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Popular Installers’ Townhall & Other Activities at 36th FSSA Meeting February 20, 2018

Posted by shawnpci in Fire Protection, Fire Systems, FSSA, Good Stuff to Share, NICET.
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The popular installers’ townhall meeting was held on the last day of the the 36th annual meeting of the Fire Suppression Systems Association at the Las Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage, California.

Over 100 installer member companies attended the morning meeting. A wide range of topics were covered including how to attract labor, best practices with design and estimating software, ideas on how to minimize employees use of smartphones while driving, and R&D tax credits available for contractors.

SFPE’s Victoria Valentine discusses fire system inspection, testing and maintenance awareness.

Participants offered examples and real-life experiences on several of the topics. Many attendees learned of new ways of looking at old problems. The 90 minute session went quickly as members exchanged views, ideas and opinions.

Prior to the close of the conference, FSSA members also attended sessions with topics ranging from turning system deficiencies into a profitable revenue stream; best practices for creating awareness of need for inspection, testing and maintenance as well as several supplier/vendor presentations from companies participating in the first ever Supplier Expo.

The 32nd annual meeting concludes today, February 20th.

36th Annual FSSA Meeting Highlights Industry’s Best February 18, 2018

Posted by shawnpci in Fire Protection, Fire Systems, FSSA, Good Stuff to Share, NFPA 770, NICET, Uncategorized.
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Members gather for start of 36th Annual FSSA Meeting

The start of the Fire Suppression Systems Association’s 36th Annual meeting featured presentations by many of the industry’s best practitioners.   Opening keynote speaker, Jim Smith, Jr gave an inspirational presentation on  the value of not just going “to” the next level, but “beyond”.  His message infused personal stories of triumph and failure as well as video selections and quotable quotes from a variety of sources on breaking down barriers to achieving one’s best.  He further challenged the attendees by asking them to pair-up and share their greatest accomplishments, goals, barriers, and action plans with each other.

A new feature of this year’s Annual Meeting was the presentation of unique application solutions by four selected member installers.  ASSI presented their solution and approach to protecting gloveboxes with high-air flows; BFPE showcased how they installed air-sampling detection throughout a famous alabaster-colored house in Washington, D.C.; Orr Protection highlighted the challenges of installing watermist in an unusual location under movable auditorium seats and Protectowire presented the application of their new fiber-optic based linear heat detector in a large aircraft service hanger.

The day’s presentations also included technical and NFPA updates from Technical Chair, Dan Hubert and Technical Director, Tom Wysocki.

The final presentation by BFPE highlighted their approach to acquiring and retaining the best help in a competitive employment market.

The FSSA’s Annual Meeting continues through Tuesday, February 20th.

Great Plains Fire Suppression Symposium To Highlight Industry Innovations August 31, 2016

Posted by shawnpci in Fire Protection, Fire Systems, FSSA, Iowa Alarm Association, NICET.
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The Great Plains Fire Suppression Symposium set for September 13, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska will highlight industry innovations in NFPA standards, agent delivery systems, fire extinguishing technology and ATF-mandated considerations.  Experts in all four subjects will present during the morning-long event.Fire Symposium logo

NFPA 3 and NFPA 4 Requirements for Delivering Higher Stakeholder Confidence will be presented by Shane Clary, Ph.D.  Vice President, Codes & Standards, Development;
Bay Alarm Co. and a member of both technical committees. He’ll provide background and insights on these important documents and outline key factors on how best to implement these requirements that bolster stakeholder confidence in all fire systems.

Innovations in Fire Suppression System Technologies provides an understanding from Tim Carman, P.E. Regional Sales Director; Janus Fire Systems on how maximizing agent delivery technologies are impacting fire suppression systems by using higher discharge pressures. Innovations like these are making fire suppression more affordable and accessible than ever.

Hybrid (Nitrogen-Water Mist) Fire Suppression Technology and the new NFPA 770 is a truly unique opportunity to learn directly from the patent holder, Robert Ballard, P.E. Fire Suppression Technology Manager with Victaulic, on how the advanced technology of hybrid fire suppression systems are addressing real-world applications. Plus an update on how the new NFPA 770 standard is being developed to address these systems.

Understanding ATF Regulations Affecting Fire Suppression Releasing Devices is crucial for anyone involved with such systems. Shane Mullen, Managing Director of Device Disposal and Consulting will highlight key requirements for safely handling and disposing of these devices.

The Symposium is a free half-day symposium dedicated to information and education for professionals involved with fire suppression as owners, consultants, specifiers, and end-users.  Continuing Education attendance credit will be provided to each attendee.  A buffet breakfast will also be provided.

Seating is limited, so reservations are required.  Visit www.protexcentral.com to learn more and register today!


February 1 Marks Protex Central’s 50th Year February 1, 2016

Posted by shawnpci in Change Leadership, Fire Protection, Fire Systems, FSSA, Good Stuff to Share, NICET, PSA, Security Systems.
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40510 50 Year LogoMonday, February 1, 2016, marks the 50th anniversary of Protex Central, Inc. For these past 50 years, Protex Central has been providing life safety systems and services to customers throughout Nebraska and Iowa.

