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MAR/APR 2021




VOL 40/02

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MAR/APR 2021

VOL 40/02



VOL 40/02



Don’t Miss Your Chance to be Part of the Celebration


Lack of Supervision and Testing


Competition Showcases the “Best of the Best”


Backflow Preventer Testing Requirements in NFPA 13


AFSA’s Dallas School Goes on Following Historic 100-Year Winter Event


A Brief History of the Premier Fire Sprinkler Association


Pressure Loss and Impacts


2020 Honor Society Announced for Sprinkler Fitter Graduates


Members Celebrate Milestone Anniversaries


Learn About NFPA Standards and Meet AFSA Leadership


2021 is a Good Year to Increase Awareness with New Resources

ON THE COVER: AFSA was founded 40 years ago on the basis of education and training. Celebrate your apprentices by entering them in this year’s National Apprentice Competition. Also in this issue: backflow prevention.


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EDITORIAL: 214-349-5965


n this page, you will see a picture of myself from back in 1990 when we had just celebrated our ninth year as an association. Hard to believe I look exactly the same today as I did back then (just kidding), but what I have lost since then I have made up in years of experience and wisdom. I hope. What struck me about the early days of our group was the energy and vision that each of our Directors brought to our organization. If you were on the Board back then, everything was your responsibility. If you suggested a project, well, it was your duty to carry it out. For those of you who run your own small business, I am sure you know that feeling well. But we were all united by the same vision that we have today: each of us becomes better at what we do because we are always seeking out opportunities for top-notch training and education. Today, I am glad to report that our organization has grown because of the dedicated staff we have hired who carry out our Board’s mission each day. Their dedication to each of you and your development knows no bounds. It is a self-fulfilling cycle: a talented staff creates a stellar experience for members; therefore, more members join, stay, and tell more people about the experience. I want to thank all of you for taking the time to be a member of this organization and to recognize your dedication to improving yourself through our training. What I have also noticed over the years is how much our industry has changed: I have watched manufacturers and firms consolidate into larger entities. More people are trying to enter our industry, and some feel as though they can become contractors on Day 1. I do not want to tamp down anyone’s enthusiasm, but it is often said that it takes around 10 years of hard work to become an overnight success. That is why we provide training and education beyond installation and design, but to help people understand the numbers behind their businesses. Too often, people go into business for themselves just to earn daily wages. I hope that if you want to pursue that path that you will take advantage of the educational programs we offer, especially at our annual conventions. I have watched our industry change from a legislative standpoint, too. It used to be that fire suppression systems were not required in many buildings. You can walk into any structure that has been grandfathered into existing codes, look up, and see nothing. Now, it seems as though new residential and commercial units alike all are required to have fire suppression systems. This bodes well for us as an industry, and it is something to keep in mind when construction starts to slow, and you start to worry about when the next job will come. There will always be work, and the people who perform the best will be the ones first in line for it. As much as I want to keep talking about the past of our organization, I want to take this moment to talk about our future. The only way that we will sustain our membership is by getting more young people to enter our trade. It has been hard this past year to get into the schools to talk to students about their future. But my challenge to you is to reach out to the young people you know and talk to them about their future. Show them what they can attain at a fraction of the cost of a college degree. More than that, consider offering internships and apprenticeships to give people an entry point to see what we do each day. Once someone stands back after a day’s work and looks at what they created—a structure that will save lives—they will have that sense of pride that we all take in our work. John Maxwell, the author and leadership expert, said, “Growth inside fuels growth outside.” Our association was founded on the belief that training is what our members need to grow, and it has been the bedrock vision ever since our inception. I hope that you will continue to fuel your internal growth with our training and education so that you grow personally and in your business. It is a privilege to serve you, our members, and may the next 40 years be as successful as our first 40. n TED WILLS AFSA BOARD CHAIR


Director of Communications & Social Media,ext. 126; nduvall@firesprinkler.org D’ARCY G. MONTALVO, Editor, ext. 115;


ADVERTISING: 214-349-5965

REBECCA HERRING, Communications Coordinator, ext. 134;


CIRCULATION: 214-349-5965

REBECCA HERRING, Communications Coordinator, ext. 134;



JACK A. MEDOVICH, P.E., First Vice Chair, 410-787-0639 LINDA M. BIERNACKI, Second Vice Chair, 318-841-0330 PAUL DELORIE, Treasurer, 603-432-8221 JEFF PHIFER, Secretary, 803-438-2994

WAYNE WEISZ, Immediate Past Chair, 209-334-9119 DWIGHT BATEMAN, 713-910-3242 ROD DIBONA, 605-348-2342 LYLE HALL, 858-513-4949

R. DONALD (DON) KAUFMAN, 505-884-2447 CHRIS JOHNSON, 727-581-9339

MICHAEL F. MEEHAN, 757-213-3660 JAY STRICKLAND, 301-474-1136

AFSA LEADERSHIP BOB CAPUTO, CFPS, President, ext. 124 LAVERNE DAVIS, Vice President, Finance & Administration, ext. 112 JOHN AUGUST DENHARDT, P.E., FSFPE, Vice President, Engineering & Technical Services, ext.121

MARLENE M. GARRETT, CMP, Senior Director, Meeting & Education Services, ext. 118 LESLIE CLOUNTS, Director, Education Services, ext. 130 NICOLE DUVALL, Director, Communications & Social Media, ext. 126 ROGER GRAGG, Director, Marketing & Information Technology, ext. 116 BRUCE LECAIR, Director, Membership & Chapter Support, ext. 139

Sprinkler Age is devoted to the professional development of the fire sprinkler industry. Deadline is 1st of the month preceding publication. Published by American Fire Sprinkler Association, 12750 Merit Drive, Suite 350, Dallas, Texas 75251. Call (214) 349-5965, FAX (214) 343-8898, or email sprinklerage@firesprinkler.org for information. Copyright © American Fire Sprinkler Association, Inc. All rights reserved. PRINTED IN USA. Unless expressly stated otherwise, all editorial and advertising material published is the opinion of the respective authors and/or companies involved and should not be construed as official action by or approved by Publisher or the Association. Sprinkler Age is a membership benefit, provided free of charge to AFSA members. For information on non-member and/or foreign subscription rates, call (214) 349-5965.

ABOUT AFSA MEMBERSHIP AFSA annual membership dues are a sliding scale for Contractors and Associates and a flat fee for Authorities Having Jurisdiction. (Members receive a free subscription to Sprinkler Age.) Write or call AFSA for membership information. See AFSA’s website at firesprinkler.org.

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ow that we’ve put 2020 in our rearview mirrors, it’s clear that most of us have seen changes, disruptions, and unforeseen problems as we’ve struggled to hold onto the business plans we developed and thought were solid when we left 2019 behind. Can you remember pre-COVID-19, when our markets were strong, the cost of money was cheap, and unemployment was around 3 percent nationally? Who could have imagined how quickly a pandemic would change our lives and businesses so completely? Now that our lives have been forever changed, we have to face the reality that many of the modified behaviors this pandemic ushered in will be with us well into the future—even beyond the point where the virus is in that same rearview mirror. While we enthusiastically welcomed 2021, the reality is that the new normal won’t be normal anytime soon. I recently read an article espousing the thought that virtual engagement is here to stay. While most of us suffer from Zoom fatigue, we agree that online meetings are not going away. As such, we’re positioning AFSA’s events and training programs to accommodate more virtual training and hybrid participation. Now that the world has seen an alternative to actual travel, many people will want the digital option of working and meeting from their home or office. We should expect to see people in our organizations willing to sacrifice some benefits in exchange for the opportunity to work from home, including salary reductions in exchange for time. Virtual meetings save time and cost, but not without sacrificing something in exchange. That something is perhaps the most critical element of our lives and relationships—communication. The return to “normal” is not likely to bring a 100-percent return to the old ways of doing things. Even when it’s considered safe to travel or gather in groups, many people will prefer a partially or entirely virtual event. We see this as likely to be a pervasive theme in the delivery of our training programs, which is why AFSA will be introducing our new virtual classroom for our apprenticeship curriculum this year. This will help deliver the classroom portion of our apprenticeship program for those working in more remote regions, as well as those too busy working to participate in training during the regular workday. Digital networking, social media, and electronic communications, as opposed to in-person or even telephone communications, are more common than ever before, but we sacrifice a lot in terms of communication. How we communicate is an important part of how we resolve problems and conflicts, and these critical issues will suffer without in-person interaction. Communication takes many forms, including visual, auditorily, visceral, and digital. What we say and how we say it, along with our body language and facial expressions, all covey as much of the message as our words do. When we’re on the phone, we lose the visual aspect of communication. When we email, we lose the visible and vocal intonation in our message—leaving only the digital. How we write, punctuate, and the words we capitalize will all be perceived as a part of the message and will impact how others receive and act upon your message. It’s a lot easier to misunderstand a person’s intent with


email than in a verbal conversation. It takes more back-and-forth time to clarify what is meant and understood by those who must interpret the message. Even as Zoom-type meetings have become the new normal, messages are truncated, and people wearing masks take away the facial expressions communicating the visual part of the message. Thoughts and ideas are held back in the interest of time and efficiency. Leaders need to make a conscious effort to ensure all voices are heard and ideas are not missed or glossed over. For our association to understand and meet our members’ needs and demands in this digital age, we will need more feedback and interaction to know what your expectations are and how to meet and exceed them. Working remotely and seeing less of each other in person at traditional meetings means we will need to learn to rethink the time it takes to plan events and deliver content in meaningful ways. Being seen and heard, shaking hands, and seeing the understanding in another’s eyes are all missing in the virtual world. We will have to adapt to ensure communication remains positive and strong. These are just circumstances to be dealt with, bumps in the road that should not be seen as detours. Our association is taking the steps necessary to deliver on our mission and continue to be the voice of merit shop fire sprinkler contractors and provide the education and training necessary to help our members grow their businesses. This dynamic shift will change how we deliver content, but it will never deter us from delivering the message of fulfilling our mission. Call us, send us emails, smoke signals, or carrier pigeons—whatever it takes to understand what you want from our staff and what forms our communications should take. We’re excited about the promise we see for 2021 and beyond. As I talk to sprinkler contractors across the country, backlogs and opportunities are still pretty strong, and many of us are still pretty busy. During this 40th anniversary, your AFSA staff is excited to hear from so many members and associates planning to attend AFSA40, September 18-21. The convention committee is working hard to make this a convention to remember and one you won’t want to just hear about. One of the new technical sessions we will be introducing this year will include a number of “Ask the Experts” seminars. These sessions will not have any specific topic or slide decks but, instead, will feature experts from manufacturing, labs, NFPA, and AFSA technical committee representatives ready and willing to field and respond to your questions or concerns related to codes, standards, or product applications. Based on the buzz surrounding this event, we expect to see record numbers of attendees in San Antonio. I hope we can count you in! n





he process of creating the 2022 edition of NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, is winding down. Public inputs, public comments, technical committee meetings and discussions, and the voting process have been completed. Overall, the AFSA technical services staff is satisfied with the results. However, there is one technical item the team feels needs to be addressed before the 2022 edition is approved for release for use. The purpose of this column is to describe the NFPA process that needs to be followed to challenge this issue and briefly describe the concern with the current language. In the May/June 2021 issue of Sprinkler Age, I will describe the technical issue in detail, explain why we feel this issue needs to be changed, and the process we will need our members to assist. At this point, AFSA’s technical service staff has filed a Notice of Intent to Make a Motion (NITMAM). A NITMAM is a proposed amending motion for NFPA membership consideration and debate at the NFPA Technical Meeting. These motions are attempts to amend the Technical Committee’s recommended text published as the Second Draft. Once filed, the Motions Committee reviews all notices and certifies those deemed proper, in accordance with the NFPA regulations. The Motions Committee can also, in consultation with the submitter of the motion, clarify the intent of each motion and combine motions that are dependent upon one another so that they can be made in one single motion at the NFPA Technical Meeting. The Motions Committee report is published in advance of the NFPA Technical Meeting and contains all Certified Amending Motions (CAMs). Only CAMs and any proper follow-up motions are permitted at the NFPA Technical Meeting. A NITMAM can only be filed by an individual who meets very specific conditions. In this case, I met the required conditions, and we expect the NITMAM to become a CAM. We are aware of at least two other NITMAMs which have been filed on this technical issue. We believe if all of these motions become CAMs, all three will be combined for one single CAM. Since COVID-19 concerns have once again impacted the NFPA annual meeting, the discussions, arguments, and voting on the CAMs will be handled virtually. This process was utilized last year, and while the process was completed, NFPA experienced and learned from some issues with the process. At the time of the writing of this column, NFPA has not released the exact process which will be followed this year. I would request all readers of my column review the current (2019 edition) and proposed (2022) language of NFPA 13. Specifically, section in the 2019 edition states, “* The volume and pressure of a public water supply shall be determined from waterflow test data or other approved method.” The annex section A. states, “An adjustment to the waterflow test data to account for daily and seasonal fluctuations, possible interruption by flood or ice conditions, large simultaneous industrial use, future demand on the water supply system, or any other


condition that could affect the water supply should be made as appropriate.” For the 2022 edition of NFPA 13, these sections have undergone major changes. I am stating the language as currently proposed: “* Where a waterflow test is conducted to provide water supply information, the raw data from the test shall be evaluated to determine if an adjustment is appropriate. A. The evaluation can be based on information from the water supply authority, testing, modeling, the fire or building department, or knowledge of the water supply from having worked in the jurisdiction. Depending on how much the pressure changes over time at any given location, an adjustment might or might not be appropriate. For mature water supplies (i.e., ones where new development in the vicinity is unlikely due to the fact that available property has already been fully developed) with fairly stable water usage, or where the waterflow test is conducted at a time of low pressure already, a very small adjustment or no adjustment at all might be appropriate. In an instance where the waterflow test is performed at a time of low demand when it is known that higher demands occur at other times of the day or the year, then a larger adjustment would be appropriate.* The evaluation shall be based on knowledge of the water supply and engineering judgment and shall consider daily and seasonal fluctuations, not extreme conditions. A. The evaluation to determine whether an adjustment should be made and the size of such an adjustment should consider the following variables, applicable to different degrees depending on how and when the test was conducted: 1. Maximum daily use of the water supply 2. Peak hour demand of the water supply 3. Water supply degradation due to planned development 4. Time of day the test was conducted 5. Time of year the test was conducted 6. Elevation of the test location compared to the building where the sprinkler system will be installed CONT. ON PAGE 30


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he American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) welcomes everyone to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2021! The highlight of this special year will be AFSA40: Convention, Exhibition, and Apprentice Competition to be held at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa September 18-21. This annual event delivers top-notch training, expert-led educational seminars, ample networking, and the largest fire sprinkler exhibit in North America. Attending AFSA40 is a great way to gather with friends and industry peers to grow your business and team. In addition, sponsoring this event offers publicity, exposure, and opportunities for your company.

