Puget Sound, WA, USA

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We have decided to not this month due to COVID-19 concerns. This is probably an overabundance of caution but I hope you agree it is a reasonable decision. Part of this decision is some companies at which we might have the meeting are not allowing outside visitors right now as a policy.

Please leave any comments below, or you can always contact the chapter leadership team at sfpepnw.gmail.com.


Regards,

Mark R. Mannex, PE, FPE

Chapter President

February's Chapter meeting was a great one - other than attendance. A total of five attendees is not going to keep this chapter alive.

Those of you that did not attend missed a great technical presentation. Troy Wiltbank of Johnson Controls provided a very informative presentation regarding foam fire suppression systems. Troy is obviously an expert in this area. In particular, his knowledge of the issued and developing environmental regulations concerning AFFF really helped us understand the current and likely future options.

I say "likely" future options because the regulations that are controlling what kind of chemicals can be used are still variable. The current regulations are being phased in depending on the jurisdiction, which make keeping up with what is OK for a specific project difficult to determine. Recommendations regarding how to implement a system should also be considered, as some regulations prohibit new installations but not the purchase of AFFF concentrate to keep existing systems viable for some time.

Troy told us that is has been difficult to develop AFFF concentrates which meet the regulations. Current options are limited and are dependent on the type of chemicals needed (i.e., to address hydrocarbon fires or polar solvent fires, or both). Some applications can be addressed by high expansion foam systems, but not all.

There was a very good associated discussion among the attendees who shared their experiences, which varied significantly.

This was a great meeting. But attendance is obviously disappointing. On a personal note, what is really disappointing to me is the lack of feedback re why you are not attending. Location? Not a lunch meeting anymore? If it is technical content, I would be surprised as I have found the recent subjects informative and interesting. We are asking for input. Please reach out to the leadership team at sfpepnw@gmail.com or me by me cell at 425-922-6573. Our goal is a strong vibrant chapter - but chapter participation is at the core. I know you're busy - but an hour once a month is not much.


Mark. R. Mannex, PE, FPE

Chapter President

The first chapter meeting of 2020 kicked the year off in a great way! It was held at the FM Global offices in Bellevue on Tuesday 21 January from 4 to 5 pm. Parking was validated and snacks were provided.


Shelley Jin, a Fire Protection Consultant at Telgian Engineering & Consulting, provided this month’s excellent technical presentation: Comparing The Results of Full-Scale Fire Testing with Common Sprinkler Assumptions. Shelley discussed full scale fire testing that was performed at UL Laboratories per the request of Telgian with the intent of determining if existing sprinkler protection that does not conform to the current versions of applicable codes and standards (e.g., NFPA 13) would provide adequate fire protection for the unique and specific commodities and storage arrangements at their client’s locations.


This is an interesting aspect of fire protection engineering in which many consultants do not regularly engage. Prescriptively following a code or standard in new system design inherently involves the belief that the protection details provide adequate protection. But determining if an existing system which is not included in current design guidelines will provide adequate fire protection is a whole different ball game.

In determining “equivalence” to the standard’s protection requirements, what is “adequate” fire protection? Is it “adequate”, or “equivalent”, or “tolerable”, or…? Each of those designations can imply a different comparison between the performance of the existing system under examination with the performance of a new system per codes and standards.


Shelley provided an overview of current prescriptive regulations and requirements for creating sprinkler systems, which are largely based on full-scale fire testing. She then discussed the results of the full-scale fire testing which indicated that some of the objectives of protecting storage with large orifice sprinklers can be met with 5.6K and 8.0K sprinklers. Blocked flue spaces and aisle storage were included in the objectives of the testing, which indicated they can be mitigated with the right ceiling only sprinkler system.


The audience raised some good questions. Several technical aspects of the system installation such as storage height and commodity were considered. Also discussed was how the AHJs in different jurisdictions with different backgrounds and technical skills deal with the equivalence approach. Overall, an interesting presentation and conversation.


Networking continued for almost an hour after the event with several groups discussing what’s happening in the region with jobs, projects, and just getting acquainted. It’s nice to see this social aspect realized as an important positive benefit of coming to the meetings.


As always, give me a call if you want to talk about this meeting or any other subject regarding the SFPE Northwest chapter - or email the chapter leadership at SFPEPNW@gmail.com.


Thanks, and here’s looking forward to a great 2020.


Mark R. Mannex, PE, FPE

Chapter President

cell 425-922-6573