Jun 6, 2022
On this episode of Fire Code Tech we are speaking with Bill Denney about an alternative fire suppression technology. Bill breaks down common occupancies aersol fire suppression is utilized for, design considerations, and lessons learned from his career.
Hello, all welcome to the show. I'm Gus Gagliardi, and this is fire code tech on fire code tech. We interview fire protection professionals from all different careers and backgrounds in order to provide insight and a resource for those in the field. My goal is to help you become a more informed fire protection.
Professional fire code tech has interviews with engineers and researchers, fire marshals, and insurance professionals, and highlights topics like codes and standards, engineering systems, professional development, and trending topics in the industry. So if you're someone who wants to know more about fire protection or the fascinating stories of those who are in the field, you're in the right place.
Hello, all welcome to episode 54 of fire code tech. On this episode, we're speaking with bill. Bill is talking with us today about aerosol fire suppression. It's a pretty unique episode in that bill was listening to a solo cast about alternative fire suppression that I did weeks back and reached out to talk about aerosol fire suppression.
Since I mentioned that I didn't have much knowledge about this subject. We get into design considerations, layout, physical and chemical properties of aerosol fire suppression systems, and much more. Also, we break down what our good occupancy and use fits for this technology. Really enjoyed speaking with bill.
He is so knowledgeable about aerosol fire suppression and has a deep understanding of fire science and all of the component factors of this suppression technology. Don't forget to subscribe. So you never miss an episode and give us a follow on social media. And if you do me a huge favor and give a five star on apple podcast, that'd be a big help.
Let's break into the show. Well, bill, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. Welcome to fire code tech GU. I'm delighted to be here. Thank you for having me. And, uh, I really look forward to our discussion today. I enjoy your podcast very much and to oh, awesome. Think to think that I can be here. Just great.
Couldn't be better. It's very touching. Yeah. I really appreciate, we were talking a little bit off air about how you discovered the podcast and how you've been listening for a while. But yeah, I'm excited too, to speak with you about, um, your career and, you know, then the knowledge you have about aerosolized fire expression.
But as you all know, I like to get these things started with giving people a little bit of background on your career history. You know, kind of how you found fire and life safety. Uh, yeah. Would you mind telling me about that? Yeah, sure. Be happy to, uh, like many of your guests that you have on the podcast.
I did not set out to have a career in the fire and life safety business. It all came about, uh, quite randomly. Um, the mid nineties I was looking for work. I had left my. Installing car stereos. Uh, you're a guest. Uh, you had Joseph Savantas on. And a few of the things he said kind of resonated with me. He was installing car stereos at one point.
That's what I was doing, uh, at the time. But I left that and I was looking for work and I couldn't seem to find anything, but every time I looked in the paper, I always saw an ad for a company that was looking. Alarm technicians for burglar alarm systems and CCTV and stuff like that. And I had, um, you know, electronics background from high school and some correspondence classes I had taken.
And so I thought, well, you know, something's better than nothing I'll apply. And if I get it, um, I'll keep looking, you know, to find something better. And I'll just do that until I can find something that, uh, that I like. But, you know, funny thing, I, I really found that I enjoyed the work. We were, um, you know, installing all types of alarm systems, uh, security, fire, CCTV, access control, Intercom, everything, low voltage.
And it was nice because you, you know, you get to move around. You're not at the same place every day and you get to use your brain a little bit. You get to a, a place and the, the panel is in trouble and it's a ground fault or something. You gotta kind of think, well, you know, what's going on here? What could be the problem?
How am I gonna fix this? And when you do fix it, you know, you use your tools and your brain and you figure it. You leave? I, I like that. I felt like I could go away with a sense of accomplishment that I did something. Um, but after a couple of years of that, I, I kind of realized I probably couldn't make a lifelong career out of being in a, you know, truck moving around, climbing up and down the ladder every day and everything like that.
And, uh, the, uh, company we work for, um, Okay. We were a big, um, Radis distributor. We sold radi security systems and, and a lot of them. And I, I learned that Radis was looking for technical support people. And so I went to my, uh, my boss and, uh, I told them, Hey, you know, Radis is looking for tech support people.
I'm gonna try to apply. Uh, Radis was in California. My parents lived in California and it just seemed like. A good move. I could get into an office environment and, and a company where I might be able to progress. Whereas with the alarm installation and service, you know, it, it, it kind of, it is what it is.
And, and there was really no path forward. And he said, yeah, sure, no problem. You know, I'll give you a reference and, and everything, but he said, but they're not going to hire you. And I said, well, He said, they're looking for people that have a lot more experience in the industry than you. I had only been doing this work for about two years and, uh, but he said, go ahead and try.
And, and I applied and they did hire me. And I think he was always kind of pleased with the idea that one of his guys got hired by a manufacturer. And so I worked there in the tech support department for, uh, a few years and, uh, Radis was, uh, bought. Buy another company and they closed the office in California and moved everyone to New York.
