I am thrilled to say that this website has been up and running with content now for five years!
In the Summer 2016 I came to a realization that we needed a platform to celebrate and promote best practices in fire protection. I saw many common challenges that people faced everyday without a way to collaborate and share what they've learned.
Fire Protection is just too important for us not to share knowledge. When you and I are able to do great work, we all win.
This has really been a dream of mine come true. When I started writing content for this site, I was so thrilled to share some of the day-to-day, in-the-weeds fire protection challenges I was facing. The more I wrote the more I'd get emails and feedback and excitement about new possibilities.
If you're relatively new around here - this whole effort exists to help you do great work.
Sketch from the first article in August 2016
Now, five years and over 150 articles later, things are continuing to look up.
We have a good handful of PE Prep content, a Toolkit used by hundreds of companies and thousands of users worldwide, and a major training platform launch coming this fall.
I am so thrilled that we're on this journey together. I cannot begin to say how much your reading, comments, ideas and collaboration have meant to me personally as this site has grown into something larger than I could ever have imagined.
Not just that, but your help has enabled us to completely fund three different water projects to bring clean water to communities without it. That would not have happened without your help.
Whether you've stopped by and read the forum, subscribe to emails, run with the Toolkit, or just like to shoot emails here and there - thank you thank you thank. Sincerely. You've made a dream come true.
One quick ask; if this site has helped you in some way, and you'd like to say so, would you consider giving me a review? Your reviews are a tremendous help in allowing us to spread the word on fire protection and continue to grow and adapt this site. Just click "Google Reviews" and the blue button "Write A Review" in the top right. I would be extremely grateful!
Thank you so much for your continued interest and I very much look forward to seeing what we achieve together in the next five years!
Joe Meyer, PE
Writer / Fire Protection Engineer
It's been something that has been requested here and there about the Toolkit, and I'm happy to say we've finally come around and made this happen. I apologize that its taken way too long to get some of this training out.
If you're a Toolkit user (thank you!), we now have a welcome series of weekly emails that explores each tool in a little more depth. Some emails are articles exploring some of the topics, some emails include videos explaining the tools in a little more detail. You can always unsubscribe at any time.
To sign up for this free email series, you can do so here:
If you don't already have our whole set of tools, check it out here: www.meyerfire.com/toolkit. Happy to say it continues to do well thanks to your feedback and referrals!
That's all for today - thanks and have a great rest of your week!
I have a little different spin on things this week that I'm excited to share.
Last month I wrote a bit about flow coming from hydrants and included PDF flow charts relating the measured pitot pressure to the estimated flow coming from the orifice.
But what is a Coefficient of Discharge?
Check out this new video below - it is a sample from our MeyerFire University platform that we're creating for later this fall. If you don't see the video, click here.
This is all new format for this site, so I'm eager to hear what you think. Comment below or shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Thanks and have a great rest of your week!
One of my wanted items on my personal to-do list was a full lineup of flow charts that incorporate discharge coefficients coming off a fire hydrant. These (in my line of work) are most commonly used in fire hydrant flow tests, where flow comes out of the side (commonly 2-1/2") outlets or the main pumper outlet (single 4" or larger).
So what is a discharge coefficient?
When we flow out of an orifice, water is restricted and forced into a smaller cylindrical shape. The discharge coefficient is what helps us adjust the measured pitot pressure, which is taken along the centerline of the stream, and adjust for about how much flow is coming through the opening.
It's simply comparing the size of the actual stream against the size of the opening.
When a long straight stream-straightener is used, this coefficient is high. The stream is less tightly condensed as compared to the opening dimension.
When water takes a more difficult approach and is restricted in its flow, this coefficient is lower.
Discharge Coefficients as Identified in NFPA 291
We'll discuss this in more detail later. For today, we've created flow charts for these three different discharge coefficients. See the PDF link below to get access to all three flow charts, broken out across a number of different orifice sizes.
Thanks for being a subscriber and being part of our story. We're all about sharing helpful content and finding ways to support the industry by making you, the fire protection pro, shine. We hope information like this is helpful.
Thanks & have a great week!
The fire sprinkler database is coming up on its third year in existence; it originally took hundreds of hours of research and plenty of updates, but we're happy to say now that we've upgraded the database to include better search, sort and filter capabilities.
The database is a collection of over 1,500 fire sprinkler models on the market today. Even with a select number of manufacturers, finding just the right type of sprinkler with correct spacing and minimal pressure demands can be tough. The database was built to get answers in seconds - with links directly to manufacturer websites & data sheets.
See a quick update video here:
The database is part of our Toolkit package. More information about that here.
Have a great rest of your week!
Back in 2016 and again this time last year, I put together some material and a cheatsheet for Floor Control Valve Assemblies. I loaded up the cheatsheet with inclusions of most pieces of equipment that could possibly be located as part of that package - pressure reducing valves, test outlets, and a five-piece inspector's test & drain.