AFSA40 SPONSORSHIP Sponsorship is increasingly popular among businesses that want to grow fast and reach quality audiences. AFSA hosts the largest annual industry event­—AFSA40: Convention, Exhibition, & Apprentice Competition, which is expected to attract nearly 1,500 decision-makers from all corners of the country, many of whom are looking for innovative products and services to help make their companies more competitive. AFSA40 sponsorship can deliver massive gains for your brand, and the energy and excitement surrounding this event encourages attendees to explore your products and services with unopposed exhibit hall hours. From its new Diamond level to the Bronze package, AFSA has sponsorships to fit every budget. AFSA40 sponsors enjoy visibility, recognition, and access to convention attendees. Benefits are provided throughout the convention with online exposure, increased visibility, and face-to-face opportunities. Sponsors receive added benefits, which are an invaluable investment in gaining widespread recognition and increased access to decision-makers.

NEW FOR 2021 Several new benefits have been added for AFSA’s 40thanniversary convention, including: • Priority booth selection for sponsors at the Diamond, Platinum, Gold, and Silver levels (AFSA members only). Booth selection will be based on the current point system within each sponsorship level from Diamond to Silver. • Wall wraps. Diamond sponsors get exclusive exposure in the hotel with an entrance wall wrap located in the ballroom at the


AFSA traveled to San Antonio, Texas, for its 1984 convention and exhibition. entry to the networking meals and general session. Platinum sponsors get exclusive exposure in the hotel with entrance wall wrap at seminar entry. • Room-access key cards. Diamond-level sponsors will have their logo featured on hotel room key cards. • Recognition at Awards Party. Diamond-level sponsors will receive special recognition during the final-night Awards Party, where AFSA crowns its newest National Apprentice Competition champion! • Golf hole sponsor flag. Diamond, Platinum, and Gold sponsors receive a commemorative golf hole sponsor flag.

AFSA40 MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES AFSA is offering several “a-la-carte” options for companies, including pre-event email press releases, pre-event sponsored blog posts, pre-event mailing services, convention app rotating banner ads, networking meal tables, and golf tournament packages. These sponsorships range in cost from $150 to $2,500. More details can be found online at firesprinkler.org/sponsorship.

EXHIBIT AT AFSA40 The schedule for AFSA40 is specially designed to create multiple opportunities for attendees to visit the exhibit hall and network at casual gatherings and events. This gives exhibitors ample time and as much face-to-face interaction with customers as possible. AFSA showcases the best product and service innovations in the fire sprinkler industry with its annual exhibition, the largest of its

The 1992 convention took place in Nashville, Tennessee, and featured a packed exhibit hall.

kind in the industry in North America. How does AFSA build traffic in the exhibit hall? • Unopposed exhibit hours. AFSA carefully schedules each day of the convention to avoid seminars and social events from conflicting with exhibit hall hours. • National Apprentice Competition (NAC). AFSA’s NAC is held each year in the exhibit hall. This popular event draws in convention attendees to view the installation portion of the competition and puts them in your reach. • Exhibition Grand Opening Reception. AFSA’s Chair of the Board hosts this popular evening event, allowing convention attendees to tour the exhibit hall and features heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. • Free passes for the second day of exhibits. AFSA invites local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) and exhibitor-invited guests to visit the exhibit hall.

EXHIBIT BENEFITS FOR SPONSORS Diamond and Platinum sponsorship levels include one 10-ft x 20-ft booth and Gold sponsorship level includes one 10-ft x 10-ft booth. Additional booths are available for purchase to expand the size. Gold sponsors receive one all-access registration and two exhibithall-only registrations (a $2,550 value). Diamond sponsors receive three all-access registrations and six exhibit-hall-only registrations (a $6,500 value) and Platinum-level sponsors receive two all-access registrations and four exhibit-hall-only registrations (a $5,100 value).


forth by its federal and local governments and health agencies. With the state of the pandemic being so fluid, AFSA remains cautiously optimistic that it will be able to host a safe in-person event in September.

SECURE YOUR SPOT TODAY It can be difficult to make a lasting impression when everyone is competing for attention. Increase your organization’s brand awareness and credibility by making an impact as a sponsor or exhibitor at AFSA40. It’s never too early to start planning your marketing strategy. To take full advantage of all the publicity available to sponsors, sign up by April 15, 2021. For more details, visit firesprinkler.org/ sponsorship or contact AFSA’s Senior Director of Meeting & Education Services Marlene Garrett, CMP, via email at mgarrett@ firesprinkler.org or phone at (214) 349-5965 ext. 118 to begin discussing how your company can make the greatest impact.

TEXAS-SIZED FUN Everything’s bigger in Texas, including sponsorship benefits for AFSA40. Don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of the celebration! Mark your calendars for September 18-21, bookmark firesprinkler.org/AFSA40, and subscribe to or “follow” AFSA social media:. • Twitter: twitter.com/AFSA • Facebook: facebook.com/firesprinklerorg • Instagram: instagram.com/firesprinklerorg • YouTube: youtube.com/user/AmerFireSprinkAssn n

AFSA is monitoring the COVID-19 situation and is in close contact with local authorities. AFSA40 will follow the guidelines set SPRINKLER AGE | MAR/APR 2021 13




here has been a significant amount of change and even controversy over the last two decades as to whether backflow protection should be provided on fire protection systems. Not only is there controversy on whether fire protection systems should be provided with backflow protection, but there is also controversy on the type of backflow prevention assembly that should be provided on the different types of fire protection systems. To better understand the need for cross-connection control on fire sprinkler systems there are two questions that must be discussed: 1. What is the threat of the public water distribution system being contaminated as a result of an automatic fire sprinkler system? Based upon statistics from the University of Southern California Foundation for Cross Connection Control and Hydraulic Research and the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF) study titled “Impact of Wet-Pipe Fire Sprinkler Systems on Drinking Water Quality,” more than 308 illnesses and one death have been attributed to fire protection cross connections in the United States since 1900. 2. What is the threat of a fire to the public? According to the database maintained by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire analysis and research, fire consistently kills thousands of people every year in non-sprinklered buildings. The statistics conclude that sprinklers reduce the risk of dying in a fire by at least one-half to two-thirds. Based on the above described statistics, it can be concluded that both fire sprinkler system and backflow prevention assemblies on fire sprinkler systems will improve or protect public health, welfare, and property. At this point in time, both the fire protection industry and the cross-connection control industry have a basic understanding of the potential water quality concerns if a backflow prevention assembly is not installed as well as the potential detrimental effects to a sprinkler system design when a backflow prevention assembly is installed if not properly designed into the system or consistently inspected, tested, and maintained. The two industries need to understand the pros


and cons of the issue to determine an agreeable resolution to satisfy the common goal, which is protecting the public health, welfare, and property. The key element to be discussed in this article is the supervision and testing of the backflow prevention assemblies and fire protection systems.

BACKGROUND Let’s start by providing some definitions and briefly discussing the objectives for both sides of the issues. This discussion is applicable to all fire protection systems for which backflow prevention assemblies are installed. The backflow prevention assemblies that are typically utilized on fire protection systems are either a double-check valve assembly, known and referred to as the “double check,” or a reduced-pressure principle assembly, know and referred to as the “RP.” The term “backflow prevention assembly” is defined as the entire device composed of two independently acting check valves, two resilient seated control/shut-off valves with properly located test cocks, which have been tested and listed as a single component/assembly. The requirement for the need of a backflow prevention assembly is typically driven by the adopted building, plumbing, or fire codes and/or the local jurisdiction ordinances or laws. This article is not attempting to tackle the question of when, how, and why backflow prevention assemblies are to be installed but is going to discuss the supervision and testing of backflow prevention assemblies and fire protection systems. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires the water purveyor to provide clean and safe drinking water to the point of discharge. The water purveyor not only has to treat the water they supply, but they also have to ensure that any connection to their distribution system does not contaminate or pollute the supply. In an attempt to ensure its system is protected from any cross connections, the water utility company will typically have a documented Cross Connection Control Program that will describe the when, how, and why backflow prevention assemblies are to be installed, and the testing requirements for these assemblies. To address this issue of supervision and testing, there are several facts that must be addressed to further understand the issue at hand.

1. T he water contained within fire sprinkler systems becomes stagnant, which results in color, taste, and odor problems, which are components of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Therefore, fire protection systems connected to the public water distribution system are considered a “cross connection.” 2. Some fire protection systems are provided with chemical additives such as fire suppression agents (foam), antifreeze, or corrosive inhibitors. The systems with chemical additives create a greater hazard to the public water distribution system, if cross connected, than systems without chemical additives. 3. If the stagnant water or a chemical additive in a fire protection system backflows into the public water distribution system, it may cause public illnesses or possibly death. 4. Not all existing fire sprinkler systems are being maintained in accordance with NFPA 25, Standard for the Testing, Maintenance, and Inspection of Water-Based Fire Extinguishing Systems. 5. Not all existing backflow prevention assemblies are being tested and maintained annually to ensure they prevent the backflow of water under all conditions, as required by the backflow prevention guidelines and requirements. 6. The installation (retrofit) of a backflow prevention assembly on an existing fire sprinkler system may result in a fire sprinkler system that may not have the required flow and pressure to meet the demands of the system. 7. The current backflow prevention assemblies that are typically being installed on fire protection systems have not

been tested to be consistent with how the device will be used. A typical backflow prevention assembly installed on a normal potable system cycles (opens and closes) several times a day or minute, depending on the water usage in the facility. However, the typical backflow prevention assembly installed on a fire sprinkler system will typically only be exercised only during quarterly and annual flow testing, which are required in accordance with NFPA 25. In return, the check valves in a backflow prevention assembly on a fire system may not be exercised for months or even years, causing the checks to stick and not open when required. 8. One hundred percent of the water contained within a fire sprinkler system will not backflow into the public water distribution system due to the vacuum that is created within the sprinkler system. Limited simulated backflow testing performed as part of the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF) research project entitled “Impact of Fire Protection Systems on Drinking Water Quality” concluded that an average of 100 gallons would backflow from a typical wet pipe fire sprinkler system. 9. Depending on the length of the underground lead-in from the public water distribution system main to the automatic sprinkler system riser and the diameter of the main, the typical 100 gallons of water that may potentially backflow may never physically reach the public water distribution system. It takes approximately 100 gallons of water to fill 65 ft of 6-in. diameter pipe.


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Figure 1. Discharge outlet for the forward flow flushing—close up view.

10. If and when the contaminated or polluted water from the fire sprinkler system backflows into the public water distribution system, this water will typically be diluted with potable drinking water, which will reduce the levels of contamination or pollution but may still exceed the maximum contaminate levels contained in the Safe Drinking Water Act. Now that several of the facts have been laid on the table, the need for supervision and testing of backflow prevention assemblies and fire sprinkler systems should be discussed.

THE NEED FOR SUPERVISION What does the term “supervision” really mean in the fire sprinkler industry, and is the use of this term different to the cross-connection control industry? Supervision in the fire sprinkler industry typically refers to control valves on the fire sprinkler system to make sure they are maintained in the open position. Supervision in the cross-connection control industry typically refers to the overall implementation and maintenance of its Cross-Connection Control Program. The term “control valve” on a fire sprinkler system is typically an OS&Y or indicating butterfly valve that controls the water supply to the sprinkler system. The control valves on a fire protection system are required to be supervised to ensure they are maintained in the open position. The method of supervision varies depending on the adopted codes and standards and the local jurisdiction requirements. Most control valves on fire sprinkler systems are either provided with an electronic tamper switch that is connected to the building fire alarm system or provided with a chain and padlock to secure the valve in the open position. When a backflow prevention assembly is installed on a fire sprinkler system, the OS&Ys or indicating butterfly valves should be supervised to ensure they do not get accidentally closed, eliminating the water supply to the automatic sprinkler system.

THE NEED FOR TESTING I believe we can all agree that if the specific system or equipment is not tested or maintained, there is no need to


Figure 2. View of the flow through the flushing outlet.

have it installed. However, we all know that is not the answer to ensuring safe drinking water or adequate fire protection. The cross-connection control industry typically requires annual backflow performance testing to ensure the assembly will prevent backflow. This testing is typically required to be performed by a certified backflow prevention assembly tester. The local water purveyor or Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) will typically track the annual testing of the assemblies and provide the testing protocol for each specific type of assembly. Furthermore, some jurisdictions may require the technician performing the annual backflow performance testing of the backflow prevention assembly also be a licensed or certified fire sprinkler contractor, in addition to being a certified backflow prevention assembly tester. The importance of the “backflow performance test” is to ensure the backflow prevention assembly will function as required and prevent the water from backflowing into the public water distribution system. NFPA 25 provides the specific criteria for the inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire sprinkler systems. NFPA 25 also addresses the inspections and testing required for backflow prevention assemblies. NFPA 25 identifies one specific annual test, which is a forward flow test to excise the assembly. The importance of the “forward flow test” is to ensure the check valves in the backflow prevention assembly will open, allowing an adequate amount of water to pass through the assembly. An adequate amount of water is defined as the system demand, including any required inside hose demand for the specific sprinkler system. Even though not specifically required by NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, I understand there are many jurisdictions that require the forward flow testing to be measured with a pitot gauge or some other method to determine the quantity of water being flushed through the backflow prevention assembly to ensure a minimum flow of the system demand is being achieved. In my professional opinion, if the method to perform the

Figure 4. Forward flow test outlet with bypass control valve, exterior of the building.

