For those studying for the PE Exam this year - first - hang in there! You may be in the thick of studying, or, if like just about everyone, studying but not feeling like it is enough. Hang in there and keep going!
NCEES UPDATES REFERENCE HANDBOOK TO VERSION 1.3
In case you missed it, NCEES recently updated the Fire Protection PE Reference Handbook to Version 1.3.
If you're taking the exam this year, you can access it by logging into NCEES here:
This was news to a few people I spoke with who are studying for the exam, so we looked for changes between the 1.2 and 1.3 editions and published them in a basic table below (click the image to download).
This help syncs the latest PE Prep Guide (7th Edition, 2023) with these most recent changes:
VERY LIMITED 7TH EDITION PE PREP GUIDES LEFT
As of this writing, we have less than 12 copies of the PE Prep Guide (7th Edition) available, with only a handful of remaining 2021 editions as well. This guide has continued to sell well again this year - surpassing prior editions.
If you've pushed off ordering the PE Prep Guide - don't wait any longer - these will go fast and will likely sell out prior to the exam in October.
Are you going to AFSA next week? Be on the lookout for a nerdy looking guy with a MeyerFire logo on the arm, because we'll be at AFSA42 next week.
If you're looking for a booth - we are very nearly at that stage! We (MeyerFire) will have our first official full-fledged booth at the SFPE Annual Conference & Expo in Bethesda, Maryland in October.
Look for us and some show-and-tell on MeyerFire University while there.
For those that might have missed our post a couple weeks ago - we have an all-new app that's included for free for MeyerFire University users:
The New website: www.meyerfireuniversity.com
The New iOS App: MeyerFire on App Store
The New Android App: MeyerFire on Google Play
I'm happy to announce that our app, as of this writing, now has our entire Toolkit included in the app!
Just close the app (if you still have it open), re-open and select the third icon at the bottom of the screen.
We're getting a lot of great feedback about what we've created thus far - and honestly we're thrilled about it. The term "app" does nothing. What we can learn and use it for? That's where our impact lies.
If you haven't read about all of our very recent updates - you can do so here: www.meyerfire.com/blog/major-update-to-meyerfire-university
Thanks for reading!
WHAT'S NEXT FOR MEYERFIRE
In 2020, I asked many people about what's next.
The question was - what do you need to be successful? What can I create to help that happen?
I thought the answer was going to be cheatsheets (who doesn't love cheatsheets?). Or software tools. Or forum updates.
It wasn't any of those things.
What I kept hearing, over and over, from fire marshals, from contractors, and from engineers - was how much everyone was struggling to train their inexperienced staff.
Covid changed a lot of things about the workforce.
What we used to rely on for training where the new person gets the cube next to the senior-level person - those days are mostly gone. We don't 'overhear' conversations anymore. We don't pull people into the conference room to get a learning opportunity.
The workforce now has different challenges than it did just four years ago.
Remote work. A huge loss of experienced staff. A younger-generation coming in with higher expectations of being trained and supported. We know it's different. It's obvious.
So around here - we listened. It's really difficult to get new staff off-the-ground. We hire extra hands because we're busy, but because we're busy we can't dedicate experienced staff to train them up. It's "all-hands-on-deck."
And, honestly, conventional training is difficult. It can be expensive. Untimely. Difficult to access. Maybe boring. Lacks daily learning. Lacks the extra resources. Isn't remote-work friendly. Maybe it's one or some or all of those things.
So after hearing and talking around, we build the MeyerFire University platform out of that frustration. There has got to be a 2023 answer to the problem that honestly we've struggled with for a long time now.
How do we create the resources right at the fingertips for those who need it?
How do we create relevant content that actually helps make a difference?
We structured the university content around being accessible, being visual, and hopefully engaging. We added workshops and exercises and simulations and puzzles to help develop skill. We're building and growing it all-the-time, and will be for years to come. There's a lot that we want to cover. We have a long way to go.
THE BIG CHANGE
We continued to listen. "Can we get individual tracking? Individual logins? Can we get this on mobile? Can you make it so we can just hit "continue watching" just like Netflix? Can we download courses and watch them on a plane? Can we get an app?"
I'm extremely excited to share a major change in the experience. We now have all of that. 100%.
We've worked our tails off to make this happen, and it's now live; today. We want this to be an uncompromised best-possible-way to help your team do great things in the fire protection industry. This is a big step in that direction.
