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Airing Out The Code:
A Look At FARS Code Requirements and Intent

FARS is quickly becoming the new word in the fire service.  But what is it and how does it work? 

A firefighter air replenishment system (FARS) is a standpipe for air permanently installed within a structure. The system allows firefighters to safely and reliably refill their air cylinders at designated stations within a structure, under full respiration. FARS are now being installed in all types of structures.  The applications for FARS include high-rise and mid-rise buildings, above- and below-ground parking structures, tunnel systems, large open warehouse or manufacturing occupancies, and even maritime craft such as cruise and cargo ships. 

In buildings not equipped with FARS, emergency crews must manually transport replacement air cylinders with them during emergency operations. This can prove time-consuming and physically stressful on the crewmembers. With FARS, breathing air is within close proximity of the incident inside the  structure and always ready for use, reducing the physical demands on firefighting crews and eliminating complex logistical set-up requiring additional resources and staffing. 

Many have asked about the mechanics of FARS and the cost of system installation.

FARS design and installation requirements can be found in the 2015 International Fire Code, Appendix L.  In Appendix L, you will see that FARS must meet ASME, CGA, and NFPA standards.  These standards are common within the piping and fire service industry and do not require any additional requirements to accommodate FARS. 

Watch the FIre Engineering Humpday Hangout on New Technologies In High-rise Firefighting

A panel of high-rise fire safety experts joined Chief Bobby Halton to discuss “High-Rise Firefighting and New Technologies” in a Humpday Hangout that included a conversation abut FARS. The panel featured nationally recognized high-rise fire safety expert and chair of the New York City Fire Safety Directors Association Jack J. Murphy, Assistant Chief Todd Harms from the Phoenix Fire Department, Captain Mike Dugan from FDNY and Battalion Chief Curt Isakson from Escambia County (FL) Fire & Rescue. You can view it here.

Smoke Hazards in High-rise Fires – Three Things to Consider
By Capt. Mike Gagliano, Seattle Fire Department

High-rise fires are intense. Some of the most challenging fires in the history of the fire service have occurred in these types of structures and more are coming. Among the many challenges and consequences we’ll discuss in future articles, none are as devastating as the effects of smoke and their associated fire gases. The high-rise environment presents some unique challenges as it relates to the impact of fire smoke. These are three you should always consider:

FARS Advocate
Ronny J. Coleman on Resource Management and the Maelstrom Effect

Many years ago, I read a short story about a physical phenomenon called The Maelstrom. This is a location on a body of water that is extremely tumultuous and dangerous to be near.  It is a whirlpool that sucks everything into it and sends it to the bottom of a body of water.  The image of the Maelstrom came into my memory just a few weeks ago when observing another physical phenomenon on a science show about black holes in the universe.  
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