Figure 3. Forward flow test outlet with bypass control valve, interior of the building. annual forward flow test is made easy, this is more likely to be performed by the contractor than having to connect a bunch of hoses to a discharge header and measuring the flow with a pitot gauge. To comply with the requirement in NFPA 13 and to make the testing easier, my recommendation would be to install a tee of the same size as the backflow prevention assembly immediately downstream of the backflow prevention assembly on the sprinkler riser and provide a butterfly valve on the discharge side of the tee, which will then discharge to the outside to a safe location. On the exterior of the building, a pipe increaser with expanded metal welded to the outlet can be installed to be used as the flushing outlet to achieve the full-forward flow test required by NFPA 25. The pipe increaser and expanded metal over the outlet will reduce the velocity at the discharge orifice as well as break up the flow stream from the outlet to reduce water damage and erosion. (See Figures 1 and 2.) The size of the flushing pipe assembly being the same size as the backflow prevention assembly will ensure that the check valve and working components within the backflow prevention assembly will be exercised to the maximum extent possible and should greatly exceed the minimum demand of the automatic fire sprinkler system. A second option is to pipe around the fire department connection (FDC) check

valve and then install the control valve and pipe increaser with a diffuser on the exterior of the building along with the FDC. (See Figures 3 and 4.) Unfortunately, the testing of the backflow prevention assemblies or the fire sprinkler systems is not always performed at the frequencies required by the codes or standards or performed in accordance with the testing criteria. Both the backflow prevention assemblies and the fire sprinkler systems are designed and installed to protect public health, welfare, and property. If neither are inspected, tested, or maintained correctly, there is a greater chance they will not work properly when needed. Both the fire protection community and the backflow prevention community want to protect drinking water and keep the public safe from fire. In order to accomplish these goals, both industries must understand the importance of the other industry to help ensure our drinking water is protected, and the fire sprinkler systems work as designed to save lives and protect property. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jack Poole, P.E., FSFPE, is a principal of Poole Fire Protection, Inc. in Olathe, Kansas. He graduated from the University of Maryland (UMD) in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Protection Engineering and is a registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) in Fire Protection, licensed in 49 states, Washington, D.C., and one territory. He is a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards Council, chairs NFPA 72 SIG-PRO and NFPA 520, and serves on many other NFPA technical committees. Poole is an SFPE Fellow and the current SFPE president. He is also is chair of the UMD Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) Board of Visitors, member of the UMD A. James Clark School of Engineering Board of Visitors, member of the Kansas State Board of Technical Professions, distinguished alumni of UMD, past co-chair of the UMD FPE Alumni Club, and a member of the UMD FPE Curriculum Advisory Committee. Poole serves on the board of directors for the Automatic Fire Alarm Association and is chair of its Training Committee. He is a member of AFSA, NFSA, and is a past chair of the Oklahoma State University Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology Industrial Advisory Board.


At left: Martha Grazier won AFSA’s first NAC in 1994 and celebrated with then-AFSA Chair Don Becker (left) and AFSA Past Chair Bob McCullough (right) who created the competition. At right: McCullough (far left) and AFSA Past Chair Jack Viola (far right) with 1997 top winners.




his year marks American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA)’s 28th Annual National Apprentice Competition. This year’s live, in-person competition will be held in the exhibit hall at AFSA40: Convention, Exhibition & Apprentice Competition September 18-21, 2021, at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa.

HISTORY OF THE COMPETITION AFSA’s Annual National Apprentice Competition (NAC) was created in 1994 by the late Robert L. (Bob) McCullough, then chair of the Apprenticeship & Education Committee, to promote apprentice training and give recognition to the apprentices who are actively enrolled in the AFSA apprenticeship program. Each year, the competition continues to attract more fire sprinkler apprentices from AFSA local chapters and member training programs from all corners of the United States, bringing them together for the fire sprinkler industry’s foremost showcase of training excellence. Enrolling your apprentices in AFSA’s apprentice training program not only offers excellent education and a fulfilling career but is also the ticket to competing in the AFSA apprentice competition. The competition consists of two portions: a written test, based on all four levels of AFSA/NCCER Contren® Learning Series Sprinkler Fitter curriculum, followed by a live competition practical in front of a live audience in the AFSA exhibition hall at AFSA40. When AFSA was formed 40 years ago, its founders had a vision: be the industry leader in fire sprinkler education and training. This competition is a piece of that vision come to life. “AFSA’s National Apprentice Competition is the premier opportunity to highlight knowledge and capability for the fire sprinkler apprentice,” says AFSA


Director and Co-Chair of AFSA’s Apprenticeship & Education Committee Rod DiBona, Rapid Fire Protection, Inc., Rapid City, South Dakota, who was a finalist and competitor at AFSA’s 1985 competition, held in Palm Desert, California (see photo at right). “To have one of the top seven scores in the nation is a badge that can be worn with pride for an entire career, both for the individual and the sponsoring company. We are proud to put such an emphasis on the future of our industry and invite all member companies to participate and to encourage all of their apprentices to compete. There is great value in the process, regardless of the result.”

ONLINE ASSESSMENT AFSA will once again utilize online testing for Phase I of the two-phase competition. This testing method provides many benefits for those competing. First and foremost, keeping safety and social distancing at the top of mind, the continued offering of digital testing helps AFSA to comply with COVID-19 regulations across the country. Secondly, the system increases the convenience of testing for all apprentices. Apprentices schedule a time during the testing window and test online when and where it is convenient for them. Digital testing continues to streamline the testing process for all involved and allows more apprentices than ever before the opportunity to raise the stakes by participating in the competition.

IGNITE INDUSTRY PASSION The NAC offers a little something for everyone, from the excitement that can rock a whole company to the personal victories

each apprentice experiences throughout the competition and testing. New apprentices feel the excitement and a healthy sense of competition with their peers at the prospect of winning top prizes and accolades for their companies, and companies benefit by having an extremely well-trained, efficient, and more motivated workforce. Even those who are not participating in the competition have the motivation of seeing hardworking apprentices continue to strive to improve the industry and its reputation for all. The competition has been and remains an important reminder of training and industry excellence that shines throughout the year and is a hallmark of AFSA conventions.

COME COMPETE AFSA invites all interested apprentices enrolled in its apprenticeship training program to participate—this year, the winner could be you! Besides an expense-paid trip to San Antonio to compete at AFSA40, each of the top seven national finalists received a commemorative plaque, tools, cash prizes, and a complimentary convention registration for their employer. Winners will be crowned at the Awards Party at Knibbe Ranch, where attendees will enjoy live entertainment, fantastic food, and ranch activities. The competition may only come once a year, but its legacy and excitement extend far beyond, and this year’s Texas-sized competition will be one for the history books! The deadline to register to compete in this year’s competition is April 16, 2021. To learn more, visit firesprinkler.org/apprentice. n

AFSA ‘s NAC showcases the nation’s top apprentices each year. (Clockwise, l to r): AFSA Past Chair Marty Giles (far left) celebrates with the 2005 top winners. Apprentice winners were honored at the 2002 conpetition in San Diego. AFSA Past Chair Don Kaufman (far left) with the 2007 finalists in Phoenix, Arizona. Past AFSA Director Bill Rhodes (far left) and AFSA’s Past Director of Technical Program Development & Codes Phill Brown (far right) presented the finalists at the 2011 NAC. The 2018 top three apprentices celebrated in Washington, D.C. AFSA’s 2012 finalists enjoy some island-style fun in Kona, Hawaii. SPRINKLER AGE | MAR/APR 2021 19




or many years, contractors have been able to comply with the generalized language in NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, regarding the installation of backflow preventers. As a legacy requirement in place since the 1996 edition of NFPA 13, there have not been any substantial revisions until recently. With the evolution of the testing requirements for backflow preventers, specifics have been added to the body of NFPA 13 due to a general lack of compliance that has been observed throughout the industry. The requirement to provide a means to forward flow test a backflow preventer has long been in the standard. Since the requirement’s inception, there has been an annex note associated with the requirement to explain the committee’s intent. Per NFPA 13, 1996 edition: 2-7.4* Backflow Prevention Valves. Means shall be provided downstream of all backflow prevention valves so that flow tests of the valve can be conducted. A.2-7.4 The full flow test of the backflow prevention valve can be performed with a test header or other connection downstream of the valve. A bypass around the check valve in the fire department connector line with a control valve in the normally closed position can be an acceptable arrangement. When flow to a visible drain cannot be accomplished, closed loop flow can be acceptable if a flowmeter or site glass is incorporated into the system to ensure flow. As this requirement has been in the standard for so long, then why is the presence of a means to adequately forward flow test a backflow preventer without system modification a rarity? The issue lies with the ambiguity in the requirement. While there is sufficient direction provided in the annex, it is only a suggestion and not enforceable unless specifically adopted by a local jurisdiction. This leaves the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to determine what an acceptable “means” will look like, based on the enforceable language found in the body of the standard. For the 2019 edition, the technical committee addressed some of these ambiguities with a new subsection: The arrangement required in shall be serviceable without requiring the owner to modify the system to perform the test. While the acceptable “means” is still up for interpretation, it is now clear what is not acceptable. If your jurisdiction is using an earlier edition of the standard, you may still run into a check valve


that has to be reversed. But it is important to consider the latest requirements that have been debated and accepted by the technical committees to provide an economical product for our industry that can be easily tested and maintained over the life cycle of a system. The most significant changes to the installation requirements for the testing of backflow preventers occurred during the last revision cycle for the 2022 edition of NFPA 13. Specific requirements for backflow preventer testing arrangements were addressed in the second draft. Second Revision No. 1163 (SR-1163) changed the prescriptive requirements. The new language mirrored the testing requirements for pressure-reducing valves that were updated during the first draft phase. SR-1163 made the following changes:* Backflow Prevention Valves. Means A test connection shall be provided downstream of all backflow prevention valves for the performance of forward flow tests required by this standard and NFPA 25 at a minimum flow rate of the system demand including hose allowance where applicable. The arrangement required in shall be serviceable without requiring the owner to modify the system to perform the test. A 2-1⁄2 in. (65 mm) hose valve shall be provided downstream of the backflow prevention valve for every 250 gpm (950 L/min) of flow rate required by the system demand including hose allowance where applicable.* Existing hose connections downstream of the backflow prevention valve shall be allowed to be utilized.* Other means shall be permitted as long as the system doesn’t require modification to perform the test and it is sized to meet the system demand. These new requirements may seem excessive, but when you think about it, most sprinkler systems already have these arrangements. If you have a fire pump to provide additional pressure to your system, the test header will suffice. If you have a combined standpipe system, the outlets on the standpipe will suffice. These testing devices should be appurtenances that are already installed on the system, and that is explained in the new annex language: A. Hose connections on a standpipe or on a fire pump test header can be utilized for the full flow test. A. Providing another means is at the discretion of the designer in consultation with the owner or developer. Any number of arrangements would be acceptable as long as the flow through the backflow prevention valve can be measured to verify it is equal to or greater than the system demand. One example is

the use of the fire department connection as long as it will accommodate the required flow and the check valve has a bypass with a shut-off valve provided for this purpose. In reality, the new requirements proposed for the 2022 edition are not new at all. These are common-sense requirements that should be on the system anyway but needed to be spelled out due to the lack of compliance throughout the industry. A designer can still install a generic “means” to test the backflow preventer, provided it is acceptable to the AHJ. The only difference is that it is the exception and not the rule. To drive the point home even further, note that specific language was added to the working plans requirements for the 2022 edition: 28.1.3 Working plans shall be drawn to an indicated scale, on sheets of uniform size, with a plan of each floor, and shall show those items from the following list that pertain to the design of the system: […] (18) Location and labeling of all system flushing, forward flow, water flow alarm, and test and drain locations the the working more then of anM/S organized checklist FromTo l tomake r: During Octoberplans 4 meeting, Council Chair Mike Dooley presented Chuck and chaotic junk drawer, the technical Kittsless withofa aplaque recognizing his service to the AFSAcommittee M/S Council. revamped the entire list to group items into a logical order and include all items that are necessary to be called out on a working plans submittal. AHJs and peer reviewers alike should be checking for details on the drawings, describing the planned provisions to forward flow test backflow prevention equipment. In the end, as long as a means to forward flow test the backflow preventer is provided, the requirements of the standard are satisfied. The new requirements provide clarity on the intent, but there is still debate on how to verify flows and if they even need to be verified (measured). The key item to remember is that a backflow preventer is typically a plumbing device intended to be used on plumbing systems with circulating water. The forward flow test is necessary to exercise backflow preventers installed on sprinkler systems with stagnant water to verify that in the event of a fire, the clappers will operate and the appropriate amount of water will be dispersed on the flames. n





ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kevin Hall, M.Eng, P.E., CWBSP, PMSFPE, is the coordinator of engineering and technical services for AFSA. He has been in the fire protection industry for nearly ten years. He is a registered professional engineer in Delaware and Maryland and has his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fire protection engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. Hall is a member of several NFPA technical committees, including NFPA 1 Fire Code Correlating Committee; NFPA 1 Building Systems and Special Occupancies; NFPA 1 Special Equipment, Processes, and Hazardous Materials; NFPA 13 Residential Sprinkler Systems; NFPA 15 Water Spray Fixed Systems; and NFPA 20 Fire Pumps. He also represents AFSA on the majority of UL standard technical panels (STP) involving the sprinkler industry, including STP 199 Sprinkler Equipment for Fire Protection.

The NEW AGF Model 5500 is a fully automated auxiliary drain that features motorized supply and drain valves that operate according to draining provisions required by NFPA 25. The Model 5500 can be operated on-demand by the push of a button (locally or remotely) or by its hands-free, fully automatic mode which will operate the drain automatically when the float switch senses the drain is full.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Underlined text identifies new language proposed for the next edition of the standard. Text with a strikethrough indicates that language from the previous edition of the standard has been proposed to be deleted.


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s Texas faced record-low temperatures and snow and ice made roads impassable, the state’s electric grid operator lost control of the power supply, leaving 4.5 million without access to electricity and many subject to boil orders. Due to the prolonged power outages and record-breaking freezing temperatures, pipes froze and then burst Thursday, February 18, 2021. The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) offices were not immune and were forced to shut down for a couple of days while repairs were made. Despite the challenges days prior, the team at AFSA quickly jumped into action to prepare for its Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Layout Planning School, beginning February 22, 2021, to ensure their members never missed a beat. “The challenges the winter storm put on AFSA never swayed our team from moving forward with the class,” said Marlene Garrett, CMP, senior director of meeting and education services at AFSA. “Our team understands the importance of offering training no matter what obstacles are put in front of us. We provide the best service to our members always.” Recognizing that a dozen members would be arriving at the Dallas headquarters in mere hours to learn the basics of design, a small team of staff mobilized over the weekend to their offices to save the student’s printed instructional materials and gathered the necessary supplies, such as calculators, drafting tables, and rulers used when


AFSA’s Coordinator of Engineering & Technical Services Kevin Hall, M.Eng., P.E., CWBSP, PMSFPE teaches hydraulic calculations to students in the February class in Dallas.

learning to do hydraulic calculations by hand. Others worked to secure classroom space at the Residence Inn Dallas Addison/Quorum Drive, where the students were housed during the two-week school, to conduct the off-site training. “I appreciate [the staff ] not saying ‘no’ but just asking ‘how.’ That’s what it takes to deal with adversity and get the job done,” commented AFSA President Bob Caputo, CFPS, who personally picked up and delivered supplies to the new training site over the weekend. “I am proud of everyone at AFSA for doing what it takes to deliver for our members. Team AFSA can make it happen!” Beyond the staff, the members did what the fire sprinkler industry does

best—they showed up no matter what. Every single registered student arrived at the hotel ready to learn at 8:00 a.m. on the Monday following one of Texas’ worst weather catastrophes. This dedication further underscores the commitment of the fire sprinkler community to training.

