2015 Year End Reading List

Here are the books I was reading in 2015:
  1. On Writing Well - William Zinsser
  2. Living the Quaker Way - Philip Gulley
  3. The Leadership Handbook - John Maxwell
  4. The Art of War - Sun Tzu
  5. Joyland - Stephen King
  6. Advanced Rhinocerology - Scott Alexander
  7. How to Sell Anything to Anybody - Joe Girard
  8. Giving Up Gimmicks - Brian Cosby
  9. Leadership 101 - John Maxwell
  10. The Navy Seal Art of War - Rob Roy
  11. Speedwealth - T. Harv Eker
  12. You Are A Writer - Jeff Goins
  13. The Hippie Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder - Skip Yowell
  14. Show Your Work - Austin Kleon
  15. Leaders Eat Last - Simon Sinek
  16. The Book in a Box Method - Tucker Max and Zach Obront
  17. Every Shot Must Have a Purpose - Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott
  18. The Surge - Larry Stockstill
  19. Fire Risk Assessments for Complex Buildings - Paul Bryant
  20. Design Intervention - Mel McGowan
  21. Why Church Buildings Matter - Tim Cool
  22. The 7 Laws of Teaching - John Milton Gregory
  23. Choose Yourself - James Altucher
  24. Content Machine - Dan Norris

Related Posts

Did you accomplish your goals?

Every month I provide an in-service training class to department personnel.  This training varies from items such as sprinkler and alarm systems, to facility hazards and risks, to department vision and values.  My favorite in-service training to deliver, however, is in December.  For this month's in-service training we review the year past and we look ahead to the coming year. This is an opportunity for everyone to see what goals were accomplished, and an opportunity to cast the vision for the coming year.

The end-of-year portion of the review provides a look back on the activities, updates, and facility upgrades that have taken place over the past year.  These are divided into the following sections:

  • New projects -
    • outlines progress, challenges, and wins for all new projects taking place; this also provides an opportunity to show applicability and effects of the project on the department and the customer.
  • Facility/Department -
    • share all safety/insurance/FAA audit inspection results; addresses current fire protection/life safety issues and concerns; introduce updates or revisions that have taken place within departmental SOG's/SOP's and operations manuals; provide updates on planned or completed projects (specific to facility or department).
  • Education/Training -
    • lists training classes that were provided, shows number of people trained, discusses benefit to the department and personnel, explains updates and expectations related to fire certifications and advancement
  • Inspections, by the numbers - 
    • annual inspection statistics are provided to show numbers of inspections performed, permits issued, system inspections completed, hours of fire watch conducted and similar items.
The 'look ahead' portion of the annual report paints a picture of things to come.  Items included in the look ahead are:
  • discussion of on-going projects
  • outline of goals and objectives for the coming year
  • provide guidance and direction for accomplishing these goals
If you do not currently conduct a end-of-year review, use this as guide.  If you have a different system, or think of other items that would be important to include, post that in the comments section below this post.

ARFF for Structural Departments

Airports that receive funding from, and are operated by, the FAA require ARFF (aircraft rescue and firefighting) operations and services.  These airports have dedicated, trained, aircraft rescue firefighters, that specialize in aircraft incidents.  These will be the first responders to any aircraft incident.  

What about private airports, fly-in communities, or aircraft maintenance facilities? Dedicated ARFF protection is not required.  Emergency response to an aircraft incident or to a structure fire on airport property will have to come from the municipal, primarily structural, fire department.

What does this mean?  What should be expected in airport facilities?  What dangers are associated with aircraft?  How can an effective response be carried out? What questions do we not know to ask?

Why church safety matters?

In Why Church Buildings Matter, Tim Cool writes:

The condition of your facility will speak volumes to guests.  It will communicate what the church values, which may be an indicator of how a guest may be treated as well.  As a guest to dozens of church facilities a year, the condition of the space and campus are first clue indicators to me as to what is important to that congregation or the leadership.  While it may not always be indicative of the desired culture, vision, and mission of the church, it is an indicator that will influence my overall impression.

Does your facility value a culture of protection, safety, and stewardship?  Are your fire protection systems properly installed and maintained? Are emergency plans in place? Can guest rest assured that your worship facility is truly a place of sanctuary?

Fire Safe Worship Space

Is it important for churches to consider fire protection, life safety, and security?  With the recent rise in church shooting incidents, church arson occurrences, structural failures, and other house of worship related incidents, many congregations are starting to debate the merits of physical protection for their facility.  

