NFPA’s 2005 World Safety Conference & Exposition: Highlights from the Education Sessions

By Scott Siddens, Senior Editor June 14, 2005

Educational sessions at this year’s annual meeting of the National Fire Protection Assn. in Las Vegas offered a wide range of information from industry experts. Some of these presentations included unique and novel ways of looking at some longstanding issues. The following are brief descriptions of but a few of these:

Who is My AHJ? by Christoper Beckman, CFPS, Schiff Kreidler Shell Insurance and Risk Services, presented a case study concerning sprinkler systems in a new industrial facility. While the system as designed met minimum requirements of the local code, it turned out to be unacceptable to the insurer. In essence, this made the insurance company the “authority having jurisdiction.”

Retrofitting Warehouse ESFR, presented by Charles Bauroth, Liberty Mutual Property, was yet another look at designing sprinkler systems for industrial and warehouse facilities. Bauroth looked at a case study where it was determined that 90% of ESFR sprinklers in a new 630,000-sq.-ft. facility were determined to be blocked the building’s architectural elements. (Even minor obstructions can create “dry areas” and sparse spray patterns.) Moving obstructions was financially infeasible. The solution was replacing pendant heads with upright sprinkler heads.

On the international front, Fire Safety Code Trends in China, features several presenters. Liu Yuan-jing, the NFPA coordinator in China, delivered a general talk on the work to set up a Chinese counterpart to NFPA. Wu Qihong, chief engineer of the Chinese Fire Protection Assn., which was established 20 years ago with the help of NFPA, has continued to grow in importance. The organization currently has 30,000 members. Casey Grant, P.E., NFPA, followed up with a discussion of how China’s entry into the World Trade Organization has been a strong impetus for development of fire safety codes.

Blending Access and Security in Museums, by Robert Koverman, Sako & Assocs., was a comprehensive description of some of the latest security techniques for museums by a consultant who is a former police chief and one-time head of security at the Chicago Art Institute.

Finally, the featured presentation at this year’s NFPA meeting was NIST’s Findings on the World Trade Center Fire and Collapse., by Shyam Sunder and William Grosshandler with the National Institute of Standards and Testing. Their more than two-hour presentation gave a thought-provoking and detailed look at NIST’s studies of the WorldTradeCenter collapse—too much to be described here. For the complete reports and a PDF of their presentation at NFPA, go to .