For those on MeyerFire University - here are three new links (all free - no extra cost):
The New website: www.meyerfireuniversity.com
The New iOS App: MeyerFire on App Store
The New Android App: MeyerFire on Google Play
Access the content anywhere using the new login - no additional cost for the app or new site.
We're extremely excited about what this will allow us to create going forward, and my hope is that it will make a positive difference in helping you do great work.
Here's some clips - full disclaimer: fake people, real app: (if you don't see images below, click here)
If you're a MeyerFire University user, download now for free with the links above.
If you'd like to get live pricing for MeyerFire University, or see what courses we have today, visit: www.meyerfireuniversity.com.
We could not be more excited to bring this to life. Thanks for reading and for being a part of the community here!
Are you going to be in Austin this week for the 2023 North American Sprinkler Expo & NFSA Annual Seminar?
If so - check us out!
Joe is speaking on Wednesday, May 3rd at 1:00 pm in the Lonestar Room A (sidenote: what could sound more Texas?) on "Design Efficiently: Lessons from a 2-Year Self-Study on Time Management in Fire Sprinkler Design".
It'll be a one-hour talk on how to rethink time-management specifically within the fire protection industry. I'll share ways to get your time back and be more effective in your role today. If that sounds grandiose - well it is - except that we have the data to back it up:
If you're around - come check it out!
That's Wednesday May 3 at the NFSA North American Expo & Annual Seminar.
Have a great rest of your week!
Hard to believe we've made it to that time of year again.
Yes, baseball season.
But also - the dreaded PE Exam Prep summer. It's fast approaching.
We are carrying on our tradition of PE Exam Prep around here, with the hardcover 380+ page PE Prep Guide and our 20-week online PE Prep Series. If you're in the business of setting yourself up with as much content you can to pass the exam - you can get 25% off the online Prep Series by using coupon code BUNDLE when you checkout with both.
THE NEW 7TH EDITION OF THE PE PREP GUIDE
Our goal with all of our prep content is that it's the best possible resource to help you pass the Fire Protection PE Exam. We need more FPEs in the world, and we're serious about helping you make that happen.
With that in mind, we've worked to incorporate a lot of feedback from users the past couple years to update the PE Prep Guide so that it's as realistic to the exam as possible. The 7th Edition includes question styles that better mirror today's PE exam questions, added feedback and advice for passing the exam, and updated all of our references to match the current exam.
Now if you have the 2021 Edition, do you need to buy a new one? Nah - the 2021 Edition is more than capable of providing a lot of help in preparing for the exam - just know that the references (NCEES and required references) have since been changed and that the question styling has been updated.
The 7th Edition is in-stock and shipping now.
We've partnering with Chris Campbell at the Building Code Blog once again where he provides explanations and worked-problems as part of the PE Roadmap Video Series over at the Building Code Blog website.
If you're looking for a more personalized, 24/7 access to lots and lots of worked problems and the explanations behind them, Chris is the guy. The feedback has been very positive.
HOW DOES IT COMPARE?
The number one question we've been asked and wondered ourselves is how the prep content compares to the actual exam? What data is there to support how well those who use the prep material do on the actual exam?
We spent a lot of time with this last fall and studied results from over a hundred users to compare how people performed on the actual exam versus our online PE Prep Series.
If you're in the business of passing the exam this year - check out what the results were (click for the full detail):
For all the feedback we have - as of this writing - many more people have scored better on the actual exam than the PE Prep Series. I'd invite you to read through the article for the full data breakout.
Cheers to a successful prep season! Any questions - let me know at email@example.com.
Protection of windows within a rated assembly is a surprisingly complex and perhaps often misinterpreted topic within the construction industry.
Windows create openings in walls, and when the wall is part of a fire-resistance-rated assembly, the windows could compromise the integrity of that assembly.
Back in 2019 I wrote an article on this topic which led to a cheatsheet on the three pathways for making a window (or glazing in general) work when it is part of a fire-resistance-rated wall assembly.
CHANGES IN THIS SPACE
Well, a lot has changed since then.
The testing criteria hasn't necessarily changed, but we now have four-times the options for available sprinklers on the market, even just since 2019.
The ever-evolving latest editions of NFPA 13, specifically the 2022 Edition, has continued to refine how protection of windows needs to be addressed.