The members of a church and community have the expectation that the church building, worship facility, will truly be a place of sanctuary.  Being a place of safety and refuge requires three principles: - shepherding, standing, stewardship.

Shepherding. Shepherding is spoken of all throughout scripture.  The Lord is our Shepherd, pastors act as a shepherd, congregations are referred to as a flock.  With the title of ‘shepherd’ comes a certain set of responsibilities.  These responsibilities include:

  • Eliminating fear in dark and anxious times.
  • Guarding and watching over the flock.
  • Keeping the flock safe.
  • Restoring, reviving, and refreshing the flock.

In an environment that neglects safety and security features, it is not possible for the shepherd to fulfill his duties.  

Standing.  Many places of worship serve as a beacon of hope and light within their community  It only takes one fire incident, loss of life occurrence, or structural failure for this light to diminish. If the incident results in the destruction of the facility, physically this beacon is snuffed out. If these incidents are a result of negligence or carelessness, hopes are dashed, trust is lost, and the church’s impact in the community will suffer.

Stewardship. The church facility and ministry has been built on the faithful and generous giving of the congregation members.  It is the church’s responsibility to properly care for, steward, what has been received.  Proportionately, the amount of funds that go to support the facility and personnel, should be invested in the care and maintenance of the same.

The guidance provided in this short document provides a good starting point for the effective stewarding of resources, shepherding of the flock, and maintaining right standing within your community.

Building the Church

from Visioneering Studios
Worship facilities can be much more to a community than just a building.  A church, or house of worship, can be a vital part of the culture in which it is placed. If you are a church leader, architect, consultant, or a municipal AHJ there is a deeper level of planning and thought that should go into your new worship facility.

Design Intervention, by Mel McGowan, and Why Church Buildings Matter, by Tim Cool, are two excellent resources that outline the importance of these structures, and how they should fit into the community.  When these authors refer to a church building and the importance of these structures they are not referring to big box buildings, or steepled structures that create a real estate "black hole" in the community.  These "black hole" structures are those church buildings that sit empty for most of the time (except for a few hours on Saturdays or Sundays), and are not contributing anything to the community (tax base, services, or otherwise).

Both of these books, compare the church building to the Biblical equivalent of the town well.  The well was the central meeting place for the towns people. The well was a vital part of the culture. Life, and interactions, happened everyday at the well.  Church buildings should be designed in this way.  Church buildings should be structures that people are drawn to, they should be facilities that are open to the public all week, and from these, services should be provided, and community needs met.  The church building should be a vital part of the community in which it is placed.

With these design goals and objectives in mind, the church becomes a 24/7 operation, rather than a 1/1 institution.  These ideas will paint a different fire protection and life safety picture than what is typically thought of when reviewing requirements for a "house of worship".

With this in mind we have created a new ebook resource, Fire Safe Worship Space.  This booklet is written for church leaders and worship facility managers.  The book covers such topics as:
  • why fire protection and life safety matters
  • maintaining safe worship environments
  • considerations for church-based schools
  • things to consider when reviewing building plans

Beginners Guide to Fire Alarm Systems

Many facilities are equipped with a fire alarm system. Few people in these facilities actually know how the fire alarm functions, what its signals mean, or how to care for these systems.  This brief post will serve as introduction to the components, signal types, maintenance, and applicable codes for fire alarm systems.

System Components

Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP) - ‘brain’ of the alarm system; the panel controls all alarm functions, and sends and receives all signals

Initiating devices - these devices activate the fire alarm system and send signals to the fire alarm panel.  These devices include:
  • Heat/Smoke/Fire detectors
  • Pull stations
  • water flow devices

Notification appliances - these devices alert occupants to the presence of a fire. These devices include:
  • Strobes
  • Horn/strobes
  • Speakers

System Signals

Trouble - local signal that indicates a problem with the integrity of the system. This can indicate a wiring problem, communication error, or faulty device. A fire alarm technician must be called to investigate and correct this problem.

Supervisory - indicates the change of a device from its normal status.  A valve that is normally required to be in the open position is monitored; if this valve is closed a ‘supervisory’ signal will be sent to the panel.  This should be investigated by facility staff/personnel.

Alarm - indicates that a fire has been detected. Alarm system will be fully activated, horns, strobes, and speakers will sound. This is an emergency situation. Fire department should be contacted to respond.

System ITM

These systems are required to be fully tested at least annually. This test must be conducted by trained, qualified, and certified personnel.