AFSA’S DESIGN SCHOOL HITS THE ROAD Are you interested in your employees learning sprinkler system design? In addition to schools held at its training center in Dallas, Texas, AFSA’s popular Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School is hitting the road for the first time ever. Upcoming 2021 dates include April 12-23 in San Diego, California; May 17-28 in Baltimore, Maryland; July 19-30

in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; August 16-27 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; September 27 - October 8 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and November 8-19 in Sacramento, California. The school teaches the essential elements of system layout in accordance with NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. Recent upgrades have been made to the school’s content, updating it from the 2016 edition to the 2019 edition of the standard. This class is designed for trainees and entry-level technicians with at least six months’ experience and those with experience in the sprinkler trade looking to make the transition to design. The school presents a comprehensive, practical approach to preparing fire sprinkler system drawings and will prepare the student to: • Accelerate the comprehension of plans and various types of building construction for proper sprinkler spacing applications. • Determine the proper and economic planning of sprinkler system layout and installation methods. • Know the importance of sprinkler specifications, types of pipe, hangers, fittings, flow tests, etc. • Learn to develop shop drawings from start to finish. • Learn to coordinate with other trades—plumbing, mechanical, structural, and electrical. • Perform manual hydraulic calculations by hand, preparing the student for a more natural decision-making process when using a computer to perform hydraulics. • Prepare shop drawings in class for projects with different applications. The school is taught by AFSA’s expert technical services staff, including Technical Programs Specialist Tom Noble, CET, CFPS, CWBSP; Coordinator of Engineering & Technical Services Kevin Hall, M.Eng, P.E., CWBSP, PMSFPE; and Vice President of Engineering & Technical Services John August Denhardt, P.E., FSFPE. “For our contractor members that were deemed essential employees, the

pandemic has not slowed them down, so the need to train their employees remains,” said Denhardt. “Here at AFSA, we are training as safely as possible by following all CDC, state, and local guidelines. Like many of our members, we’re eager to get to work training and supporting our members to do their jobs to the best of their ability.” Comments on evaluations from recent graduates include: • “Extremely incredible class! Instructors are very patient and extremely knowledgeable on the subject. Book was very well put together.” • “I thoroughly enjoyed the course and learned a great deal. My confidence in my calculations has grown immensely thanks to the knowledge and teaching of Tom and Kevin.” • “This was a great course in preparation for my upcoming NICET Level I and NICET Level II exams.”

COVID-19 PREVENTION MEASURES ENSURE SAFETY AFSA takes the current health situation seriously and works hard to ensure students’ safety. “We are following all of the CDC recommendations—wearing masks, maintaining social distance, checking temperatures, using Plexiglas dividers, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces,” continued Garrett. “The need for training hasn’t stopped, and AFSA has taken the necessary precautions to meet that demand safely.”

REGISTER EARLY More details can be found at firesprinkler.org/design. Early registration is highly encouraged! For additional details, email AFSA Meeting & Events Coordinator Liz Rosemiller at liz@firesprinkler.org or call (214) 349-5965 ext. 117. n


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efore there was ever an American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA), there was the Independent Sprinkler Training Committee (ISTC). During the 1981 NFPA convention in Dallas, ISTC held its third meeting, with over 60 people in attendance. At the time, the ISTC’s goal was to establish a national apprentice training program for non-union, or merit shop, fire sprinkler contractors. Until the founding of AFSA in New York City on September 16, 1981, there was no organization to meet this growing need. In November 1981, the association’s early leaders published their first newsletter, which they named Sprinkler Age, announcing “a major new force in the fire sprinkler industry.” AFSA’s first Executive Director, Joe Mulrine, located the association’s headquarters in New Haven, Connecticut. In the beginning, Mulrine, with his staff of two, worked to receive permission from the Ministry of Education in Ontario to utilize the Canadian Fire Sprinkler Fitter Correspondence courses to train fitters in the United States. On November 17, 1981, the AFSA National Apprenticeship and Training Standards were submitted to the National Bureau of Training in Washington, D.C., for approval. On January 7, 1982, these standards were granted approval and issued the National Registration number of N-92021. The first batch of apprentice correspondence courses, officially titled, Automatic Sprinkler Protection: Basic Training Series, was made available for sale shortly thereafter. It was official: AFSA was a training association. In 1983 Frank Riseden became the second executive director, a small staff was hired, and the association’s headquarters were moved to Dallas, Texas, where they remain today. As the association staff grew, Riseden’s title was changed to president. During this timeframe, nationwide seminars and the first designer series of correspondence courses were also introduced. Soon, people all over the country were taking notice. AFSA gained legitimacy on a national scale when the first representative of AFSA was appointed to serve on a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Technical Committee in 1983. Seeing the importance of involvement, the association’s leadership soon expanded the membership benefits to include technical services in 1984, with the hopes that AFSA would increase its technical role to include NFPA committees. In 1986, Willie Templin and founding AFSA member Ed Smith had gained the association’s first seat on the NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, committee. The Technical Services Department of


AFSA gathered in San Antonio, Texas, in 1984 and several times since. This year, members will meet again in the Alamo City to celebrate AFSA’s 40th anniversary. today offers expert technical advice through informal interpretations and has a prominent presence on 35 NFPA technical committees, and is a leading authority in the standards-making process. As AFSA’s focus on education intensified, it expanded its offerings to include basic and advanced fitter and designer training. In 1985, the association launched the first session of its “Principles of Fire Sprinkler System Design,” an early precursor to AFSA’s popular two-week Beginning Fire Sprinkler Planning School. Building on its apprentice training, the AFSA National Apprentice Competition debuted during the 1994 AFSA Convention & Exhibition in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and years later, it is still the premier sprinkler fitter competition with hundreds of apprentices sitting for the qualifying exam annually. From one apprentice training course, AFSA has grown to offer a variety of correspondence courses for every type of professional in the fire sprinkler industry, classes at AFSA’s training center, nationwide traveling seminars, online courses, and webinars. The association continues to expand upon its mission of providing training for the fire sprinkler contractor, launching its Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance Inspector Development Program in 2016. In 2019, John August Denhardt, P.E., FSFPE, joined the staff as its Vice President of Engineering & Technical Services and he, along with his staff, expanded and updated many of the association’s technical trainings, including several free webinar series such as Sprinkler Challenge and Fitter Zone. During the pandemic when travel was limited for some, the Technical Services team took AFSA’s Beginning Fire Sprinkler Planning School on the road, crisscrossing the United States from San Diego to Tampa with stops in between.

AFSA Past Chair Tom Waller (left) and AFSA Past President Frank Riseden (right) present the Henry S. Parmelee award to Dr. John M. Bryan with the University of Maryland School of Fire Protection Engineering during the 1991 convention in Reno, Nevada.

In 2020, AFSA named industry veteran Bob Caputo, CFPS, as its president, further reinforcing its focus on education and technical excellence.

GETTING THE WORD OUT AFSA’s third President, Steve Muncy, who succeeded Frank Riseden in 1992, led the association into the world of technology, helping to create the association’s first website, membership database, and email system in 1995. Seeking to get the fire sprinkler message out to the larger public, AFSA announced its first annual national High School Senior Scholarship Contest during the 1996-97 school year, with the goal of educating high school seniors about the life-saving benefit of sprinklers. The high school scholarship went online at afsascholarship.org in 2006 and now educates nearly 70,000 entrants annually. In 2009, the program expanded to include the Second Chance Scholarship. This award was different from many scholarships in that all those seeking to pursue a college degree or trade school education—including returning military, parents returning to the workforce, and anyone with a high school diploma or GED—were encouraged to apply. At the same time, AFSA was also gearing up its member communications. In 1996, AFSA introduced its SprinklerForum, a first of its kind in the industry email-based discussion group still in use today. Over the years, AFSA has expanded the ways in which it communicates with its members introducing several e-newsletters, like Contractor Network and Tech Update. In 2008, AFSA launched into the social media forefront with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube pages, adding Flickr in 2010, followed by Instagram in 2016. In 2009, its member publication Sprinkler Age began publishing a digital edition, complementing its long-standing print publication, and in 2015, it went a step further, joining the blogosphere at SprinklerAge.com. In 2014, AFSA founded its young professional group, the NextGen Initiative, to engage and develop professionals, 40 and under, in the industry. Focusing on mentorship, pathways to jobs, and career development, the group hosts an annual NextGen Day at AFSA’s annual convention and a popular quarterly webinar series.

Past Chairs of the Board Jack Viola (left) and Don Becker (right) take some time to visit during the 2013 convention at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

40 YEARS STRONG – 1981 TO 2021 Over the past 40 years, AFSA has grown from a handful of dedicated volunteers who saw an opportunity to better the industry through collaboration and education to a nationally recognized organization with over 1,000 member companies, 32 local chapters, and two state affiliates. Throughout the years, AFSA leaders have kept the association on a successful path with a bright horizon ahead. We congratulate our founding fathers for their hard work and look forward to working with future generations to secure AFSA’s place in history as the fire sprinkler industry leader. Visit firesprinkler.org. n




lmost all water-based fire protection systems utilizing potable water require some type of backflow prevention device to protect the potable water supply from contamination. Typically, these devices are required by the adopted plumbing code, not NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. While these devices are necessary, their impact on a waterbased fire protection system must be accounted for in the system’s design. The 2019 edition of NFPA 13, section requires, “The pressure loss assigned the backflow device when included on a system” to be included on the detailed worksheet for hydraulic calculation Where is the pressure loss data obtained from? How does one accurately account for the pressure loss? As part of the UL classification of backflow prevention devices, the pressure loss is documented. The pressure loss is

expressed with curves developed based on testing by Underwriters Laboratory per UL 1469 Edition 2, Standard for Strength of Body and Hydraulic Pressure Loss Testing of Backflow Special Check Valves. Each specific manufacturer, model, style, size, and selected options will have different curves. It is critical that the designer use the exact make and model backflow prevention device when determining the pressure loss. In addition, the designer needs to know the calculated water flow rate demand because the pressure loss varies based on the water flow rate. Depending on the hydraulic calculations software the designer uses, the method of inputting the pressure loss versus water flow curve does change. The shop drawing should indicate the backflow prevention device manufacturer, model, style, size, and selected options. An equipment data sheet should also be submitted highlighting the pressure loss curve utilized in the hydraulic calculations.

Figure 1. Example of a pressure loss curve for a 4-in. backflow preventer. The single asterisk denotes the rated flow and the double asterisk denotes the UL tested flow.


A typical pressure loss curve is shown in Figure 1. What is critical to understand, in many cases, is that the pressure loss can be higher at low water flow rates. Sometimes, oversizing a backflow prevention device can result in a higher-pressure loss than one which is properly sized. All backflow prevention devices utilized in water-based fire protection systems are manufactured to either AWWA C510-17, Double Check-Valve Prevention Assemblies, or AWWA C511-17, Reduced-Pressure Principle Backflow Prevention Assemblies. These standards list the maximum pressure loss for a device to comply with the standards. AWWA C510 states in section “Rated flow and allowable pressure loss - The maximum allowable pressure loss at any rate of flow, from zero and up to and including the maximum rated flow for the indicated size, shall not exceed the values shown in Table 1.” For example, Table 1 of AWWA C510 allows a 4-in. double check-valve backflow prevention device to have a rated water flow rate of 500 gpm at a maximum loss of 10 psi. In fact, Table 1 of AWWA C510 for all sizes and rated water flow rate, the maximum pressure loss is 10 psi. How many double check-valve backflow prevention devices on the market have a pressure loss near 10 psi? AWWA C511 has similar language and requirements. Section states, “Rated flow and allowable pressure loss – The maximum allowable pressure loss at any rate of flow, from zero

and up to and including the maximum rated flow for the indicated size, shall not exceed the values shown in Table 1.” For example, Table 1 of AWWA C511 allows a 4-in. reduced-pressure principle backflow prevention device to have a rated water flow rate of 500 gpm at a maximum loss of 12 psi. In fact, Table 1 of AWWA C511 for all sizes and rated water flow rate, the maximum pressure loss is 12 psi. How many reduced-pressure principle backflow prevention devices on the market have a pressure loss near 12 psi? For projects which must follow the Unified Facilities Code (UFC) 3-600-01, Fire Protection Engineering For Facilities, 8 August 2016 with Change 5, 24 September 2020 document pressure losses for backflow prevention devices are handled differently than NFPA 13. Section 9-6.3.5 of UFC 3-600-01 states, “Hydraulic calculations must include a minimum pressure drop across backflow preventers. For a reduced pressure backflow preventer, use a minimum of 12 psi. For a double check backflow preventer, use a minimum of 8 psi.” I understand that the 12 psi pressure loss is taken from AWWA

C511, but I am not sure where the 8 psi pressure loss is taken from. AWWA C510 allows at 10 psi pressure loss. Over the years, the manufacturers have adapted their designs to minimize pressure loss. Lower pressure loss is always better in a water-based fire protection system, so a designer should not select a backflow prevention device based on pricing alone. Several factors must be considered such as the type required, product availability, physical size, physical weight, pressure loss at the water flow rate of your designs, cost, and, if required, the ease/difficulty of monitoring the control valves. If your project requires compliance with the UFC 3-600-01, selecting a higher pressure loss backflow prevention device has no impact on your design. Also, the designer needs to understand any local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) requirements with regard to selection and physical location of the backflow prevention device. If a fire pump system is being supplied by the backflow prevention device, NFPA 20, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire

Protection, needs to be consulted for specific requirements. The 2019 edition of this standard states: “4.29.3 Devices in Suction Piping. Where located in the suction pipe of the pump, check valves and backflow prevention devices or assemblies shall be located a minimum of 10 pipe diameters from the pump suction flange. Where a backflow preventer with butterfly control valves is installed in the suction pipe, the backflow preventer is required to be at least 50 ft from the pump suction flange (as measured along the route of pipe) in accordance with 4.29.4 Evaluation Backflow Prevention Device Where a backflow prevention device or assembly is installed in connection with the pump, special consideration shall be given to the increased pressure loss resulting from the installation. Where backflow prevention device is installed, the final arrangement shall provide effective pump performance at the lowest


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permissible suction pressure. The discharge flow rate shall meet or exceed the fire protection system design flow. The discharge flow rate shall meet or exceed 100 percent of the fire pump rated flow rate. Determination of effective pump performance shall be documented by engineering calculations and tests. Retroactive installation of a backflow prevention device shall not reduce the suction pressure below that permitted in this standard and accepted by the authority having jurisdiction. Retroactive installation of a backflow prevention device shall not result in a discharge pressure that does not meet the maximum system demand and 100 percent of the rated flow rate for the fire pump.” Some of the above language is new or revised for the 2019 edition. What I specifically find interesting is the language in sections and What is meant by the language “the discharge flow rate?” This

language is not the fire pump rated flow rate since the technical committee called that language out specifically. Is this the rated water flow rate UL or AWWA C510/C511 uses? Each agency uses a different value which might produce different selections. For example, a 750-gpm rated fire pump system will require at least a 6-in. backflow prevention device if following AWWA requirements and a 4-in. backflow prevention device if following the UL requirements. I will need to research this as I am not sure the intent of the current language. As you can see by the above information, the pressure loss of a backflow prevention device might not be a straightforward as one would think. But understanding the requirements will assist a designer in selecting the most appropriate backflow prevention device for their project from a hydraulic impact perspective, and the resulting hydraulic calculations will be performed correctly. n

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John August Denhardt, P.E., FSFPE, is vice president of engineering & technical services for AFSA. He is a Professional Engineer (P.E.) registered in the District of Columbia as well as the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He is a NICET Level III in Automatic Sprinkler System Layout and Inspection & Testing of WaterBased Systems as well as NFPA Certified Water-Based Systems Professional (CWBSP). Denhardt has a Bachelor of Science degree in fire protection engineering from the University of Maryland. He is a member of the NFPA 13 Sprinkler Discharge Committee, NFPA, is an SFPE Fellow, and sits on the University of Maryland Department of Fire Protection Engineering’s Board of Visitors.


