Society of Fire Protection Engineers

Greater St. Louis Chapter


Welcome to the Greater St. Louis Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers website.  To find out what is happening with our chapter, take a look at the latest edition of our Burning Issue monthly newsletter or our Calendar of Events.  Currently, there are several seminars planned for this region over the next several months.


For students pursuing the study of fire protection engineering, or a related field of engineering, we have two annual scholarships available.  Scholarship applications are due by April 15th of the year.


For professionals we have monthly meetings which occur on the third Monday of each month with the exception of June, July, August, and December.  Our monthly meetings provide an opportunity to meet other similarly minded professionals while staying abreast of the latest technologies and concepts in the fire protection community.  For retired professionals, your membership dues are waived.  If you are interested in joining the Greater St. Louis Chapter of SFPE see the membership page.


If you are interested in presenting a topic, or know of someone who is interested in presenting at one of our monthly meetings, please contact the Vice President, Holly Olsen, at hollyo@codeconsultants.com.  


Thank you for visiting!

COVID-19 Update

The St. Louis Chapter of SFPE Officers and Directors met via Zoom to discuss our options for providing a safe meeting environment for our members during this still uncertain time. 

 

Through much discussion and considerations, the board has decided to start our year off in September with a virtual meeting via Zoom (or another meeting app) and we plan on meeting virtually until January.  We will be updating members with a link to the meeting through the same email address you receive the newsletter.  If you do not currently receive email updates from us, please fill out the member application under the Membership tab on this page.

 

Thank you for your patience during this time and if you have any questions, please reach out to any of the officers and we will do our best to address your concerns.

 

September Meeting Presentation

Please click on the PDF link below to view the presentation given by David Burkhart, PE, of Code Consultants, Inc., on the work they are doing with occupant elevator evacuations.  This was presented on September 21, 2020 in our first ever completely virtual meeting.  We are working through many new procedures, so please be patient as we iron out the wrinkles in our efforts to give you the best insights on new technology that you have come to expect.  A special thanks goes out to Mr. Burkhart for agreeing to be the first presenter for our virtual meeting!
This is an excerpt from the blog of Meyer Fire on 4/29/2020 and is re-shared here with permission, please give their site a visit:

Earlier this week I read a very basic question on a sprinkler design forum. Some say there are no bad questions. Those hypothetical people may never have been in a Facebook Group.

The question clearly showed the lack of understanding on the part of the person asking the question.

You can imagine what happened next – the keyboard warriors went to battle. They had fun blasting the novice into the internet oblivion.
 

And this happens all the time.
 

It doesn’t have to be Facebook. It happens on Facebook for Businesses (also known as LinkedIn), email forums, Reddit, and other online technical forums.

It is also not limited to the digisphere. A bad question in a conference room or in the field gets chided at best or embarrassingly criticized at worst.
 

Did we all not start somewhere with nothing?


I’m not a second generation Fire Protection Engineer, but my guess is those that are third and fourth generation practitioners don’t come out of the womb spelling escutcheon correctly.

I'm still not 100% convinced I spelled it right just now.

We all started knowing literally nothing. We each are on our own journey learning piece by piece and at different paces that never really ends. The best experts that have spent three decades in the industry are still always trying to improve.
 

Is there harm in asking a dumb question? Yes, but it’s not the embarrassment in the moment or the obvious display of misunderstanding. It’s the discouragement to ask the next question.

When Average Jim (I have to use Average Jim because Average Joe hits a little too close to home for me) actually seeks an answer to a basic question and gets lambasted – you know what he’s not going to do? He’s not going to ask the next five questions that he also needs answers on. 
 

On the very first morning of my very first internship, I asked a bad one. I was maybe 15 minutes into that first day when the site project manager asked me to make copies of a handful of documents. I asked if the staples had to come out before making copies.

Dumb question? Yeah. Do commercial copiers appreciate hard metal through their sensitive little feeder claws? No. And had I ever used a commercial copier before? No.

If I hadn’t asked, would I have been the dufus that destroyed a commercial copier 15 minutes into his first internship? Yeah brah, that would have been moi.
 

I heard so much crap about asking that question, but I was glad I did. I also never had to ask it again.

Eventually my questions got slightly more sophisticated and a little better, but I did start at nothing.

 
I’m not going to change human behavior. I can’t help people act online like they would in a face to face conversation.

What I can do is provide a better avenue for those people who don’t want to be vilified but do need answers to their question.

With nearly a couple decades of internet usage we know now that it isn’t Vegas - what happens on the Internet stays on the Internet. Like forever.

It’s getting more and more difficult to ask a question that isn’t tagged to your name, your company, or your reputation. Your forum question you wrote in 2007 when you didn’t know anything on pre-action systems? Yeah it’s probably still searchable.

Goodness knows I’d rather not have my kids go post-by-post from what I put on Facebook during high school. Same would go for a client seeing questions I would have had early in my career.
 

So what can I do about it now? Create a quality avenue for the question - any question - whether it’s expert-level or at square one - and not tie a personal reputation to it.

If you haven’t checked it out, the Daily Forum is a place for a single, filtered, anonymous question each day. There are experts there from a wide variety of backgrounds and locations that have far more knowledge than I could hope to gain.

Experts from across the globe, from AHJs to Designers to Researches to Installers to Engineers. Last I checked we were approaching nearly 3,000 subscribers just to those questions.
 

If you have a "dumb" question, if you don’t want to ask your boss, if you need an outside opinion, and you don’t want your identity tied to something it? Send us your question here. Also consider bookmarking the page so you can send in that question the next time you're stumped.

The link toward the bottom of this email “Have a fire protection question?” is always there for exactly that same reason.
 
Chances are, if you have an interest or can’t find an answer, someone else is looking for it too. When you ask, we all learn. And that’s exactly what this site is all about.
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