With employees who are dedicated to providing the company’s core values through excellence, professionalism and integrity, Protex Central thrives in addressing key life safety and security issues for its customers.

Company founder and chairman of the board, Dennis J. Mullen, continues to djmpixmentor employees with his collaborative and professional approach to customer service. “People do business with people.” says Mullen. “Honesty and integrity are the backbone of the systems we provide and support for our customers. Take away either of those, and you have nothing of value to offer.”

Protex Central service representatives are on call and available 24/7. Service technicians are well versed in the inspection, maintenance and repair of all types of life safety systems including fire suppression systems. All technicians are manufacturer trained, licensed, and certified. The company has become skilled at developing a turn-key plan to deliver the needed level of response so customers will know their people and property are protected around the clock with Protex’s sole mission plan in mind – To strengthen our business by protecting yours!

By investing significant resources in the development of its professionals, Protex Central is uniquely positioned to best understand the needs of the industries it serves.

Protex Central continues to lead solutions in the fields of:

Fire Protection Systems
Clean Agent Fire Suppression Systems
Emergency Communication Systems
Explosion Protection Systems
Fire Extinguishers
Fire Suppression Systems
Fire Alarm and Detection Systems
Range Hood Fire Suppression Systems

Security Systems
Access Control
Closed Circuit TV (CCTV)
Nurse Call Systems
Sound/Intercom Systems

Life Safety System Services
On Site Service & Inspection
Remote Monitoring

Customers have come to know over these past 50 years that with Protex it’s the protection they pay for, but peace of mind is what they get.

Central Iowa Code Consortium Seeks Proposals August 4, 2015

Posted by shawnpci in Fire Protection, Fire Systems, Iowa Alarm Association, Mass Notification Systems.
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The Central Iowa Code Consortium (CICC) announced on August 1, 2015 that code proposals will be accepted for all of the International Code Council’s construction and maintenance codes through September 30, 2015.  During the coming months seven code committees, made up of local government and industry representatives, will review the 2015 editions of the International Codes as well as local proposed changes to those codes.Screen Shot 07-28-15 at 11.01 AM

The CICC is a collaborative effort between all participating communities to review code changes, recommend changes to these codes, and produce a metro “model” code for all communities to consider through their local code adoption process.  This project does not propose to make recommendations on permit process, code administration, appeals processes, or specific local amendments deemed necessary by local code officials.  The goal is to publish a metro code that would promote uniformity and consistency between local communities.

Central Iowa communities with memos of understanding in place to participate in the CICC process include:  Altoona, Ankeny, Bondurant, Carlisle, Clive, Des Moines, Grimes, Johnston, Norwalk, Pleasant Hill, Polk City, Urbandale, Waukee, Windsor Heights, West Des Moines and Polk County.

Anyone can submit code proposal through the on-line submission form located here.

For more information on the Capital Crossroads Vision, click here.

Data Center Fire Protection Challenges Highlighted at FSSA February 23, 2015

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FM Global, a recognized leader in loss prevention services worldwide, presented Challenges of Data Center Fire Protection to the delegates attending the Fire Suppression Systems Association’s 33rd Annual Meeting in Clearwater, Florida.

Robert Kasiski, a senior engineering specialist with FM Global, provided an engaging presentation of data center market statistics including total estimated worldwide data center floor space of over 286,000 square feet across over 509,000 centers. Additionally he noted that new technology and best-practices are increasing the need to be vigilant in providing proper fire protection coverage.
IMG_0648Kasiski noted that lithium ion batteries are becoming more prevalent in UPS rooms that support data centers. These alone present issues to assuring adequate protection from fire. Another emerging challenge deals with the myriad cables throughout a center that present one of the signle largest combustible loads. He noted that the practice of “retire-in-place” for legacy cables only compounds issues.

Noting that new server imersion technologies are being explored in data centers to mitigate cooling issues, Kasiski indiated this is an area of increasing research interest for his firm.

Several video clips of FM Global fire tests were shown involving cables, cable trays and other combustibles. The results of these tests were of great interest to the delegates.

The presentation concluded with Kasiski listing key issues going forward to be addressed not only by FM Global but the data center and fire protection communities including: understanding the consistency of change within a data center; identifying unrecognized hazards and accepting that current fire protection schemes may not meet the everchanging needs.

The Annual Meeting continues through Tuesday, February 24th.

Yes Virginia, Data Center Fires Really Do Happen November 26, 2014

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Responding to recent comments from a facility manager that fires in data centers are rare, Onward and Upward offers a recap of three such fires that have happened in the previous 11 months with details on each.

♦ A fully-powered, but unused transient-voltage surge suppressor (TVSS) failed in the Hoover State Office Building’s basement lHoover State Office Bldg.evel data center on the afternoon of February 18, 2014.  The failure caused significant damage to the unit and produced smoke throughout the room.  A quick-thinking employee activated a manual release station that discharged over 2,400 pounds of FM-200 clean fire-suppressing agent throughout the room and raised floor.  In addition, the agent release also triggered the emergency-power-off circuit dropping power to critical equipment.