7. Elevation of the water supply at the time of the test 8. How close the flow generated during the test was to the system demand There is no single specific adjustment applied to a water supply that would be appropriate for every sprinkler system. The design professional needs to work in conjunction with the authority having jurisdiction to determine the appropriate adjustment. Where an authority having jurisdiction has already determined a specific buffer between test results and the demand of the sprinkler system, it is not the intent of this standard to add an additional safety factor or safety margin; the buffer mandated by the authority having jurisdiction serves the purpose of the adjustment.


In the absence of information from the design professional and the authority having jurisdiction, it would be appropriate to make an adjustment to the raw data from a flow test by either obtaining information from the water utility or using a reasonable adjustment. Such an adjustment should be determined through a conversation with the authority having jurisdiction. It is important to note that not all water supplies have a linear relationship of flow to pressure. As flow demand increases, additional water can be provided into the system through multiple pumps, causing complex geometries to the pressure and flow relationship at any given point in the system. Creating multiple flow conditions during a test and getting as close as possible to the sprinkler system demand will assist in gaining a complete understanding of the water supply.

If an adjustment is determined to be appropriate, it shall be applied to the waterflow test data prior to comparison with the sprinkler system demand. Where the water supply information is obtained from another approved method other than a waterflow test, that method shall consider daily and seasonal fluctuations, not extreme conditions.” As I stated earlier, I will discuss the technical issues and potential liability issues we see with the new language in the May/June edition of Sprinkler Age. We will need the members of AFSA to make the voices known to NFPA on this issue. AFSA will let you know how to make your voices heard. I appreciate your effort on this issue. n


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he American Fire Sprinkler Association’s (AFSA) Fire Sprinkler Fitter National Honor Society was first established in 2012 to recognize those trainees, along with their sponsoring employers, who have completed all four levels of the AFSA Correspondence Course for Fire Sprinkler Fitters with a cumulative grade point average of 95 percent or above. Inductees into the 2020 class of AFSA’s Fire Sprinkler Fitter National Honor Society represent approximately the top 13 percent of the 147 four-level graduates for the year. The following companies are the proud employers of inductees into the 2020 Fire Sprinkler Fitter National Honor Society: • Anchor Fire Protection, Perkiomenville, PA • Best Defense Security & Fire, Waunakee, WI • Cavalier Fire Protection, Dumfries, VA • Dorn Fire Protection, Cincinnati, OH • Dynamic Fire Protection Systems, Inc., Montrose, CO • Johnson Controls, Inc., Plymouth, MN • Maine Fire Protection Systems, Bangor, ME • Professional Fire Systems, Inc., Southborough, MA • RCI Systems, Tempe, AZ • Service First Fire Sprinkler, Sioux Falls, SD • Total Fire Protection, Berthoud, CO • Tri-State Sprinkler Corporation, Londonderry, NH Leslie Clounts, AFSA director of education services, notes: “This top 13 percent is a testament to the dedication of both employers and apprentices to their training. One can’t succeed without the support from the other. AFSA is proud to support both in any way we can.”

Recognition plaques for the individual students are provided to the sponsoring employer so that the contractor company can present the plaque to the fire sprinkler fitter graduate at an appropriate time and location. AFSA is also pleased to honor those contractors that participate in this training curriculum and encourage their fitter trainees to study and do well on their tests by recognizing their company in Sprinkler Age.

BUILD ENTHUSIASM THROUGH COMPETITION AFSA’s National Apprentice Competition will celebrate its 28th year at

AFSA40 Convention, Exhibition, and Apprentice Competition September 18-21 at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. Many contractor employers of fire sprinkler fitter trainees who competed in the annual event state that it builds enthusiasm among all employees and encourages trainees to study the AFSA Apprenticeship Training Program for Fire Sprinkler Fitters books more carefully and improve their performance in the program. Look for details and entry materials for the 2021 competition on page 43 of this issue or visit firesprinkler.org/apprentice. n



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he American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) is recognizing members who are celebrating milestone membership anniversaries. The member companies featured here have belonged to AFSA for 15 or more years of continuous membership. “Thank you to all those who are celebrating AFSA anniversaries and to all our members,” comments AFSA Director of Membership & Chapter Support Bruce Lecair. “We look forward to seeing you and serving you in what we think is going to be an exciting 2021.” Several members are celebrating milestone anniversaries in March and April 2021. Sprinkler Age asked those members some questions about their time in the fire sprinkler industry and with AFSA. Ed Gnifkowski, CEO/owner of Quality Design & Fire Protection, and Diane Pein, president of Happy Anniversary to AFSA Milestone Members! March–April 2021 40-Year Anniversary Contractor Members ABJ Fire Protection Co., Inc., Syracuse, NY 35-Year Anniversary Associate Members Core & Main Fire Protection, St. Louis, MO 30-Year Anniversary Contractor Members Shilo Automatic Sprinkler, Inc., Nampa, ID 25-Year Anniversary Contractor Members C.R. Fireline, Inc., Pacheco, CA D.S. Correll Company, Inc., Wind Gap, PA Superior Automatic Sprinkler Corp., Fallston, MD Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., Ocoee, FL 20-Year Anniversary Contractor Members RCI Systems, Inc., Tempe, AZ Associate Members The Metraflex Company, Chicago, IL Designer Members D & J Design Services, Metairie, LA 15-Year Anniversary Contractor Members Approved Fire Protection Systems, Plainfield, NJ Quality Design & Fire Protection, St. Cloud, MN


Approved Fire Protection Co., Inc., shared some of their favorite AFSA memories and things they’ve learned through the years.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE FIRE SPRINKLER INDUSTRY? Gnifkowski: “I was hired to manage PMC in 1972 and inherited the company a year later.” Pein: “My great grandfather started this company in 1930. My grandmother and then father ran the company concurrently, and when my father needed to retire, I stepped in to help transition temporarily. Now I am 25 years into this ‘temporary position’ as the sole owner and loving every minute of working in this industry.” HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH AFSA? Gnifkowski: “I [realized joining AFSA] was the only way to get merit-shop apprentices trained.” Pein: “When I started working in the company in 1995, I wanted to learn all facets of the industry. I became enamored with sprinklers and felt the need to get involved outside of the company. I became a member of AFSA, worked with the executive committee on legislation for a few years, then passed the baton on to one of my project managers, who spent nine years on the Board.”

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OR MOST USED AFSA BENEFIT? Gnifkowski: “Just keeping pace with the industry takes pretty good care of me.” Pein: “I personally utilize the training and education— webinars and live courses.”

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE AFSA AND/OR AFSA CONVENTION MEMORY? Gnifkowski: “Meeting the other players around the country. I especially cherished my friendship with the FPC family.” Pein: “I am sorry to say I have not attended any of the conventions, but my team comes back from most of them re-energized and a bit exhausted. They enjoy the networking and the education. I would be lying not to say they also enjoy the evening fun with other members.”

WHAT IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGE YOU’VE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY? Gnifkowski: “Continual improvement in all areas of fire protection.” Pein: “I have only been involved for 25 years, but I have seen the growth in the entire fire protection industry—keeping up with the new technologies while maintaining the industry’s integrity. The laws and codes have come a long way in the past two decades, keeping their relevance in respect to the new smart buildings and the future of IT in our industry.”



Gnifkowski: “Hard work.” Pein: “Oooh, that is a big question. I look at my success as the success of the company. I would have to pinpoint our success to great core values. Our team is comprised of great talent, great communicators, and value-based individuals. We are diligent about filling our team with more folks of the same values, which ensures we grow bigger and stronger every day.”

IF I WEREN’T WORKING IN FIRE PROTECTION, I WOULD BE... Gnifkowski: “Probably dead! This 15th anniversary is my ‘second coming.’ I originally retired in 1990 and came back in 1994.” Pein: “A research chemist, which is where I was working when my father asked me to step in and help him… I miss it very much. I do love what I am doing today in the fire protection industry but would run back to the lab if I could.”

CELEBRATING AFSA MEMBERS AFSA looks forward to celebrating with more members during its 40th-anniversary year. The AFSA membership team is excited to be rolling out new membership programs—a sixmonth trial membership for contractors, one-year trial membership for Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs), and the “Be a Member, Bring a Member” program. “Dominick, Meda, and I are excited to be serving our members!” says Lecair. “These programs are already opening the doors for new members to see and experience all that AFSA has to offer. Utilizing our Engineering and Technical Services team, new training opportunities, legislative assistance, and our membership benefits and programs, these members will see just how important a trade association can be toward improving their business models and their knowledge of fire sprinklers, codes, regulations, and technology.” Interested in more information? Contact Membership & Chapter Relations Manager Meda Merritt at mmerritt@ firesprinkler.org or (214) 349-5965 ext. 133. Membership details are also available online at visit firesprinkler.org/join. Recognition for milestone membership anniversaries in Sprinkler Age will be done in five-year anniversary increments and is available to all membership types. Congratulations to these members and AFSA looks forward to celebrating with more members throughout the year! n




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ebinars have become increasingly popular during the past year. This type of training offers education from the comfort of your office or home and cost savings, especially for members of the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA), as most association webinars are offered free to members. AFSA is pleased to provide this type of training and has several opportunities in the coming months.

SPRINKLER CHALLENGES In this monthly webinar series modeled after a popular game show, AFSA’s technical experts will highlight commonly misunderstood or improperly interpreted sections of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards. True/false questions will be presented that will make the attendee think and respond. The correct answer will be displayed with a discussion on explaining why the answer is correct. Handouts will be made available after each webinar.

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The April Sprinkler Challenge, NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, 2019 edition, will be held April 1, 2021. This webinar will cover the 2019 edition of the standard, including commonly misunderstood or improperly interpreted sections. The May Sprinkler Challenge will be held May 6, 2021, and will focus on NFPA 24, Standard for the Installation of Private Fire Service Mains and Their Appurtenances, and NFPA 291, Recommended Practice for Fire Flow Testing and Marking of Hydrants, 2019 editions. This

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webinar will highlight commonly misunderstood or improperly interpreted sections of these standards. June’s Sprinkler Challenge will be held June 3, 2021, and will cover NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, 2020 edition. The Sprinkler Challenge webinars begin at 11:00 a.m. Central time and are presented by AFSA’s Vice President of Engineering & Technical Services John August Denhardt, P.E., FSFPE, and AFSA’s Coordinator of Engineering & Technical Services Kevin Hall, M.Eng., P.E., CWBSP, PMSFPE. Each webinar offers 0.1 CEU and 1.0 CPD. CAL FIRE-approved CEUs are not offered. There is a nominal fee for CEU certificates.

LUNCH WITH LEADERS This Zoom series is held the fourth Tuesday of every other month (on even months) and is available to all AFSA members to provide an open forum for dialogue with industry leadership throughout the association. This is an informal gathering, no more than 30 minutes, designed to offer members the opportunity to raise questions, learn more about the leaders in the industry and AFSA, and provide access and feedback to leaders. The webinar connection and content are free for AFSA members. The next event will be held April 27, 2012, at 12:00 p.m. Central time and will feature AFSA’s Vice President of Engineering & Technical Services John August Denhardt, P.E., FSFPE. Denhardt joined AFSA just over one year ago and has already expanded the technical services staff, programs, and services. Join AFSA to learn all that the technical services team has to offer members! On June 22, 2021, at 12:00 p.m. Central time, meet AFSA’s Membership Department, led by AFSA Director of Membership & Chapter Support Bruce Lecair. Join Lecair and his team— Dominick Kasmauskas, CFPS, regional director of Membership & Chapter Support, and Meda Merritt, manager of membership & chapter relations—to hear about AFSA’s newest membership benefits, services, and offers, including a free trial

membership for contractors and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) and the “Be a Member, Get a Member” campaign. Neither CEUs nor CPDs is offered for these webinars. CAL FIRE-approved CEUs are not offered for these webinars.

HOME FIRE SPRINKLER WEEK WEBINAR FOR AHJS In the spirit of Home Fire Sprinkler Week (May 17-22), join AFSA on May 20, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. Central time for an informative webinar on the requirements of NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, 2019 edition, and significant changes for the 2022 edition. This webinar, geared toward Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) but also of interest to contractors, discusses the importance of sprinklers in one- and two-family dwellings and focuses on the differences in installation and design requirements from NFPA 13 and NFPA 13R, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Low-Rise Residential Occupancies, as NFPA 13D’s purpose is safety to life. This webinar also discusses significant changes to the 2022 edition, including nail plates, protection from freezing, townhomes, tiny homes, and others. This webinar is presented by AFSA’s Vice President of Engineering & Technical Services John August Denhardt, P.E., FSFPE, and AFSA’s Coordinator of Engineering & Technical Services Kevin Hall, M.Eng., P.E., CWBSP, PMSFPE. Each webinar offers 0.1 CEU and 1.0 CPD. CAL FIRE-approved CEUs are not offered. There is a nominal fee for CEU certificates.

career and personal development. Join an established mentor and mentee pair as they share their knowledge, skills, and ideas to improve the field of mentoring and expand the professional skill-base of AFSA members. Learn what targeted supports and investments are needed to unleash the limitless potential less-experienced employees hold for themselves, their companies, and our industry at large. Join us for a robust conversation to explore mentoring strategies and proven pathways to boost skills, education, and career outcomes for everyone. The speakers for this presentation are Mark Fessenden, director of industry relations for Johnson Controls, Inc., and Lainey Liotta, fire protection market manager with Lubrizol. This webinar offers 0.15 CEUs. It does not offer CPDs nor CAL FIRE-approved CEUs. There is a nominal fee for CEUs certificates.

