Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Archive: Industrial

Dig into Underground Fire Water Piping and Appurtenances

Many sites that are protected by fire sprinklers will have at least some amount of private underground fire water piping. Its purpose is to make water available for fire protection or suppression at a needed flow and pressure. Its presence is usually quietly evidenced by the connected objects that occasionally surface along its course, like valves, fire department connections and private hydrants, termed appurtenances. Underground water piping commands attention, though, when Read More

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FORKLIFT Etiquette: DON’T BE A LOUSY TIPPER!

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That is always good advice to follow if you are a forklift driver!  Operating a forklift can be a dangerous occupation.  There are approximately 1 million forklifts (powered industrial trucks) in the US workplace today, and it is estimated that just over 10% of those are involved in some type of accident every year.  Forklift accidents result in dozens of deaths and thousands of non-fatal injuries annually.  About one out of every four of those accidents involves a tipping or overturning forklift, making this the most common type of industrial truck accident.  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

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

Surprise Slip and Slides  

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Falls were the number one cause of preventable non-fatal injuries and the number two cause of preventable deaths in the US in 2019 (CDC and NEISS data). Slip and falls occur when there is an unexpected loss of traction between a person’s foot and the walking surface.  Slip and falls are common and can occur in any setting where people walk, including homes, workplaces, and public areas. Slip and falls can result in serious injuries, particularly for older adults.

The human gait cycle consists of four phases: Read More

Know a Fire Sprinkler, Like a Boss – Part 2

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In Part 1, we looked at the basic parts of a fire sprinkler and took a closer look at other parts including heat responsive elements, wrench bosses, and kick springs. In this part, we’ll look at k-factors and deflectors.

K-Factor and Orifice Size

K-factor is a characteristic that relates water pressure to flow rate from the sprinkler, represented as k in the equation Q = k√P, where Q is flow (gpm) and P is pressure (psi).

If we supply water at 50 psi to a k-factor 5.6 sprinkler, the flow rate is 40 gpm. If we supply 50 psi water to a K25 sprinkler, the flow rate is 177 gpm. There are now sprinklers as large as K33.6, which would flow 238 gpm given 50 psi – big difference from the K5.6!

The most common k-factors are 5.6, 8.0, 11.2, 14, 16.8, 22.4 and 25.  There are smaller and larger k-factors than these.  For reference, K5.6 and possibly K8.0 are most often found in Read More

Slippery Painted Exterior Walking Surfaces

As an experienced safety consultant, I’m called on to investigate a wide range of premises liability incidents. One common premises liability incident that often results in serious injury is a fall on an improperly painted or maintained walking surface.

Slip and fall accidents are a common occurrence and can lead to serious injuries and even death. Painted surfaces are one of the most Read More

Know a Fire Sprinkler, Like a Boss – Part 1

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In this blog we’ll take a look at the basic and some of the less-known parts of fire sprinklers, with more to come in a later post.

Here are the basic parts of the fire sprinkler, shown on a pendent glass bulb sprinkler and an upright solder element (“fusible link”) sprinkler:

 

Let’s take a closer look to learn about some of the less known parts, and also look at two types of sprinklers disassembled. Included in parentheses are some of the different names for some of these parts. Read More

Scared of Water, or Prefer to Get Drenched? Fire Suppression with Preaction and Deluge Systems

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In my two previous blogs, we first discussed wet sprinkler systems (Wet), the most basic and most common fire system type followed by dry sprinkler systems (Dry), which are a bit more complicated.  Ratcheting up another level, in this last edition on sprinkler systems, let’s take a look together at preaction and deluge systems.  These can be complex and variable, so we’ll operate at the 30,000 ft level. Read More

When a DRY Fire Sprinkler System Leaves You Soaked

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In my previous blog , I discussed the most basic and most common fire system type: wet sprinkler systems. The possible failure areas discussed with wet systems will also apply to dry sprinkler systems (control valves closed, obstructions, issues in the system, installation, or deficiencies with inspection, testing, and maintenance). Dry systems are even more prone to obstructions than wet systems, so close attention should be paid to that possibility. Read More

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