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February 1, 2011 – CASA Update on Antifreeze Systems – From NFSA e-Tech Bulletin – Update on New NFPA Antifreeze TIA Proposals

The Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) to NFPA 13, 13R and 13D issued by the NFPA Standards Council in August of 2010 effectively banned the use of antifreeze in new dwelling units. Those TIAs failed to address the use of antifreeze in other types of occupancies, and also provided no restrictions or guidance on the use of antifreeze in existing systems. NFPA staff attempted to provide its own guidance through the issuance of an updated Fire Safety Alert in that same month, which recommended that existing systems be limited to a maximum concentration by volume of 50% glycerin or 40% propylene glycol, and that only factory premixed solutions be used to ensure adequate mixing.

The NFPA sprinkler committees and the NFPA Committee on Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water Based Fire Protection Systems have now had time to study the matter, review the relevant research, and propose their own Tentative Interim Amendments to the NFPA standards. Balloting within the committees has been completed, and a new series of TIAs are going forward to the NFPA Standards Council for consideration and possible issuance at its meeting at the end of February.

Four TIAs have achieved the necessary three-fourths (75%) affirmative vote of their respective committees for both technical content and emergency nature and will be proceeding to the Standards Council, one each for NFPA 13D (TIA 1012), NFPA 13R (TIA 1013), NFPA 13 (TIA 1015) and NFPA 25 (TIA 1014). The TIAs would result in the addition of a definition of the term premixed antifreeze solution along with limitations for sprinkler systems in both new and existing systems in all types of occupancies. While the TIAs consist of many pages of deleted and added text, the essence of where they end up can be summarized as follows:

The definition:
Premixed Antifreeze Solution – A mixture of an antifreeze material with water that is prepared by the manufacturer with a quality control procedure in place that ensures that the antifreeze solution remains homogeneous.

For new systems:
Antifreeze solutions would be limited to premixed solutions of glycerin at a maximum concentration of 48% by volume, or propylene glycol at a maximum concentration of 38% by volume. The antifreeze manufacturers would be required to provide a certificate indicating the type, concentration by volume and freezing point.

Other premixed solutions would be permitted for use if specially listed, including existing solutions listed for use with ESFR systems.

For existing systems:
Antifreeze solutions would be limited to solutions of glycerin at a maximum concentration of 50% by volume, or propylene glycol at a maximum concentration of 40% by volume.

Annually, antifreeze solutions would be tested. If any sample of the existing solution is in excess of the permitted concentrations, or if the type of antifreeze in the system cannot be reliably determined, the system would be required to be drained completely and refilled with a new acceptable solution. If a concentration greater than what is currently acceptable is needed to prevent freezing, alternative methods of preventing the pipe from freezing must be employed.

For NFPA 25, newly introduced solutions would be limited to premixed solutions of glycerin at a maximum concentration of 48% by volume, or propylene glycol at a maximum concentration of 38% by volume. For NFPA 13D, newly introduced solutions could include premixed solutions of glycerin at a maximum concentration of 50% by volume, or propylene glycol at a maximum concentration of 40% by volume.

Other premixed solutions would be permitted for use if specially listed.  When systems are drained, it is not typically necessary to drain drops, but consideration should be given to draining drops over 36 inches if there is evidence that unacceptably high concentrations of antifreeze have collected.

A separate TIA 1016 was proposed for NFPA 25, which would have allowed higher concentrations of antifreeze to continue for unoccupied building areas. It failed to obtain the necessary three-fourths committee support as some members concerned with the subjectivity of determining normally unoccupied areas joined those opposed to any restrictions on antifreeze in existing systems.
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December 15, 2010 – Update on Antifreeze Sprinkler Systems
In August of 2010, NFPA banned all new installations of Antifreeze Sprinkler Systems in Residential Occupancies. This is due to a number of incidents where the antifreeze system did not suppress the fire but unfortunately caused the mixture of Antifreeze and Water to flash-over or flame up.

When NFPA banned the antifreeze systems in new installations, it began to research into the possibility if antifreeze solutions do pose a hazard to the public safety. This research was broken into two phases. NFPA has finished both phases of research and is currently reviewing the results and applying any code modifications.

For more information view the update from NFPA regarding antifreeze sprinkler solutions. | You can also view the Research Final Report for more information.

October 25, 2010 – New Potter Product: Potter Air Vent and Automatic Air Release

Potter has just announced the only UL-listed air vent for fire sprinkler systems in the industry. Reducing the amount of air in a fire sprinkler system is essential to help protect the system piping from the effects of corrosion that is often found at the air/water interface in the fire sprinkler system piping.

The newly updated Potter Automatic Air Release (PAAR-B) utilizes the PAV and automatically eliminates air trapped in pressurized sprinkler systems.

The Potter Air Vent (PAV) is listed for Fire Sprinkler Branch line applications per UL subject 2573 — “Automatic Air Release Valves for Fire Protection Service”.

October 19, 2010 – Body found after garage fire
NORTH DELTA – A man’s body was found in a mechanic’s garage in North Delta after firefighters extinguished a fire there late Monday afternoon. Police barricaded the small shop at 11945 94th Ave. with yellow police tape and a constable kept guard while mechanics from nearby garages milled about.

Delta police Sgt.”At this time the Delta police are treating the death as suspicious and maintaining the scene as a crime scene until it can be determined otherwise through autopsy results and further follow-up investigation,” Brooks said.

For more information view the full story about the garage fire.

October 18, 2010 – Fire at Alberta Hospital causes $200,000 damage
A burning loveseat forced the evacuation of 106 patients at the Alberta Hospital Sunday night. An employee in building 12 at the psychiatric hospital smelled something burning around 9:30 p.m. and walked through the building. The blaze damaged a loveseat, some chairs and curtains, while causing heat damage to a wall and light smoke damage to the building. The patients were evacuated to another building at the hospital.

For more information view the full story “Fire at Alberta Hospital causes $200,000 damage.”

October 15, 2010 – Fire Prevention Month special!
Active Fire & Safety Services is offering a 10% Discount on all Fire Safety Plans valid from October through to November, 2010.

Custom plans and project specific manuals for commercial, residential and industrial projects.  We have an excellent rapport with all local fire departments throughout the lower mainland.  Rush jobs are welcome.

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