Um, at that time I didn't wanna make that move. And at Radis we used hoki smoke detectors and, and products and hoki was starting to come in with their own fire alarm panel around that time. So this was around 2003. I went to work at cheki for tech support and training and I've. Kind of been there pretty much, uh, ever since really.
That's awesome. Very cool to hear about how you had a similar through line in your incipient stage of your career as Joseph Savantas having that, uh, proclivity for electronics and really searching for something in the job market and those things kind of clicking together. That's cool to hear that, uh, come together like that.
That was another thing that, uh, Joseph said, uh, when he started out, he realized if he was gonna get ahead, he had to really read a lot and study, he read the code books and everything, and I was the same way. Uh, I devoured whatever information I could get. My boss saw that and he bought N FPA 72 for me in 70.
And that was little over my head at the time, but I kind of realized if I'm going to be able to continue and progress and grow professionally, I'm going to have to learn. I'm gonna have to do more than just go on service calls every day. And that was something that Joseph, uh, emphasized as well. And I think it's a good point probably for everyone.
We need to have some way to grow, um, uh, professionally and learn and expose our. You know, to other parts of, uh, of the business and the industry. And that's one of the things I've really appreciated about your podcast. I get to hear, uh, experiences and ideas and, and, you know, things from, from people that are doing different aspects than, than what I might be doing every day.
Yeah. That's awesome. Yeah. I I'm really inspired myself by people's stories and it's always been, um, You know, one of the things that has given me a lot of meaning and just hearing about how people have taken the challenges that life has to offer and, and overcome that's like helps provide some, even if short lived motivation and inspiration to, um, really try to lean into your own life or bettering yourself.
I feel the same way, bill. Yeah. Um, about just professional development and personal growth, but yeah. So I'm excited to hear about how you started and then your transition to a manufacturer and then your movement to cheki. Um, yeah. Would you go over a little bit in more detail, some of the roles that you've held at cheki since you started.
Kind of what those have looked like along the way. Oh, sure. Um, you know, starting out in the field, obviously I was just an installer pulling wire and, you know, mounting devices and doing service calls with all kinds of different things. Um, when I went to, uh, radios, of course I did, uh, technical support there.
That was, that was kind of a transition that I didn't expect. You know, when you are in the field and you go to a site and you've got a panel and it's got a problem, Use your eyes and your hands and your tools, and you can kind of check it out and see it and work it out. But when you're on the phone now in a tech support role, and you're talking to this, someone who was there and they see it it's different.
Uh, it, it, it was a transition for me. It took me probably about six months or so to really get my head around that, because now you have to ask them to be your eyes and ears and, and hands. To identify what the problem is and how to fix it. And not everyone is at the same, uh, skill level. You know, some guys, they, some of the guys that would call that, you know, they were just kind of thrown into it and they didn't, you know, maybe have the, the training or the background and they needed help.
Um, and sometimes that help might include explaining to them how. Uh, use the meter, you know, to measure, uh, DC voltage or how to, um, you know, do other, uh, things that are necessary to be successful as a, uh, technician. And sometimes, um, you know, they might think that you're just going to tell them some quick answer, that's gonna solve all the problems in the whole world.
And it doesn't always work like that. And, and, you know, you might say, well, did you check the voltage on the zone? And they say, yeah, yeah, yeah. I checked it. I check. Say, okay. Well, how much was it? And they tell you some number that she know is completely impossible and you think, okay, they didn't check it
And now the, the challenge now is how do I ask them to check it or have them, you know, do what I need for them to do without insulting them or offending them in some way, how do I help them to see that I'm on their side, you know, and we've gotta be a team and work together here. And it took a little time to kind of get my head around that.
But once I. That was nice and it was enjoyable. Um, moving over to hoki, I started with tech support at radios. We'd get a lot of calls every day. Um, at hoki, when I started, we would get four or five calls a day. It was me and, um, another fellow who were doing the work. And, um, but I did the tech support there.
I helped with that and I developed the training program. For the, uh, panel that we released at that time, an analog addressable panel. And, uh, from there I've done some, uh, writing of technical, uh, manuals documents. I've worked in the research and development department. I've um, done some, uh, firmware validation testing.
I do design and application support for our customers now. Um, You know, whatever comes my way. And that's one of the nice thing things about being here is I do get a lot of variety. Um, it's uh, every day is something different and that always keeps it interesting and an opportunity, you know, possibly to learn something along the way as well.
Yeah. That's awesome. It's always rewarding to have, uh, you know, I've spoken with people. About, you know, where they had jobs. I spoke with one individual early on in my career who had a, um, CAD tech job where he laid out cabinetry for a big box, uh, you know, manufacturer company. And he'd said that, uh, like the.