The Des Moines, Iowa fire department responded within minutes of receiving the signal from the building’s automatic fire alarm system.  Upon arrival, the fire was extinguished and personnel were assessing the fire damage and working to restore operations.

♦  The catastrophic failure of a capacitor caused dense smoke to be generated within the cabinet of an uninterruptible UPS Failed Capacitorpower supply (UPS) unit at a central Iowa data center on March 19, 2014.  The FM-200 clean agent fire suppression system incorporated a VESDA air-sampling smoke detection system that quickly sensed the smoke and automatically released 385 pounds of agent.  The fire was extinguished by the time local fire teams arrived on the scene.

While the facility itself was unaffected by smoke damage or the clean agent discharge, it took over a day and a half for personnel to locate the failed component deep within the UPS unit.

♦ The malfunction over-heating of evaporator coils on a self-contained computer room air-conditioner ignited collected dust and paper filaments in the raised floor of a Des Moines area data room.  The slow smoldering of the materials was sensed by a smoke detector located under the raised floor on the evening of September 18, 2014.  A second smoke detector confirmed the smoke condition and initiated the discharge sequence that notified the building’s automatic fire alarm system and released 274 pounds of FM-200.

The small data room was unoccupied at the time of the event.  When facility and fire department personnel arrived, the fire was extinguished and there was no damage caused by the agent’s discharge.

While it maybe uncommon to have three events occur within a short time span, it’s clear that it’s not uncommon for fires to occur in data centers.  Each of these incidents could have easily gotten out-of-hand and escalated into major disruptions for these facilities.  However, because of forethought by prudent operators and well-designed and maintained clean agent fire suppression systems, the effects of each of these fires was minimized so that mission-critical functions could return to normal.

Des Moines Fire Department Revises License Policy December 31, 2013

Posted by shawnpci in Fire Protection, Fire Systems, Iowa Alarm Association.
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ScreenShot005The City of Des Moines Fire Prevention Bureau issued a policy statement dated November 14, 2013 clarifying its position on various licensing requirements related to fire alarm and fire suppression systems work.

FPB Policy 2013-1 references Section 104.1 of the 2012 International Fire Code (IFC) and is an official interpretation of relevant sections of the IFC, NFPA 72 The National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code as well as NFPA 17A Standard on Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishing Systems.

The statement goes on to state that persons performing work on either fire alarm systems or pre-engineered fire suppression systems within the City of Des Moines, must provide a copy of the applicable Iowa State Fire Marshal’s license for the system to be worked upon.

Previous licenses issued by the City of Des Moines Fire Prevention Bureau will no longer be valid.

For information on the licensing requirements of the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s office, visit http://www.dps.state.ia.us/fm/building/alarm/index.shtml.

NFPA Considering New Standard for Hybrid, Gas and Fine Water Droplet Systems May 23, 2013

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The NFPA Standards Council is considering a proposal by Victaulic for a proposed new standard for Hybrid, gas and fine water droplet systems. The Council is soliciting public comments on the need for the project, information on resources on the subject matter, those interested in participating on a technical committee if established, and experience in the intended application of this technology. The Council is specifically looking for manufacturers that logo_nfpaare actively developing hybrid droplet systems and whether there are enough common installation practices and procedures available to support a standard, and the intended application for this technology. The Council is also seeking input on whether the subject matter could be covered by an existing technical committee or possibly through the creation of a new document.

I’ve written to NFPA in support of such a standard’s creation.  Here’s my pitch:

As a 28 year veteran of the special hazards fire suppression industry and from my vantage point as past president of the Fire Suppression Systems Association, I write in support of a new standard for hybrid, gas and fine water droplet systems.

The innovative technology involved with these hybrid systems is not adequately addressed by any existing NFPA standard whether it be NFPA 13, NFPA 15, NFPA 750 or NFPA 2001. Because of the lack of any clear and definitive standard, these new hybrid systems are at a disadvantage in the marketplace. AHJ’s, insurance underwriters, owners, engineers and other stakeholders are reluctant to embrace these systems because of no nationally recognized standard to which they can look for guidance in the design, installation, testing and maintenance of these systems. Moreover, independent third party testing agencies are prevented from listing such systems without the existence of a nationally recognized standard from an organization such as NFPA.

As an installer of special hazards systems including clean agent and water mist systems, I see a clear need for an independent standard. Too often we see applications that have to settle for a less than optimum solution because there is no national standard to which they can turn for reference and support. This is a disservice to a marketplace that is innovating new products and systems, yet is prevented from the benefits of similar fire suppression innovation because of the lack of a standard.

I encourage NFPA to seriously consider the establishment of a separate standard for hybrid, gas and fine water droplet systems. If need be, I would be willing to consider submitting my qualifications and resume for membership on such a new standard committee. Feel free to contact me if I may be of further assistance to the Standards Council in considering this important request.

The public comment phase is open until May 30, 2013. Persons wishing to submit comments should address them to Amy Cronin, Standards Council Secretary and e-mail to mmanyard@nfpa.org.