MOS 5301, Fire Protection Technology 1
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit II Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
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3. Explain how the properties of fire influence design and installation criteria. 3.1 Summarize the benefits of fire protection systems in different types of structures. 3.2 Describe the stages of fire from the ignition phase through decay.
5. Examine emerging technologies related to fire protection.
5.1 Differentiate between the types of fire protection systems.
6. Evaluate design specifications for fire alarm systems. 6.1 Describe the advantages that fire protection, detection, and suppression systems have on life
safety and loss prevention.
Course/Unit Learning Outcomes
3.1 Unit II Lesson Chapter 1 Unit II Course Project
3.2 Unit II Lesson Chapter 1 Unit II Course Project
5.1 Unit II Lesson Chapter 1 Unit II Course Project
Unit II Lesson Chapter 1 Article: Shattering Myths: Mass Medias Inaccurate Portrayal of Fire-Sprinkler Systems Needs to be Rectified Unit II Course Project
Reading Assignment Chapter 1: Overview of Fire Protection, Detection, and Suppression Systems In order to access the following resource, click the link below. Wilmot, J. (2016, December). Shattering myths: Mass medias inaccurate portrayal of fire-sprinkler systems
needs to be rectified. PM Engineer, 22(12), 89. Retrieved from https://libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direc t=true&db=bth&AN=120179610&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Unit Lesson Most people believe if you hold a lit match, cigarette lighter, or burning paper under a sprinkler head, it will activate every sprinkler head in the room, or if you pull the fire alarm, the entire sprinkler system will activate. These myths or even misrepresentations have been seen in many movies and TV shows making their way into the mainstream media for their dramatic effects. Some of the films that show these misrepresentations are Hocus Pocus, where multiple sprinkler heads are activated by holding a lighter against a single head, and
UNIT II STUDY GUIDE
Fire Protection, Detection, and Suppression Systems
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Changing Lanes, where Ben Affleck activates the entire system by holding a burning piece of paper under the fusible link of a sprinkler head (Johnson, 2017). Why have these misrepresentations become so real for many? Is it easier to believe what we see than to fact- check it? Some say, “it is just a movie! However, these misrepresentations are engrained into the behavior of many during emergency conditions. Fire preventions goals are to educate the public and modify behavior. Modifying behavior can be changed through education and by targeting specific audiences. So how does one educate or change behavior regarding fire protection, detection, and suppression systems? What activates sprinkler systems or even a sprinkler head? It takes heat in the form of fire to activate one sprinkler head by melting the fusible link. Fire is a chemical reaction that requires three elements: heat, fuel, and oxygen. These elements are essential for combustion to occur. Historically, this concept is referred to as the fire triangle and is illustrated as a triangle. In order to eliminate fire, the separation or removal of one of the elements of fuel or oxygen and then the reduction of heat are required. Today, the concept is referred to as the fire tetrahedron, adding another side illustrated as a pyramid. The fourth side is the uninhibited chain reaction. Fire prevention requires the separation, segregation, or removal of one of these elements in order to mitigate the possibility of a fire. The goal is to reduce or remove ordinary combustibles and flammable liquids that contribute to the spread of fire or even support combustion. However, if these combustible items are not separated, it can lead to a fire that is classified as either unsuppressed or suppressed. Unsuppressed fires leave a fire signature that is detectable to fire protection detection systems. The fire signature is the byproducts of combustion (smoke, heat, carbon monoxide, light, and other byproducts). What is unsuppressed fire? Gagnon (2008) concluded that unsuppressed fires consist of three stages, which are shown in the graphic below.
Each of these stages of fire can be detected by a proper fire alarm control unit (FACU). Suppressed fire is when a suppression agent is applied, extinguishing the fire. As soon as the agent is applied, the fire begins to decay. However, multiple factors influence the effectiveness of suppression agents to include wind, oxygen levels, and temperature, as well as the method of application. Proper application of a fire protection system will shorten fire growth and the developmental stages of fire (Gagnon, 2008). There are several illustrations in fire behavior textbooks that show the development of fire from the incipient stage through the decay stage. The illustration resembles a traditional bell curve showing the ignition of the fire through the growth period and then the decay of fire. During all phases, heat is present, and oxygen levels dictate the speed of growth. With todays new construction, fire reaches the peak of fire growth sooner than previous models indicated. In addition, building construction type and factors of ventilation affect the development of fire and the shape of the curve on the model. Points to Ponder Scenario Firefighters respond to a warehouse and distribution facility storing coffee, food commodities, household chemicals, and cleaning products that are piled in high-rack storage. Originally, the structure stored materials that were classified as noncombustible, and the fire suppression system was designed for noncombustible materials with in-rack sprinkler heads. Over time, the warehouse included combustible materials. The rigid steel frame construction is reinforced with concrete slab floors. The walls are heavy corrugated metal on the upper part with masonry nonbearing on the bottom. The roof decking is corrugated metal panels approximately 1/8-inch thick, 6-feet wide, and 20-feet long laid on top of the rigid steel frames. Offices are
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located on the southeast end (Side B) of the structure. The warehouse was renovated in 2015, adding 10,000 square feet of floor space to the north end (Side D). On Side A near Side D (Quadrant 4) are rectangular unprotected openings used for offloading products at the loading docks. The automatic sprinkler system, fire pump (due to low pressure with the water distribution system), and a monitored fire protection system were upgraded. Power to the structure was out for several days due to flooding in the area, causing the loss of the underground primary power supply. Workers were using handheld lights and portable generators to provide light. Because of the poor lighting conditions, a forklift operator ran into the main support of the structure, causing severe damage and requiring arc welders to be on site to repair the damage. Several of the warehouse workers reported sparks dropping from the welding that ignited nearby cardboard boxes. They also reported that the heads in front of the loading dock doors were barely operating, and there were no audible alarms sounding as the fire started. As firefighters entered the structure, they had to wade through large amounts of product debris that was falling from the high-rack storage, and smaller debris was floating out the loading dock doors. The products piled in the high racks hindered the operation of the in-rack sprinkler heads, allowing the products on the lower shelves to continue burning.