Monotony of just laying out these same CAD details over and over again was just mind numbing. And so I have never had to deal with that being in fire and life safety has been, uh, I rarely if ever, you know, even buildings where people say they're identical, they're usually not . Yeah, exactly, exactly. Yeah.
Identical. And it's very hard to present, uh, identical with, you know, everyth. and then siding. So that's, I agree with you, but you know, this podcast started because you reached out and were talking to me about how, you know, aerosol, uh, fire suppression. And I had made some comment in one of my solo cast episodes.
I was talking about alternative, uh, fire suppression. Um, I think it was section 9 0 4. I was talking about in an episode. and a solo cast. And you reached out because you have a specialty in that subject, but, um, yeah, I, what is, is, am I even using the right terms? Aerosol fire, fire, uh, suppression or aerosolized fire suppression.
What, how would you term that? Usually they would call it aerosol or maybe condensed aerosol fire suppression. That was solo cast 27. Yes. I was walking and listening that day. And you were going through the list of alternative fire extinguishing systems in section 9 0 4 of the IBC. And you were going through them, what?
Chemical, dry chemical foam, CO2, clean agent and so on. And I was wondering if aerosol would come out and it did. And I laughed and I said, I've got to reach out to Gus and offer to send him some information about the, uh, the technology and you're right. It's not something that, um, everyone knows about. Um, it's, uh, been around a long.
Outside of the United States, but the NFPA and UL standards that are applicable to it, haven't been around a long time, but, uh, aerosol fire suppression or condensed aerosol, uh, basically an aerosol, right, is a suspension of very tiny particles. Uh, in a gas. It could be fog is an aerosol smoke is an aerosol condensed aerosol fire suppression works.
Um, uh, by using very, very tiny particles of potassium suspended in the air. And, uh, so it's really kind of clever, um, how they do this. The aerosol itself before it is discharged is contained in a solid. Okay. Um, it looks a little bit like, uh, to me it looks a little bit like maybe a chunk of, um, particle board or something like that.
And the aerosol is, uh, stored inside of these, uh, steel containers. They might be cylindrical or they might be a kind of like a box and they have holes on one side so that the aerosol can get. And these boxes or these cylinders are called aerosol generators. That is the term that is used in, uh, N FPA 2010.
Uh, they don't really generate the aerosol necessarily. Um, but they do contain that solid. Compound and these aerosol generators or containers are installed inside the hazard area. They're not pressurized. They just have this solid compound in it. And a few other little, uh, components there. So they're installed in the hazard area and maybe on the ceiling or high up on the walls somewhere.
And they're activated usually electrically from a listed releasing control panel. So it would be like a clean agent. In that respect, you've got a cross zone of smokes or smokes and heats. The panel goes into alarm. Both of the zones are an alarm. The panel starts counting down a pre-discharge time, uh, to allow people to get out of the room.
And at the end of that time, the panel will send an electric voltage, usually 24 volts to these generators and that voltage, um, creates a Condit. Where that solid compound is converted from a solid mass of aerosol forming compound to an aerosol that's based on very, very tiny particles of, uh, potassium, uh, carbonate.
There's also some, um, nitrogen generated and, uh, some water vapor and things like that. But it's primarily the potass. The particles are very small. They're according to the definition there in N FPA 2010, they're generally less than 10 microns in size to get an idea of 10 microns. 10 microns is the average diameter of a human blood cell, red blood cell.
So the particles are extremely small and the generators will just, you know, fill the room with these tiny particles of potassium carbon. Um, now the potassium extinguishes the fire by interfering with the chemical chain reaction of the fire. The, um, uh, potassium is a, um, it's one of the alkaline metals and it only has one electron and it's outer shell.
So it's able to, uh, disassociate and become a potassium ion. And that's what happens. The potassium moves into the. The heat of the flame creates a potassium ion that has a positive charge that positively charged potassium, ion bonds with the free radicals, from the fire and breaks that chemical chain reaction that is going on.
And that's how it extinguishes. It doesn't displace oxygen. It doesn't work, you know, primarily by cooling the fire or things like that. But it works on that chemical level. And because it works at the chemical chain reaction level, the extinguishing action is very fast. Um, during our training classes, uh, that we have on this product, we have one of the test results from the UL testing, and then the UL testing.
They have a, a small, uh, uh, space, you know, where they like test fires and, and check to see how well the aerosol works. And, uh, for the test results that I have, it shows that all five of the test fires were extinguished in about two and a half seconds. So the extinguishing action is very effective and it's very fast.
And primarily, I, I that's because of the way it works, you know, focusing right in on the heart of that, uh, chain reaction. I. Hope that makes sense. no, yeah, that's great. I love the visuals that, uh, 10 microns is an interesting number because that's also like around some of the thresholds for combustible dusts.
