFPA 1:21 are a great place for the basic information.  However, NFPA 409 provides in-depth guidance for the construction, protection, and maintenance of aircraft hangars. 

My next post will discuss the high cost of non-compliance with these standards regarding the fire protection of aircraft hangars.

Answer this in the comments section below:
What are your biggest challenges related to aviation facilities and aircraft hangars?

Available now!