AUTHOR: Victoria Hutchison

High ceilings

New RFP Open, Due October 14, for FPRF Project: Smoke Detector Spacing on High Ceilings – Phase II

The Fire Protection Research Foundation is seeking proposals to identify a project contractor for a new project aiming to develop guidance for the installation of smoke detectors on smooth ceilings over 10 ft (3 m) in height that can be used as the technical basis for any changes to applicable codes and standards. As background, there has been confusion in design and code enforcement communities on what to do when smoke detectors are installed on ceilings higher than 10 ft (3 m). While NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®, contains a table that allows for reduction of spacing for heat detection, it does not address spacing considerations for smoke detection based on ceiling heights. A previous literature review and gap analysis study on smoke detectors in high ceiling spaces was published by the Research Foundation in 2017. The outcomes of this study indicated that there was limited context and significant knowledge gaps that preclude the formulation of scientifically justified prescriptive requirements regarding smoke detector spacing relative to ceiling height. This study outlined a path forward to better characterize smoke detector spacing in high ceilings, such as by establishing a performance metric for smoke detectors that can be applied to high ceilings. Since the fire protection industry still needs additional information on the impact of ceiling height and detector spacing on smoke detection performance, the Research Foundation has initiated a project to address this issue through a literature review, data collection, modeling, and validation testing effort. The overarching objective of this study is to develop prescriptive guidance on the spacing of smoke detectors on ceiling heights greater than 10 ft (3 m) and specify the height at which performance-based strategies should be leveraged.  The open RFP seeking a contractor for the “Smoke Detector Spacing on High Ceilings – Phase II” project is available here or on the Foundation’s website. Instructions on how to respond are included in the RFP. Please submit your proposals to Victoria Hutchison by October 14, 2022, at 5 p.m. ET.
Items on a desk