So I, I appreciate you using some, you know, information to really drive home the point and you have a really solid understanding. Not only the technology, but the fire science behind why this technology works to extinguish the fire. Um, yeah. I really appreciate that. Yeah. When I started doing the, uh, the training, which also was sort of a, another unintended thing, I was asked to develop a training program for this, uh, technology, this product at cheki.
I didn't know anything about. I told them. Sure. You know, I'll, I'll make a presentation. I figured I would read the manual and I did, I read the manual and, uh, I saw that, you know, it breaks Kim chain reaction fire, and I thought, okay, well, that's great. But then I started thinking, you know, somebody's gonna ask me, well, how does it do that?
And so I thought, I need to investigate to see how fireworks, you know, how does fire burn, what happens during a fire. And, uh, while that was. That was quite an investigation. I guess I still don't have a grasp on that yet. As I started studying, I found out the fire is a very complicated thing. Um, but yeah, that was, um, that was part of it.
And, and all of that, I, I guess I was anticipating questions that never really came. No one ever asked me about that. It's funny. I've been doing this training now for probably seven years, eight years. I don't think anyone has ever asked me, but I had to know for myself. How does it interfere? You know, what does that mean?
Exactly. And so, yeah, I, I did a lot of reading on that and it is quite interesting. I I'm sure you had to learn a lot about combustion and things of that sort, uh, in, in getting your degree. Yeah. You know, it's, it's funny you say that because I can't tell you how many times I've looked at the, you know, the fire Tetra Hedron now.
Or just understood that, you know, when they talk about inhibiting the chemical chain reaction and how that can, uh, you know, stop the course of a fire, but I've never really, you know, and I, uh, have taken quite a few chemistry courses and, um, because I originally, uh, I was going for a different degree in chemical engineering before I transitioned.
Fire protection. And so I made it all the way through like organic chemistry two, but yeah, I never, it ever had the thought to really investigate the actual, uh, mechanism at the atomic level for how these particles inhibit that reaction it. So to me, that's extremely interesting, like. Go ahead. No, I'll just go.
I was just gonna go on like one of the, one of the, like another reason, um, why your vivid description of the, um, chemical chain reaction and like the 10 microns being associated with the blood cell. Like my first, one of my big moments in my life I ever realized I had any interest in science. My chemistry teacher in high school telling me that a mole.
So like Avagadro's constant for, you know, how many particles are in, you know, like the standard mass that we use to count for elements, like 6.02 times 10 to the 23rd, like to get a visual representation of that number, like a Mo of peas would cover the entire. With three feet of peas. And so that was how he described like the sheer size of this number, you know, what 10 times to the 23rd really looked like.
So that, yeah, yeah. That, uh, really was. Like a big aha moment for me. those kind of things help us, I think, but still the idea and the concept of it is, uh, I find it to be very challenging. Um, you know, that many, uh, piece all around the earth. Sure. It's a lot, but trying to, you know, visually picture that is, is, uh, I find that to be, uh, still a bit of a struggle it's interest.
Well, we'll come back to that later. Uh, the aerosol particles, but. , they are very small. And in fact, um, 10 microns is the size of the largest particles. Um, most of them are actually smaller than that. Very cool. Very cool. So is this like similar, uh, compounds in like. Technology as fire extinguishers, are these the same kind of bicarbonate and potassium compounds that are in extinguishers?
Is this like similar technology it's different. It really is different. Um, the particle sizes are much smaller. That's kind of what I was going to say just a moment ago. It's not a clean agent, right? Because it is based on these very, very, uh, tiny particles of potassium. So there is gonna be a little bit of residue, um, like a dust, like a very fine dust after a discharge, not like a dry Kim system, not like a handheld extinguisher, much, much lighter than that.
And I used to get questions in the beginning. I was doing, uh, product trainings and people were very, you know, interested in that obviously. I think they were picturing dry chemical systems. And I would try to tell 'em, it's not like that, you know, it's more like a, a kind of a, a light dust. So I, I was very clever.
I thought I was clever and, and we were doing a, uh, a discharge one day at the cheki office and I thought I'm going, here's what I'm gonna do. Great idea. I'm gonna get a broom and I'm gonna try to sweep up some of the residue and put it in a little. and I can take it around with me and show it to people.
You know, when I do the training, this is what it looks like. Mm-hmm , but you know, the particles are so small. This is one of the things about the aerosol. The particles are so small and buoyant that they want to float. They, they tend to stay suspended in, in the room or in the air. You know, if, if there's a ceiling they'll stay suspended for maybe an hour, hour, 15 minutes or so before they finally all settle out.
Wow. We were doing this outside in a little, um, area that we had kind of covered with plastic. And as a result, when we opened it for me to try to collect my, uh, aerosol specimen, it all floated away. wow into the air and I didn't get anything. Um, you know, so, um, I thought it was a great idea, but in reality, Didn't work out, uh, the way I intended it, but that is one difference.
