October 2015 Educational Seminar

The Chicago SFPE chapter held their October Educational Seminar on October 7-8, 2015, at Underwriters Laboratories LLC, Building 5A, in Northbrook, Illinois. This was a great opportunity to learn some new things, refresh your knowledge on other things and get 10 PDH credit, all for a bargain price! Attendance was about 30.

The instruction schedule was as follows.

Wednesday, Oct. 7

8:30 am – 8:45 am

Arrival and Sign-In

8:45 am – 10:15 am

LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES: AN OVERVIEW OF RECENT RESEARCH AND FIRE TESTING
Andrew F. Blum, P.E., CFEI, Exponent, Inc.

10:30 am – 12:00 pm

FOAM TECHNOLOGIES
Mark Pillow, The Solberg Company

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

HIGH-RISE STANDPIPE SYSTEMS AND
NFPA 14 UPDATE
David Hague, Liberty Mutual Insurance

2:45 pm – 4:15 pm

TECHNICAL INTRODUCTION TO AN FSES
Joseph H. Talbert, Aon Fire Protection Engineering

Thursday, Oct. 8

8:30 am – 8:45 am

Arrival and Sign-In

8:45 am – 10:15 am

FIREWATER FLOW TESTING AND HYDRAULIC
MODELING FOR LARGE INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Mr. Chen Su P.E. & Mr. Philipe Smith,
Aon Fire Protection Engineering Corporation

10:30 am – 12:00 pm

MODERN FIRE BEHAVIOR
Adam Barowy, UL LLC

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Tour of UL

On Wednesday, Andrew Blum, with Exponent, Inc. began with a discussion of Lithium-ion battery technology, covering basic types of battery construction and fire behavior. He continued with the NFPA Research Foundation fire research on battery applications including electric vehicles and bulk battery storage. Additional research was presented on firefighting of electrical vehicles. Mark Pillow, with the Solberg Company, followed with a refresher on foam systems design, covering the history and current/future foam technologies. There was much discussion of newer film-forming foams with less toxic and much better environmental characteristics while retaining good performance. Later, David Hague, with Liberty Mutual, provided a great discussion of high rise standpipe systems, including an update on NFPA 14, Standard for the Installation of Standpipe Systems. Dave provided a good historical background on the subject. There have been some interesting new changes, especially with system acceptance. The last speaker on Wednesday was Joseph Talbert, with Aon Fire Protection Engineering, who gave an introduction of using FSES (from NFPA 101A, Guide on Alternative Approaches to Life Safety). This was especially useful for those of us who don’t have experience with that code equivalency method. A special thanks to Joe for pitching as a speaker at the last minute.

On Thursday, Chen Su and Phillipe Smith and Manual Hurtado, with Aon Fire Protection Engineering, began with an interesting discussion of hydraulic flow modeling for large industrial facilities. They described the tedious and inefficient “isolated path method”, used for years by fire protection field techs/engineers, and their new “open flow calibration method”. This newer method utilizes high tech equipment and common sense methods to obtain quicker and more useful results, and uncover any problems within a complex hydraulic system. The last presentation was by Adam Barowy, with UL, with a discussion of modern fire behavior. This historical perspective covered the evolution of residential building materials and contents and their effect on fire development. Much new research in this area has served to improve firefighting methods to make them safer and more efficient. UL’s Fire Service Research Institute is involved in that research and much information (including training modules) can be found on their website, http://ulfirefightersafety.com/.

After the classroom instruction, the attendees toured UL areas related to fire testing. An excellent luncheon was provided each day.

Thanks again to the UL staff for sharing their facilities to us, and speakers for providing their time and quality instruction.