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7.15 Special Fire Protection Requirements

Sprinkler Protection. Each elevator machine room shall be provided with a wet-pipe sprinkler system using standard response sprinklers.

Power Disconnect. Activation of the dedicated elevator machine room water flow switch shall simultaneously disconnect all power to the elevator equipment within the elevator machine room and notify the fire alarm system of the condition and the location of the water flow.

Smoke Detectors. Smoke detectors for elevator recall shall be installed in each elevator lobby and each elevator machine room.

Essential Electronic Facilities
Essential electronic facilities consist of spaces that have high value or mission essential electrical equipment such as mainframe computers or telephone switches with the potential for high dollar loss and/or business interruption. Essential electronic facilities shall be designed in accordance with NFPA 75 and the appropriate GSA computer room fire alarm system specification.

Special Requirements. The requirements below supersede the requirements of NFPA 75.

  • A wet pipe sprinkler system shall be provided throughout the facility including data storage areas.
    Quick response sprinklers shall be used throughout the facility including data storage areas.
  • The sprinkler system shall have a separate isolation valve and a separate water flow switch located outside of each protected area. Each valve shall be provided with a tamper switch that is connected to the building’s fire alarm system.
  • Activation of the sprinkler water flow switch shall disconnect power to the computers and to the HVAC systems with no time delay.
  • The activation of two cross-zoned conventional photoelectric smoke detectors or the activation of one intelligent analog/addressable photoelectric smoke detector utilizing early warning smoke detection technology (e.g., smoke detectors having enhanced algorithms, fire alarm control panel having capability to program individual smoke detector response parameters, or smoke detectors using air sampling technology for use in essential electronic facilities, etc.) within a single protected area shall disconnect power to the computer equipment and to the HVAC system after a pre-set time delay.
EPA Headquarters
EPA Headquarters

Elevator Systems
Entrapment Prevention: When the regional fire protection engineer has determined that there may be a possibility that occupants may get trapped in an elevator cab due to the power shut-down of the elevator controller prior to complete elevator recall via Phase I Emergency Recall Operation, earthquake mode emergency condition software shall be incorporated into the project.

Child Care Center
Child Care Center

Vincent E. McKelvey Federal Building laboratory wing, Menlo Park, CA
Vincent E. McKelvey Federal Building
laboratory wing, Menlo Park, CA

The earthquake mode emergency condition software is available on all manufacturer microprocessors. Normally, the elevator displacement switch initiates the earthquake mode emergency condition.When the displacement switch is activated, the elevators, if in motion, proceed to the nearest available landing and park with their doors open and shut down. The project shall incorporate the installation of heat detector(s) in the elevator machine room(s) to initiate the “earthquake mode” emergency condition software protocol in lieu of or in addition to the elevator displacement switch depending on the seismic region in which the building is located. The heat detectors installed shall have both lower temperature rating and higher sensitivity as compared to the automatic sprinklers within the elevator machine rooms.

The following operating sequence would apply:

  • Prior to activation of sprinklers, a signal shall be received from heat detectors in the machine room and the input connected to the elevator controllers.
  • When the signal is received into the microprocessor, it will activate “earthquake mode”. The “earthquake mode” is available on all manufacturer microprocessors and is required on all elevators in regions of moderate and high seismicity.
  • When the signal from the heat detector is received, the “earthquake mode” rescue sequence shall be activated. The cars will proceed to the closest available landing and park with their doors open.

Elevator systems shall be designed and installed in accordance with ANSI/ASME Standard A17.1.

Atrium Smoke Removal System
An atrium smoke removal system shall be designed and installed in accordance with the requirements of the International Building Code. Additional design guidance may be found in NFPA 92B.

Smoke Control Systems
Smoke control systems shall be designed and installed in accordance with the International Building Code. Additional design guidance may be found in NFPA 92A, the ASHRAE/SFPE manual, Design of Smoke Management Systems, and NFPA publication, Smoke Movement and Control in High Rise Buildings.

Fire Protection Requirements for Cooling Towers
Cooling towers shall be in accordance with NFPA 214.

Special Requirements. The requirements below supersede the requirements of NFPA 214.

  • Cooling towers over 2000 cubic feet in size, having combustible fill, shall be provided with an automatic deluge sprinkler system.
  • Automatic sprinkler protection shall not be required in cooling towers over 2000 cubic feet in size, constructed of non-combustible materials, having non-combustible components (including piping) and non-combustible decks.
  • Automatic sprinkler protection is required for cooling towers which are constructed of combustible materials, have combustible components (such as PVC fill, louvers, drift eliminators, etc.), or a combustible deck.

Child Care Centers
For special fire protection requirements for Child Care Centers see the GSA document Child Care Center Design Guide (PBS-P140).

Courthouses
For special fire protection requirements for Courthouses see the document U.S. Courts Design Guide.

Border Stations
For special fire protection requirements for Border Stations see the document U.S. Border Station Design Guide.

Laboratories
Laboratories shall meet the design requirements in NFPA 45 and the International Building Code.

Special Requirements. The requirements below supersede the requirements of NFPA 45.

  • Laboratories handling or storing hazardous chemicals, flammable gases, flammable liquids, explosives, and biological laboratories shall not be expanded in existing office buildings.
  • All chemical laboratories (not photo labs, unless they utilize large quantities of flammable liquids) shall be sprinklered, regardless of size. Sprinkler protection shall be calculated to provide a density of 0.15 gpm per sq. ft. over a 3,000 sq. ft. area.

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