I know we're gonna talk about differences and that's why it has a different NFPA standard. 2 20 10. It's not a 2001 clean agent. It does use particles. That's what makes it an aerosol, but the particle size and the, the, uh, the residue that's left is, is very, very fine, very light. Wow. That's incredible. I never would've guessed.
That really brings to mind the physical. And now you talked about the physical characteristics and the chemical characteristics, but it really is unlike. Clean agent or like, you know, a dry chemical fire extinguishing system. Mm-hmm , that's, that's pretty remarkable. Really. I, I wouldn't have guessed that.
Yeah. It's kind of been a class of its own, you know, it has its own UL standard. It has its own N FBA standard. So it is, it is unique technology in that regard. Cool. So let's talk about the codes and standard structure around, um, aerosol fire suppression. Um, Would you speak a little bit about that NFPA standard in which you had base the design for these systems on yes, absolutely.
That's NFPA 2010. That's the standard for fixed aerosol fire extinguishing systems. And of course, um, at nfpa.org, as you have mentioned before, and I remind people quite regularly, you can sign up and you can see all of the NFPA standards, Sarah at no. So N FPA 2010 is the one it's in its, uh, third official revision.
We're on the 20, 20 edition. Um, right now it's not a big standard. I would guess the body of the standard is maybe. 20 pages, something like that. It's not like the NEC or 1 0 1 or anything like that, but the information is there, you know, um, the definitions, of course, in chapter three, um, general information, and then the information about how to design a system, things that we need to be aware of.
Um, as we design, um, the system as. And then some information in the annex is also the UL standard for testing is UL 27 75, which is the standard for fixed condensed aerosol extinguishing systems. There are other standards. As I had mentioned, this technology spent around a long time outside of the United States.
There are European standards, the, um, ISO 1 57 79. Is there a condensed sterol systems standard? Um, there are some, uh, other approvals Marine approvals. There's a, uh, uh, a Russian standard, uh, N PB 2198, um, that, uh, they have for this technology. Another thing that kind of comes into play too, is the EPA, the, um, environmental protection, uh, association.
The EPA has the snap list, you know, about the snap list. They, uh, develop that list in an effort to identify substitutes for ozone depleting chemicals, like Halan, you know, um, and so the EPA snap list also has a place, uh, for condensed aerosols so that they can be, um, evaluated and included on the snap list and EPA, uh, the snap list will look at the aerosol from.
Two aspects, I guess. Well, maybe three, the first would be, is it included on the list at all? Um, another would be, can it be used for normally occupied spaces or is it only for normally unoccupied spaces? And so, uh, the snap list to EPA would also apply here in the us N FPA 2010 U 27 75 for the manufacturers.
And then the, uh, EPA snap list. So I don't know too much about the snap list, although I, I understand the concept of these substances that the EPA is saying let's move away from these substances. Um, I know that, uh, most recently we've seen the industry start to, um, deprecate and move away from. Like FM 200 mm-hmm so some of these HFC having clean agent systems, and then, you know, obviously Halan in the past being a huge one that, um, they've moved away from.
But that's interesting to hear you speak about that. Um, part of the industry. Yeah. Um, you know, um, Halan was very effective. But it, uh, the Montreal, uh, protocol obviously, um, you know, they were concerned about identifying ozone depleting substances and, um, so that was addressed. And as you pointed out, I understand that some countries are now sort of phasing down HFCs, too.
I had understood that that really applied more to, uh, HFCs used in refrige. , but it may be touching fire suppression or perhaps at some time in the future. Um, it will, you know, and, um, so yeah, those are, uh, I guess, considerations, um, for those types of products, you know, I could be wrong about this. People should double check me, but, um, I'm pretty sure that I've seen formal communication from some of these manufacturers.
How they're phasing these systems out. So it's going to be expensive to, um, in, I believe FM 200 specifically, uh, maintain these systems because the agent is not gonna be made in the same capacity anymore. So it's likely gonna be more expensive. So, um, but yeah, but I wanted to ask you about, so what kind of spaces.
Or occupancies. Are you seeing these kind of systems implemented in I'm sure there's a wide variety, but what occupancy, um, would ping in your mind as being a good fit for these systems? Well, the product is, uh, generally listed for class a class B class C fires. Um, that's what NFPA 2010, uh, allows. Or the technology, anything outside of that would need to be tested to the satisfaction of the authority, having jurisdiction, but class ABC that gives us a lot of room, um, you know, um, to move the product.
Um, I see it used in a lot of applications. I think perhaps some of the best applications. Would be things like, um, equipment rooms, electrical rooms, you know, battery rooms, transformer rooms, things like that. Um, I've seen it used in, um, remote, uh, locations where maybe they didn't have sufficient water, you know, to put in, um, some type of, uh, of water based system.
