First - you don't read articles here for my political or personal opinions, and I get that. I respect that. I very much appreciate that.
That said, I worry for my friends colleagues in Ukraine and Russia. I'm heartbroken about what they are going through right now, of which I can't imagine. I have a wife and three kids. I work with people in Ukraine who have the same young families. This past week has been tough. Nothing I feel here remotely compares to what they are facing right now. I just cannot imagine having to choose between fleeing my home country for the safety of my family or grabbing a rifle. I can't imagine it.
I wish we, as humans, could find ways to appreciate and support each other instead of violence. I wish we better embraced a perspective of mutual concern for each other over destruction. What are we - in our collective bond for fire protection - if not a group of people trying to find ways to create safe environments for public well-being? To help others? To save lives?
We're connected now. I work with people in the U.S. and all across the world - by choice - and I'm just starting to appreciate what a global attitude adds to my life. Because of this website I get to talk with fire protection people around the world, and get to hear about some of the challenges they face. We're not that different.
I don't want to pretend that my own country's history is flawless - that even our recent record is faultless. I cannot be the one to "cast the first stone." I simultaneously celebrate being an American but recognize that we have a long way to go. I pray for Ukraine and everyone involved in the conflict. I pray that our leaders, everywhere, and in any capacity, find a way to end violence quickly and recognize the value of the lives of the people they are affecting.
I genuinely wish that we all (myself included) could better appreciate each other and find ways to help and not hurt. I know you don't come here for my take, but I do appreciate you. Thank you for being here, for caring, and for being a part of our greater community that is working to make good in the world.
I've come across this question - why do we need to flow more water - from two angles: as a total rookie, and later on as someone needing to really understand a water supply.
As a newbie - I was intimidated by a few things; first, that someone would call the police on me because I didn't look like I knew what I was doing. Second, that I didn't want to destroy any landscaping. And third, I definitely didn't want to be breaking any hydrants. Those three factors made me want to keep my flow tests as calm and low-flow as possible.
However, as I was told at the time, that's not advantageous when we're trying to determine the quality of an existing water supply.
Just a year ago, I was working on a project with a marginal water supply, where the water tower and the pumps feeding it were controlled by the project owner. The tower was in some disrepair (not known to us at the time), and we were trying to figure out why we were getting such different results from what should have been a fairly consistent supply.
It was on this project where we really needed to understand the strength of the supply that was well beyond just 300, 400, or 500 gpm into the system. But why?
Why does it matter if we flow 500 gpm or 1,000 gpm when doing a flow test?
One perspective - and one answer to this - is confidence in the data. We gain more confidence in our test results with the greater amount of water we flow. Here's a video we put together that explains this perspective a little better:
Hope you have a great week!
This week we're featuring a free preview of one of our instructor-led videos on the MeyerFire University platform. Chris Campbell, a Fire Protection Engineer & Writer at the BuildingCode.Blog joins us to discuss what is a "Mixed-Use", or more appropriately, a "Mixed-Occupancy" building under the International Building Code.
Click here, or the video above, to check out what exactly is a Mixed-Use Building.
Hope you have a great week!
What a year was 2021.
What started as hope for a 'return to normal' felt more like a ramped-up version of 2020.
I'm not even going to pretend I'm qualified to speak on world events, but I can say with certainty that our fire protection industry is seeing a great degree of change, and it is happening quickly. Many consultants and contractors I speak with talk about a need for talent - and I only see that growing once the 'Great Resignation' takes place in the coming 2-5 years and many of the remaining Baby Boomers see their retirement come to fruition.
I've also seen a rapid adaptation to new technology, and somewhat of a willingness to consider new approaches to where and how we work that I wouldn't have thought possible just a few years ago. Remote work is here, and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon.
What does that mean for collaborative-intensive environments like design? What does that mean for our training processes that have relied on one-on-one, side-by-side mentoring for so long? What if we can't just overhear the conversations from the experienced mentor in the next cube?
The truth is our industry needs to recruit, empower, and develop new talent.
If we don't, I could see a lot of overburdened professionals, sloppy and under-baked work, and a real stress on jurisdictional authorities to police designs, installations, and building upkeep.
