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SFPE Webinar Series

With SFPE webinars you can earn Professional Development Hours (PDH) credits: an exclusive series of online technical webinars focused on helping SFPE members and non-members strengthen professional skills and stay on top of industry trends. Professional expert speakers will lead the webinars, highlighting top technical content that is essential for keeping your skills up to par.

Earning Professional Development Hours (PDHs) are only granted to individuals who have registered through the GOTOWEBINAR and attend the live webinar and are logged in for 50 minutes longer. Group participation will not be awarded PDHs.

Archived Webinars

Recordings of previous webinars are available to members here.


Monday, March 25, 2019 11:00 am Eastern Time (-04:00 GMT)

Construction Fire Protection

Presented by David Laks, P. Eng., CFPS, RRC, ARM, Vice President, Risk Control Services Manager, HUB International

During construction, all buildings are more vulnerable to a fire than a completed building. Construction fires are hard to control due to the lack of fire protection, detection systems, large quantities of combustible materials on site, and lack of compartmentation. 

The presentation will review the high hazard activities/risks for structures under construction, renovation or demolition, and recent loss trends. These include hot work, temporary heating, roofing work, trash removal, cooking equipment, heating equipment, arson, etc.

Prevention and mitigation strategies will be presented for these high-risk activities/exposures.  

Changes to NFPA 241 (2019) Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations will be discussed.  These changes include temporary sprinkler protection, cooking operations, safeguarding construction operations for tall timber structures.


Monday, April 8, 2019 11:00 am Eastern Time (-04:00 GMT)

Troubleshooting Exit & Elevator Shaft Pressurization System Designs

Presented by Warren Bonisch, P.E., Associate Principal, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates (WJE)

At the direction of the local fire marshal, a third party review was conducted of a design engineer’s exit stair and elevator pressurization system design drawings and calculations for a multi-building, high rise office complex. Each of the engineer’s assumptions and design parameters were reviewed and evaluated, with the finding that the design air flows used were based upon an incorrect code interpretation. Computer modeling was performed, using SFPE recommended values, to provide guidance to the engineer. As time quickly passed, the building was approaching completion, the pressurization equipment was already ordered, on site and being installed. Subsequent computer modeling was then performed using actual as built data collected by the design engineer, which indicated the need for much more cfm than what initially modeled and significantly more than originally designed by the engineer. Problem resolution was further complicated by additional regulations from a separate code authority that further increased the need for more cfm’s.


Monday, April 29, 2019 11:00 am Eastern Time (-04:00 GMT)

Fire Service Training Environment: Safety, Fidelity, and Exposure

Presented by Joseph Willi, Research Engineer III, UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI)

Several recent fireground line of duty deaths have highlighted the importance for firefighters to understand the ventilation-limited fire dynamics that they may encounter. This need is reflected 2013 edition of NFPA 1403: Standard on Live Fire Training, which provides guidelines for conducting ventilation-limited fire training. This presentation examines the ability of various live fire training facilities to achieve ventilation-limited fire conditions. 

A series of 8 experiments was conducted comparing the fire dynamics produced in a concrete live fire training building by two NFPA 1403-compliant fuel loads to a fuel load composed of furnishings. The concrete live fire training building was instrumented with sensors to measure temperature, heat flux, pressure, and gas velocity. The results indicated that the training fuel packages did not replicate ventilation-controlled conditions, due in part to the large amount of leakage in the concrete live fire training building. Additionally, conditions were created using training fuel packages that had the potential to cause burn injuries to firefighters.

A separate series of experiments was conducted using the same fuel loads as the concrete building tests inside L-shaped props with three different wall lining materials. The first type of prop had an interior wall lining of gypsum board on top of wood studs and fiberglass insulation to resemble modern residential construction. The two other props were constructed from shipping containers with corrugated steel walls; one type had interior walls composed solely of the corrugated steel, while the other had an interior wall lining that consisted of rolled steel sheeting over mineral wool insulation with the corrugated wall as its backing. 

A stochastic approach was used to quantify the differences in thermal environments between test configurations. Temperature data were compared between replicate tests to evaluate the repeatability associated with each type of prop and fuel package. Additionally, results from data comparisons between tests with identical fuel packages in different props and vice versa were used to evaluate the differences between the lining materials and fuel loads. 

Fires were determined to be repeatable for each lining material and each fuel load. Of the three props, fires in the gypsum prop produced the most severe conditions. Overall, the differences in temperature data between tests in the metal props were indistinguishable from the measurement uncertainty, suggesting that the additional layer of insulation did not significantly affect fire dynamics. The addition of OSB to the pallets and straw fuel load significantly increased the severity of the fire environment and sometimes caused the heat flux and temperature to exceed the exposure limits of firefighter personal protective equipment at potential locations of trainees, remote from the fire. Finally, results from tests involving interior suppression in each type of prop indicated that the thermal exposure to the firefighter was more severe in the metal props than the gypsum prop for a brief period following the start of suppression.


Monday, May 6, 2019 11:00 am Eastern Time (-04:00 GMT)

SFPE Guide to Human Behavior in Fire

Presented by Daniel O’Connor, PE, FSFPE, Vice-President, JENSEN HUGHES

An overview of the 2nd Edition of the SFPE Guide to Human Behavior in fire will be presented. The goal of this expanded 2nd Edition of the Guide is to provide a common introduction to this field for the broad fire safety community: fire protection engineers, design professionals, and code authorities. The public and users of the guide will benefit from a consistent understanding of the factors that influence the responses and behaviors of people when threatened by fire and the application of reliable methodologies to evaluate and estimate human response in buildings and structures. The presentation will review changes from the First Edition of the SFPE Human Behavior Guide and review the nature of the new 2nd Edition content for subjects as occupant behavioral scenarios, toxicity assessment, visibility-in-smoke guidance, emergency management of building occupants, emergency notification/messaging; and, egress model selection, validation and verification.


Monday, May 13, 2019 11:00 am Eastern Time (-04:00 GMT)

California’s October 2017 Wildfires: What Happened, and Can We Map Areas Where It Could Happen Again?

Presented by Chris Lautenberger, PhD, PE, Principal Engineer, Reax Engineering Inc.

In 2017, wildland and wildland-urban interface (WUI) fires burned around 10,000 structures in California. This presentation will provide an overview of California’s October 2017 fires and discuss contributing factors such as land use/development, fuels, weather, and topography. A methodology to map areas where similarly damaging fires may occur in the future using Monte Carlo Simulation will be reviewed. This methodology uses high-resolution numerical weather prediction and wildland fire modeling to simulate the spread of millions of hypothetical fires under historical wind/weather conditions and quantify impacts to structures. Very good correlation between areas identified as high risk and historical occurrence of damaging fires is observed, indicating that the methodology is capable of identifying areas where damaging fires may occur in the future.




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