I see a lot of applications with. Um, you know, alternative energy, battery, energy storage systems and solar, and, uh, wind things like that. Um, some people, uh, and it has been done often, they will use it in server room applications. Uh, I usually would suggest when that comes up, that perhaps aerosol would not be the first choice because it is an aerosol and there.
A, uh, cleanup that's involved afterward. Now, if you have a fire, you're gonna have to clean up anyway, I suppose. Um, you know, but there are clean agents, there's the floor, native keytones and gases and things like that. Perhaps, you know, perhaps that might be a, uh, uh, a better first choice. But I have seen occasions, one that comes to my mind was a, uh, server room for a city and they, um, They were going to put in a clean agent system and the company came out and they did the Dohan test room, integrity test, and the, the room failed horribly.
And they, uh, did some investigation in the room to see where it was leaky, put together a proposal to seal up the room so that they could install the clean agent system. And the quote to seal the room came back at like a hundred thousand dollars. They said, well, we don't have a hundred thousand dollars for this whole system, you know, uh, allotted.
And in that case, they were considering going to an aerosol system because one of the things about the condensed aerosol system, because it's not a pressurized gas, there's no requirement in the 2010 standard to do a door F. We need to have a room that's reasonably closed up. You know, we can't have open doors or windows or things like that, but because the aerosol is not highly pressurized, it's not going to try to seek out every little nook and cranny and escape.
There's usually no trouble maintaining the concentration for the hold time. And, um, so that's one advantage, uh, of the system and in that particular applic. They were talking about moving to an aerosol system because they also had sprinklers in the room. And if the sprinklers go off on their servers, obviously that's probably not gonna be a good thing at all.
Um, the aerosol they're going to have to clean the little light residue there, but if they follow certain steps, you know, they should be able to do that and continue to use their equip. So there are a lot of, um, different things that come across. We, uh, protect, uh, equipment like CNC machines, um, you know, different things like that.
So there's, uh, there, there are a lot of opportunities, a lot of things that come along and, um, I always try to tell people, um, in the training that condensed sterol is, is like a, a tool. To add to your tool belt, right? I, I think it's safe to say that there is no one single fire suppression technology that is effective for a hundred percent of the applications.
100% of the time, right? Each one has certain strengths and each one has certain characteristics that perhaps are not strengths. And so the, um, the challenge for the fire protection. Professional is to identify which solution is going to be best for my customer. You know? Um, in this case, you know, it might be system type a and this system is completely different.
You know, this needs to be something different, maybe condensed sterol or something like that. So, um, you know, it can be used at all sorts of different applications, but I always try to urge people to consider. The application, consider the needs of the customer and consider what is going to be the best solution for that particular application.
You know, if we do that, we're gonna, um, have plenty of opportunity, but more importantly, I think we're going to give the customer the best solution for them. That's going to make them happy. Yeah, that's a great point. That's a great point. Yeah. It's all about, um, being appraised of the different solutions and applications of these technologies and, and what fits and what doesn't fit.
So mm-hmm, um, very interesting to hear about some of the, uh, pros and cons of aerosol fire suppress. Yeah, but yeah, since you touched on a bit of the, you know, location and design requirements, What other kind of, um, you know, programmatic or design and specification requirements should professionals be thinking about when they're looking at applying one of these systems?
Like, are there like how much room should they intend to have floor space wise or wall mounted for these generators? And. I know you spoke to the releasing systems and the, the panels involved with that. Um, but yeah. Can you give a high level overview of what kind of other design considerations you would offer?
I will try. the, um, the design for the aerosol system or the calculation. For how much of that aerosol forming compound is needed is basically, uh, the volume of the space that we're protecting multiplied by the design application density for the particular product you're using. Uh, there are a handful of condensed aerosol manufacturers.
And each product is a little different, you know, in its makeup, they're fundamentally the same, but there will be little, uh, differences perhaps in the makeup of the, the compound itself. And so to design that part of it really is pretty straightforward. I tell people I could do it on my phone. Uh, probably, um, we need to know the volume of the space.
Okay. So if you've got a room or a space. 200 cubic meters or a thousand cubic meters or whatever it is. You just multiply that by the design application density for that product. Now the design application density will come from the product manufacturer and a little bit about that. When UL does their testing of condensed aerosol, they are testing the product to identify the quantity of solid compound.
That will extinguish their test fires a hundred percent of the time. All right. So maybe there's a aerosol manufacturer over here and they do their tests and UL says, um, a hundred grams per cubic meter. And, and that is called the application density. That is the amount that UL has confirmed will extinguish 100% of the fires, every.
Extinguishing application density. Now, when we do our designs, we use the design application density, which according to NFPA 2010 is going to be 30% extra. So if I need a hun, if my extinguishing application density is a hundred grams per cubic meter, my design application density is gonna be 30% more, 130 grams.