However, I do think we are up for the challenge.
I think we, as an industry, are recognizing that major change needs to happen and we need to support our people to make great work happen in a compressed timeframe like we've never had to do before.
That's the big focus for us at MeyerFire this year.
How do we empower and radically support the professionals in our industry - to keep up with the increasing demand - actually improve quality - and develop new talent all at the same time?
It is possible.
Just three examples on how we're working on this include the new MeyerFire University, which is constantly expanding with new content. I'm helping support with NFSA's 3rd Edition of the Layout, Detail, and Calculation of Fire Sprinkler System book that has long been a staple reference for designers and engineers in suppression, which will soon be expanded with many new visuals. The last I'll just tease - and say there's some great potential for a community-driven work that details how our systems are actually put together. More on that to come in the next few months.
I look forward to working with you and the team in the coming year to help drive the industry in the right direction and empower the pros that make great work happen.
If you have ideas - concepts - questions - need support - I'm always available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for being part of the platform, and I hope your new year is off to a great start! We look forward to what's in store around here.
We've had an extremely busy fall thus far. We had a soft-rollout of the MeyerFire University platform, which has had very positive feedback and is already over 100 users strong (just a few weeks in)!
If you're interested in learning more, email me at email@example.com and I'd be happy to share more detail or set up a quick demo for your team.
UPDATED NFPA 13R/13D CODE IMPACT CHEETSHEET
A couple of years ago I wrote a couple pieces on when NFPA 13R can be used, and I put together a cheatsheet on the code impacts associated with using NFPA 13R and 13D.
I'm happy to say that we've now updated the cheatsheet with impacts from the 2021 Edition of the IBC. While it may not yet be the adopted building code for your area, it's still important to compare code impacts with the latest version of the building code, so that you're not building a structure today that is already beneath modern building code standards.
Click below to get a copy of the updated cheatsheet:
Thanks & have a great rest of your week!
I feel fortunate to have attended the Society of Fire Protection Engineers National Conference in Baltimore just a few weeks ago. It was the first time I've attended a national SFPE Conference, and I was what I hope becomes more of a regular stop on the conference circuit each year.
Here are my Top 3 takeaways from attending the conference for the first time.
#1 WE NEED MORE QUALITY PEOPLE
I spoke with a handful of professionals and manufacturers, and many of the discussions kept circling back to the same issue that is plaguing our industry - we don't have enough talent.
The only person that really challenged me on that hypothesis really only asked if the data would back that premise up, or if it was just anecdotal. I don't yet have that answer. But after that debate, I continued to hear about how both contractors and consultants are continuing to struggle to find and train up knowledgeable professionals.
One of the seminars that stemmed from SFPE's Professional Qualifications subcommittee was a healthy discussion about what constitutes minimum qualifications - and much of the discussion related the struggle that we (as an industry) have to get recognition that we exist, and then to recruit more people into the industry.
The concept that we need more knowledgeable people is certainly what I've been hearing for the past year or so, and with more and more experience retiring here in the near future, I could see this becoming a bigger and bigger concern. I do wonder if some collaboration across organizations couldn't help connect potential candidates with the right opportunities.
#2 FEW THINGS BEAT AWESOME PEOPLE
I love meeting people at events like this. It seems like every time I turn around I meet someone whose name I already know - whether because their famous in our FP world or because they took the PE Exam recently or because they've shot an email about a blog post way back. I find it's so neat to talk shop and brainstorm ideas with others who are passionate about the industry.
It was so good to be in-person, talking shop and hearing ideas about ways to impact the industry. There is really something cathartic to share experiences and relate to others who are facing similar challenges professionally.
#3 ADVOCATING GLOBALLY
I have not been great about thinking longterm with a global mindset. I actively want to change that. Not just in using the same metric system that everyone outside the US uses (how can so many countries be wrong??), but thinking about creating opportunities across languages and working towards common understandings of how we combat the fire problem.
Professor Richard Wells from the University of Aberdeen gave a great talk on fire protection challenges for the developing world - including a rise in fatalities from informal settlements and the lessons learned from them. He challenged those in developed parts of the world to find ways to partner with and help support local fire education and fire protection practices in the developing world. I think with the technology we have today that we are more capable of achieving that goal than we ever have been before, and I wholeheartedly agree that a more global approach to fire protection engineering is what can help have a long-term impact in the fire problem worldwide.
