ALSA workshop: the relationship between rational fire design, DTS fire plans and operational fire fighting held in Midrand
The Association of Life Safety Assessors (ALSA) held a workshop focusing on the relationship between rational fire design, Deemed to Satisfy (DTS) fire plans and operational fire fighting in Midrand on Thursday, 20 November 2019. The workshop, which was held at Fidelity Fire Services, explored this relationship. TO The Association of Life Safety Assessors (ALSA) held a workshop focusing on the relationship between rational fire design, Deemed to Satisfy (DTS) fire plans and operational fire fighting in Midrand on Thursday, 20 June 2019. The workshop, which was held at Fidelity Fire Services, explored this relationship.
Wynand Engelbrecht said that operational command and strategies are often forgotten but yet affected by designs and design implementations. “Very seldom or never does the operational fire commander sit in when rational fire designs and DTS fire plans are discussed. The operational commander and fire fighters are left to deal with incidents when none of the designers are around. Designers, installers, suppliers and fire prevention officers try as far possible to speak for the operational commanders and fire fighters,” said Engelbrecht. He added that he has been a proponent of the idea of a national fire commissioner for as long as he can remember.
Marius Atterbury spoke about the tertiary qualification options for fire fighters and shared his personal experience in obtaining his qualifications. Atterbury discussed the current role players in the industry and suggested an opportunity of closing the current gap in the market. “There is a huge difference between a qualification and a job description. It is not just about learning from a book but rather working towards applied knowledge,” said Atterbury.
Ron Burns discussed the intricacies of smoke control equipment, ventilation and maintenance and debated rational design detailing SANS 10400:2016 Edition 3. “Rational design is not a compromise, to save your client money, proving your theory over the code nor an assumption.” Burns also highlighted the importance of maintenance.
Wynand Engelbrecht also discussed the inter-relationship between fire fighting operations and the DTS plans or rational design. Engelbrecht debated the lack of a national fire code and how bylaws (or the lack thereof) to regulate fire fighting operational preparedness are affecting fire fighting operations. He spoke about the logistics of fire planning and fire fighting strategies ie either an aggressive internal attack or a defensive attack. Engelbrecht also highlighted the risk of fires during the construction phase of buildings and the unknown challenges facing fire fighters responding to buildings with roofs covered with solar panels siting a recent USA case study. He unpacked the challenges of fires in high rise buildings and its basements and provided some considerations deliberating rational design. “We need to be precise in the way we define the problem, precise in the way we communicate our recommendations and precise in resolving challenges,” concluded Engelbrecht.
Tim de Witt spoke about fire fighting water supplies and provided a brief overview of SANS 10400. De Witt detailed the placement of hydrants and provided estimations of water streams for residential, offices and low risk buildings and for moderate risk buildings. He also discussed water storage and pumping and methods/products for reducing capacity of water supplies. De Witt highlighted the importance of maintenance or choosing equipment that require less maintenance.
The workshop allowed for open discussions and much deliberation about the challenges faced by both fire safety professionals and operational staff.
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