REGISTER ONLINE Visit firesprinkler.org/webinars for details on pricing for non-members, CEU certificate costs, and to register. n

NEXTGEN WEBINARS AFSA’s NextGen Initiative offers quarterly webinars of particular interest to professionals in the fire sprinkler industry under 40, but also will be of interest to other groups. The next webinar to be presented at 11:00 a.m. Central time on June 8, 20201, is “What Works in Mentoring? Tips for a Successful Relationship.” Mentoring is a professional relationship between two people, with the goal of SPRINKLER AGE | MAR/APR 2021 37



2021 IS A GOOD YEAR TO INCREASE AWARENESS WITH NEW RESOURCES his year marks 25 years since the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) was founded by the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA). HFSC continues to provide members of the fire service with free resources to educate and increase awareness about the life-saving benefits of home fire sprinklers via homefiresprinkler.org. This year HFSC will announce new innovative tools to support community outreach.

SAVE THE DATE: HOME FIRE SPRINKLER WEEK (HFSW) Building on last year’s successes, HFSC will be rolling out a fresh slate of free, creative assets that will simplify your participation the week of May 16-22, including: • A brand new HFSW digital campaign to reach younger homebuyers with original illustrations and more that will help you emphasize the need for home fire sprinklers in your community. • A new video to highlight the Green benefits of installing home fire sprinklers. • HFSC is unveiling a new, powerful 3D and 360-degree “Home Fire Sprinkler Experience.” This exciting new virtual reality resource lets users personally understand how fire and deadly smoke quickly spread and experience the power of home fire sprinklers. Fire department educators will be the first in the nation to use this simulated side-by-side event. • Assorted daily educational themes with companion graphics and prepared copy—just click and paste into your social media accounts to share • And much more—stand by for event announcements.

A SMART HOME STARTS WITH FIRE SPRINKLERS HFSC will share important new findings from a national survey. The research illuminates the personal preferences of Millennials and other homebuyers about home buying, Smart technology, and Green living as well as home fire safety and interest in home fire sprinklers. HFSC will share the findings to help you educate homebuilders, developers, and officials in your jurisdiction. In 2021, HFSC will enhance its homebuilder/developer incentive program to help even more local AHJs and fire department personnel reach out to local developers ahead of new home builds. This one action can result in fire sprinkler installations in hundreds of new homes. Watch for new HFSC resources and strategies.


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MONEY FOR LOCAL OUTREACH A new stipend award program for Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) will recognize fire department commitment to home fire sprinkler education with moneys earmarked to cover socially distanced educational outreach, such as: • New virtual reality experience materials, • Facebook Live events and advertising, • Construction of a to-scale NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, riser, • Educational banners, • “What do homebuyers know?” national survey findings, and • Other creative fire service ideas!

WHAT CAN YOU DO RIGHT NOW? Tap into HFSC’s free, turnkey content and make it yours. Upload it to your company website; post it on your social media accounts; share it with your local media; use it in your PowerPoint presentations. Invite your AHJ friends to attend AFSA’s upcoming AHJ series webinar, “NFPA 13D and Significant Changes to the 2022 edition.” In the spirit of Home Fire Sprinkler Week, AFSA will offer this informative webinar on the requirements of NFPA 13D, 2019 edition and significant changes for the 2022 edition on Thursday, May 20 at 11:00 a.m. Central time free for AFSA members. Register online at firesprinkler.org/webinars. For AHJs who are not current members, AFSA is offering a free 12-month trial offer for AHJs to try the many benefits of membership. Details at firesprinkler.org/trial. n


Each issue, AFSA’s Engineering & Technical Services Department presents one or multiple challenges for technicians. Besides challenging yourself and your co-workers, working these problems is excellent preparation for professional certification tests and also may count as continuing education hours. Check with your certification organization to see if this exercise meets its criteria. To participate in this challenge, carefully read and work the problems, and submit your answers online at firesprinkler.org/itmchallenge by April 15, 2021. One winner will be pulled at random from those who answer correctly to receive some AFSA swag! Answers will be published in the next issue when new challenges are presented.


All questions are based on NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, 2020 edition. 1) Which of the following standpipe systems are required to be flow tested every five years? A. All automatic standpipe systems

B. All Class I and Class III standpipe systems C. All Class II standpipe systems D. All manual standpipe systems 2) Which of the following are required as part of the visual examination when inspecting exposed piping in private service fire mains? A. Leaks, physical damage, missing flange bolts, and restraint methods B. Leaks, physical damage, corrosion, and restraint methods C. Leaks, missing flange bolts, corrosion, and restraint methods D. Leaks, physical damage, corrosion, and missing flange bolts 3) While conducting an inspection of electrolyte in the batteries of a diesel fire pump, you observe the electrolyte level is below the top of the battery plates. How would you classify your finding? A. Noncritical deficiency B. Critical deficiency C. Impairment D. Classification of this finding is not addressed in NFPA 25.

4) While testing the operation of the heating system for a water storage tank you observe the system does not operate. How would you classify your finding? A. Noncritical deficiency B. Critical deficiency C. Impairment D. Classification of this finding is not addressed in NFPA 25


All answers are based on the 2020 edition of NFPA 25. 1) B. A. A minimum of two sprinklers of each type and temperature rating installed should be provided. 2) B. Section Mainline strainers shall be inspected and cleaned after each system flow exceeding that of a nominal 2-in. (50-mm) orifice. 3) B. Table A.3.3.8 Chapter 13: Valves, Valve Components, and Trim — Inspection. 4) B. Table A.3.3.8, Chapter 13: Valves, Valve C0mponents, and Trim — Testing. n

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*AFSA makes no implied or expressed warranty that studying these materials or passing the assessments or exams will ensure passage of the related NICET exams or certification by NICET.

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FABRICATION We’ve got your back.



Each issue, AFSA’s Engineering & Technical Services Department presents one or multiple challenges for fitters. Besides challenging yourself and your co-workers, working these problems enforces lessons that should be learned through an apprenticeship program and explains how requirements from the standard are applied in the field. To participate in this challenge, carefully read and work the problems, and submit your answers online at firesprinkler. org/fitterchallenge by April 15, 2021. One winner will be pulled at random from those who answer correctly to receive some AFSA swag! Answers will be published in the next issue when new challenges are presented.


All questions are based on the 2019 edition of NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. 1) Yes or No: A section of existing 3-in. black schedule 40 threaded steel pipe needs to be repaired. You decided to cut the pipe, and fabricate two new sections of 3-in. black schedule 40 thread by thread steel pipe joining them with a screwed union to make the repair. Is this acceptable by NFPA 13 requirements? 2) True or False: A section of existing 11/2-in. black schedule 40 threaded steel pipe needs to be repaired. You decided to cut the pipe, and fabricate two new sections of 11/2-in. black schedule 40 thread by roll groove steel pipe joining them with a grooved coupling. Is this allowed by NFPA 13?

3) True or False: Pendent sprinklers must have their frame arms installed parallel to the branch line piping? 4) True or False: All dry sprinkler system piping must be installed with at least 1/2 in. per 10 ft of pitch to allow for draining of the system piping.


All answers are based on the 2019 edition of NFPA 13.

1) True. The use of the wrong type of escutcheon with recessed or flush-type sprinklers can result in severe disruption of the spray pattern, which can destroy the effectiveness of the sprinkler. 2) False. 7.7 Waterflow Alarm Devices. Waterflow alarm devices shall be listed for the service and so constructed and installed that any flow of water from a sprinkler system equal to or greater than that from a single automatic sprinkler of the smallest K-factor installed on the system will result in an audible alarm on the premises within 5 minutes after such flow begins and until such flow stops. 3) No. Torch cutting and welding shall not be permitted as a means of modifying or repairing sprinkler systems. 4) False. 3.204 Sprig. A pipe that rises vertically and supplies a single sprinkler. n

We’re taking our school on the road!

Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School San Diego, CA

April 12- 23

Enro ll Toda y a t w w w.f i re s pr i n kl er.o rg/d esign 42 SPRINKLER AGE | MAR/APR 2021


WIN a chance at

Up to

$5,000 CASH

a Set of Brand New

HAND TOOLS an Expense-Paid


For You and a Guest Determined by the Sponsoring Company

Enter AFSA’s 28th Annual National Apprentice Competition Seven national finalists will receive an expense-paid trip to compete at AFSA40: National Convention, Exhibition and Apprentice Competition and a convention registration for their employer, tools, and cash prizes. You may enter as many of your qualifying apprentices as you want! There is no cost to enter.

For more details visit


Application Form

AFSA’s 28 Annual National Apprentice Competition th


One form per apprentice. Multiple entries per form will NOT be accepted. Make as many copies of this application as needed.

A written exam will be provided by AFSA and administered online.

April 16, 2021 - Entry Form Deadline

Entry forms must be submitted no later than April 16, 2021.

Return completed applications to:

April 19-May 14, 2021 - Phase I National Competition

Phase one will consist of a 100-question multiple choice exam to be taken online. Once confirmed, AFSA will provide instructions to schedule the exam. A web cam is required for online testing. An online proctor will be assigned to your testing session. The test must be taken between April 19-May 14, 2021.

September 18-21, 2021 - Phase II National Competition

Held at AFSA’s Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX, the National Competition will consist of a three-hour exam, as well as the requirement to cut, thread and install a steel and CPVC piping system with sprinkler heads and perform a pressure test. Participants will be graded on accuracy, craftsmanship and safety.

AFSA - Education Dept. 12750 Merit Drive, Suite 350 Dallas, TX 75251

or mmartinez@firesprinkler.org

Deadline - April 16, 2021

Guidelines: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9)

Apprentice’s employer must be a member of AFSA, in good standing. Apprentice must be actively participating in the AFSA Apprenticeship Courses or enrolled in the NCCER/AFSA Fire Sprinkler Fitting Training Series. If an apprentice intends to complete this course work prior to September 18, 2021, he/she is not eligible to compete in AFSA’s National Apprenticeship Competition. Apprentice must have at least one year of field experience with a MINIMUM of 6 months combined HANDS ON experience in cutting, threading and installing steel pipe AND installing CPVC pipe. Prior to September 18, 2021, the apprentice cannot have worked in the sprinkler trade hanging pipe for more than five years. If an apprentice has won first, second, or third place in AFSA’s National Apprenticeship Competition, he/she is not eligible to compete. An employer can enter as many employees as are eligible from his/her company. If an apprentice resigns employment from original sponsoring company after April 16, 2021, he/she is not eligible to compete. The apprentices scoring in the top 7 of the National Competition (Phase I) will qualify to compete in San Antonio, TX at the National Competition (Phase II) during AFSA's Annual Convention provided no more than two (2) apprentices compete from the same membership region. In this case, the top two (2) scoring apprentices from a region will compete. If more than one apprentice from the same control group scores in the top 7 of the National Competition (Phase I), then a maximum of two apprentices from that control group will be qualified to compete in the National Competition (Phase II) provided the apprentices are in different regions. In this case, the two qualifying apprentices will be identified by having the top scores in their region.

Privacy Policy: Respondus is the online proctoring service AFSA will use to proctor the Apprentice Competition Phase I exam. All Phase I testing will be done through Respondus. Please review Respondus' privacy policy at this link: https://web.respondus.com/privacy-policy/

Apprentice Information Name:


Date Apprentice began installing sprinkler material:

Student ID:

Company Address:

Last Active:


Mobile Number:

Check if AFSA can send texts to this number with important alerts and upates related to Competiton, Testing Site, Dates and Times. Note: Data charges from your mobile phone provider may apply.

Contractor Member

Member: Region: Date Received:

Company Name: Contact: Address: (if different from Apprentice) Phone:

City/State/Zip: Fax:

AFSA Correspondence Course Book Apprentice is Studying Book:

Email: Lessons passed:

Note: If not testing with AFSA, documentation must be submitted proving enrollment and current transcript.

I hereby verify that the apprentice qualifies to enter the 2021 Competition according to the guidelines listed above and that the apprentice has read and accepted the Respondus' website privacy policy.

Apprentice Signature: Employer Signature:

Date: Date:

Information provided is subject to verification from the Apprenticeship records in Dallas.


Each issue, AFSA’s Engineering & Technical Services Department presents one or multiple challenges for AHJs. Besides challenging yourself and your co-workers, working these problems is excellent preparation for professional certification tests and also may count as continuing education hours. Check with your certification organization to see if this exercise meets its criteria. To participate in this challenge, carefully read and work the problems, and submit your answers online at firesprinkler.org/ahjchallenge by April 15, 2021. One winner will be pulled at random from those who answer correctly to receive some AFSA swag! Answers will be published in the next issue when new challenges are presented.


The following questions are based on NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, 2019 edition. 1) Baffles are used to prevent cold soldering of sprinklers when minimum distances between sprinklers cannot be maintained but are not prescribed for all sprinkler types. Which two of the following sprinkler types have prescriptive requirements to use baffles? A. ESFR sprinklers B. Extended coverage pendents C. CMSA sprinklers D. Residential sprinklers


All answers are based on the 2019 edition of NFPA 13. Questions may have more than one correct answer. 1) B, C & D. NFPA 13 section permits a hydrostatic test of underground piping to be accepted when there is a pressure loss less than 5 psi or no visual leakage as opposed to aboveground piping which requires no drop in pressure and no visual leakage. As long as the gauge pressure increases or decreases less than 5 psi after the testing allowance or there are no visual leaks, the test is acceptable. 2) C & D. NFPA 13 section permits systems not more than 500 gal to be installed without a quick opening device and not be required to meet water delivery time requirements. 3) D. NFPA 13 Table defines the maximum area of coverage for sprinklers in a Light Hazard Occupancy with both combustible obstructed and unobstructed construction spaced less than 3 ft on center shall be 130 square feet. 4) A. False. NFPA 13 section requires the user to make the design area rectangular in shape by having a dimension parallel to the branch lines at least 1.2 times the square root of the design area used. n

2) A 725-gallon capacity dry pipe piping system has been installed with a quick-opening device. What is the maximum water delivery time from the time the inspector’s test valve is fully open to the time of initial water discharge? A. 50 seconds B. 60 seconds C. 15 seconds D. No delivery time requirement 3) When witnessing a hydrostatic test on a new system install, you observe that the system water supply pressure is 168 psi. What is the minimum required system pressure per NFPA 13 to perform the test successfully? A. 200 psi B. 218 psi C. 175 psi D. 150 psi 4) In a long corridor, architectural features are creating four different shadow areas for a residential sprinkler. What is the maximum shadow area permitted per NFPA 13? A. 15 ft2 per shadow area B. 15 ft2 per sprinkler protection area C. 10 ft2 per sprinkler protection area D. Unlimited as long as all of the obstruction rules are met SPRINKLER AGE | MAR/APR 2021 45


1 • Sprinkler Challenge “NFPA 13D, 2019 Edition” Webinar firesprinkler.org/webinars 12 • AFSA ITM Inspector Development Program Spring 2021 Virtual Kick-Off firesprinkler.org/itm 12-23 • AFSA Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School San Diego, CA firesprinkler.org/design 27 • Lunch with Leaders Webinar firesprinkler.org/webinars • Louisiana Fire Sprinkler Association (LFSA) Seminar, Membership Meeting, & Vendor Appreciation Reception Baton Rouge, LA lafiresprinkler.org

MAY 2021

17-28 • AFSA Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School Baltimore, MD firesprinkler.org/design 20 • “NFPA 13D and Significant Changes to the 2022 Edition” Webinar firesprinkler.org/webinars

JUNE 2021

3 • Sprinkler Challenge: “NFPA 25 2020 Edition” Webinar firesprinkler.org/webinars 22 • Lunch with Leaders Webinar firesprinkler.org/webinars


Please welcome Gayle Lindsey as front office receptionist for the American Fire Sprinkler Association ( AFSA). As part of the AFSA team, Lindsey greets visitors, answers incoming phone calls, directs them to the proper department, distributes mail daily, assists all departments with mailings and shipments, helps keep the office and kitchen supplies in stock, and assists with the preparation of materials for quarterly Board meetings. Lindsey is always willing to help where needed. Before joining AFSA, Lindsey worked as a receptionist for 14 years in the oil and gas industry and then the past 20 years in the audio-video industry. Lindsey can be reached via email at glindsey@firesprinkler.org or phone at (214) 349-5965 ext. 122.


