With key experts and trainers confirming their attendance with different safety modules to be taught, the National Fire Protection Association West Africa, (NFPAWA), conference offers risk managers chance to avoid losses, writes Raheem Akingbolu

As preparations enter top gear for the National Fire Protection Association West Africa Conference on Building NFPA Compliant Fire Safety Systems, emphasis has once again been placed on where there is need for risk managers, architects and builders to have safety certifications. The conference will draw leading fire safety experts across the United States of America who would educate Nigerians, especially professionals, on latest developments on safety measures and safety gadgets that prevent hazards, both at the home and the workplace.

Antonia Beri, lead consultant of Safety Consultants Limited, the outfit partnering with NFPA in the United States of America for the conference, told THISDAY that the modules that participants will be taught deal with latest developments in safety standards and procedures. She said risk managers, insurers and architects had a lot to gain from these modules. She said enough of being fatalistic about safety issues and it is high time engineers and architects availed themselves of opportunities conferences like the NFPAWA conference offers.

“There is a quite a great deal of ‘God forbid’ in the way we approach these matters. I think some companies, however, like the oil and gas industries that are dealing with a lot of volatile materials are forced to provide safety measures and these are measured against some international standards. If their company has any foreign dealings, the foreign companies will insist that certain safety measures are applied. In industrial and construction sectors, about six or seven months ago, there was a nasty fire that gutted a paint company. I will keep the company’s name under wraps. Paints also contain volatile materials. The question is that what measures were put in place to ensure that those working in those environments are operating in a safe environment?”

Beri stated that safety starts with the design of the factory; of the plant and that of the building. He added that plans were put on paper by the architect or consultant engineer, all these things have to be considered.

“There are certain areas that National Fire Protection Association concerns itself with. And that is why we are organising the West Africa NFPA conference. We will be providing training as well as seminars on certain aspects of safety.”

Some of the areas expected to be covered in the conference included the Life Safety and Means of Egress. This training will be based on the life safety and means of egress requirements contained in NFPA Life Safety Code. This training module will provide an overview of the latest technologies, design approaches, and challenges as it relates to the means of egress and life safety requirements for facilities. It will provide the tools needed to confidently apply or enforce requirements of the Life Safety Code. Topics to be covered will include classification of construction and occupancy type, determining occupant load and egress capacity, requirements for protection of vertical openings and hazardous areas, and determining requirements for building services and fire protection features. At the completion of the module the participants will have a basic understanding of the components of life safety issues.

The Fire Sprinkler Essence…

Another key area to be covered is the Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems. This training will be based on the fire sprinkler system requirements contained in NFPA Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. This training will give an overview of the layout and organisation of NFPA13, the type of automatic sprinkler systems, how to classify hazards and how to choose the correct design criteria for a fire sprinkler system.

This presentation will also provide an overview of the layout and spacing criteria for the sprinkler systems and how the system will be designed and installed. At the completion of the module the participants will have a basic understanding of the certain components like the organisation and layout of the Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems; understand the Components and Operation of Wet Pipe, Dry-Pipe, Pre-Action and Deluge Sprinkler systems; differentiate the types of sprinklers(upright, pendent, sidewall and special application sprinklers) and spray nozzles, and how they work; understand how to classify hazards and commodities for storage; basic understanding of water supplies/sources, underground piping requirements and backflow prevention requirements; understand the obstruction rules for standard spray sprinklers and extended coverage sprinklers and the rules governing aboveground pipe, fittings, hangers and seismic restraints. Others are design principles of pipe schedule, hydraulic calculations and room design method; system acceptance testing and commissioning requirements; overview of the different emergency control features and functions that are typically integrated with building fire alarm systems and understanding and application requirements for circuits and pathways, including survivability.

Among experts expected is Russell B. Leavitt. Russ is the Executive of Telgian Corporation, an international firm providing fire, life safety, and asset protection engineering and consulting services. Under his direction, Telgian provides a wide range of fire protection and life safety services including fire systems engineering and design, code consulting, loss control engineering, installation, and the inspection and testing of systems. He is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and holds a Level IV certification from NICET in Fire Sprinkler Layout and a Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS). He is a recognized professional with over 32 years of experience in the design, installation, and testing of fire protection systems.

Also expected is John Campbell who has more than 25 years of experience in the fire protection community including all areas of the fire sprinkler industry. He has extensive experience in fire suppression system design, fire hazard analysis and fire protection system inspection and testing. He is licensed as a Professional Engineer in all 50 United States, District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico and also in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Saskatchewan.