I heard quite a bit - that's great - but what about a combination test & drain? What about when we don't have pressure reducing valves? What about a normal assembly?
Well today is the day for a more common arrangement of a floor control assembly on a combination standpipe/sprinkler riser.
One key simplification here is the combination inspector's test & drain, which since its introduction has helped reduce a significant amount of labor by combining the site glass, inspector's test valve, drain valve, and pressure relief all in a single device.
Related, but not correlated, we're happy to have AGF is our sponsor this month and if you haven't checked out their new offering, be sure to see the link here.
WHAT'S NEW AROUND MEYERFIRE
I hear weekly about what I see is the central issue that affects just about every small to midsize fire protection consultant, contractor, and review authority - recruiting and training young staff.
It's not that we need more warm bodies in the industry, we need knowledgeable and motivated people.
It's a big ask, and it falls right within the wheelhouse of our efforts around here to do something about it. We're all about combining knowledge & resources to help you do your work better. When you do that, we all win.
1 - ILLUSTRATED HANDBOOK
The first step towards that effort is a Handbook we're writing that will debut this fall. It will be a 200-page, full-color collection of all the best flowcharts, cheatsheets, checklists and breakdowns that we've ever created.
If you want an update when it is up for sale, pop your email here and we'll be sure to keep you updated.
2 - AN ALL-NEW TRAINING PLATFORM
The second step towards helping new hires go from zero to about three years experience-equivalent is training & mentoring. Courses are good, but they're often expensive, require travel, and when they're done they're done.
We are in the early stages of an all-new mentor & training platform that has a searchable video content library, daily video training, on-demand mini-courses, and our full suite of software tools. If you are interested in learning more as we develop this for Fall 2021, email Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be sure to keep you informed.
Thanks & have a great rest of your week!
We need you to go all-in on fire protection.
But, you might say, I already do fire protection.
Yes, but we need you to go all-in. We need your help.
TOO FEW IN THE INDUSTRY
There are far too few in the Fire Protection space.
For every licensed Fire Protection Engineer, there are 8 (eight!) licensed Mechanical Engineers.
Same goes for other disciplines, for every licensed Fire Protection Engineer, there are 4 Electricals, 11 Structurals, and 18 Civils.
We are outnumbered, and it’s not even close.
[aren’t most people in fire protection not FPEs? Yes, but the same goes for the other disciplines, too.]
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Why does it matter? Isn’t less competition good for business?
It matters because fire protection is very important, yet is overlooked and unaddressed on many construction projects around the world.
If you are in consulting or nuclear power and all you see is fire protection around you – that is great – but take a step back and look at the industry as a whole.
Ask a local contractor what they see across all their bid drawings. Ask your local AHJ what kind of fire protection input they get across all their projects.
What they see may surprise you.
Many projects, especially midsize and smaller, have zero pre-construction fire protection involvement. Many other projects have such little or poor fire protection input they would make a consultant blush.
I once was helping a contractor review bid documents for a multi-story hospital which called for Automatic Standpipes, but no fire pump. The water supply was marginal. I called the consultant to ask whether Automatic Standpipes were required. His response was that he “designed 19 of these hospitals across the country in the past year,” and he “doesn’t have time to figure out what’s required for each job.”
This, coming from a sizeable MEP firm who advertises fire protection design and runs it under their plumbing designers.
I come across this attitude about fire protection from many people that are on the ‘fringe’ of the industry… those that mainly do mechanical, plumbing, or electrical but then also put together basic plans and specifications for their projects.
I’ve seen the same from HVAC engineers who also “cover” fire protection. Light Hazard designations for commercial utility truck parking, running pipe entirely underneath buildings, or asking if we could “just use the better flow test result”.
These issues are not just regional either.
From the MEP standpoint, some feel that architects and owners are not willing to pay for fire protection. As a result, they put in an effort together commiserate with their fees.
ISSUES WITH FIRE PROTECTION AS A SUB-DISCIPLINE
There are so many issues here, yet it happens all the time.
First, from a bidder’s perspective it would be better to have no fire protection plans or specs, than plans or specs which are clearly wrong, get in the way, and do not address issues specific challenges of a project.
Second, the fire protection industry is extremely wide, and extremely deep. There’s life safety, passive fire protection, egress, fire alarm, suppression, special hazards, smoke control, explosion prevention, risk, and a host of other applications. People can spend their entire careers in just one of these areas.
How can someone say that they “do fire protection” when their main focus is something like HVAC design?
Can one person truly do fire protection well if they are spending less than five hours in it a week?
Are these people going to fire protection for continuing education, industry publications, organizations, or credentialing?
Not likely if it’s only a secondary effort.
There was a day when one engineer could handle all MEP disciplines for an entire building. Basic structures, when codes were 1/10th of their current thickness, and when industries were less nuances – sure – I could get behind someone doing wholistic design.
