Hope your 2019 is off to a great start! Here's the big industry impacts I'm excited to be following in the upcoming year.
Tyco's UL Certified Antifreeze Solution
Tyco (Johnson Controls) debuted a big industry shakeup over the end of 2018 with their new UL Certified pre-mixed antifreeze solution.
A tragic apartment kitchen fire in 2010 activated a nearby sprinkler as part of an antifreeze solution with too high of a glycerin concentration, resulting in an "explosion" when contacting the flame. This and two other incidents quickly prompted an investigation by NFPA and its Fire Protection Research Foundation, which resulted in TIAs (Tenative Interim Amendments) to limit the use of antifreeze in new sprinkler systems. These TIAs required that antifreeze solutions must be listed for use in sprinkler systems.
Until now (eight years later), no such listed solution was available on the market.
This new antifreeze solution offers an alternative to dry systems for temperatures as low as -10 deg F (-23.3 deg C), and are listed for use with CPVC.
Upcoming PE Exam Changes
While the 2019 Fire Protection PE Exam doesn't appear to hold any major changes from the 2018 version, this is the last year that is planned to be a pencil and paper, all-resources-allowed version of the PE Exam. In 2020, NCEES (with SFPE's support) is planning to move the exam to be computer-based and potentially only permit portions of reference material to be available via PDFs.
These changes might not seem big on the surface, but with them the exam experience will change fairly dramatically - going from a personalized collection of customized notes, examples and self-made binders to more of a standardized approach similar to NICET exams.
Because of the uncertainty around the 2020 exam, I suspect there will be a good handful of PE candidates that if eligibile would opt to take the 2019 exam over being the "guinea-pig" on the new 2020 exam format. There's plenty more to be discussed and released by both NCEES and SFPE concerning the new computerized exam format, but it'll certainly be something I'll be tracking around here in the coming year.
MeyerFire in 2019
Thanks to the high level of interest and feedback for this site, everything is full-steam around here. The past year was phenomenal around here and I saw a major uptick in interest for the 2018 PE Prep Guide (two-thirds of examinees had it when they took the exam), the Weekly Exam Series, and the launch of the Toolkit.
In 2019 I hope to continue to improve upon the weekly blog series with highly-visual and hopefully helpful content, release a 2019 edition of the PE Prep Guide, and work towards a long-awaited fire protection reference guide - basically a book of helpful charts, graphs, and visuals for inspectors, designers, and engineers.
Why This Site Exists
This site was built to start the conversation.
I really would like to emphasize that I am not an end-all expert in the field. Much of what I've posted here as it relates to my own experience or industry guidance is already available.
What makes the emphasis of this site different is that it's all about bringing together experts in different fire protection factions to discuss and share best practices. It's about improving your workflow and your knowledge with resources and ideas, and giving a medium for you to share your expertise for other's gain as well.
If you're new to the blog or the website - welcome! We're well suited for a great year.
I receive feedback regularly from many users and observers - and I'm very grateful for both!
Sprinkler Database Interest & Feedback
One member recently reached out about the Sprinkler Database and said:
"I appreciate all the work you’ve done on that site. The sprinkler database has helped tremendously when looking for specialty sprinklers, specifically available storage sprinkler is odd configurations!"
It's a tool that is basic in premise but can save tons of time when you're looking to compare sprinklers, find a specific type of sprinkler, or see if a solution exists for your specific problem. Here's a quick overview
Fire Pump Database
With the interest and feedback from the Sprinkler Database, it was only a matter of time before I expanded this into other areas. You may already have seen the Backflow Database, but now we have a beta version of a Fire Pump Database.
With the fire pump database you can now search for fire pumps of various configurations, drivers, sizes, and then instantly link to CAD and Revit models, performance curves, website links, product data, and dimensions. The current beta version includes AC, Armstrong, and Aurora Fire Pumps.
All-inclusive Toolkit members can log in and use the database now.
Know a Contact for Patterson or Peerless?
If you work for or know a great contact for Patterson Fire Pumps and Peerless Fire Pumps, please let me know their contact information. I'm looking to partner with both of these companies to also help connect users to their products.
Toolkit Sale Through November 30th
Interested in getting the Toolkit and access to all of our tools? Join between now and Friday the 30th for $30 off your first year's subscription. Just use coupon code CYBER18 when you checkout here before Friday November 30th.
Lastly, if you're in the US, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!
First, a big thank you to those who commented and emailed ideas and topics that contributed to the latest tool for this site - the Trapeze Calculator.
With only a few "knowns" (pipe diameter and schedule, and distances to nearest structure), you can now quickly calculate the section modulus that's required, visit options for the trapeze bar, and see these options schematically in a to-scale detail.
Have multiple pipes on a trapeze? Calculate the section modulus required for each, add the two moduli together, and simply override the Section Modulus Required value below to see your options.
Get CAD Details
Want a CAD version of the detail? Sure thing - the downloadable All-Access Toolkit allows you to save and print these calculations as PDFs, which can then be imported directly into AutoCAD and use the ALIGN function to scale it to your drawing.
Already a Toolkit user? Install the latest version from your dashboard to get the updates to this tool. No new activation code is necessary.
Don't see the tool below? Try it out here -
This site is all about finding ways to help you be the office hero with quick and helpful fire protection tools.
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The Toolkit package is here!
This week, as part of the big launch, you can get every tool we have available: Get access to the Sprinkler Database, downloaded tools, post-a-question and more today. The Toolkit is a downloadable package that allows you to PDF, print and save your calculations as well as get access to the Sprinkler Database and a host of other benefits.
New Backflow Preventer Database
I've started a new database for backflow preventers in a similar way to the popular fire sprinkler database.
Backflow preventers are and have been a mainstay on fire sprinkler systems to protect the public water supply from backsiphonage. They're required by both the International Plumbing Code (608.16.4) and the Uniform Plumbing Code, two popular enforced codes in the US and elsewhere.
The new Backflow Preventer Database is in beta and available to current Sprinkler Database subscribers.
Backflow preventers have a number of different parameters. There's differences in types (double check, double check detector, reduced pressure zone, and reduced pressure detector), materials, listed rating, sizes, connections (flanged, grooved), valve types (outside screw and yolk or OS&Y, non-rising stem or NRS, butterfly valves, or ball valves), orientations (horizontal, vertical, n-pattern, y-pattern, z-pattern), and various certifying agencies (UL, FM, ASSE, CSA, NSF, USC).
Most of my curiosity and the reason for building to the tool was (1) to determine what is actually available on the market today, (2) what are the differences between types and models, and (3) how can I easily access manufacturer websites, product data, CAD details, and Revit families with one-click. That curiosity led to the new Backflow Database.
While it's still in an early beta-testing mode users who are already subscribed to the Sprinkler Database can now access the Backflow Database by logging in.
If you're a Sprinkler Database user, give it a try and let me know what improvements I can make. Right now the database includes Wilkins, Ames, and Febco models. Have a manufacturer you'd like to see? Have ideas for updates? Email me at email@example.com or comment here. Thanks in advance!
Vote on New Tools & See What Else is Coming Soon
Around here we're always in development on new and improved tools to help designers, reviewers, inspectors, installers, and engineers in the fire protection industry.
You can now see, and vote, on upcoming tools that are in development for MeyerFire.com. The "Coming Soon" page is now live under "Tools" on the website header.
Take a look at upcoming tools, rate each, and share ideas that we can work towards on this new area of the website.
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Joseph Meyer, PE, is a Fire Protection Engineer in St. Louis, Missouri. See bio on About page.