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Free Example of High Rise Fire-Fighting Essay

This essay on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, OneMeridian  Plaza is aimed to document one of the most notorious high rise fires that have ever occurred in the United States in a structure that had been erected to be fire resistant. It is evident that this structure ended up claiming the lives of three dedicated fire-fighters, as they fought hard to put out the inferno. Therefore, the essay will identify the major problem that was encountered in smothering the fire. The essay will also juxtapose the pressure reducing valves and the flow reducing devices that are installed in such building, so as to mitigate the effects of such a fire and how these two systems operate effectively and efficiently in such incidences.

Major Problem That Caused Major Difficulties in the Fire

Putting out of the fire in OneMeridianPlaza experienced a number of setbacks. It is evident that the major problem that was encountered by the fire-fighters during this particular incident is that the standpipe valves in the building were improperly installed. The hose lines that were being by the fire fighters were 1 ¾ inches in diameter and they were assembled with automatic fog nozzles that are expected to produce a variable nozzle pressure of up to 100 psi. This greatly contrasts to the pipes that had been installed in the building. Therefore, the pressure that was being discharged by these pipes was insufficient to develop the required pressure levels to put out the fire. These pipes had also been set too low thus making it difficult for the fire fighters to produce the required hose stream pressure to extinguish the fire (US Fire Administration, 2001).

Pressure Reducing Devices That Are Used In High-Rises

Fighting the fire in high rise building requires that the extinguishers lower or increase the pressure of water in the fire zones to acceptable levels by using the pressure reducing valves (PRV). These PRVs are designed to lower and maintain the pressure of water either in dynamic or static flow to predetermined levels. These pressure reducing valves limit the pressure that is in the downstream side of all the hoses in either the static or the dynamic flow rates. In the static flow, the valves are expected to maintain the pressure at constant levels, while as in the dynamic flow the pressure is changeable, as deemed necessary by the fire-fighters. It should be noted that the pressure reducing valves are set in predetermined conditions that require them to release particular pressure levels, and adjusting them requires special tools. They are usually installed in connections that exist between the standpipes and the automatic sprinklers that are installed in each floor in the high rise building (McGrail, 2007).

On the other hand, the flow reducing devices are designed to control the pressure of discharge in the hoses by restricting the flow. This is achieved by reducing the openings of the hoses, so that they are sized to predetermined diameters, specified pressure and discharge rate. The flow reducing devices can not reduce the pressure of static flow, thus allowing higher pressure flow rates at the lower ends (Andy Pressman, American Institute of Architects & Smith Maran Architects, 2007). This contrasts to the pressure reducing valves that have the capability of regulating the static pressure.

It is evident that the fire-fighters at One Meridian Plaza had a rough time putting out the fire, given the problems that they faced. It is, however, evident that from that fateful incident a number of lessons were learnt. For instance, it is evident that every fire fighting department in the United States greatly values the essence of having a harmonise pressure reducing the device in all the high rising buildings, as it greatly helps in smothering fire accidents that may occur. 

Code: writers15

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