From April 1-August 31, 2021, eligible high school graduates can visit afsascholarship.org/secondchance to apply for one of AFSA’s “second chance” scholarships. Open to U.S. high school graduates who want to pursue a college degree or trade school education, the scholarship offers the chance to win one of five scholarships. Applicants simply visit the website, read a short passage on fire protection and fire sprinklers, and answer questions about the reading. Each correct answer offers one entry into the scholarship contest, with a total of eight entries possible per applicant! Winners are randomly selected to receive a onetime $1,000 AFSA scholarship payable to their respective college, university, or trade school. To learn more and apply, visit afsascholarship.org/secondchance.


Lloyd Ivy, past AFSA director of membership (1986-2009), recently visited the AFSA National offices to see staff members and meet the association’s newest membership directors, Director of Membership & Chapter Support Bob Lecair and Regional Director of Membership & Chapter Support Dominick Kasmauskas. “Spending a good amount of time with Lloyd, Bob, and the AFSA staff allowed Bruce and me to understand and absorb some of the amazing AFSA history and the people who are part of that history. Folks such as Lloyd made AFSA what it is and encourage us to bring about new ideas for what AFSA will be,” notes Kasmauskas. n

JULY 2021

1 • Sprinkler Challenge: “NFPA 20 2019 Edition” Webinar firesprinkler.org/webinars

Seminars subject to change. Call (214) 349-5965 to confirm locations and times. For information on Chubb and/or OSU programs, visit firesprinkler.org and click on “Training Calendar.”


From l to r: AFSA President Bob Caputo, Lloyd Ivy, Bob Lecair, and Dominick Kasmauskas.


The Alabama, Arkansas, and Louisiana AFSA chapters have merged together to bring the Southern Fire Sprinkler Summit, a great multi-Southern state (miniconvention) to the southern region fire sprinkler industry August 4-6, 2021, at The Lodge at Gulf State Park in beautiful Gulf Shores, Alabama. The Lodge has long been a vacation destination in our region. Why not bring the family and let them enjoy the area as well? This summit was designed so that those who cannot attend the AFSA convention can experience the atmosphere of learning and networking with others close to home. Making connections is a great source of opportunity for business and chapter growth. All states are welcome; be ready to be enveloped in the sweetness of southern hospitality. That is what you will experience at the Welcome Reception, and seminars with instructors including Bob Caputo and John Denhardt with AFSA; Skip Westbrook, JCI; Parks Moore, S&S Sprinkler; George Nicola, Reliable; and Jack Carbone, University of Victaulic. The ‘80s-themed NextGen/Vendor Expo “The Future was Born” is going to be a blast into the ‘80s past. We will showcase all the greatness the ‘80s gave us, so pull out that ‘80s gear, get funky, and dress to impress. During this event, we will have competitions for Best Dressed Vendor Booth (‘80s themed) and Best Costume, dance contests, arcade games, and door prizes. Most importantly, we will all be networking together. On August 5, Greg Willis is setting up a side-by-side burn demonstration and AFSA NextGen Chair Meaghan Wills will hold a special session, “Back to the Future,” about the communication pipeline. On August 6, representatives from Querbes and Nelson will talk about cybersecurity and related topics in the morning. Following the seminar, special guests, Louisiana State Fire Marshal Chief Butch Browning and Alabama State Fire Marshal Chief Scott Pilgreen, will speak at the luncheon. Information regarding sponsorship, registration, seminar schedule, events, accommodations, and more can be found online at southernfiresprinklersummit.org. If you have any questions, please reach out to the chapter executive directors: • Ellen Ballard, LFSA, eballard@firetechsystems.com, or 318-841-1494 office, 318-393-9565 mobile; • Coleman Farrar, Arkansas Chapter, cfarrar@vscfire.com, 479-461-3863 mobile; and • Joy Willis, Alabama Chapter, afsaexdir@aol.com, 334-546-3815 mobile. Picture it now—arriving at the hotel, seeing the ocean and the waves crashing through the ceiling-to-floor windows, sitting on the porch with a glass of sweet tea... mmm! Sign up today, and you will be there soon!


The Georgia Fire Sprinkler Association (GFSA), State Fire Marshal Craig Landolt, Fire and Life Safety Educator Amanda Jones, City of Loganville Fire Department personnel, and Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation’s Dennis Gardin presented awards to Bay Creek Elementary School on March 3 for having the most participants (and several winners) for the 2021 Fire Safety Calendar Contest. A live burn demonstration was also hosted for the students. Students were very excited to witness the burn demonstration and tour the City of Loganville’s ladder trucks. Thank you

The Lodge in Gulf Shores, Alabama, will be the site of the 2021 Southern Fire Sprinkler Summit.

GFSA joined others to celebrate students at Bay Creek Elementary School, which had the most participation for its 2021 contest.

GFSA and others presented a live burn demonstration for the students at Bay Creek Elementary School.

to all who participated and helped us in our efforts to educate children in fire prevention! Visit georgiafiresprinkler.org.


AFSA Virginia Chapter members have elected officers and directors for 2021: Bob Beckwith, United Sprinkler, has been re-elected president; Griff Brinkley, Old Dominion Fire Company, has been elected second vice president; Hooper Loscomb, Eagle Fire, has been elected first vice president; and Craig Smith, Ferguson Fire & Fabrication Inc. has been elected secretary/treasurer and vendor/supplier director. Those elected to other director positions are Jason Gill, Crews and Gregory; Tom Klecka, Fire & Life Safety America; and Jeff Lewis, VSC Fire & Security. For details, contact Chapter Executive Director Steve McGee, VSC Fire & Security, at SLMcGee@vscfs.com. n SPRINKLER AGE | MAR/APR 2021 47

AFSA CHAPTERS ALABAMA alfiresprinkler.org Hunter Brendle – Pres. 334-270-8571 Greg Willis – Exec. Dir. 334-567-4257

COLORADO afsacoloradochapter.org Roger Wallace – Chair. 719-337-6550 Kim Cook – Exec. Dir. 704-213-4368

ALBERTA, CANADA afsaalberta.org Kevin Mozak – Pres. 780-203-5263

CONNECTICUT afsact.org Rick Russo, Jr. – Chair. 203-877-7983

ARIZONA Jason Williams – Chair. 480-421-8411 Makenna Leathers – Exec Dir. 804-222-1381

DALLAS-FORT WORTH afsadfwchapter.org CJ Bonczyk – Chair. 817-529-1693

ARKANSAS David Nabors– Chair. 501-225-4910 Coleman Farrar – Exec. Dir. 479-986-9090

FLORIDA afsafl.org Suzanne Saults – Chair. 727-556-2790 Jessica Cox – Exec. Dir. 813-784-3624

CAROLINAS afsacarolinaschapter.com Bernie Parsons – Chair. 704-201-7352 John Turnage – Exec. Dir. 919-624-3456

GEORGIA georgiafiresprinkler.org Allen Cagle – Chair. 770-554-5285 Bonnie Pinson – Exec. Dir. 770-310-2754

CHESAPEAKE BAY afsachesapeakechapter.org Jason Martin – Chair. 410-286-3314 Danielle Fowler – Exec. Dir. 410-972-1122

GREATER BAY AREA afsa-gba.org Dave Karrick – Chair. 925-417-5550 Alicia Karrick - Exec. Dir 510-398-9185

AFSA AFFILIATE MEMBERS OKLAHOMA AFFILIATE ofsa.info Tim Hollon – Pres. 918-851-2416

TEXAS AFFILIATE fscatx.org David Stone – Pres. 713-466-9898 Sarah Kiefer – Exec. Dir. 512-844-6632


GREATER KANSAS CITY Mark McKenzie – Chair. 913-432-6688 Brett Heinrich – Exec. Dir. 785-825-7710 LOUISIANA lafiresprinkler.org Randy Laguna – Chair 504-464-6236 ext 224 Ellen Ballard – Exec. Dir. 318-688-8800 MICHIGAN afsamichiganchapter.org Doug Irvine, Jr. – Chair 616-784-1644 MINNESOTA-DAKOTAS Marc Huag – Chair. 701-232-7008 NEW JERSEY Thomas Bowlby, Jr. – Chair. 908-226-5313 Victor Lugo – Exec. Dir. 201-635-0400 NEW MEXICO Rebecca Garley – Chair. 505-898-1647 Benjamin Dominguez – Exec. Dir. 505-898-1647 NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND Ryan Gadhue – Chair. 802-865-3600

OHIO afsaoh.org Bill Hausmann – Chair 937-859-6198 Scott Huber – Exec. Dir. 513-942-1500

SOUTH CAROLINA scfsa.org Stuart Weeks – Chair. 843-442-3346 Ashley McAdams – Exec. Dir. 864-561-4088

PACIFIC NORTHWEST afsanw.org Josh Massingale – Chair. 360-794-8621 Ron Greenman – Exec. Dir. 253-576-9700

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA socalafsa.com Terry Housholder – Chair. 714-632-8646

PATRIOT afsapatriot.org Chad Dubuc – Chair. 508-431-9938 SACRAMENTO VALLEY sacvalleyafsa.org Jordan Hopkins – Chair. 916-672-8415 Paulene Norwood – Exec. Dir. 916-296-0635 SAN DIEGO Scott Uren – Chair. 858-722-1470 Rhonda Gudger – Exec. Dir. 951-326-4600 SCHUYLKILL afsamac.org Ben Young – Chair. 480-621-5074 Ilyse Shapiro – Exec. Dir. 610-642-7427

TENNESSEE afsatennesseechapter.org Casey Milhorn – Chair. 615-349-5278 Leslee Kiser – Exec. Dir. 615-865-5600 UPSTATE NEW YORK afsaupstatenychapter.org Justin Petcosky – Chair 607-296-7969 UTAH ROCKY MOUNTAIN afsautahchapter.org Mark Winder, Jr. – Chair. 385-630-8064 Brent Heiner – Exec. Dir. 801-544-0363 VIRGINIA virginiaafsa .com Bob Beckwith – Chair. 540-659-4675 Steve McGee – Exec. Dir. 757-544-0520


Joshua Hucker Lake Forest, CA

Randy Carroll Beavercreek, OH

Ingelectra San Sebastian, Costa Rica

Austin Sealey Saraland, AL

Kenneth McCormick Flemington, NJ

Rick Evans Sedona, AZ

K and J Integrated Systems Inc. Burlington, MA

Blake Holte Springdale, AR

Marc Veilleux Augusta, ME

Robert Ratliff Yulee, FL

Bob Keinheinz Lake Zurich, IL

Mathieu Frajkor Plano, TX

Ronnie Morales Lake Elsinore, CA

Curtiss Young Jacksonville, FL

Matt Lauver Philadelphia, PA

Salvador Erivez, Jr. Maricopa, AZ

Darryl Nemeth Norfolk, VA

Matthew Arundale Hollis, NY

Scott Amoe Camp Lejeune, NC

Dennis Glenn Holt Clemson, SC

Matthew Mitschke San Diego, CA

Shahriar Amiri Arlington, VA

Derek Chastain Wastminster, MD

Mike Waterstradt Plano, TX

Steve Trall Coldwater, MI

Eric Norlin Lincolnshire, IL

James Easton Southold, NY

Steven Parker Arvada, CO

Jennifer Pierce Clermont, FL

Jason Chappell Kirkland, WA

Todd Atherton Corydon, IN

Jesse Moore Jr. Cincinnati, OH

Kelly Brooks Lakewood, CO

Trevor Gantick Willington, CT

Jim Bailey Fairport, NY

Robert C. Loveless Lubbock, TX

Trudy Maatta Newport, RI

CFP Fire Protection Irvine, CA

Joe Dafin Stevensville, MD

Yasser Amer, Sr. Mohandessin, Egypt

International Fire Suppression Alliance, Ltd. Chagrin Falls, OH

Joe Dahlstrom Norfolk, VA

Zach Siegrist Charlotte, NC

John Walser Centreville, VA

Patrick Bakaj Newport, RI

Jonathon Sims McArthur, CA

Rachel Rush Evergreen, CO

Joshua Davis Glen Allen, VA

Ralph Foster, IV Norfolk, VA

Hydra Fire Services Laconia, NH

A+ Contstruction Saipan, MP AB&A Test Company Pacoima, CA ABC Fire Systems, LLC New Braunfels, TX Academy Service Group Hackensack, NJ Bass Fire Protection Clayton, NC BJW ENGR, LLC Sandston, VA BM Consulting Services Inc. Gladwyne, PA C&H Fire Sprinkler Weatogue, CT Central Fire San Jose, CA Columbus Automatic Sprinkler Ellerslie, GA Contech Co Rolling Meadows, IL DND Fire Protection Inc Glenview, IL ENOBRAC Plumbing Brooklyn, NY Fire Protection Solutions, Inc. Columbus, GA Fire Sprinkler Technology, Inc. North Providence, RI Frontier Fire Protection Morgantown, IN

AHJ INDIVIDUAL Allen Prieur Plymouth, MI

360 Fire Prevention Clifton, NJ

Kevin Dunn Contractor Manassas, VA Nor-Tech Fire Protection, Inc. Redmond, VA North American Fire Protection Fort Wayne, IN Old Dominion Fire Co. Chesapeake, VA Precision Fire Protection Ventura, CA Premier Fire Protection jackson, MI Summit Fire & Security Reno, NV Whittle Fire Protection Nipomo, CA


PRO – S.O.S.S.A. DE C.V. Nuevo Leon, Mexico


Snap Drill AS Sandnes, Rogaland Norway



Each issue, AFSA’s Engineering & Technical Services Department presents one or multiple problems for designers. Challenge yourself and your co-workers! Working these problems is excellent preparation for professional certification tests and may count as continuing education hours—check with your certification organization. To participate in this challenge, carefully read through each challenge, work the problems, and submit your answers online at firesprinkler.org/designerschallenge by April 15, 2021. One winner will be pulled at random from those who answer correctly and will receive some AFSA swag! Answers will be published in the next issue’s column when new challenges are presented.


