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Fire Facts- (free CEU’s)

Would you like to know how to make use of a firestop submittal in a way that will help you hold your installers accountable in a whole new way? If you are even thinking “maybe”, then you should join us for the 25th Fire Facts!  It is put on by City Fire as an educational forum and is well attended every year.

We have a new session coming up Feb 2nd in Princeton. If you join us, you will leave with a new set of skills that you can put to use the very next day (or at least the following Monday). This is hands down my favorite class to teach. Don’t get me wrong, I have fun with all of my classes, but this one is packed with valuable information…and it’s free!  Come for the CEU’s, come for the information and you will get some good food, great company and valuable information about firestop, hot works and carbon monoxide.

If you want to join us, please contact Melissa Palmisano for more details and to register. She can be reached at melissa@cityfire.com.

HOPE TO SEE YOU IN PRINCETON!

Firestop – It does more than stop fires (when its installed right)

Firestop can serve a number of unique features that are not directly related to STOPPING FIRE. A properly firestopped residential property can reduce the noise from a loud neighbor. It can reduce the wandering smells from a bad cook. In hospitals it can reduce nosocomial infections. This is the idea that you go into a hospital with a broken arm and leave with a cast and the worst case of the flu you’ve ever had. It can also save your life, even when there isn’t a fire.

There was a case in Orlando FL where residents were very lucky. They were lucky that one family was smart enough to recognize something was wrong and go to the hospital. The neighbors were lucky that a nurse was alert enough to notify emergency responders to ensure other neighbors were not in danger.

So, what happened?

Construction workers left a generator running and the residents suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. According to NJSHAD around 500 people die every year in the US as a result of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. There was another case where a man decided to commit suicide by leaving his car running in his garage. His garage was attached to his house and his house was attached to the neighbor’s house.   His attempt to end his life also cost the life of his entire family and his neighbors young family.

The same way that a properly constructed and properly firestopped building can reduce the transfer of both sounds and odors, it can also reduce the transmission of deadly gases not only during a fire but also in a case such as these.

So, make sure your firestop is done right, install detectors and check the batteries regularly.

If you have any questions about your property and whether or not the firestop is being installed properly, don’t hesitate to contact us.

I Have a Bone to Pick with Insurance Companies (It’s not what you might think)

The NEW YEAR started with me doing a training seminar at Seton Hall. Paul McGrath of City Fire invited me to speak at their 25th Fire Facts Seminar and it was awesome. I had so much fun, jumping around on a huge stage talking about building codes, standards, firestop and passive fire protection. Those of you who have been in my classes know what a dork I am, and how much I love it!

At lunch I sat with a few guys.  One who had been in one of my previous classes. Like most of us, he wears many hats. One is arson investigator.

During lunch our discussion bounced to raising kids with integrity and teaching them to be accountable for their actions.  We talked about how, if there are no consequences to the kids negative behavior, then the behavior won’t change.  I confessed to having stolen a candy bar when I was a kid and told of how my mother made me take it back into the store, give it back to the lady, apologize and tell her why it was wrong.   One of the guys had done the same thing with his young son and a pack of gum.

I was struck by the fact that there was a direct connect to this parenting move and the way I was hearing the insurance company is currently handling fire cases. As a parent, there has to be consequences to a child’s behavior; positive consequences to positive behavior and negative consequences to negative behavior.  What I was hearing at lunch was making it clear that the insurance industry needed help learning how to hold contractors and building owners accountable.

Rather than put in the legwork to identify construction that did not conform to the codes, the insurance companies just paid out the claims. This means that the contractor, who didn’t do the job right and created a scenario where a fire was allowed to propogate, or even started due to non-code-conformant installations, has no negative consequences for bad installations.  This is only letting people off the hook.

Now, I will be the first to tell you, I don’t know a great deal about insurance! I will also tell you that I do not want to offend anyone with this post. What I do want to accomplish with this is to:
1) raise awareness
2) start a conversation
3) be a catalyst for positive change in the industry

We all know what it typically takes for people to sit up and take notice. DEATH or massive loss always gets people’s attention. Then the masses cry, “How could this happen?

Trying to initiate change before you have everyone’s attention is not the easy route, but I would like to do just that before it comes to something tragic and I am asking for help from the Linked In community.

What ideas do you have regarding how we can have a positive impact that will help insurance companies be able to hold contractors accountable. I know a few years ago there was a case where a building owner did not maintain their sprinkler system and the insurance company did not have to pay out.  That old post can be found here.