Per cubic meter. And that's what we're going to use. 130 grams times the volume of the room of cubic meters. That's how much aerosol I need. Now, the aerosol generators come in different sizes. They have different amounts of the solid compound. So then what you have to do is say, okay, I need, I need, you know, 5,000 grams of solid compound for this room.
You would choose the generators that would give you that, uh, quantity. Of aerosol. And then that is what, um, that is what she would use along with the, uh, control panel, some type of detection, obviously there's notification involved, um, notification for any fire alarm. There's a pre-discharge notification notification that the system has discharged.
Um, generally there's going to be a manual release, at least one manual release, uh, pool station, possibly an abort switch. Um, the idea or the, the desire, really the design of the system is to give people enough warning so that they can leave the room. That way, when the system discharges, the doors will be closed, no one has to go out or anything, um, like that.
And, uh, so that's it, there, there are other, uh, considerations, um, um, maybe we will, um, Consider that as, uh, as we move on here, but fundamentally that is my high level overview, I guess. Um, the, the, the design is pretty straightforward really? Oh yeah. It sounds very similar to clean agent design in, uh, as far as the design concentration and the volume.
You know, capacity of the room and whatnot. Mm-hmm so, yeah, that sounds very interesting. I appreciate you going into the explicit details of calculation. I sure know. There, there is, uh, some things that are required in the, uh, clean agent systems that are not required for aerosol. So in a clean agent system, you've got to do flow calculations because you've got piping, right.
And certain links of piping and nozzle sizes and things like that. You've gotta make sure it's gonna be able to discharge all within 10 seconds. And the flow was right. And if you've got multiple nozzles that the balance is right. Convince theirs all this and have any of that. There's no. There are no ized cylinders, you know, the generators themselves contain and discharge, um, the aerosol from them.
So a again, from that standpoint, it's, it is a more basic type of design, a simpler system, uh, to, to put together. Interesting. And so when these systems release, is there, is it like some sort of charge. That sets off and disperses these mm-hmm into the air is like a little, uh, charge in this cylinder. I'm taking a look at.
That that's it. Um, you know, the fact that they're activated electrically, what really is going to happen here is that solid compound is going to convert to a, um, to an aerosol. And it uses a, a pyrotechnic based chemistry to do that. So the electrical connection to the generator when 24 volts. Whatever the activation voltages is applied.
There's a little heating element in there very much. Um, like an incandescent lamp electrically when you apply that voltage, that thing heats up super fast. And when it heats up, it is able to heat that mass of solid compound, which starts that, um, exothermic reaction from the solid into the aerosol and the aerosol just sort of expands.
And, and comes out of the generator. It looks, um, it looks a bit like a cloud, uh, when it comes out actually. And, um, and so, um, that's just the, the billions of, of particles, I guess, um, that are there. Well, yeah, I appreciate that. Um, explanation again on the, the actuation method, but so I, I wanted to get your.
Insight on some professional development topics, since it seems like you have such a passion for fire and life safety, and you found me somehow in this niche little podcast. So I'd love to hear about. What other kind of resources do you like to use to keep appraised of the fire and life safety industry?
Uh, obviously I'm listening, uh, to you on my phone. There's my technology. And, uh, you know, I listen to the fire science show too. Uh, it's a very good, um, I use, uh, every webinar I can find N F P UL S F P E a FAA. I think I'm signed up for all of. So any webinar I can get on, um, as long as it fits into my schedule, uh, I will attend those.
Um, I, um, recently purchased the S F P E handbook. I'm trying to read that in my spare time. I have to tell you that's a little. That's a little difficult. Yes. Um, that's dense reading there. Yes. Uh, but I'm, I'm skipping around. , I'm skipping around a little bit and trying to find the, uh, the parts that I can understand, which, um, so far is the, the title page and everything past page one is way above my head.
But, um, I figured, you know, and that's one of the things I like about your show. GU, I've got to tell you, I listen to your podcast. and I start thinking, you know, um, you know, there's all these people out here that have all this knowledge and experience in these different aspects of the industry and it, it, yeah, it, it makes me think, you know, I, I there's so much to learn.
I need to try to learn something. I think I bought the S F P a, uh, S F P handbook in, in response to listening to. Actually, wow. Um, cuz I thought there's so much to learn. I've gotta try to apply myself. I've gotta try to grow. You know, it's easy to get stagnant and just do the things that you do. You know, I've been here at hoki a long time.
I kind of know what everything is, is about more or less. And I can go through my day, do a lot of things, but what am I doing to grow professionally? You know? I'm gonna buy this FP handbook. uh, I bought, I bought a used one from a library, so it wasn't super expensive, you know? Thank goodness. Thank goodness.
I was gonna say, I feel really bad for throwing you into a handbook that is so calculations. Wasn't about to determine heat flex on of a radiant pool fire. Like. You know, 40 meters away and poor you're, like he said, this was a good resource. I feel like I'm being abused. Trying to read this thing. No, no, no.
