Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Archive: Fires & Explosions

Understanding Heat Transfer: A Guide for Fire Investigators

In the realm of fire investigation, understanding heat transfer is crucial. Heat transfer plays a significant role in how fires start, spread, and ultimately, how they can be analyzed and investigated. There are three primary modes of heat transfer: conduction, convection, and radiation. In this article, we’ll delve into each of these modes and explore examples of how fire investigators can apply this knowledge to their work. Read More

Dive Into Suction Tank Issues and Inspections

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Privately-owned water tanks supplying fire protection systems have a long history. The NFPA published the Standard on Gravity Tanks in 1909. It is one of the oldest NFPA codes, predating even the Life Safety Code’s precursor, the Building Exits Code, first published in 1927. The Standard on Gravity Tanks evolved over the years to become NFPA 22, Standard for Water Tanks for Private Fire Protection. The inspection, testing, and maintenance requirements for all types of private fire water storage tanks are laid out in NFPA 25, Chapter 9 – Water Storage Tanks. While there are about eight different types of fire water tanks, I’d assert that the most common type today is the steel suction tank. Read More

A Primer On The Elements Of Fire Protection Water Supplies

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Get primed!

Fire protection water supplies can be made up of one or more common elements, including tanks, pumps, water sources and water systems. Sometimes elements are used together to develop an adequate supply for fire protection.

An adequate water supply for a fire protection system will meet the needs of the fire protection system (plus safety factor) in three terms: Read More

Hot ’til It’s Not…Water Heater Maintenance

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An often overlooked item in your home’s infrastructure is the water heater.  Most people don’t think a lot about their water heater until they turn the tap and are surprised with water that is less than hot.  Water heaters are just like many other major home appliances, they need a little attention to get their maximum life and performance. Read More

Turkey Fryers- Product Design is Critical to Consumer Safety

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As the holiday season nears, thoughts turn to wonderful home-cooked meals with family.  Few things in life are more pleasurable than a traditional holiday turkey feast. Yet for an unfortunate few, holiday meal time can turn tragic if a turkey frying accident occurs.   While fried turkeys may be tasty, many fire safety experts feel that the reward is not worth the risk.  Read More

Fire Pumps are Cool 😎; Lets Keep Them That Way

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In my last blog, we discussed the small PRVs that go on wet sprinkler systems to limit their pressure below 175 psi. That brought to mind a small PRV in another application that is used to keep something different cool: an electric motor-driven centrifugal fire pump. I can’t talk about electric fire pumps without also talking about diesel fire pumps, so let’s dive in and take a look at both! Read More

Wet System Pressure Release Valves

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Ah, summertime. Summer’s heat brings some good things: opportunities for outdoor swimming and seasonal produce: blueberries, and peaches, and watermelon…

Summer’s heat doesn’t bring all good things. It can even trigger issues with fire sprinkler systems. Let’s zoom in on a small component on a wet fire sprinkler system that’s there in part because of summer heating: a pressure relief valve.

A pressure relief valve (or an auxiliary air reservoir) is required on wet sprinkler systems; one reason is to Read More

Rainy Day Troubles: A Slip and Fall Case Study

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An afternoon summer rain shower led to an elderly woman’s admittance to the hospital. Mrs. Jones, aged 68, entered a retail store to buy groceries for her visiting family. Mrs. Jones walked through the store’s vestibule toward the entrance where she slipped and fell, sustaining significant injuries. An investigation was conducted to determine the cause of the slip and fall incident.

The investigation revealed Read More

Pre-Season Tune-Up for a Gas Grill

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Statistics predict that about half grill owners will be firing them up this upcoming Memorial Day weekend [i]. Let’s look over a propane grill, as if we had just pulled it out for the grilling season, for some tips and red flags.  Not beef tips or how to get the perfect sear on your steak – safety tips!  Besides hot surfaces, a gas grill serves up hazards related to flammable gases: fires, explosions, and flash fires. Read More

Steam Explosions…Spectacular Expansions, Spectacular Losses

I’ve heard some people say that the term steam explosion is a malaprop because explosions involve combustion.  However, if you look up the definition of explosion, you get this: “a large-scale, rapid, or spectacular expansion or bursting out or forth.” (Thanks, Meriam-Webster!!)  If you’ve ever witnessed a steam explosion, you’ll agree that it is a MOST appropriate term!

Steam explosions occur when water or other liquid undergoes a sudden phase change Read More

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