If you have any ideas of how to help or if you can answer any of these questions please shoot me an quick note (or a long one if you prefer).  Your help may be the catalyst to the positive change we all need to see.

What events/trade shows/conferences would be interested in hearing more about this?

Do you have any contacts who could help with this agenda?

Do you have any ideas or data that would be useful in initiating this change?

 

As always, thank you all for reading this diatribe.  Keep Learning!  Do better every day and on the days you don’t; just remember there is tomorrow and take advantage of that when the day arrives.

How Fire Rated Assemblies Are Tested

It’s a New Year, so I thought I would play around with a new medium. I have pulled up a few old videos from various training segments I’ve recorded in the past 5 years. Here is a brief general discussion about how rated assemblies are tested. There is so much more I want you to know about this, but this is not a bad start and it segues into some of the older blog posts we have shared.

In order to make this information practical, so you can use it in the field, please remember that knowing how assemblies are tested helps you understand how they fail when not properly installed. Think about the hose stream test when you are looking at applications with large annular space, with insufficient annular space or installations with just a smear of sealant. These are both critical to the performance of a firestop installation.  The various hyperlinks will bring you to different segments for further discussion if you are interested in learning more.

Please share this with anyone you think might benefit from this information.

As always, if you have any questions or even topics for future blog posts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  We are happy to help when we can.

 

UPDATE: Jan 6

I want to give a HUGE shout out to RICK BARONE for making  a correction for me. This video clip was edited from one of the first classes I did when I started teaching again, and as with most things we are new at, there were errors.  I noticed it during editing a few months ago but forgot to comment on it when I posted it.  Rick says it better than I could so I will just include his comments here and say THANK YOU RICK.  I love when people support others to do better.

“You have some inaccuracies in the video…The time temperature curve is controlled by the test facility….If your test specimens furnace isn’t at 1000f at 5 minutes it will be because the lab tech didn’t maintain the time temp curve within the prescribe tolerance. The customer doesn’t fail, the lab must abort the test and rerun..usually at their own cost if they are a credible lab…but a nice start with a new communication vehicle..” Rick Barone 1/5/2017

Happy New Year Everyone

I wanted to take a second to say thanks for following me during 2017.  I hope that you have enjoyed the information I have shared with you and that you are able to put it to good use during your work.

I also want to wish you all an amazing 2018. We will continue to blog and we hope you continue to learn about firestop and passive fire protection. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to email or call.  We are happy to help when we can.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

My challenge to you this year – May we all bring out the best in those around us through out 2018.

Fireproof, Firestop and Fireblock (part 2 of 4)

This is the second in a four part series helping explain the difference between Fireproofing, firestopping and fire blocking. As the firestop blogger, of course parts 2 and 3 are on first through penetrations and rated joints. Check out the new blog post here. If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you again. Contact me here.

Pizza and Firestop?

Okay, so these two things don’t normally go together, but as many of you know I teach a few classes for NJ building officials. I like to think we have a little bit of fun in the class, despite talking about building codes and standards and typically dry boring subjects. My class yesterday had a great bunch of people. One guy, Lee was talking about how his trip to Italy has ruined pizza for him in the US. Many of you know I LIKE FOOD. So in an attempt to help Lee be able to enjoy pizza without the trip to Italy, I began to tell him about BBQ pizza. At the end of class the one lone architect in the class challenged me to post the pizza info. So, in case you need a means to feed a gang of people around Thanksgiving without much headache. Try this if you’d like and let me know what you think.

Step 1- pizza dough. You can buy it in a store or make it. If you make it, I prefer to use beer and honey. King Arthur Flour has an add in for pizza dough that improves the flavor as well and they have a bunch of recipes for you to play with if you are so inclined.

Step 2- get all your fixings together and put them by the BBQ, turn it on high. Fixings should include sauce cheese and anything you want on your pizza plus a can of spray oil.

Step 3- roll out the dough and place it on a pizza paddle and bring it out to the BBQ.

Step 4- spray the BBQ (please be careful- I don’t want any horror stories coming back to me on this one- you can also use a silicone brush with oil if you prefer) slide the dough onto the BBQ and close the oven. after about 5 min check to see that the dough is crisp but not black and when it is, flip it over, QUICKLY top your pizza, close the lid and turn the heat down so you don’t scorch the beautiful creation.

So to Harry, and the rest of my crew from yesterdays class- This was for you guys! You were a great class and I enjoyed the day with you. I hope you all enjoy this, if you try it. Keep learning and eating good food!