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									Side by Side Fire Sprinkler/Flashover Demonstration Unit


       A side by side fire sprinkler demonstration is an educational tool showing how normal
combustible material found in a home or office can cause a major fire, which can be a cause of
death and severe injury. The demonstration also shows how a residential quick response fire
sprinkler effectively limits and controls those hazards. Your departments focus for such a
demonstration should be to educate your target audience on quick response fire sprinkler
technology, the definition and dangers of flashover, and the fire department response timeline.
This demonstration is not so much a public entertainment demonstration as it is a fact based
fire safety educational device.




Fire Sprinkler Protected                                       Non-Protected
Materials and Tools Needed

To begin, we need to show a list of basic raw materials needed to construct the two demo
cubes.

      (8) sheets Drywall 4’ x 8’ x ½” thick
      (2) 2” x 12” x 8’ boards (For the Headers)
      (12) sheets Oriented Strand Board 4’ x 8’ x ½” thick
      (98) 2” x 4” x 96” wood studs
                - 78 of these are cut to give 2” x 4” x 93” wood studs
                - 18 of these are cut in half to give you (36) 2”x4”x 48” end pieces
                - 2 of these are cut down to four equal 2”x4”x 39 ¾” short end pieces
      (1) 5 lb. boxes of 1 5/8” drywall screws
      (1) 2lb box of 3” Exterior Wood screws
      (44) 3” x 3” hinges with removable pins (brass)
       (1) 4’ x 8’ x 1/8” (or 3/8”) sheet of clear Plexiglas (pre-drilled before hanging)
      (1) 2’ x 8’ x 1/8” (or 3/8”) sheet of clear Plexiglas (pre-drilled before hanging)
      (1) Roll of Velcro
      (2) Gallons of white primer paint (OPTIONAL)
      (1) Container drywall plaster (OPTIONAL)

Next is the list of the tools you will need to have available to construct and assemble the units:

      Circular Saw
      Cordless Drill
      Extension Cords
      Hammer
      Saw Horses
      6’ A-Frame Ladder
      8’ A-Frame Ladder
      Step Ladder
      Nail Pouch
      Razor Knife
      Speed Square
      Safety Glasses/ Safety Gloves
      Staple Gun (OPTIONAL)
      Paint Roller + Brushes (OPTIONAL)
      Paint Pan (OPTIONAL)
      Drywall Putty Knife (OPTIONAL)
      Chalk Line (OPTIONAL)
      Drywall Putty Tray and Sandpaper (OPTIONAL)
Before Assembly of the Units:

Choose a level work and demonstration area (concrete and asphalt are preffered). It should allow
viewers to stand at least 30’ feet or more away from the flashover units, depending on wind and
weather conditions. Also make sure there is at least 4’ between each unit. You should level as
appropriate, to stabilize the unit and protect the ground surface.




                                            4’



                           Front                       Front

                                                 30’



                         No Obstacles Behind The Crowd
                                        Crowd




       *You will not be able to move these units once they are built.
Sprinkler Demonstration Unit Construction:

First, organize the wood studs. Use (2) 2” x 4” x 48” wood studs for the end framing. Use (4) 2” x 4” x 93”
boards to create the interior studs and outside framing. Secure all studs with 3” woods screws 16” on
Center.

Diagram of a Normal wall frame (Sections: 1, 2, 3, 4 , 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 ,13, 14, 16, 17, 18 , 19 and
20) Every Section besides 5 and 15, which are short Sections) The reason each panel is numbered is for
ease of re assembly. The units are held together using hinges, so to disassemble, you merely remove the
hinge pins.

                                                                          93”

                                                                          93”
       (Blue) 2” x 4” x 48”
                                            48”                                                         48”
       (Red)-2” x 4” x 93”
                                                                          93”

                                                                          93”




-Next, attach the 4’ x 8’ x ½” Oriented Strand Board using the 1 5/8 “ drywall screws.

-Repeat this process 8 more times, this will make up your walls (except 1 short wall per unit), floor and
ceiling for the unit. For a total of 9 normal wall frames.
Diagram of a short wall frame:

-You now need to cut and assemble the shorter wall section.
- First, use (2) 2” x 4”x 39 ¾” for end framing. Use (3) 2” x 4” x 93” studs for outside and interior wall
studs. Secure all of the studs with 3” wood screws 19 7/8” on Center.

                                                                   93”


(Black) 2” x 4” x 39 3/4”’                                         93”                            39 3/4”
(Red)-2” x 4” x 93”                  39 3/4”


                                                                   93”




You should also cut an Oriented Strand Board section 4’ x 8’ x 39 ¾” wide the entire length of the
Oriented Strand Board (This will fit onto the shorty wall for the sprinklered room). Then attach this
board onto the other shorty frame with 1 5/8 “ drywall screws. ONLY BUILD ONE OF THESE SECTIONS
FOR THIS DEMONSTRATION UNIT.
Assembly of the Sprinklered Cube:



                                                                               All hinges Are set 2’
                                                                               from the edge on the
                                                                               frame


                         OSB Walls




                                                                   2’ From Corner




Place (2) 4’ x 8’ OSB (Oriented Strand Board) sections together to desired location on the ground and
attach them with two hinges, these are sections 1 and 2. Place the hinges 2’ from each end.