In today’s world? The handbook of NFPA 13 alone is over a thousand pages, and I would content that understanding only that standard does not itself make a great designer or engineer.
So why do we so commonly see other disciplines advertise and “do” fire protection, when in reality their documents and specifications hardly scratch the surface of what biddable documents should include?
SO FULL DESIGN ON EVERY JOB?
Just to be clear, I am not advocating that every building needs full-design fire suppression with every pipe & fitting shown on bid documents. In some cases that’s a great value to the owner, in some cases its not.
I do advocate for a minimum set of information that a consultant needs to address in their documents, when they “do” fire protection. We even put together a PDF checklist of these things here: https://www.meyerfire.com/blog/a-practical-read-world-design-spec-checklist.
DROP THE SPLIT JOB TITLE
But this is just one aspect of why we need you to be all-in on fire protection.
We need you to be the “fire protection person”. Not the “plumbing / fire protection designer”, “mechanical / fire protection engineer”, or any other split title.
We need you to be the fire protection person. No split. This industry needs you, and needs you bad.
Why does the distinction matter?
When you make fire protection your primary focus, you will look for fire protection content, first.
You will do continuing education in fire protection.
You will meet other people in the industry in fire protection organizations and learn from them.
You will jump in and figure out answers for fire protection challenges on projects, and not just ‘defer it to the contractor’.
You will distinguish yourself as the fire protection pro, and it will be awesome.
WHY GO ALL-IN?
Why go all-in on fire protection?
AREN'T WE COMPETITORS?
Why am I advocating that you get out of MEP and into Fire Protection? Aren’t we competitors?
First – because Fire Protection is awesome – and that’s why you should get out of MEP.
Second – just because you and I both work in the industry doesn’t mean you and I have to split the same pie. If you and I both do our work well and advocate for fire protection, what happens? More opportunities. More involvement on more projects. We make more pies. It’s not a zero sum game – it’s an abundance opportunity.
When you’re all in and do great work and provide value to building owners and architects, they’ll seek out more fire protection involvement in the future.
When that happens, we all win (life safety, property protection, and industry pros).
GO ALL IN.
Think about it. Talk to your boss. Make the shift.
You won't be alone - most of our industry started out in something other than fire protection.
Be the fire protection person.
We’re just getting started, and we need your help.
Drainage from a fire sprinkler system can often be overlooked as it does not directly fight the fire. However, those involved in inspections & testing of sprinkler systems know all too much about how poor drain design for a sprinkler system can negatively impact how tests are conducted, how long it takes a system to drain, and what messes building owners have to deal with.
Here are various components for drains on a sprinkler system, and some of the common requirements that pair with them.
For best viewing of the table below, click here: requirements-for-drains-in-fire-sprinkler-systems.html
We're back this week with an overview of Pressure Gauges in Fire Suppression Systems. NFPA 13, 14, and NFPA 20 provide guidance on where pressure gauges are required, and recommendations for various aspects around pressure gauges. This week's checklist includes various aspects and code references all-around pressure gauges.
What tips & tricks would you recommend surrounding pressure gauges based on your experience? Let us know here.
For more articles like this, subscribe here. Thanks & have a great rest of your week!
For those ready to take on the Practice & Principles of Engineering (PE) Exam this year, it's about that time again! Weather is getting warmer, the kids are about ready to get out of school, and we're getting our weekly dose of SFPE course emails - time to get started!
Around here we're excited to introduce a different twist on a favorite - we're turning our daily free sample problems into an on-demand series, with instant solutions. If you're interested in getting 100 days of free Fire Protection PE Exam sample questions, sign up here:
If you're just curious and want the challenge - go for it!
If you are suiting up for the PE Exam this year, be sure to check out what we've got going:
2021 PE PREP GUIDE
The 2021 Edition of the PE Prep Guide is hot off the press and is shipping out daily. This new edition now includes the PE Roadmap written by our friends at the BuildingCode.Blog, which is a full-length study schedule, study topics, and suggested readings for a full-blown self-study program. There's also a condensed study schedule as well. That's all now included with the PE Prep Guide.
THE PE PREP SERIES
The PE Prep Series is starting up next week. Last year over 85 participants took part in the 20-week online series, which includes a timed mini-exam of 10 questions each week. Check it out here and join us as the summer competition heats up.
[NEW] PE ROADMAP VIDEO SERIES
Lastly - an announcement I'm very excited is finally here. After many requests we finally have an online series of videos that work through Prep Series solutions by hand. That's over 200 hand-worked solutions and 30+ hours of helpful content. It's developed and run by our friends at the Building Code Blog, and we couldn't be more excited that this new resources is now available for the Fire Protection PE Prep space. See more about it here.
Any questions, shoot them my way at email@example.com. Hope you have a great rest of your week!
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Joe Meyer, PE, is a Fire Protection Engineer out of St. Louis, Missouri who writes & develops resources for Fire Protection Professionals. See bio here: About