Fire Protection Research Foundation 2021 Semi-Annual Activity Summary

Have you missed what’s been going on at the Fire Protection Research Foundation? Learn about our new projects on Alarm Technologies for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Population, Phase II of Oxygen Reduction Systems for Warehouse Storage Applications, the Economic Impact of Fire Protection and more. Catch up on our nine recently completed research reports and project summaries ranging from the FF Breathing Air Replenishment Systems Report to workshop proceedings on preparing for disasters and advancing WUI resiliency. If you missed out on any of several articles on exciting FPRF projects, please check out the podcast on Cybersecurity in Building Systems, watch the Learn Something New video about what you may not know about carbon monoxide poisoning and alarms, or catch up on one of our past five webinars on building, life safety and suppression topics. Upcoming events include a webinar on Traditional and Particulate-Blocking Hoods on August 4th, 12:30-2pm, and the SUPDET/AUBE conference to be held September 21-23 in Germany which provides updates on the latest research and applications for suppression (i.e. ”SUP”) and detection (i.e.“DET”) systems. (In person and virtual attendance options are available). For the complete list of current FPRF projects, visit here. The latest information and knowledge from the Foundation is provided here, at a glance: 2021 Q1 & Q2 Completed Projects New Projects initiated in 2021 Variables impacting the probability and severity of Dust Explosions in Dust Collectors Carbon Monoxide Detection and Alarm Requirements Public Safety sUAS Compliance Training Workshop Proceedings NFPA 1700, Guide for Structural Fire Fighting Online Training Preparing for Disaster: Workshop on Advancing WUI Resilience Analysis of Firefighting Breathing Air Replenishment Systems Fireground Exposures of Firefighters: A Literature Review Fire Safety in the US since 1980 (Advisory Service) ITM Data Exchange Workshop Proceedings   Impact of Medications on Older Adult Fall and Fire Risk - Remembering When Revisited Oxygen Reduction Systems for Warehouse Storage Applications- Phase II Review of Alarm Technologies for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Population CaReDeX: Enabling Disaster Resilience in Aging Communities via a Secure Data Exchange Static Electricity Incident Review Fires in Animal Housing Facilities Economic Impact of Fire Protection   Featured publications from 2021 Q1 & Q2 (representative sample) NFPA Journal – Disrupting the Flow on FPRF “Impact of Obstructions on ESFR Sprinklers” research program. NFPA Journal – Building Cybersecurity “Weak Spots” on FPRF “Cybersecurity for Fire Protection Systems” project. NFPA Journal – A Better Fit on “Female Firefighter PPE” project with Florida State University. NFPA Journal – General Negligence on FPRF “Carbon Monoxide Detection and Alarm Requirements” project. NFPA Journal Column – Green Questions on FPRF “Fire Safety Challenges of Green Buildings” project. Fire Technology – Fire Hazard Analysis of Modern Vehicles in Parking Facilities. SFPE Fire Protection Engineering Magazine – Modern Vehicle Fire Hazards. Safety Science – The simulation of wildland-urban interface fire evacuation: The WUI-NITY platform. UK Fire Magazine – Evidence-based recommendations for structural firefighting now available in NFPA 1700. International Fire Protection – on “Modern Vehicle Hazards in Parking Garages” research. Healthcare Facility Management (HFM) – “Cybersecurity and Fire Protection – Is your system a pathway for internet attacks?” NFPA Journal – A New Approach to ITM on FPRF “ITM Data Exchange” research project. NFPA Journal – Happy Camper? on FPRF “Damage and Loss Assessment of Recreational Vehicles” report. NFPA Journal ‘In Compliance’ – Protecting against the ‘Silent Killer’: Carbon Monoxide Requirements in the Life Safety Code on FPRF “CO Detection and Alarm Requirements: Literature Review” study. NFPA Journal – Battered Batteries on FPRF work on Electric Vehicles Industrial Fire World – Fluorine Free Foam (F3) Research Highlights Major Deficiencieson FPRF Fluorine-Free Foam work. Multi-media Podcast – Cybersecurity in Building Systems- Interview with Tyler Robinson from FPRF Technical Panel for “Cybersecurity for Fire Protection Systems” project. Podcast – A Better Fit – Interview with Meredith McQuerry, lead researcher from Florida State University, regarding a FRPF Advisory Service Project onthe design and fit of “Female Firefighter PPE”. Podcast - The Evolving Science of Firefighting – Dan Madrzykowski and Stephen Kerber, UL FSRI, discuss findings of their extensive research and how this knowledge has been collected and distilled into NFPA 1700. Podcast – Fires and Recreational Vehicles - Interview with Doug Mulvaney from Campgrounds of America Video – Learn Something New “What you didn’t know about Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and Alarms” Video –Key findings of the “Damage and Loss Assessment of Recreational Vehicles” report. Video – Learn Something New “The Modern US Fire Problem” on the “Fire Safety in the US” project. 2021 Q1 & Q2 webinar update Upcoming Webinars FPRF Webinar: Traditional and Particulate-Blocking Hoods: Pros, Cons, and Trade-Offs, on August 4th, 12:30-2pm ET. Register here. FPRF Webinar Panel Discussion: Cybersecurity for Fire Protection Systems in September 2021 (Date – TBD) from 12:30 – 2:00 pm ET. Other news FPRF launched a new paid “Energy Storage Research Consortium” to support research planning and implementation of projects to fill data gaps for emerging technologies. Email research@nfpa.org for more information. SUPDET/AUBE 2021, The Research Foundation’s Annual “Suppression, Detection, Signaling and Applications” Conference in collaboration with the University of Duisburg-Essen’s AUBE Conference, will be held September 21 – 23, 2021 in Mulheim an der Ruhr, Germany. In-person and virtual attendance options are available. Register here. 2021 Foundation Medal was awarded to: Evaluation of fire protection effectiveness of fluorine free firefighting foams project by Jensen Hughes & Naval Research Laboratory. Holistic Protection Method of Top-Loading Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems (January 27). Access the webinar here. Obstructions and Early Suppression Fast Response Sprinklers (February 10). Access the webinar here. Combustible Gas Dispersion and Detector Location Analysis in Residential Occupancies (March 10). Access the webinar here. FPRF Webinar: “Fire Safety Challenges of Green Building and Attributes” on April 14, 2021. Access the webinar recording here. FPRF Webinar: “ITM Data Exchange: New Frontier of Standardization to Support Reliability Analyses” on June 29, 2021. Access the webinar recording here. Check out our quarterly newsletter, available at www.nfpa.org/foundation, to stay up to date on the latest information, knowledge, and events from the Foundation.
Testing and maintenance

