Chicago is the birthplace of the high-rise building and has been a world leader in building safety after the great Chicago fire in 1871. We applaud Mayor Daley, the City Council and the High Rise Building Safety Committee chaired by Alderman Bernard Stone for facilitating public discussion about fire and life safety in Chicago’s buildings. During recent testimony at the City Council, we were saddened to hear from senior citizens as well as building owners and managers that might have to move elsewhere or shutter buildings due to the expense of the high-rise building sprinkler mandate. We, like this committee, believe Chicagoans should be protected from fire and smoke in buildings. However, we need to keep the economics of living and employing in Chicago affordable.
The Speedway Club is a nine-story tower in a famous racing setting. It is located outside the first turn of the 1.5-mile main track at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Both the Speedway and The Speedway Club are recognized as among the most modern in the world, and both are busy almost every day of the year. The Speedway hosted its inaugural NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series races in April 1997 and its first Indy Racing League and NASCAR Craftsman Truck events that June.
Two major fire-protection industry associations have issued announcements concerning officers and board members: The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) has announced that members of its MasterFormat Expansion Task Team will receive a Technical Commendation at its 48th Annual CSI Convention. The presentation will take place on April 21 in Chicago during the event’s opening general session. Team member Russell P. Fleming, P.E., executive vice president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), represents the fire sprinkler industry on the Task Expansion Team. MasterFormat Expansion Task Team members will be recognized for their contribution to CSI’s technical programs through their work on MasterFormat 04.
According to the National Fire Sprinkler Assn., a pair of U.S. senators are moving to propose a bill that would provide tax relief for building owners that installed sprinklers. Jim Dalton NFSA’s director of public fire protection, says Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) has agreed to cosponsor Senator Rick Santorum’s (R-PA) “Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act of 2004.” A companion to House Bill HR 1824, the bill has been held in abeyance for lack of a primary Democratic cosponsor. “It gives me great pleasure to announce that we have now received confirmation from the office of Senator Rockefeller that he will cosign this landmark piece of fire-protection legislation,” says Dalton. Rockefeller’s agreement to cosign now clears the way for Santorum to submit the bill when the Senate returns to session after Labor Day. Elsewhere, NFSA reports that Illinois Gov.
In the world of fire suppression technology, the sophistication of fire detectors and control panels and the sustainability of fire extinguishing agents are currently topping the list of recent technological advancements. “If a detector senses a fire and creates an alarm, the panel can not only tell that a potential fire exists, it can also indicate when, where and how big, and it also tracks the history of the event,” explains Joseph Behnke, manager of technical services engineered systems for Tyco Safety Product’s fire suppression business, Marinette, Wis. Not only that, but the latest control panels are not only faster and smaller, but they offer increased monitoring ability with graphic displays and text messages, according to David N. Holst, department manager for plumbing and fire protection systems, Bala Consulting Engineers, Philadelphia. “These panels offer more programming and connectivity options so that the extinguishing systems for multiple rooms, buildings or even locations can all report to one central panel,” explains Holst. With regards to clean agents, Jeff LaSalle, P.E., chief fire protection engineer for EwingCole, Philadelphia, explains that the phasing out of Halon 1301 has resulted in a significant increase in the number of viable alternatives. “As a number of these agents are considered to be quite sustainable, this gives the facility owner or manager the peace of mind that he or she will only have to purchase the system once, eliminating a costly retrofit due to future environmental restrictions,” says Behnke. At the same time, LaSalle points out that the increased number of agents can sometimes be confusing, but it is a small price to pay for providing engineers, designers and owners with more options. Elsewhere on the fire suppression new technology front, special purpose sprinkler heads and heads that provide greater coverage are being developed, says Holst. And while it is pretty hard to improve on the technology of pipe, there is a continuing attempt to make it stronger, lighter and cheaper, he adds.
Water-based fire-suppression systems rely on an adequate water supply for proper operation, and fire pumps are often required to increase available water pressure. Engineers should always consider the following basic issues when writing specifications. Demand and Supply 1. Sprinkler- and standpipe-system water demand.
The National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) participated in a media conference call on Aug. 25 held by Congressman John Larson (D-Conn.) and the American Health Care Association (AHCA) to discuss legislation that would require nursing homes to be retrofit with automatic fire sprinkler systems. In response to fatal nursing home fires in Hartford, Conn., where 16 people died, and Nashville, Tenn., where 15 lives were claimed, Rep. Larson has introduced the Nursing Facility Fire Safety Act of 2004.