Recommended Reads for Summer 2020
The value of critical thinking could probably never be understated in our industry.
I’ve found that many of the sharpest minds and best leaders I’ve encountered in fire protection are avid readers and relentless learners. Reading regularly is an incredibly valuable tool to broaden our perspective and grow our own limits.
This week I’m taking a step aside from the technical content a putting up a summer reading list for books I’ve found interesting and helpful for professionals in our arena.
#1 Talking to Strangers
Accomplished author Malcolm Gladwell offers an extremely timely perspective of our natural tendency to overestimate our ability to judge others and underestimate our own ability to be understood. Published just in Fall 2019 this book explores major storylines of the last few years and breaks down the misunderstandings we carry when talking to strangers.
This is a powerful and timely read, especially after the events of the past couple months. | Link
#2 The Future is Faster Than You Think
If you’ve followed some of the prior book summaries I’ve written you know that the advancements we have coming our way in the near future is something I take great interest in. This book is a continuation of my favorite book of all time (next), by Peter Diamandis.
Every innovation we’ve achieved has been from a mixing of ideas that are at the cusp of the technology at any given time. We have witnessed more technological advancement in the last one hundred years than our entire history before it.
While we naturally tend to think the present will continue into the future (without major innovation) for the next decades, our history is saying the opposite; the time gap between major innovation has shortened (think major disruptions like internet and cell phones). Due to “convergence” of a wide variety of innovations in transport, medicine, AI, and a host of other developments, these time gaps are getting shorter. If our history has shown us anything, its that the pace of change is increasing and the near future will see major advancements that will reshape how we view the world. | Link
#3 Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think
I’ve written on this one before, but I continue to circle back to it and never finish the book without a sense of hope for the direction our world is heading.
If you follow the nightly news its easy to see that the world is shattered and on the verge of complete collapse… except that’s a microview.
Stepping back and looking at trends across history, its clear that we’re in store for a better, cleaner healthier future that is backed by data. A phenomenal read. | Link
#4 Design is a Job
This is a surprisingly brash and straightforward book of guidance on how to market, sell and support a design-related business.
While the author is in the programming and graphic design industry, so much of the discussion in this book applies directly to the architectural/engineering space.
A very interesting and refreshing read about the nuances of working in a design-related field. | Link
#5 Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World
This is the first time I’ll mention it, but it won’t be the last. The long-term vision for going starting this website and going independent is to try and make the world a little better each day. Water doesn’t just fight fires, it’s the single most important need we have as humans. This book takes a very personal transformative story of a nightclub promoter turned major nonprofit co-founder. The more interesting and encouraging part of the story is about the positive impact that providing clean water to the developing world does. The long-term MeyerFire vision is pointed directly at the most fundamental need we have globally and we’re saving towards some exciting goals on this front. More to come, but as for the book it’s an impact read. | Link
Those are five of my most impactful reads recently. What have you read that you'd recommend? Comment here.
I hope you are having a great week.
This week is a 2020 update to a popular post from 2016 with a free PDF cheatsheet. It's usefully for novice designers or experienced inspectors, with clear code references and purposes of each of the components that go into a floor control assembly serving a fire sprinkler system.
A breakout of each of the components that go into a fire sprinkler floor control assembly.
If you find any of these tools helpful, consider sharing with a friend or colleague and nudge them to subscribe for more tools and tips like this here: www.meyerfire.com/subscribe. Thanks in advance!
Last week I introduced a Remote Area Analyzer that evaluates remote area size and shape.
This week could possibly be the biggest and best expansion of any tool created thus far. I'm thrilled to present a beta version of our Sprinkler Estimator tool.
With a few default adjustments, you can quickly get a remote area's pressure and flow demand, remote area shape, and have a live schematic of the calculation that updates without a need for "re-running" the calculation.
For a long time now I've wanted a tool where I could quickly estimate pipe sizes and a remote area's demands before I started laying out the system so that I could be as efficient in my design workflow as possible. What typically takes me 30 minutes to a couple hours can now be gathered in less than 30 seconds.
Another fun application? Want to see what effect k-factors have on your calculation? What about long sprigs? Or what about pipe schedule changes? Wet versus dry systems? What about a consistent branch size versus changing pipe diameters? With this tool you can adjust parameters with just a click and see the live impact it has on your calculation.
I'm really not trying to hard sell this one, I've just had my morning coffee and I'm thrilled to have you give it a try. It's been something I've thought about and developed piece by piece for a couple years now.
The best way to experience it is with the downloadable version of the Toolkit. You can download the latest full version here. The downloadable version has a split-screen that shows the live preview and live calculated results while also allowing you to adjust parameters... no scrolling required.
Click here to give it a try on our cloud version, and shoot me an email at email@example.com if you have any feedback or suggestions.
Thanks and I hope you have a great week!
When I initially set up a hydraulic calculation for a tree-style sprinkler system, there are a few key points I have to consider. All of these points today and the tool are specifically for tree systems (not gridded).
First, we need to determine what the remote area actually is. In NFPA 13, for instance, there are multiple adjustments (quick-response sprinklers, dry systems, sloped systems, high-temperature, etc.). Even if we start with a 1,500 sqft remote area, it could look a lot different after multiple adjustments.
Second, we need to determine the minimum length of the remote area along a branch line. This is a relatively straightforward at 1.2 x √ (remote area size), but it's still another hand-calculation that needs to take place.
We then round up to determine the sprinklers along the first branch line, then expand by branch lines to figure out how many sprinklers are actually in a calculation.
The tool I'm introducing today (which is also now available on the Toolkit) is a schematic-level remote area analyzer that will apply multiple adjustments and quickly estimate the important parameters associated with a remote area.
With only a few quick inputs, you'll see an initial remote area laid out with a live schematic of your situation. Click either of the images below to give it a try:
A new remote-area analysis tool which incorporates adjustments and gives a live schematic layout. See it here.
If you already have the toolkit, you can download this and three other recently added tools in today's Toolkit update here. If you're interested in giving this tool a try, check it out here. I'll have it up without any login credentials for a couple months.
In time, I'm looking forward to expanding this tool to have some powerful estimating abilities.
Any suggestions, tips or feedback? Post a comment or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Hurting World at Large
Just like I don't ask hollywood to be my moral compass, you don't come here for my my personal opinions. I get it. That said there has been a tremendous amount of unrest here locally, nationally, and worldwide this past week.
I think there's a major feeling that our collective perspective has to improve. I want to do better and be part of a better future for everyone. I want you to know that whoever you are and wherever you are, I very much care about you and your well being. You have tremendous value. Hope you and yours are safe, healthy, and doing well.
Thanks & I hope you have a great 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