Research Foundation workshop proceedings and webinar recording on “ITM Data Exchange: New Frontier of Standardization to Support Reliability Analyses” is now available

Fire protection systems are an essential part of a building’s safety ecosystem. The installation of such systems is just the beginning of a more dynamic safety process that requires diligent inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) efforts. ITM plays a significant, fundamental role in managing facility risks, and ensures that systems will activate as intended, when needed, and ultimately minimize downtime — because down time equates to accumulated risk. There are nearly 70 NFPA codes and standards requiring some form of ITM. In recent years, there has been interest in using inspection, testing, and maintenance activity data to inform decisions related to system reliability, risk acceptability, and ITM frequencies. These data are being captured in thousands of different formats, through hundreds of different approaches, and by thousands of different groups, but one key element has been lacking to date - standardization. This void has restricted the ability to determine sound performance-based inspection frequencies and prevents stakeholders from exchanging and analyzing data that can influence safety and efficiencies. To address this need, a novel approach to standardizing ITM data using concepts of linked data and graph-modeling was pilot tested through a Fire Protection Research Foundation project. The project developed a proof-of-concept comprehensive, scalable, and extensible ITM data exchange model that can facilitate data sharing from diverse data sources to support reliability analyses and predictive analytics. Guided by the concepts of fair data principles, this case study demonstrated how graph-modeling and other cutting-edge techniques are being leveraged to collect and consolidate data to enable further analysis, reporting, and sharing of ITM data for the needs of various stakeholder groups. Earlier in January 2021, the FPRF hosted a workshop with various stakeholders including AHJ’s, facility managers, building owners, fire protection contractors, inspectors, fire protection engineers or consultants, codes & standards representatives, fire protection manufacturers, insurers, data solution providers and other relevant stakeholders. The primary objectives of this workshop were to: Review the developed ITM Data Exchange model and the supporting material and provide a forum for stakeholders to provide feedback on the developed model and analytics dashboard. The workshop also touched on aspects such as how to move this concept forward as a community, how to develop and implement a community review and update process, and how to leverage this data model to share and exchange data to support analyses for the benefit of the fire protection community. The outcomes from this workshop are summarized in the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance (ITM) Data Exchange Model Workshop Proceedings, which are now accessible on the FPRF website. The Foundation also presented this ITM data exchange model as a webinar on June 29, 2021, as a part of their 2021 webinar series. If you missed attending the webinar live, the webinar recording is now available for viewing here. Visit www.nfpa.org/webinars for more upcoming NFPA and FPRF webinars and archives.
Testing and maintenance

Research Foundation webinar on “ITM Data Exchange: New Frontier of Standardization to Support Reliability Analyses”

Fire protection systems are an essential part of a building’s safety ecosystem. The installation of such systems is just the beginning of a more dynamic safety process that requires diligent inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) efforts. ITM plays a significant, fundamental role in managing facility risks, and ensures that systems will activate as intended, when needed, and ultimately minimize downtime — because down time equates to accumulated risk. There are nearly 70 NFPA codes and standards requiring some form of ITM. In recent years, there has been interest in using ITM activity data to inform decisions related to system reliability, risk acceptability, and ITM frequencies. These data are being captured in thousands of different formats, through hundreds of different approaches, and by thousands of different groups, but one key element has been lacking to date - standardization. This void has restricted the ability to determine sound performance-based inspection frequencies and prevents stakeholders from exchanging and analyzing data that can influence safety and efficiencies. To address this need, a novel approach to standardizing ITM data using concepts of linked data and graph-modeling is being pilot tested through this ongoing Fire Protection Research Foundation project. This webinar will present a proof-of-concept comprehensive, scalable, and extensible ITM data exchange model that can facilitate data sharing from diverse data sources to support reliability analyses and predictive analytics. Guided by the concepts of fair data principles, this case study will demonstrate how graph-modeling and other cutting-edge techniques are being leveraged to collect and consolidate data to enable further analysis, reporting, and sharing of ITM data for the needs of various stakeholder groups. Register for this webinar today. When: Tuesday, June 29, 2021, 12:30 P.M. Eastern Time. Presenter: Bart van Leeuwen, Netage BV This webinar is supported by the Research Foundation 2021 Webinar Series Sponsors: APA – The Engineered Wood Association AXA XL Risk Consulting Johnson Controls Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., Inc. Telgian Engineering and Consulting The Zurich Services Corporation Visit www.nfpa.org/webinars for more upcoming NFPA & FPRF webinars and archives.
Parking garage