Daily, monthly, semi-annual, and annual inspection, testing, and maintenance requirements are outlined in NFPA 72:14.3.

System Codes and Standards

NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code - covers all installation, testing, and maintenance requirements for fire alarm systems.

Specifying Hangar Doors

Schweiss Doors,

"When the doors need to open, it helps to have the right doors in place." 

When specifying a hangar door there will be a multitude of items to consider.  Our article, "Open Sesame", published in the October 2015 edition of Airport Businessprovides a guide to making good hangar door decisions.  The article includes:

  • An overview and description of the most common types of hangar doors.
  • Installation and maintenance costs associated with each type of door.
  • Fire code requirements for each classification of hangar and door type.

The 4 - 1 - 8 on Heliport Design

A heliport is defined as, "an identifiable area...used or intended to be used for landing and takeoff of helicopters."   NFPA 409, Standard on Aircraft Hangars  applies to all ground-level based aviation structures and facilities. Aviation facilities not at ground-level, meeting the definition of a heliport, must comply with the provisions of NFPA 418, Standard for Heliports.

"Heliport Monaco" by Neil Howard

NFPA 418 addresses the following heliport design and safety considerations:

  • Rooftop landing facilities
  • Rooftop hangars
  • Offshore heliports
  • Water supply
  • Emergency operations
Chapter 4 of this standard identifies the basic requirements for these facilities.  When reviewing plans for heliport facilities, the plans must meet the requirements of NFPA 418. Additionally, the facility must be designed in accordance with FAA A/C 150/5390-2B (this advisory circular has been updated to 150/5390-2C), Heliport Design Advisory Circular.   As a consultant, or design professional, these documents should be utilized together to create a complete fire protection, life safety, and code compliance strategy.  As a fire plans reviewer, the primary concern is NFPA 418 compliance. The local fire official should place the responsibility for FAA compliance on the structure's owner/engineer and can require an FAA special expert to ensure the proper design criteria is met.

In addition to meeting the requirements of NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code, tanks should be located per the requirements of NFPA 418. Flammable liquid, compressed gas, fuel storage, and liquefied gas storage tanks are not permitted to be installed within 50' of the FATO (final approach and takeoff area).  The required dimensions and space for the FATO are defined in FAA A/C 150/5390-2C.

Access for emergency response must be accessible, no fence or barrier that could prevent access is allowed to be installed.  A minimum of 2 access points to the landing pad are to be provided for fire department access.

All fueling systems are required to be installed in accordance with NFPA 407, Standard for Aircraft Fuel Servicing.  Fuel equipment cannot interfere with the FATO and safety obstruction clearances required by the FAA Advisory Circular. Additionally, the fueling equipment cannot be installed within 25' of a hangar or fixed fire protection equipment, or obstruct egress or emergency access points.

For emergency egress from the landing pad, two ways are to be provided.  These two means of egress are to be remotely located from each other and on different sides of the pad. A proper egress configuration is shown below:
image source: NFPA 418:A.4.8.1(b)

This is a brief outline of the basic protection requirements for heliport design.  Individual configurations are addressed by the NFPA 418 standard.  Each configuration will have additional requirements to be reviewed.

QA Inspections for Firestopping

The model code organizations, International Code Council (ICC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), each require special inspections for fire firestopping of penentrations and joints. These inspections are required to be conducted to ensure that the proper firestopping system has been utilized and installed properly.

Where is the requirement stated?

NFPA 1, Chapter 12, section 3 states that inspections must be conducted to ensure quality assurance for penetrations and joints.

The International Building Code, Section 1705.16 requires verification and inspection of fire-resistant penetatrations and joints.

When is an inspection required?

NFPA requires inspections of penetrations and joints, “In new buildings three stories or greater in height…” Additionally, fire-resistance rated assemblies in high-rise builidngs are to be visually inspected every 5 years.

The International Building Code, requires these inspections in all high-rise buildings (75’ high and over), and all buildings assigned a Risk Category of III and IV.  Buildings within these risk categories are those structures that “represent a substantial hazard to human life in the event of failure,” or those “designated as essential facilities”.  A complete list of these structures can be found in IBC 1604.5.

What inspection criteria is required?

These inspections will be conducted based on the following ASTM standards:

  • ASTM E2174, Standard Practice for On-site Inspection of Installed Fire Stops
  • ASTM E2393, Standard Practice for On-site Inspection of Installed Fire Resistive Joint Systems and Perimeter Fire Barriers

Additional Resources