AN UPDATED PDF REFERENCE
Below is an updated PDF cheatsheet that introduces the changes that have happened just in the last few years. I've now clarified some of the questioning, so it's less vague, but I've also included links to the now-four ICC ESR reports and all the models provided by manufacturers.
Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments here below.
Thanks for reading!
USE GOOGLE FOR FLOW TESTS & SITE PLANS
I sometimes (maybe often) have to learn things the hard way.
This tip today comes from the “Lessons Learned” file, where it took me two bashings over the head before I had my ‘aha’ moment. Forgive me if this is obvious and you've been doing this for years. Again, I have to learn things the hard way sometimes.
So what is it? What are we talking about? Clearly identifying the location of the water supply.
And the ‘aha’ answer – well it’s really simple and can be really helpful.
On many projects we use a flow test to get an idea of the available water supply. We use the available water supply curve to calculate how much pressure and how much flow we have available that can serve our suppression system (sprinkler, standpipe, etc).
Flow tests carry a whole lot of engineering nuance. A flow test is simply an instantaneous “point in time”. It doesn’t account for demand variations like the time of day, day of the week, or seasonal demand like the lawn irrigation system next door. We’ll save that conversation for another day.
One other key factor that a flow test carries is that it is highly dependent on the location from where the test was run.
DOES THE LOCATION OF A FLOW TEST MATTER?
If we have a large, looped supply, then the location horizontally may not play much of a difference. Say we have an Ordinary Hazard Group 2 sprinkler system and our main outside is a 12-inch looped main. The exact point which we tested isn’t going to affect our system all that much, because we wouldn’t get a lot of pressure loss in a 12-inch looped main when we’re only flowing 550 – 750 gpm.
What if we’re not looped? What if it’s a dead-end 6-inch main instead of a looped 12-inch?
Well, now our horizontal location could be critical. If our flow test is taken immediately adjacent to our building, then we have a high degree of confidence of what the water supply is doing right where we’re going to tap it.
But, if our flow test was actually taken 1,500 ft upstream and we have a dead-end 6-inch supply, then we need to calculate the loss through that entire dead-end supply. That could be a lot of pressure loss!
For example, for a 750 gpm sprinkler system, running friction loss for 1,500 ft of 6-inch pipe would lose 16.3 psi. That would have a major impact on most system designs.
So, suffice to say, it can be important to document exactly where a flow test was taken horizontally.
It also matters, however, in the other plane.
DOES THE ELEVATION OF A FLOW TEST MATTER?
There’s a chance, depending upon the project, that the horizontal location of a flow test may not play much of a factor in the system design.
But the elevation of a flow test?
That will always play a factor.
If our static/residual hydrant (gauge hydrant in the diagram) is actually 30-ft lower in elevation than our project site, that has major implications.
Let’s take a quick example.
We look at results from a flow test showing a static pressure of 60 psi with a residual pressure of 50 psi at 1,200 gpm. If that test was taken at the same elevation as our project (a big large flat open field, for example), then we would expect a pressure gauge at the riser to be somewhere around 58-60 psi when nothing is flowing. The pressure gauge and the original gauge hydrant are very close in elevation.
However, what if that test (those readings) was actually taken down the hill, at an elevation that was actually 30-ft lower than our project site?
We would have a lot less available pressure.
As we go deeper in a system, pressure increases. As we rise up within a system, pressure decreases.
So a riser that is approximately 30-ft above the gauge hydrant would have an expected pressure of around 47 psi (60 psi – 30-ft x 0.433 psi/ft).
That might not sound like much, but in some projects without a fire pump where we are already tight on the hydraulic calculations, this can be a major issue.
AN EASY SOLUTION FOR THIS
I’ve had two major project issues related to bad documentation of exactly where the flow test was taken. Most projects I see have a simple description for where a test was taken. It’s something like “at the corner of McKinley & Brower Streets” or “1000-ft east on Highway D from the flow hydrant”. Sometimes it’s a description like “on Highway T”.
Having an intersection will generally help us narrow down which hydrant was actually used in the test. Usually.
Having a description on the road doesn’t help us narrow down much, unless there’s only one hydrant within a half mile radius.
What is very, very helpful for narrowing down which hydrant was used? GPS coordinates.
USING GOOGLE MAPS
Within google maps, it’s extremely easy to precisely locate any point on earth. You don’t even have to go into Google Earth, like we did in an article to grab elevation here.