RFP now open for FPRF Project: Electric Vehicle Hazards in Parking Structures – Full-Scale Testing

Vehicles have changed significantly over the years. They now incorporate larger quantities of combustible materials (e.g. fuels, plastics, synthetic materials, etc.) into their designs, but there has also been significant advancement in the use and development of alternative fuels for the drive engine. Globally, battery electric vehicles (EV) are seeing significant growth because of their minimal impact on the environment, advancement in the vehicle technology, and government incentive programs. EV sales are expected to increase from 2.5 million in 2020 to 11.2 million in 2025, then reaching 31.1 million by 2030. The Fire Protection Research Foundation recently completed a Phase I project with Combustion Science and Engineering, Inc. (CSE) on “Modern Vehicle Hazards in Parking Structures and Vehicle Carriers” to document the current understanding of the fire hazard modern vehicles present to parking structures and marine vessels. The findings of the study indicated that the spread of fire between cars in a garage, especially from the initial to the second and third vehicles, is critical in determining the extent of the fire and the ability of the fire department to successfully control and extinguish it. Full-scale testing with a range of configurations was identified as a necessary next step to evaluate the spread dynamics and critical parameters that influence electric vehicle fires. Our next step is to continue working with CSE and a testing contractor (to be selected via this open RFP process) on a follow-up project to fill some of the identified knowledge gaps – namely quantifying the fire spread hazards of electric vehicles in parking garages settings and the impact of fire sprinklers. The full scope of this FPRF project is provided here. The intent of this RFP is to solicit proposals from organizations with large-scale fire testing capabilities who can accommodate the proposed vehicle fire tests specified in this RFP. The open RFP seeking a testing contractor is available here, and on the Foundation’s website. Note the full scope of work, including both the testing and the engineering and analysis portions to be carried out by Combustion Science and Engineering, is available here, for reference. Please submit your proposals to Victoria Hutchison by July 2, 2021, at 5 p.m. EST.
Person who is hard of hearing

Survey opportunity for those who are deaf or hard of hearing – What alarm technologies work for you?

It is estimated that almost 1 out of 100 Americans over the age of twelve experience hearing loss classified as severe (>60 through 80 dBA) or profound (>80 dBA) hearing loss, and more than 14 out of 100 Americans over the age of twelve experience hearing loss to some degree. An important shortcoming of commonly used audible alarms is their inability to warn people who are deaf, and to some extent those who are hard of hearing. This effect is further enhanced when people are asleep. It is recognized that people who are deaf or hard of hearing often have to compensate by using alternative devices such as bed shakers, pillow shakers, or portable devices that alert them of alarm activation in an emergency. Despite the critical role these devices play in life safety for people with hearing loss, their suitability, reliability, potential applications and uses in current and future buildings needed further study. So the Fire Protection Research Foundation, NFPA’s research affiliate initiated a research study to develop resources on and provide a review of the currently available alternative alarm and detection technologies and their respective characteristics, use cases, regulations and certification and approval processes for the deaf and hard of hearing community. To meet the project objectives, it is imperative for the voice of the deaf and hard of hearing community to be heard. Thus, we would like to inform you of an opportunity to participate in an anonymous questionnaire which has been created as part of this research study to gain insight from you, and others you may know, regarding fire alarm technologies that may be utilized for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. We are specifically interested in experiences you have had with technologies, as well as characteristics or function of these technologies that you deem the most important. Get more information and see the survey. If interested in participating, we ask that you please provide your response by July 31, 2021.

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