A lot of big concepts in there - but on a real practical level we're just starting to figure out ways today to make our platform align better with a variety of audiences in the future - linguistically, culturally, and with more global content.
BONUS #4 THE DELEGATED DESIGN PROBLEM
We like to do bonuses around here, so yeah the Top 3 is a Top 4.
A lot of great discussion on the "delegated design" issue that rears its ugly head around our industry. What is "delegated design"? Do we agree on what it actually is? Are we trying to delegate Engineering Responsibility with design? Can we find a line where we are able to leave system routing to a technician, but the Engineer actually performs their duty and addresses the "Engineering" portions of a project?
SFPE worked hard on a position statement back in 2008 (I believe) that defined and delineated what the applicable roles are. Are those still relevant? If so, how does the practice of engineering actually get incorporated into something with teeth?
Does Florida's 61G15 become a template that gives some enforcement to make sure consultants are performing their role? Do we need recognition at the state level that fire protection engineering needs Engineer involvement for a minimum set of criteria?
I see too many projects that go out for bid that lack basics of fire protection - both by engineers and without engineers. How do we clean that up? Education? Engineering Boards? Recognition of who is qualified to perform the work?
These are all related questions that I don't have answers about. I was happy to see that SFPE is working to address the issue through work of their committees.
As someone who has friends on the inside (I know, I'm so famous), if any of those topics interest you I would encourage you to look into joining the subcommittees who work on those topics.
That's all for this week, hope you have a great rest of yours!
Today is a pretty big day in MeyerFire-world.
I've spoken with contractors, consultants, plan reviewers, educators, insurance carriers, installers, inspectors - and we all continue to come back to one big issue that is holding our industry back right now.
We need to develop new talent.
For the organizations that are busy and growing - we need more help, and we need knowledgeable help.
When we look out even a little into the future, even just 2-5 years from now, the problem will be compounded. Call it the Silver Tsunami, the Experience Exodus, the Golden Goodbye, or whatever other name the kids come up with - our industry has already lost a lot of experience to retirement, and that will only continue as many of the remaining Baby Boomers look to complete their careers.
We need to develop new talent.
We need something that can resonate with today's Gen Z. We need engagement, and a way to not just train in a two-day or two-week sprint, we need something that can help people new to the industry learn every single day, year-round.
Around here we've thought and debated and circled on the idea for a solid couple years.
I'm excited to say that we finally have the platform that we have built specifically to help develop new talent in the fire protection industry.
We're calling it MeyerFire University:
It's an all-new training platform built for those with 0-3 years experience, and covers technical topics like fire suppression, fire alarm, code, life safety, and specialized systems; it covers production topics like plan preparation, drafting, modeling, and plan review; and it covers business & career topics as well.
It's everything we wish we had when we started, delivered in bite-sized, highly-visual video clips that are delivered daily and on-demand.
Today is our "Soft-Launch".
If your organization finds that you also have this need to help train and develop new talent - and you want to join in on this platform early - now is a good time to do so.
We've only been in full production on our video content for a month and our platform is growing by five new video modules each week. If you're wanting to be an early adopter - we have a couple ways of saying thank-you and making sure the platform is worth your team's time.
To get a quote & more information for your organization, visit:
This has been a dream we've worked towards for years now, and I'm thrilled that it's finally coming to light and can soon start helping teams like yours shine.
Thanks for your time and being a part of the community for better fire protection!
I'm excited this week to introduce a new format of our blog email.
For some time I've been trying to find ways to help share the great discussions going on over in the Forum with subscribers who may not be tuning in everyday. Also, over the past five years of writing I've written on some topics that are relevant today, with resources and cheatsheets and such, that new subscribers may have missed.
My hope is that this new email format gives a quick glimpse of what is going on this week around the MeyerFire Community while also sharing the best content we have.
At the end of the day, my hope is that this website starts the discussion on best practices and helps you do great work. Any comments or feedback about the new style, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
To subscribe to the blog and get our new format - join here: Blog Signup
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!
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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