To grab any GPS coordinate on Google Maps, just right click and you’re presented at the top with the coordinates. Click on those coordinates to “copy” the coordinates where you can then paste them, as text, anywhere else.
Grabbing coordinates off Google Maps is as easy as right-clicking, then selecting the coordinates.
Now, you can paste them into your flow test report, paste them onto your site plan, your hydraulic calculation report, or anywhere else. You only really need to go four decimal places for the coordinates – anything more and you’re talking about less than an inch – which of course is far too precise for what we need here.
Coordinates can then be pasted into anywhere - flow test reports, plans, hydraulic calculations. Anywhere you need.
If later on, someone needs to verify a hydrant elevation, they can just copy and paste these same coordinates back into Google Earth (to get an elevation), or paste these right back into Google to get the location in Google Maps.
Later, anyone with those coordinates can paste them into Google or Google Earth (here), and find the location and the elevation at which those coordinates were taken. In Google Earth, the bottom-right corner shows the elevation.
Using GPS coordinates for flow tests is extremely easy to do. What’s most important, though, is that by providing the coordinates for where the test was taken, you’re taking out so much ambiguity.
Construction documents are only created for communication. If they don’t clearly communicate, then they’re not serving their purpose.
I’ve only recently reached this ‘aha’ moment, but using the coordinates has already helped on recent projects.
What about those two major project issues? What was up with those?
One was related to a very poor description for where a flow test was taken (a flow test that I received from the city and failed to document well).
The other was a flow test that had been taken a good 1,000 ft upstream on a 6-inch dead-end main.
In either of these cases, had I correctly documented the exact location of the test, or had I received the exact location of the second test – we would have had no issues at all, because we could have accounted for these differences during the design of the project.
Hope this tip helps you avoid some headaches in the future, and that you have a great rest of your week!
When I first started in the industry I figured every company had access to the senior-level mentors – the knowledge hubs – the experts – the people that could cite code verses faster than they could show you their sprinkler tattoos.
Turns out, that situation was more rare than I would have thought.
Many organizations – contractors, consultants, building departments, plan reviewers, inspection teams – many do not have a wealth of highly-experienced, highly-trained expertise at their fingertips.
If your office does, consider yourself lucky.
There are many small businesses throughout the world with some level of fire protection involvement. With the retirement of many Baby Boomers in the US, we are transitioning to a new era beyond having a generation that held so many answers for many years.
The reality is – there are many, many organizations where the responsibility of fire protection falls to someone who (shriek!) doesn’t have any sprinkler tattoos.
Well, what happens when you’re that person?
What happens when you're the someone who is supposed to have all the fire protection answers?
What happens if you’re the “fire protection guy”?
[Important note: I mean the term ‘guy’ in a Midwestern-sense, not as a male in gender but as a human. We don’t say “hey y’all” here, nor do we properly say “you all”, rather, it’s usually said as “you guys”. I know. We is what we is. Can't predict the future but I hope this will still age well.]
Well, what happens then?
WHEN THE BUCK STOPS WITH YOU
This was a big fear of mine when I moved from a large company with many senior-level experts and many resources to a smaller company where I was to be in charge of fire protection issues. I was the end of the line – where the proverbial “buck stopped” as things related to fire protection.
My big fear was that without someone else with better technical knowledge, I’d be exposed, the company would be exposed, I'd miss things, or do poor quality work.
It’s hard to "know what you don’t know". I’ve certainly learned lessons in avoidable ways.
But what I found after the move, without having a direct “fire protection” mentor, is that getting answers could still happen. Help could be made up in a few ways where I could still learn and still maintain a relatively high standard of work.
What I had to learn was where to turn when I was the "end of the road."
I had to figure out where to go to conjure an answer for something I didn’t previously know.
Simply "guessing," “shooting from the hip," or doing what I “think” is right just doesn’t cut it. I do not, and cannot, instinctively know the industry standard of what has been debated and adopted into code over a hundred years. I can’t “predict” what I think code will say. When I have, I've been wrong.
When I have a new or unique situation – a question – a challenge – an ask – for something that I haven’t encountered before – here’s my secret list of go-tos to find that best path forward.
For those in large offices, large companies, or who are working under experienced staff – much of this might be trivial. But for those of us in small teams or small organizations, some of these resources can offer major lifelines to collect answers that we didn’t know where already available.
