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RESIDENTIAL SPRINKLER DESIGN During 1980 the NFPA organized research that was specifically falsified in a way that

greatly obstructed the installation of sprinklers in homes and in compartmented properties such as nursing homes. It has become more apparent that the NFPA and UL were involved in dishonest, indeed criminal operations that resulted in phony smoke detectors being installed in at least 80 million homes within the United States and millions more overseas. This fraud has been a root cause of tens of thousands of deaths of young children and horrible injuries beyond counting. Now that the evidence of these criminal and deadly activities by UL and NFPA are revealed so well on the web sites of the World Fire Safety Foundation, perhaps there will be a realization that similar corrupt research and code writing occurred relative the fire sprinkler system. Note that the consequences of phony smoke detectors and a lack of sprinkler protection can be equally serious. The 1980 NFPA falsified fire tests justified criterion within the NFPA 13 D code for a density of 0.1 gpm/square foot, a too large sprinkler (3/8 inch), a limitation of 12 by 12 coverage, a 40 gpm minimum water demand and a two sprinkler or more operation. This lead to water connections to a home sized up to 1-1/2 and often commercial water rates for the home. An alternate was a second supply, a packaged supply. Wider than 12 by 12 coverage was allowed with special sprinklers but they could create even more serious water demands. This dishonesty of design greatly overpriced the system and prevented the wide scale installations from proceeding. Probably because of the continued interest by the fire chiefs in residential sprinklers, there has been some moderation in the improper NFPA regulations, most notably in the reduction of the required density from 0.1 to 0.05 gpm/sq. ft. Assuming that additional fire officials recognize the dishonesty behind the ionization device, and the willingness of many to throw away the lives of children to profit from fire; I am suggesting that they also look more deeply into the frauds associated with the fire sprinkler system. There is no technical reason why the amount of water normal to a home cannot be used in a properly engineered residential sprinkler system. The fire officials have enormous powers and if these powers were directed toward demanding honest sprinkler design, many more thousands of lives could be saved. The drawings I reviewed illustrated a point I made when we met. The amount of water that can be delivered to a home via a normal copper supply line and meter is very limited. In the situation reviewed, the 21 gpm flow through a inch line plus presumably a 5/8 inch meter is questionable. I am pretty sure the pipe will be type K copper but of that I am not certain. What occurs on the pages of the calculations may not occur in real life. I attach a friction loss table for copper pipe. Note that a 22 gpm flow for inch K pipe is 62 psi per 100 feet and is in the not recommended category. In fact the highest recommended flow for inch K tube is 6 gpm. At high flows the flow can become turbulent and the loss becomes greater than calculated. I cannot prove this but it appears that BlazeMaster made the design of the systems somewhat more practical by creating a very favorable friction loss table. The attached friction loss table for CPVC pipe by BlazeMaster includes flows where the velocity exceeds 20 feet per second. When water flows for a long distance within a smooth straight pipe the pressure loss is quite small.

However, when there are changes in direction or size and fittings installed the flow at about 20 feet a second or greater can become turbulent. The Blazemaster friction loss tables seem to ignore this possibility. I recommend that flows be maintained no greater than 20 fps. I attach a pressure loss table (psi) for meters. This is from the AWWA which is kind of the bible. This comment is pertinent, Note that a flow of 26 gpm, common for many NFPA-13 systems, the friction loss in a 5/8 inch meter is prohibitive and in a inch meter may be too high to be acceptable. Obviously, the solution is to accept the real quantity of water that can be delivered to the home and then engineer the system to use that amount of water most efficiently. This will require real engineering and the FPEs all seem to engineer via the NFPA code which I call Voodoo engineering. Can any experienced fire official doubt that a system (that will alert the family and also deliver even 3 to 5 gpm of water in fine drops (large surface area) will not adequately slow or stop a house fire and allow time to escape? Even if not fully controlled, it will be near certain that when the firefighters arrive they will not be putting their lives at risk to save trapped children, or to fight a totally involved and extremely dangerous home. The reviewed design is for a two sprinkler flow with spacing limited to a measly 144 square foot area. You indicated that sometimes a four sprinkler flow would be needed. I believe that is unnecessary and it may often be impossible hydraulically. Note that street pressure, the distance to the home; the pipe size and the meter size are variables so I cannot say anything for certain. I strongly recommend that the allowed orifice size and the total water demand be reduced. A reduced orifice size will allow most of the street pressure to be conserved to the sprinkler (not wasted in friction loss). Then the higher pressure at the orifice will produce a small droplet spray which will maximize the cooling ability of the lesser amount of water. This great cooling at the ceiling will prevent flashover, dampen the entire room and absorb the heat from the fire. When a fires temperature is dropped below its ignition temperature it dies. Nearly all the water that issues from a sprinkler when the orifice pressure is low will run off as moderately heated water. But it is the conversion to steam that absorbs the greatest amount of heat. A much greater percent of the small drop spray will be converted to steam. Hence, a small orifice combined with higher pressure at the orifice will dramatically improve the fire control capability of a limited amount of water. The house fire requires a different sprinkler, a different size orifice, different engineering and far less water that high piled stock or protecting a GM production plant. The NFPA never even considered revised sprinkler designs for protecting lives (instead of property) until I researched and developed Life Safety Systems for protecting the Life-at Risk type buildings and the low demand systems for protecting homes. Then, instead of welcoming life oriented systems into the NFPA family (as had been specifically agreed by Charles Morgan, Pres of the NFPA) Morgan stabbed me in the back as the Life Safety System code was being tested and unanimously approved by the very committee he had previously helped create. Morgan went back on his agreement to put the new code into the NFPA system if it was field tested, proven valid and approved by representatives of virtually all fire related organizations in this country (including the Feds, the fire insures, the sprinkler industry, the major building code organizations and NFPA itself).

However, as the final testing was being completed at the Pioneer Hotel in Tucson, I discovered that Morgan had set up a secret committee with Rolf Jensen playing a major role. The NFPA 13D code was created in secrecy, not to save lives but rather so that the NFPA would have a code that they could claim made the Life Safety System unnecessary. The NFPA code 13-D was specifically created to justify blocking a far more practical fire control system that could do much more with less water. That NFPA-13 code was not created to protect life; it was created as a barrier to block the use of properly engineered systems specifically oriented to protect life. As a final point I will illustrate the fantastic overstating the amount of water needed to control fires by telling how I designed protection for high piled (21 feet) bottled whiskey in cardboard cartons. Factory Mutual had set the recommended water demand for protecting the high piled bottled whiskey at 4,450 gpm, which did not include the fire department water demand. As the research director for the distilling industry (not just Seagram) I was able to set up a test at the Factory Mutual test facility in Norwood, MA. I only got one test and had to fight for that because my boss was the insurance manager and ambivalent about challenging the insurance industry. Test No. 3 was as per my design and the high piled storage on pallets was controlled with four sprinklers and a total water flow of 190 gpm. Te insurers promoted low density over a football field or so whereas I claimed the solution was to provide adequate water directly over the early fire. The problem was that if the water over the early fire was not adequate to control the heat additional sprinklers would open and that would drop the pressure directly over the fire. The fire would spread further and eventually enough sprinklers would open so that the insurance engineers could say, see I told you we needed to design for all heads over an acre or six would open. You might say that incompetence would prove the incompetence to be correct. To illustrate the improper design of the NFPA/insurance sprinkler designs I am enclosing my report on the Safeway fire in Richmond. I am hopeful that as the reality of the corruption behind the ionization smoke detector is recognized the fire chiefs may also decide that the insanity behind the NFPA-13D code should be corrected.

R. M. Patton