You inspired me. And uh, you know, I'm happy to have it. And like I say, I didn't expect that to understand at all, but I did think I would understand a little more than I do, but the, the point is, is I've got it. And you know, I've got the internet, there's tons of resources out there. And, uh, so if I see something that I think is interesting to me, I can take some.
I can look it up and maybe somebody can simplify it down to like second grade level for me. And I'll go. Yeah, just like fire. When I was researching fire, how does fire burn? I don't know. Yeah. Turn on the stove and the fire comes out, that's it? You know? Um, yeah, but there's a lot more to it than that. And, um, so I've been thinking about that, uh, uh, a lot lately and like I say, you, you really have been sort of a catalyst for me.
Um, You know, unknowingly to you of course, but I'm pretty sure there are other listeners out here who would say the same thing. You know, your show makes us think there is more to learn and, and there's more that we can do. And so I want to thank you because, uh, it's, it's been great for me. That's very touching bill.
I sh I sure appreciate that. Um, That's a big deal to me. Uh, you know, the more that I've gotten to learn about this show, even starting this show, I don't think I knew I was just pulling the Tiger's tail. I didn't know that, you know, there would be so much that I didn't know about. I, you know, I figured that I'd learned about fire sprinkler and fire alarm.
I knew about that come outta school, but mm-hmm I didn't even, you know, you don't know what you don't know sometimes and right. Just like this conversation we're having now I could have. Told you really? It was three years ago. Now when I was thinking about even starting this podcast where it would lead me.
So mm-hmm, um, I appreciate that. That means a lot. I've, I've learned a lot on my way as well, so that's awesome. Yeah. Well, we're all learning along with you out here, listening to you. So, um, so keep it up, please keep it. Well sounds good. Well, what, I don't know if I can top that, that seems like a, a awesome way to end it, but I would like to plug you for, uh, anything that you wanted to talk about more, um, anything you wanna discuss?
Any questions about anything? I answer, whatever you want after a glowing compliment like that. not that I'm bribing you. not a problem. We didn't cover everyth. Obviously in this conversation, you know, um, I mentioned that when the aerosol is converted to solid, it's an exothermic reaction. So when the aerosol comes out of the generators, it's very warm can actually be even hot if you're nearby.
Wow. So there are minimum safe distances that have to be consider. Obviously, because the aerosol is made up of all these tiny particles, there's going to be some, uh, uh, uh, impact on visibility. And there are ways to try to address that you had a podcast with, uh, Zachary Green about photoluminescent technology.
Mm-hmm right. Photoluminescent uh, exit marking systems can be used, obviously training for the people working in these protect. Spaces, you know, so that if for some reason the system does discharge and everyone couldn't get out, you know, they need to be able to find their, their way out. And there are ways to help, um, you know, make that, uh, easier, uh, for the people.
Again, we have the pre-discharge warning, so people will leave, but anything, uh, can happen. And another thing too is, is we have these very ti uh, tiny particles. And because they're so small, they are respir. right. And, um, so if you're in a room when it discharges, you know, you may possibly breathe in some of these particles, they might get into your eyes and sting them a little bit.
Um, the discharge is not to toxic. Um, but at the same time, our goal, the objective is to have everyone out of the room prior to discharge. We don't want them to open the door. Know, have any impact on the hold time and, uh, gotcha. Just like that. So, you know, there's always more, and, and perhaps in the show notes, you can put my email address.
Uh, certainly if you wanna put our company, um, um, you know, web address or whatever information you want, if anyone has any questions or, uh, interest in discussing this further, I would be very happy to. Definitely. Definitely we'll drop some information down in the show notes for those who want to learn more about you or about aerosol fire suppression.
And yeah, that's been, it's been so great bill. You were talking about didn't know if you were gonna be able to produce a good podcast and you produced a hall of Famer. So , I don't know what you were so worried about before the show got started, but yeah. Hall of, of favor. I, I don't know about that, but I appreciate it's it's been a real pleasure and I I'm really happy that you reached out to me and who knows maybe someday in the future, I can figure out something else.
And, and we can talk about maybe when I get the. S F P a handbook, uh, uh, SF P E look, I can't even say it SF P E handbook when I get it memorized or something I'll come back on and I'll, we'll talk about those pool fires and stuff, man, man, that's, that's a pretty high goal. I let you come on before that, for sure on the show lot before that, but that's well, it's a deal.
It's a deal, Gus. Uh, appreciate everything you do. Please keep it up. Will do. All right. Thanks bill. Take care. Thanks for listening, everybody. Be sure to share the episode with a friend, if you enjoyed it, don't forget that fire protection and life safety is serious business. The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are by no means a professional consultation or a codes and standards interpretation.
Be sure to contact a licensed professional. If you are getting involved with fire protection and or life. Thanks again, and we'll see you next time.