Debris inside warehouse
Regarding the Points to Ponder Scenario, consider the following questions. Was the suppression system adequate for the high-rack storage? Did the high-rack storage hinder the FACU from detecting the smoke and heat? Were the in-rack sprinkler heads the best option for the high-rack storage? Even though National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 13 governs the minimum distance between sprinkler heads and storage, was that the real problem in the scenario? Was the problem the detection system? Why was there no audible alarm?
Fire detection system
There are passive and active forms of protection. Passive refers to the building design and construction type. Active refers to the protection system. There are two types of protection systems that are considered active: fire detection and fire suppression. In the scenario, neither protection system functioned properly. Fire detection systems require detectors to be placed in areas that can detect fire byproducts and the dynamics of the fire. This involves the type of ceilings, location of the detectors on the ceiling, and the surface of the ceiling. NFPA 72 provides the standards and minimum requirements for the placement of the detectors. Each of the following detectorsheat, smoke, beam, and gashas specific requirements based on these standards. Based on the scenario, do you think that a ceiling-mounted detector would have been effective
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with the burning boxes on the floor? The placement of detection systems are calculated based on the fire growth potential and room characteristics with the segregation and separation of combustible materials. This also takes into account airflow that affects the dynamics of fire.
Sprinkler head Sprinkler head In the scenario, it was reported that the sprinkler heads were barely operating. Historically, sprinkler systems have protected structures and their contents and extinguish a fire with one or two heads activated. Why were the sprinklers barely operating in the scenario? Some reasons could be poor maintenance, system shut down, low water pressure, or damaged heads or components. Could prevention have eliminated the fire? Would educating workers about the hazards of discarded cardboard boxes around the high-rack storage prevented the fire? Did poor housekeeping contribute to the fire? Prevention is about modifying behavior though education. In addition, prevention is segregating and separating the elements of heat, fuel, and oxygen. Another effective means is inspection. Inspections identify vulnerable areas and mitigate potential fire sources, such as the housekeeping practices and improperly stored combustible materials. In addition, periodic inspections examine FACUs, the condition of fire protection systems, and the operational readiness and maintenance of the system (Brakhage, Abrams, & Fortney, 2016). Conclusion Fire protection, detection, and suppression systems are critical to life safety, protection, and prevention of fire. Understanding fire behavior and the products of combustion is critical in order to design protection, detection, and suppression systems. There are various fire protection detection systems or alarm systems from automatic to manual. These systems are designed to activate due to smoke, heat, and light to alert occupants and notify the fire department. Sprinklers are activated based on fire conditions, and only one or two heads normally operate and suppress the fire. However, there are times, like in the scenario, that multiple sprinkler heads are activated due to fire growth and the inability of the sprinklers to discharge water on the fire. This could be the result of the high-rack storage with the combustible items on the bottom burning and the combustible items on the top shielding the fire like an umbrella.
Brakhage, C., Abrams, A., & Fortney, J. (Eds.). (2016). Fire protection, detection, and suppression systems
(5th ed.). Stillwater, OK: Fire Protection Publications. Gagnon, R. M. (2008). Design of special hazard and fire alarm systems (2nd ed.). Albany, NY: Delmar
Learning. Johnson, C. (2017, May/June). Hollywood thinks they all go off at once! Fire sprinkler misrepresentations
in the media. Sprinkler Age, 36(3), 1819. Retrieved from https://sprinklerage.com/hollywood- thinks-go-off/
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Suggested Reading In order to access the following resource, click the link below. You are encouraged to read this article about how understanding fire dynamics can provide designers with the means to comprehend how a fire will grow and spread within a structure and how best to control that growth, including the fire triangle and how it applies to the fireground. Madrzykowski, D. (2016). Fire dynamics: The science of fire fighting. International Fire Service Journal of
Leadership & Management, 10, 2735. Retrieved from https://libraryresources.columbiasouthern.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direc t=true&db=a9h&AN=119098127&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Learning Activities (Nongraded) Nongraded Learning Activities are provided to aid students in their course of study. You do not have to submit them. If you have questions, contact your instructor for further guidance and information. Reflect on the concepts you have learned during your readings. What do you understand completely? What did not quite make sense? The purpose of this assignment is to provide you with the opportunity to reflect on the material you have read and to expand on it. If you are unclear about a concept, either review it in the textbook or ask your professor. Can you apply what you have learned to your career? How? This is not a summary. A reflection paper is an opportunity for you to express your thoughts about the material you are studying by writing about it. Reflection writing is a great way to study because it gives you a chance to process what you have learned and increases your ability to remember it. Use these guidelines as you reflect on the course material.
What are your thoughts about the main topics of the fire triangle verses tetrahedron? Why are fire dynamics important to fire protection? Explain the dynamics of a smoldering chair fire in a closed room. How does the fire triangle apply to
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