Fire Sprinkler to Philosophy in 23 steps

Philosophy to fire sprinklersHow can you get from fire sprinklers to philosophy well apparently you can in 23 steps, all you need to do is to type fire sprinklers into Wikipedia and then click on the first link which appears in each article and continue doing this until you get to philosophy. 

Fire sprinklers for Scottish homes is this the way forward

In the first 5 months of this year there have been 28 fire deaths in Scotland this is a considerable increase in deaths due to fire in Scotland from the previous year.  We already know those who are at greatest risk from death by fire, those who live alone, persons with physical or mental health conditions or have issues with alcohol and drugs. Last week saw the chief fire offices in Scotland making a public appeal for the public to put them in touch with those who are most at risk surely this can only be a short-term solution.

Scotland already have significantly better legislative requirements for fire sprinklers to be installed than we do in England. They already require sprinkler systems in residential care homes and sheltered housing and this was brought about after a change in the Scottish building regulations after a serious fire in a care home which costs the lives of many.

Foam Systems Standard - BS EN 135665

BSI has published BS EN 13565-2:2009 Fixed fire fighting systems - Foam systems Part 2: design, construction and maintenance.

Grenfell Tower fire disaster, could fire sprinkler help

Grenfell Tower fire disaster can fire sprinkler help?It was devastating watching the news coverage of the Grenfell fire disaster on 14th June 2017 and to hear that so many have lost their lives in this devastating fire and our deepest sympathies go to the victims and families of this tragedy.  Undoubtedly a public enquiry is required help us find and understand the failings in the fire safety precautions for this building and to learn for the future.  I suspect before this enquiry can start the criminal investigation and a coroner’s hearing will have to be completed or at least before it can report and given the complexity, this could be considerable time away.  Time which we do not have, we need to ensure the safety of others who live in high-rise accommodation, action needs to be taken now.

Grenfell Tower was a high-rise building which stood 67.3 m (220ft) with 24 floors, 120 flats and if it had been constructed under the current building regulations would have had a fire sprinkler system installed to BS 9251, which if it been retrofitted (at an estimated cost of £200,000) into the tower would have controlled or extinguished the fire saving many lives.  We are still hearing many negative comments regarding fire sprinkler systems and they use in such buildings despite the wealth of evidence to the contrary.

Hydraulic calculations and the slide rule

hydraulic calculations silde ruleBefore the scientific calculators and computers, we still produced hydraulic calculations for High Hazard sprinkler systems but this was a long-winded and time-consuming process and prone to error. I say High Hazard sprinkler systems as these were the only systems you would consider producing hydraulic calculations for as the production of the calculations by hand took so long that we were content in using pre-calculated pipe table for Light hazard and Ordinary hazard sprinkler systems and no one had ever thought of installing sprinklers into a house or care facility.

Even with a scientific calculator you still have a lot of buttons which need to be press to solve the Hayes William pressure loss formula, after all, each time we need to enter the pipe diameter, the flow rate and the C factor of the pipe. Of course, we can simplify the Hayes and William pressure loss formula for any pipe by producing a k-factor for each pipe size and pipe type, this certainly simplifies the input when using a calculate but we then need to look it up in a table so it is still quite laborious. If this was not enough we have not even considered the K-Factor formula for working out the flow through the sprinkler head or balancing the junction points at each tee or cross which needed yet another adjustment calculation. As an aside who thought it was a good idea to have “K” and “k” as two different formulas in fire sprinkler calculations, did someone not think that this may be confusing!

Fortunately, we had an answer the hydraulic calculator slide rule and no self-respecting sprinkler engineer would be without one. I seem to remember there were not that easy to get hold of. Some of the larger sprinkler companies produce their own such as Matter and Platt and others like the one shown was produced by an insurance company for their own fire sprinkler inspection engineers.

Hydraulic calculations for water mist systems

Water mist systems are becoming increasingly more popular as an alternative to traditional fire sprinkler systems but like any new technology we need to carefully understand its benefits and limitations and this is also true when we look at hydraulic calculations for such systems.

Hydraulic calculations for Wet & Dry risers systems

A useful research report has been published by ODPM to provided information on the limitations of fire rising mains such as wet and dry risers complying with BS 5306 part 1 : 2006.  The report looks at a number of different pumps and nozzle and hydraulic calculates the pressure loss through the pipe.

The Canute - FHC hydraulic calculation software is able to make the same types of pressure loss calculations as presented in this report which may help installers and designs verify designs.      

You can get a full copy of the ‘Hydraulic Calculation of Wet and Dry Risers, Hoses and Branches' bellow   


INSAT published a draft standard pr INSTA 900-3

 INSAT standards organization has published a draft standard pr INSTA 900-3 : 2013(E) - (Residential sprinkler systems — Part 3: Watermist systems equivalent to residential sprinklers). This standard continues the work of the Nordic group to produce a series of standards for Residential Sprinkler System and part three coves the test methods for alternative water base fire fighting systems as required in INSTA 900-1 and 2.

The INSTA 900-3  standard allows equivalency to be established using any of three different fire test protocols: UL 1626, FM 2030 or DD 8458. We are informed that it will not be long before DD 8458 to be converted into a full British Standard.

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