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Space Age Music City Partner Day took place in Nashville, TN, on July 19, 2022. The free event served as an educational code session to keep attendees up to date on the latest fire protection trends. Attendee donations went to the NFPA Enforcer Funding Program.
Audience members included various types of professionals in the fire life safety industry:
Members of Performance Based Fire attended the event, and company founder David Stacy, P.E., co-presented a session on smoke control.
The educational code sessions focused on four main topics: NFPA 241, beam detection, two-way communication, and smoke control systems. Read on to learn more about each one.
NFPA 241 is the Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations. There have been several recent large loss fires within buildings under construction in the U.S. NFPA 241 helps negate those hazards and events by providing measures for “preventing or minimizing fire damage to structures, including those in underground locations, during construction, alteration, or demolition.”
At the conference, presenters discussed the most impactful and important pieces of NFPA 241: the importance of where and why the code is required and the requirements for and methods for detection as well as notification. For example, if a fire starts, it can spread rapidly due to non-compartmented construction and the absence of all fire protection and life safety features expected in the completed building. With a method of detection and notification during construction, severe consequences can result.
Ramtech discussed its wireless detection and notification system, the WES3. The solution provides emergency call buttons, smoke detectors, heat detectors, a control unit and an interface to the fire alarm system that can integrate into a construction site.
FFE Fireray led the discussion on an alternative method of smoke detection: beam detection. Their presentation examined the allowance of beam detectors in the code and where it’s advantageous to utilize beam detectors, such as large open spaces, atriums, arenas, and industrial occupancies. FFE also showed off its range of products and talked about ideal installation conditions.
Historically, there was a shift away from beams in the field due to technical issues. With improvements helping resolve those issues, the industry is embracing beam detectors for the value they provide. For example, they can detect smoke over a wide span, which reduces costs since you won’t have to use as many devices compared to other methods.
More specifically, the conversation revolved around the code and standard requirements for two-way communication in high-rise occupancies, including the integration of these systems with other life safety features, installation requirements, and why and where they are required.
David Stacy from Performance Based Fire and Michael Ventola from Space Age Electronics co-presented a discussion on the fourth main topic of the day: smoke control system code requirements and best practices.
The presentation taught the audience everything they needed to know about smoke control systems, including:
David and Michael explained which types of occupancy smoke control systems are required in different kinds of buildings, including:
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to smoke control. That’s a good thing since this allows designers to choose the best method for the situation, such as:
It takes a full team of experts to implement a smoke control system successfully. There are several key players involved, including:
Figuring out the right size for a smoke control system is easier when you take the computer fire modeling approach. David and Michael talked about the fire dynamics simulator (FDS) and CONTAM, a building airflow and contaminant dispersal model developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These programs allow designers to determine how the size of the smoke control system will affect the life safety of occupants in the event of a fire.
There are five steps to designing a smoke control system:
During this process, it’s important to determine the interconnections and controls so that your system can perform at optimal capacity.
When preparing a smoke control system’s interconnections and controls, there are three main points to consider:
David and Michael finished their presentation by talking about the six most common deficient items that are discovered during special inspections:
In the end, attendees came away with a deeper understanding of smoke control systems and how to ensure they remain up to code.
As fire and life safety codes evolve, industry professionals must stay current with the changes and improvements. As conferences like Space Age Music City Partner Day 2022 have shown, we are all in this together. And by sharing our knowledge, we can continue to make advancements that lead to a safer world for all.
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