The following questions are based on NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, 2019 edition. 1) Quick response sprinklers are utilized in a dry pipe sprinkler system. What is the allowable reduction in design area if the maximum ceiling height is 20 ft with a roof pitch is 1 in 6? a) 0 percent b) 25 percent c) 30 percent d) 40 percent 2) For a sprinkler installed utilizing residential sprinklers, what is the maximum total volume permitted for an unprotected ceiling pocket? A. 32 ft3 B. 100 ft3 C. 400 ft3 D. 1000 ft3 3) An open office space is constructed exposed wood joist construction spaced 3 ft 10 in. on center and has a depth of 6 in. What is the maximum protection area allowed for standard spray upright sprinklers? A. 130 ft2 B. 168 ft2 C. 200 ft2 D. 225 ft2 4) Which of the following ceiling assemblies are toggle hangers permitted to be installed? A. Gypsum board B. Metal pan C. Concrete D. Hollow tile



All answers are based on the 2019 edition of NFPA 13. Questions may have more than one correct answer. 1) B. NFPA 13 section permits a drop of 1½ psi over the 24-hour duration of the test. After acceptance, NFPA 25 permits a drop of 3 psi over a 2-hour test. Hydrostatic tests do not permit any visible leakage or drop in pressure. 2) C. NFPA 13 section requires that access be provided for all sprinklers installed to protect ducts. This can be found in chapter 26 as well. Since NFPA provides minimum standards to provide reasonable protection, access is not required in the other concealed spaces as they are not required to be inspected per NFPA 25. 3) A. Section 28.3 was added to NFPA 13 in the 2019 edition and includes several new requirements for remote and automated inspections. In order to utilize and benefit from the convenience of remote inspections, they must be as effective as an inspector visually inspecting the system in person. 4) B & D. Section specifically requires the “system demand, including hose steam allowance where applicable” as the required components to determine the minimum flow rate for testing. When determining which of the choices above is always required, system demand is apparent, but only the inside hose is always considered. Outside hose would only be considered if the backflow preventer is installed on a private fire main upstream of a fire hydrant. n


Victaulic has purchased a 220,000-ft2 Waupaca manufacturing plant in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania. When operating at full capacity, the facility will increase Victaulic’s foundry production capacity by 70 percent in the U.S. and allow for future growth as Victaulic’s business demands increase. The facility, including two foundry molding lines, will also enable Victaulic to produce larger scale products. Victaulic anticipates adding new jobs to Tioga County in the near future. It is expected many of the new positions will be filled by local talent from the area’s skilled workforce. New hires will join the current Victaulic team of more than 1,600 Pennsylvania employees and approximately 4,500 people globally. Victaulic, headquartered in Easton, Pennsylvania, has nearly a thousand employees in the Lehigh Valley and remains one of the region’s largest employers of steelworkers, with plants in Northampton and Lehigh counties. The company is also nearing the completion of an additional 400,000-ft2 light-assembly operations facility in Lower Nazareth, which is expected to be fully operational in 2021. Visit victaulic.com.


Core & Main LP, reports it has closed on its previously announced agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Triple T Pipe & Supply, LLC, of Lubbock, Texas. Financial terms were not disclosed. The team from Triple T will continue to be based in Lubbock, and will move into a new, larger facility to enhance their support of their existing and new customers in West Texas. Core & Main also has locations in El Paso and San Angelo to serve its customer base in West Texas. This acquisition is Core & Main’s 12th since becoming an independent company in 2017. Visit coreandmain.com.

Victaulic has purchased Waupaca Foundry’s manufacturing facility in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania.

air conditioning (HVAC) contractors in the Rio Grande Valley of southern Texas. Ernesto “Ernie” Pena is the president of Winsupply of Rio Grande Valley. Pena has been in the HVAC industry for more than 10 years. He previously worked for Carrier where he was in sales. Pena is joined by an equity partner at Winsupply of Rio Grande Valley in Joseph Midkiff, who was also previously at Carrier and leads non-sales related operations at the new company. In the Winsupply co-ownership business model, Winsupply Inc. has majority equity in each of its locations, while the local company presidents and sometimes employees own substantial equity. In addition to local decision making, they also share uncapped financial rewards and risks of ownership. Visit winsupplyinc.com. n


NFPA Journal®, the magazine of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has launched a new web version and moved to a quarterly print publication schedule, part of a larger plan to expand its online presence, reach global audiences, and provide one-stop access to the range of content generated by the award-winning NFPA Journal team and the magazine’s many contributors. The new NFPA Journal online site will be updated regularly with selected content from the print magazine, as well as breaking news coverage, thought leadership pieces, a daily feed of national fire service news, and the latest installments of the popular NFPA Podcast and Learn Something New video series. The site allows readers to view the current issue of the printed NFPA Journal in digital flipbook format and provides easy access to NFPA Journal en Espanol. The print edition of NFPA Journal, which until recently was published on a bimonthly basis, will be distributed exclusively to NFPA members in February, May, August, and November. The magazine will continue to provide in-depth coverage of emerging trends, codes and standards development, and education and advocacy initiatives to NFPA members. Visit nfpa.org/journal.


Winsupply Inc. has opened Winsupply of Rio Grande Valley, in Mission, Texas. The new company serves heating, ventilation, and SPRINKLER AGE | MAR/APR 2021 51


Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., Inc. is pleased to announce the following promotions and hires: • Joe Ramos has been promoted to regional sales representative covering Southern California. • Justin Sampaga-Erice has been promoted to regional sales representative covering Minnesota, Missouri, and Kansas. • Stephanie Assouline joins Reliable as regional sales manager, Eastern Canada, supporting customers in Quebec, Ontario, and the Maritimes. • Bret Frangos joins Reliable as a regional sales representative covering Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. • Angelo Kapetanakos joins Reliable as a regional sales representative covering all of New England. “We are excited to fill these roles with such diverse and talented individuals. I’m confident they will deliver the level of customer service and technical expertise you expect from Reliable,” commented Reliable Vice President of Sales, Americas, Kevin T. Fee, Jr. “We are thrilled to bolster our outside sales organization and expand the Reliable family.” Visit reliablesprinkler.com.


The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) board of directors has appointed three new members to the NFPA Standards Council: Richard A. Gallagher of Zurich Services Corporation, Wilmington, Delaware; David P. Klein of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C.; and Catherine L. Stashak of the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal,

Chicago, Illinois are each serving three-year terms effective January 1, 2021. In addition, two current council members were reappointed to serve a second three-year term: Jack Poole of Poole Fire Protection Inc., and Rodger Reiswig of Johnson Controls. Both reappointments are effective January 1, 2021. The NFPA Standards Council, appointed by the NFPA board of directors, is comprised of 13 members. The responsibilities of the Council include overseeing NFPA standards development activities, ensuring compliance with the NFPA regulations and rules, and serving as the appeals body over matters related to standards development. Visit nfpa.org.


Potter Electric Signal Company, LLC of St. Louis, Missouri, announces the hiring of Tim Baechle to the position of senior vice president of Operations and Supply Chain. Baechle is joining Potter after previously serving as vice president of Fulfillment, Inventory, and Logistics at Clarios in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Prior to his time at Clarios, he had a successful career with General Electric in the operations, supply chain, and continuous improvement functions. He will be taking over for the current Executive Vice President of Global Operations & Supply Chain Jon Veldman, who will be moving into a part-time role with Potter later in the spring. Gerry Connolly, chief executive officer at Potter, said, “Jon has done an exceptional job updating our operations and supply chain functions. Under his leadership, our operations and processes have improved dramatically, and we are grateful for his time and dedication over these past three years. I am very excited that we have hired an excellent successor for him in Tim Baechle, whose operations expertise and



focus on manufacturing excellence will be a great asset to Potter in its continued growth.” Visit pottersignal.com.


Robert Mader, a longtime editor who covered the PHCP industries for almost 40 years, most recently as the editor of Plumbing Engineer, died on February 22 at the age of 65. Mader had recently joined the staff of PHCPPros, but started covering the plumbing and heating industry in 1984 after joining Contractor magazine. He spent more than three decades at the magazine, eventually becoming senior director of content for Penton Media Mechanical Groups, which included Contractor and its many supplements, sister publications Contracting Business and HPAC Engineering, related digital properties and the publishing company’s annual Comfortech conference. As a freelance writer, his work appeared in many major industry publications, including PHC News. Throughout his career, he focused on green and sustainable technology, codes and standards, and the issue of safeguarding public drinking water. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with an A.B. in American Studies with a Communications Concentration. Visit phcppros.com. n

Reliable announces promotions and new hires. (L to R): Angelo Kapetanakos, Joe Ramos, Stephanie Assouline, Justin Sampaga-Erice, and Bret Frangos.





Tyco LFP® Antifreeze+ from Johnson Controls delivers the first UL Listed antifreeze solution that performs at temperatures as low as minus 32°C (minus 25°F). The pre-mixed solution protects against freeze damage failure and ensures flow in wet fire sprinkler systems. LFP® Antifreeze+ meets NFPA requirements (13, 13R,13D and 25) and is included in the FBC™ System Compatible Program. This newly listed product offers added assurance for residential and commercial fire sprinkler contractors, fire marshals, and building owners and managers by providing wet-pipe protection in extreme cold-weather conditions. LFP® Anti-freeze+ is designed to perform in harsh climates to the lowest temperature threshold available on the market today. This includes the coldest North American regions like Canada, where the average winter temperature is minus 15°C (5°F), with much lower regional temperatures possible. Johnson Controls developed this proprietary chemical formula using its depth of experience and knowledge in special hazards and specialty chemicals. LFP® Antifreeze+ is compatible with steel and CPVC piping components and can support large volumes up to 500 gallons. This solution is nontoxic, with the FDA classifying it as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for disposal in septic systems and public sewer systems. Visit tycofpp.com/lfp.

Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., Inc. introduces of the Model WP56C Flat Plate Concealed Window Protection Sprinkler. WP Series sprinklers are used with fixed glazed assemblies to create a cULus Listed alternative to a fire-rated wall. The Model WP56C is a 5.6K (80 metric) Fast Response Specific Application Concealed Pendent Vertical Sidewall Sprinkler that is UL Listed to provide complete wetting of various glass surfaces. It has also been Evaluated by ICC-ES for consistency with the International Building Code® and select local building codes in ESR-4700. The Model WP56C Sprinkler employs a rugged fusible link operating element in both ordinary and intermediate temperature ratings. Cover plates for the Model WP56C are available in standard finishes of white and chrome as well as eight specialty finishes. Plates may also be custom paint matched by Reliable for the most architecturally sensitive locations. Visit reliablesprinkler.com/wp.

NEW VIKING DELUGE AND PREACTION VALVE IS LIGHTER AND SMALLER The Viking Corporation announces the new VXD valve available for installation in deluge and preaction systems. The new

valve, which is available in sizes from 1½ to 10 in., features a lower weight and smaller footprint. VXD offers one platform for multiple system types, and is available in multiple sizes of groove by groove and flange by flange models. Additionally, the VXD deluge valve is offered in electric, pneumatic and hydraulic release, while the preaction VXD valve is offered in electric and electric/ pneumatic release. The VXD line is available pre-trimmed or with loose trim, and the pre-action model is offered with a check valve in place. The product joins Viking’s line of valve systems as a smaller option for system risers. Viking’s Valve and System configurator (https://webtools.vikingcorp.com/valveconfig) offers users the opportunity to save time while building a system riser digitally, while generating a complete system and materials list for project needs. Visit vikinggroupinc.com.


Robust Guillotine Pipe Cutters cut square on medium and high-density PE pipe. Manual cutters slice smoothly through PE. Accurate cuts from REED Guillotine Cutters mean no facing is needed for electrofusion and only minimal facing for butt fusion joints. All aluminum construction results in lighter tool weight and greater rigidity; notice a 22-percent-plus weight reduction over prior HPC8 model. Greater pipe capacity, up to 9.06-in. O.D. fits true 8-in. DIPS and IPS for PE. Aluminum rails and crosshead with hard anodized finish reduce wear on sliding surfaces. Durable, USAmade, coated blade produces many square cuts with no chips to clog valves and small openings. Slight taper on blade allows an unchallenging start to the cut and holds form for SPRINKLER AGE | MAR/APR 2021 53

PRODUCT NEWS CONT. an impressive, straight cut. Blades are straightforward to sharpen or replace. For details, visit reedmfgco.com.


The Viking Corporation announces the availability of new UL Listed high-expansion foam systems, which distribute a foamwater solution to a specific hazard area within a protected facility, such as aircraft hangars. The systems feature an innovative

foam generator, uniquely designed to aerate high expansion foam with no moving parts or external power requirements. Viking’s system forms a stable blanket that suppresses flammable vapors and cools down the fuel surface, resulting in an extinguished fire and preventing reignition. The system features stable bubbles with expansion rates in excess of 830:1. The generators, which feature a stainless steel body and a painted stainless steel nozzle manifold, weigh just 153 lbs. The

You don’t have to be a genius.

generators are available for either vertical or horizontal installation with single or paired mounting capabilities, making them a highly versatile option for foam suppression applications. Viking’s systems are complemented by several digital tools. Designers and estimators can use the new “HiEx Estimator” tool to assist with calculating the number of generators and amount of concentrate needed for NFPA 409 and UFC projects. From the web-based tool, users can quickly create a complete system materials list after choosing the applicable design. In addition, an online interactive guide provides step-by-step instructions for the installation of high-expansion foam generators. For details, visit vikinggroupinc.com. n


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The solution is obvious. Firesprinkler.org is where the Fire Sprinkler industry goes online. You will find the solutions to your education and training needs, technical support and industry news and updates. Membership in the American Fire Sprinkler Association gives you full access to real benefits and services that will fit perfectly in your business plan and increase your productivity and profitability. Be a Member



Join online at firesprinkler.org or call 214-349-5965.


























A quiet, easy to install air compressor unit for fire sprinkler applications.

A wide range of pressure and system capacity all in one unit.


P/N: 87R-100S GAST MANUFACTURING, INC. A Unit of IDEX Corporation 2300 M-139 Highway, Benton Harbor, MI 49023 Office: 941-416-0252 | Tech: 269-252-9964


Copyright © IDEX Corporation 2021. Gast is a unit of IDEX Corporation.

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