#1 DEVELOP YOUR OWN CODE PATH
We talk about this a lot on the University platform; and that is developing a formal code path.
Codes and standards have a hierarchy. Most begin with a title, chapters, sections and then subsections.
It’s far too easy and way too common nowadays to open a code and click “CTRL+F” until we find a sentence that fits the narrative we wanted.
CTRL+F is a good method to jump to a term, but a poor way of gaining context.
Instead, when we’re trying to find a solution to a particular problem, try starting from the very beginning and document every step along your path. Make a trail. Leave yourself bread crumbs behind you so that if you have to walk backwards, or walk this path again, that it’ll be easier the next time.
Well, what does a “code path” look like?
It’s a documented path, from the highest level all the way down to the answer, that charts each step along the way.
My question yesterday was what was the Fire Flow for a building (military job). I didn't know.
Here was my resulting code path, starting with the applicable standard that I knew applied (UFC 3-600-01), and working my way down to the applicable content I needed:
• UFC 3-600-01 (8 AUG 2016 WITH CHANGE 6, 6 MAY 2021)
• Chapter 9 Fire Protection Systems
• Section 9-2 FIRE FLOW FOR FACILITIES
• Section 9.2.2 Non-Sprinklered Facilities
Fire Flow must be in accordance with NFPA 1, except the following special facilities. ➾
➾ NFPA 1 (2018 EDITION)
• Chapter 18 Fire Department Access and Water Supply
• Section 18.4 Fire Flow Requirements for Buildings.
• Section 18.4.3 Modifications
• Section 126.96.36.199 Decreases in Fire Flow Requirements
Fire flow requirements shall be permitted to be decreased by the AHJ for isolated buildings
or a group of buildings in rural areas or suburban areas where the development of full fire flow
requirements is impractical as determined by the AHJ.
• Section 18.4.5 Fire Flow Requirements for Buildings
• Section 188.8.131.52 Buildings Other than One- and Two-Family Dwellings
• Section 184.108.40.206.1
The minimum fire flow and flow duration for buildings other than one- and two-family dwellings
shall be as specified in Table 220.127.116.11.1. ➾➾
➾➾ Table 18.104.22.168.1
Requires Type II-B Construction up to 22,700 sqft in size to have a
minimum Fire Flow of 1,500 gpm, at 20 psi, for 2-hours.
My simplified answer therefore was 1,500 gpm, at 20 psi, for 2-hours, unless the AHJ permits a decrease, based on NFPA 1-2018 Section 22.214.171.124.1, Table 126.96.36.199.1, and Section 188.8.131.52 with the code path above as a basis.
Now with this question some might say “well of course it’s 1,500 gpm” or “I would have just jumped right to NFPA 1”, but the reality is – if that’s the first time you’re getting that answer for yourself – how are you supposed to know where to go? Just guess NFPA 1? Why not NFPA 1142? Or the International Fire Code?
Novel situations – new questions – deserve at least an individual attempt at looking through code and charting that path. Basically - read the book and see if we can't find the answer ourselves.
SAVE YOUR WORK
With every one of these, I save them down in Microsoft Word files in a specific folder, and I can go back and reference them whenever I need. There’s probably a good 50+ in there by now.
What happens if we get a similar question, but it’s slightly different?
What about a different code edition?
Well, we can follow our same path until it’s no longer true.
Copy over, start the path and blaze the new trail.
If you want to spice up your life, consider each question you're own little 'puzzle of the day' and see what the code book kicks back out.
Life's too short not to have a little fun in your life, right?
Remember that codes have hierarchy. If there is a title to a section, that says “Combustible Concealed Spaces”, with subsections below it – chances are “noncombustible” spaces, or “nonconcealed” spaces will not apply. That’s deliberate. Citing a line of code without the context can get us into trouble (it’s gotten me into trouble).
I’ve had code paths from model codes that were similar, but with a different end result, based on a locally adopted code. Those prior documented paths were major timesavers the second and third time around.
In short, the first place I go when I don’t have an answer is to dig into the code or standard itself. Find a path, document the justification for it, and if there’s no ambiguity, then we have our answer with support behind it.
#2 ANNEXES & COMMENTARIES
I had a salesperson visit once who said the only value he really provides to his customers is reading the Annex and Commentaries of each code.