Next use another 4’ x 8’ Oriented Strand Board section (#4) and place it on top of the floor, connect it to
the floor with a 3” hinge centered (screw the hinge into both sides with 1 5/8” drywall screws into the
studs). Manually hold this section upright while someone else brings over the OSB “shorty” section #5
and place it on the back end of the floor (this will make up a corner of your wall). Connect the shorty to
the floor with a 3” hinge, and then connect the shorty to #4 with two 3” hinges *(1) 2’ from the bottom,
(1) 2’ feet from the top.+.
With this corner section up, you can now go back and obtain another section of OSB wall. This will be
section #3. Attach this section to the floor with a 3” hinge, and then attach it to section #4 with (2) 3”
wood screws, one 2’ from the top, one 2’ from the bottom.

Follow the same procedure for sections 6, 7 and 8.

THE HINGES ARE USED AS FASTNERS, THEY ARE NOT PIVOT POINTS. THE REASON HINGES ARE USED IS
SO THAT YOU CAN MERELY REMOVE THE PIN TO DISASSEMBLE. THIS WILL MAKE RE-ASSEBLY MUCH
EASIER AND MORE COORDINATED FOR FUTURE BURNS.
Now you are ready for the ceiling pieces. For the sprinklered unit, the ceiling will be made of the same
OSB units used for the walls.

These Next 2 Steps are the most difficult and dangerous, be careful, and be sure to have enough man
power (at least 3 people)!

Put your 6’ A-Frame ladder into the unfinished cube and place someone on the ladder, half way up.
Pick up the back roof (Section #9) first and raise the unit (Strand Board Face Down) to the ladder man.
The ladder man will lift this roof section over and onto the wall sections. He will then square it with the
back wall. Attach the roof section to each wall section with a 3” hinge for each wall section.




Repeat this procedure step for the front roof section (#10). Connect section to each wall unit with a 3 “
hinge centered. This section will be where you will have the hole cut for the sprinkler head.

You are now ready to attach the header, the header acts to hold in the heat of the fire. Have one man
hold the header in place, while another man on a ladder screws in the hinges to the framing of the cube.

Depending on your man-power you can repaint as necessary.
-You should now commission a qualified sprinkler installer to install a residential quick response
sprinkler piping system.
Flashover Demonstration Unit Construction:
The flashover unit uses drywall for the walls and ceiling, and OSB for the floors.

First, organize the wood studs. Use the (2) 2” x 4” x 48” wood studs for the end framing. Using (4) 2” x 4”
x 93” boards connect the end pieces to create a rectangular frame, using wood screws. Then evenly
space the two interior frame studs (2) (2” x 4” x 93”) and secure them with a 3” wood screw.

Diagram of a Normal wall frame (Sections: 1, 2, 3, 4 , 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 ,13, 14, 16, 17, 18 , 19 and
20) Every Section besides 5 and 15, which are short Sections)

                                                                       93”


                                                                       93”
      (Blue) 2” x 4” x 48”
                                   48”                                                                48”
      (Red)-2” x 4” x 93”
                                                                       93”

                                                                       93”



You can cut and assemble 9 of these frames, this will make up your walls (except 1 short wall per unit),
floor and ceiling for each unit. Assemble these frames on flat ground.

-For 2 of these frames attach the 48” x 8’ x ½” Oriented Strand Board using the 1 5/8 “ drywall screws
(These 2 will make up the floor for the non-sprinklered cube)
- For 7 of these frames attach the 48” x 8’ x ½” Drywall sheets using the 1 5/8” drywall screws. (These
wall units plus the short unit will make up the walls and ceiling of the non-sprinklered cube

Diagram of a Short wall frame:
You now need to cut and assemble the shorter wall section, this consists of (2) 2” x 4”x 39 ¾” and (3) 2”
x 4” x 93” studs.



(Black) 2” x 4” x 39 3/4”’                                      93”                            39 3/4”
(Red)-2” x 4” x 93”                 39 3/4”


                                                                93”



You should build one of these “shorty” wall sections.
You should now cut a drywall section of 4’ x 8’ x ½” to 39 ¾” wide the entire length of the drywall (this
will fit onto the shorty wall section). Then attach this drywall to the shorty frame with 1 5/8” drywall
screws.

(You now have the option of laying these wall units on a level area for painting of the
oriented strand board wall units, you should only use primer paint.)

At this time cut your (2) 2” x 12” x 8’ Headers to be 88” long (2” x 12” x 88”). Then attach three (3”)
hinges to the headers (one on the top, centered, one on each side centered).

