How Secure is Your Security System?

July 11, 2017

Mark Holm, PSP, CTS-D

Everyone working in an office or commercial facility is used to scanning their card (or key fob) before entering the building. For years, contactless proximity cards (prox cards) have been the norm to control facility access. However, recently one of the most commonly used prox card types, 125 kHz, has proven to be easily copied,

Smoke Partitions in Existing Hospitals

April 28, 2017

A leading violation observed during Joint Commission surveys is improperly protected penetrations of fire and smoke partitions. Failure of a Joint Commission survey can lead to loss of accreditation if not corrected. A hospital located in Arizona recently conducted an evaluation of the condition of smoke partitions above the ceiling. Numerous conditions similar to the

Water Supply for Rural Fire Protection

April 24, 2017

Having an adequate water supply is not often a challenge when working in urban areas with robust municipal water services. Rural municipalities, on the other hand, may have limited water supplies. Water storage in rural areas may be able to meet the daily demand for normal domestic use, such as drinking water, washing dishes, showering

Complete and Accurate Age of Building Drawings and Documentation

March 29, 2017

Dale Wilson, RA, AIA

There is simple diagram that can save building owners money, particularly when it comes to upgrading, renovating, or maintaining a building and its systems. Many owners think they are over regulated pertaining to building codes, but that is not likely going to change. If anything, the tread is to adopt more regulations, and with regulatory

Performance-Based Design

March 9, 2017

Performance-Based Design (PBD) has become more common as buildings have increased in complexity. Examples of projects where performance-based design is common include stadiums, casinos with shops, restaurants, performance spaces, etc. This article defines PBD, provides a few examples, discusses the challenges associated with PBD, and solicits feedback on projects where PBD helped reach the design

Vehicle Bridge Standpipe System Design

March 3, 2017

Victor Cai

Vehicle fires caused by traffic accidents can result in tremendous traffic jams. Over the past few years, some government agencies are starting to require the installation of standpipe system as part of bridge renovation work. By using bridge standpipes, the fire department can reach a reliable water source in the early stages of a vehicle

The Use of Fire Sprinkler Research to Address Arrangements Not Addressed by NFPA 13

February 23, 2017

Garner Palenske, P.E.

The innovation seen in new products and business processes during the last ten years has been amazing. Now on the verge of using drone technology to deliver products to our front doors, a futuristic idea seen in the sci-fi movies of the 1960s. However, some innovations also bring many fire protection challenges. Case in point,

Fire Alarm System Basics

February 16, 2017

Mark Suski SET, CFPS

Most people have experienced a fire alarm system in action, whether it was during school as part of a planned evacuation drill or an inadvertent alarm during an event. But rarely do people think about the basic functions and components of a fire alarm system. The basic fire alarm system has four primary purposes: Detect a fire

Fire Protection for Flammable and Combustible Liquids

February 15, 2017

Lucia Ortega

Flammable, combustible, and ignitable are all terms used to describe liquids that can catch fire. Liquid fuels include many common products such as solvents, cleaners, adhesives, and oil-based paints. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code, is the base building code used to establish quantity limitations for hazardous materials and

Reduction in Required Fire Flow

February 8, 2017

Jennifer Zaworski, P.E.

A new parking garage was constructed for the Twinbrook station of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The open parking garage consists of seven stories of parking with an approximate gross area of 165,000 SF. Located in the City of Rockville, MD, the applicable fire code at the time of design was the 2009