He says the extra hundred dollars for each standard he buys has made him look the part of the expert – because “hardly anyone ever reads it!”
Sometimes we hop around in codes & standards and lose context of what part of code their in – or if that code even applies in the first place.
The Annex portion of the code often has material that expands upon the body of the code with input from the codes and standards committees themselves.
Commentary can also be a huge help. But, just as a word of caution, these are sometimes (perhaps mostly) not from committee members – so they can provide help but ultimately are not as well-reviewed and approved as the Annex or the body of the code or standard itself.
#3 USE ALL THE RESOURCES YOU CAN
Back to Algebra class for a second:
If your billable rate is $60 an hour – how much time do you need to save in order to justify a $120 book?
Roughly two hours.
Yeah there’s shipping, and billable rate isn’t exactly a translation for your internal cost versus net profit and all that.
But in the big picture – if a $120 book saves you more than two hours – then it roughly paid for itself.
What if that book saves you four hours? Now you have a solid return on your investment.
What if that book saves you eight? It’s not crazy – think about time over a year or two. Tabbing, bookmarks, indexes, quick references: all of those things could save you time here and time there that adds up in the long run.
The thing is – having the book is only one part of the ask. That’s the surface-level debate that goes on inside offices – do we spend money on a color printer? Can we get larger monitors? What about that software? Do we really need more books?
Those are all part of the business decision making and limiting overall cost.
But what if you have a book and also then use the references to their full potential?
What if a textbook helped you understand an area you were previously lacking, or a topic that you’ve never covered before?
What if that book provides informal interpretations that helps you make more informed decisions?
There are many materials out there that are widely underutilized.
Two that I’ve been fortunate to work on are NFSA’s Layout Book (Layout, Detail and Calculation of Fire Sprinkler Systems 3rd Edition) and NFSA’s Expert of the Day Handbook. Those are excellent resources for someone practicing in the sprinkler field.
Within those books there are step-by-steps and literally over two-thousand answered questions related to fire sprinkler systems.
Is your question simply sitting in that book? It’s possible.
There are other books, introductory and advanced, that exist for life safety and fire alarm as well. Do some research, ask around, and see what tools you can have in your toolkit that help you be more informed and more effective at what you do.
Not just books too – but Forums and online communities (here and elsewhere) – where can you plug in and get answers from your peers.
Joe – you said the buck stops with me. Who am I supposed to ask?
There is help.
Help in a traditional sense would often come from within your own organization.
But consider those outside your walls for a second. The ICC and NFPA both have request lines where you can ask for informal, and if need be, formal interpretations on their own codes and standards.
But there’s also informal interpretations, too. On the suppression side, AFSA and NFSA both have fantastic expert references that will answer project-specific questions with informal interpretations for members. These experts have far more collective knowledge than I hope to gain in my whole career. They’re an excellent resource.
Lastly, there are Forums. Here, I started the MeyerFire Forum to provide an opportunity to have quality discussions, at a deliberate pace, with anonymity so that we all can learn. Use that as a resource in your toolkit. Ask when you need input.
SO WHEN I DON'T KNOW, WHAT DO I SAY?
The biggest fear I had when I first started was what if my client asks a question and I didn’t know the answer?
Well – here’s some news – this happens to me. Still. Like Today. And All. The. Time.
And there’s a line you need to rehearse and hold tight. That line is “I don’t know offhand, but I’ll do some research and get this for you.”
That’s it. Simple. Buy yourself time to do the legwork and point someone in the right direction. And then follow up as soon as you can with a well-documented code path.
Are they going to be upset? Are they going to be belligerent because you don’t have code memorized?
Perhaps – but that’s on them. High pressure situations or bad attitudes isn’t going to make someone suddenly know something that they don’t know.
If you want a complete cop-out answer and partial lie, then just say “it depends” without any explanation.
Just kidding – don’t do that.
I can’t stand it when “it depends” is the answer I get, when really someone doesn’t know. Just say you “don’t know offhand” – like you remembered that person's maiden name from from high school but just can’t recall it at this particular moment. It’s OK! You’re human. We still like ya.
Whether you’re the “fire protection guy” or not, more practice and more familiarity is all we can do to grow our fire protection “muscle” and become, slowly, more comfortable with what we do over time.
To get there, just be sure you’re making good use of all the resources you have available to you.
Keep up the good fight. It's good to be the "fire protection guy". Not easy, but it’s good.
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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