Fall Semester Scholarship Application Deadline

As a reminder, the June 1, 2017 extended application deadline for Fall Semester scholarships is fast approaching. A maximum of three scholarships will be given. The Chapter will sponsor a maximum of $3000 per semester for each scholarship. Additional money from corporate sponsorship may also be available.

Please share this opportunity with those who may be interested. For more detailed information see the Scholarships page on the website.

2017 CCHRB Seminar – Heavy Timber High Rise

Chicago Chapter SFPE Member Carl Baldassarra and Amanda Kimball will be two of the presenters at the 2017 Chicago Committee on High-Rise Buildings Seminar.

Click here to visit the CCHRB website for more information on this excellent event that SFPE Chicago is co-sponsoring.


Presentations and Speakers:

  • High Rise Timber – Technology and Trends
    Benton Johnson; Associate, SOM, Chicago
  • Tall Wood Buildings: Products, Design Process and a Case Study
    Bernhard Gafner; Partner; ACC Structural Engineers, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Opportunities, Benefits and Challenges of Building Taller Wood Buildings
    Jeff Morrow; Program Manager, LendLease Construction, Nashville, TN
    William R. Tobin III; Master Superintendent, Vice President, LendLease, Nashville, TN.
  • Fire Safety Codes and the Mass Timber High Rise
    Carl Baldassarra, Principal, Wiss, Janney, Elstner; Chicago, IL.
    Amanda Kimball, Research Project Manager, NFPA Fire Protection Research Foundation, Quincy, MA
  • River Beech Tower
    Todd Snapp; Partner, Perkins + Will, Chicago, IL.
  • Round Table Discussion
    A panel discussion and Q&A session of all presenters moderated by Dick Fencl

Chicago SFPE Member Thomas Gray Receives Award

Thomas A. Gray, long time member of Chicago SFPE, is this year’s recipient of the Purdue University Engineering Education Outstanding Alumni Award. Tom is a graduate of the former Division of Interdisciplinary Engineering (now part of the School of Engineering Education). The Engineering Education Outstanding Alumni Award is presented to alumni who have achieved singular accomplishments in their fields, whose successful careers are role models for our students, and whose achievements set an example for all the School’s alumni.

Click here for more details

Chicago SFPE, on behalf of Siemens, donates fire alarm equipment to CFD

The Chicago Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) is happy to work with the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) and be in a position to donate a new, state of the art, fire alarm panel to the Robert J. Quinn Fire Academy. The CFD is one of the oldest, most innovative, and storied fire departments in the country. Similarly, the Chicago Chapter of SFPE is the oldest chapter of SFPE and tirelessly works to promote fire safety on the local level through our dedicated membership. It is that membership and Siemens’ Fire & Life Safety Service that enabled this donation of a Siemens FireFinder XLS alarm panel. This fully functional Siemens panel with devices and appliances will be used to train the new recruits of the Chicago Fire Department. The CFD along with providing emergency care and extinguishing fires, works to promote fire safety. Similarly, part of SFPE’s mission is to advance the use of engineering, and educate the global fire safety community, in order to reduce fire risk. Through these parallel organizational goals, SFPE is honored to be able to make this donation and with it, hope that our organizations can continue to work together on our shared objectives. It is with great gratitude to those brave and dedicated members of the CFD, that the Chicago Chapter of SFPE and Siemens make this fire alarm panel donation to the Chicago Fire Department.

SFPE Chicago Chapter Spring Educational Seminar April 1-2, 2014 – A New Annual Event

On April 1 and 2, the Chicago SFPE Chapter hosted the first annual Spring Educational Seminar at Underwriters Laboratories (UL). The event brought together over 30 professionals and the SFPE International Board members. Five exceptional speakers Robin Zevotek (UL), James Golinveaux (Tyco), Daniel Madrzykowski (National Institute of Standards and Technology), Skip Donnell (Liberty Mutual Insurance), and Andrew Cox (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) presented on the latest issues impacting the fire protection engineering industry.

Zevotek started the seminar with Predictors for Detection of Cook Top Fires, by discussing recent research conducted by UL and the University of Maryland identifying precursors to stove top fires and how to most effectively utilize the precursors to provide early fire detection and prevent nuisance alarms. UL is currently conducting experiments to continue his work. Golinveaux followed Zevotek with Significant Advancements in Water-Based Fire Suppression for Storage Occupancies, and spoke about the advantages and disadvantage of using FM – based vs NFPA 13 based sprinkler system designs for storage occupancies. He showed some eye-opening examples of NFPA 13 – designed sprinkler systems (using density/area curve criteria) struggling to effectively suppress rack storage fires. In the afternoon, Madrzykowski presented Fire Dynamics in Structures and identified the need to depart from traditional firefighting tactics and embrace research backed tactics. New research and reviews of past incidents showed that commonly used ventilation and water application tactics can induce flashover in residential structures.

Wednesday morning began with Donnells presentation on photovoltaic panels, Photovoltaic Arrays. He spoke about the causes of PV panel fires, the necessity of proper installation and maintenance, and the challenges the panels pose for firefighters. He concluded by explaining the lessons learned from four costly fire losses involving PV panels, including the recent Dietz and Watson fire in southern New Jersey. The last presentation, Persistent Myth of Post-Flashover Fire Dynamics, centered on how compartment fire ventilation impacts burn patterns. Cox explained that it is a common assumption in fire investigation that the fire originated where the damage is most severe. But frequently, changes in ventilation can move the flame front many feet away from the origin and toward the vent, damaging the compartment near the vent more than near the origin. The seminar concluded with a tour of UL.

PDF’s of two of the slide presentations can be accessed below. When other approvals are obtained, these presentations also will be posted here.
Daniel Madrzykowski (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
James Golinveaux (Tyco)

The Chicago Chapter would like to thank the speakers for their time, UL for providing the venue and a tour of their facilities, and lastly the attendees for supporting this new venture. It is our intent to make the Spring Educational Event an annual event. Our goal is to provide a local opportunity to learn about and discuss emerging issues in fire protection and network with other professionals. We hope to develop the seminar over the next couple years to ultimately draw national attention to the seminar and to Chicago. Nine PDHs were provided to all attending engineers requesting them.

(submitted by Kelly Opert /Kim Mniszewski, 4/18/14)

January 2014 Luncheon Seminar ”Power Surges – Their Causes and Effects in Residential Settings”

The Chicago SFPE chapter meeting on January 13, 2014, was held at the William Tell, Holiday Inn Countryside. The speaker was Paul McCoy, a consultant and former Senior Executive with Commonwealth Edison, and IIT graduate in electrical engineering.

Paul gave a fascinating presentation on the types of power surges that can occur in residential distribution systems, as caused by nature or the utility network. There was some discussion of lightning and its effects, but Paul focused mainly on problems with the utility network. There are a whole myriad of possible problems with the network, which may include those caused by switching, maintenance, regulation failures, etc. The most serious are those that involve extended high voltage, such as may result from momentary high voltage line contact with a lower voltage distribution line. Resulting damage can be extensive and include damage to appliance controls, HVAC controls/motors, contactors, exploding light bulbs, destroyed surge protectors, destroyed plug-in timers, sparking outlets, etc. Fires are certainly possible from these events, where light combustibles, e.g. drapes, etc.., are in the immediate area of failed components inside residential facilities. Paul gave some examples of surge damage from his own home town, Western Springs, IL.

Some devices such as a whole house surge protector can prevent damage from some of these events. Point-of-Use surge protectors are useful but are less effective.

A Powerpoint presentation is available here for your convenience in reviewing his entire presentation.

(submitted by K. Mniszewski, 1/20/14)