Assembly of the Flashover Unit:

                                                                                 Hinges Are set 2’ from
                                                                                 the edge of the frame




First you need to assemble the floor. Place (2) 4’ x 8’ Oriented Strand Board sections together to desired
location and attach with two hinges, these are sections 11 and 12. Place the hinges 2’ from each end.

Now use a 4’ x 8’ Drywall section (#14) and place it on top of the floor, connect it to the floor with a 3”
hinge centered (screw the hinge into both sides with 1 5/8” drywall screws into the studs). Manually
hold this section upright while someone else brings over the Drywall “shorty” section #15 and place it on
the back end of the floor (this will make up a corner of your wall). Connect the shorty to the floor with a
3” hinge, and then connect the shorty to #14 with two 3” hinges ((1) 2’ from the bottom, (1) 2’ feet from
the top.)

With this corner section up, you can now go back and grab another section of Drywall wall. This will be
section #13. Attach this section to the floor with a 3” hinge, and then attach it to section #14 with 2 3”
wood screws, one 2’ from the top, one 2’ from the bottom.

Follow the same procedure for sections 16, 17 and 18.


Now you are ready for the ceiling pieces. For the flashover unit, the ceiling will be made of the Drywall
wall pieces.

These Next 2 Steps are the most difficult and dangerous, be careful, and be sure to have enough man
power (at least 3 guys)!

Put your 6’ A-Frame ladder into the unfinished cube and place someone on the ladder, half way up.

Pick up the back roof (Section #19) first and raise the unit (Drywall Face Down) to the ladder man. The
ladder man will lift this roof section over and onto the wall sections. He will then square it with the back
wall. Attach the roof section to each wall section with a 3” hinge for each wall section.

Repeat this procedure step for the front roof section (#20). Connect section to each wall unit with a 3 “
hinge centered.

You are now ready to attach the header, The header acts to hold in the heat of the fire. Have one man
hold the header in place, while another man on a ladder screws in the hinges to the framing of the cube.

Depending on your man-power you can paint a second coat on the Flashover unit.

Once the flashover unit is constructed you can decide how much you want to seal the unit. If you plan
on using this unit over and over again for future demonstrations, it is advised that you putty and tape all
cracks and joint in the drywall. This will prevent structural damage from the fire.

Depending on your budget and man power you can paint the interior of the drywalled unit.

You should decorate the finished cubes with combustible furniture and house or office type items.
Typically the units are furnished with a couch, an arm chair and a desk with an old computer on it. A
curtain should be hung from the back wall of the unit over a garbage can that is filled with newspaper. A
hole should then be cut in the back of the unit, so someone can stand behind the unit and light the
garbage can on fire. In the sprinklered room, the drapes will catch fire and set off the sprinkler, the
sprinkler will then put the fire out. In the non-sprinklered room, the drapes will catch fire and eventually
the couch, chair, and desk will also. This will result in a melting of the Plexiglas and a flashover inside the
cube.

When completely finished with both units, before the burn demonstration, hang the pre-drilled Plexiglas
on the face of the units, just below the header. The smaller piece of Plexiglas goes on the sprinklered
unit this can be attached using the Velcro tape, the large goes on the flashover unit and is attached with
(6) 1 5/8” drywall screws 2 on each side and 2 on the top.




Demonstration Notes

-Determine where the extinguishing crew and engine are to be placed. Too close may be too noisy for
the crowd and conversation.

-Locate your water supply for the fire sprinklered unit and for the engine crew.

-Use idle pressure if having an engine supply, a sprinkler normally has pressure of over 30-35 psi off of
the hydrant system.

-Keep the valve closed on the sprinkler system when filling the sprinkler pipe to avoid water hammer.
Before the sprinkler demo slowly feather open the valve to fill the sprinkler pipe with water.

-Do not allow your fire crew to extinguish the flashover unit until the Plexiglas has dropped; count to
five after it begins to melt. You may want to protect your ground area directly in front of the flashover
unit as the molten Plexiglas can cause damage. Once the flashover room gets extinguished, ensure that
the fire crew is ready for another burn, and then begin the fire in your sprinklered unit. Repeat the
same procedure by announcing the time frames of ignition, smoke detector activation, and then
sprinkler activation with extinguishment. Once the fire is out, have one of the fire personnel shut off the
water supply to the sprinkler head. Remove the Plexiglas from the sprinklered unit. Have fire personnel
pull your couches/beds out from each unit and invite your audience to come forward and examine them
and the units.


-Begin your demonstration by giving a brief description of what your audience will be viewing and why it
is so important for people to realize the effects of fire and how they can be minimized by the use of a
sprinkler system. Advise them that no accelerants are used in the demonstration. An additional person
with a stopwatch can assist your narrator on informing the audience the time frames from the time the
fire is started, to the activation of the smoke detector, to flashover or to when the sprinkler head
activates. Most people do not grasp how quickly fire spreads. As a way for them to understand the
time frames, inform them as to what your response time is on a house fire and then during your
narration, let them know that the unit is in flashover and most departments are still enroute. No matter
how good a response time a fire department has, it’s hard to beat flashover.

								
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