News | Oct 13, 2022 | Christine Furey
Employee Spotlight: Meet Our Fire/Life Safety Team!
This year marks 100 years of Fire Prevention Week! Sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire and promotes public awareness of fire safety. Arora Engineers (Arora) has a dedicated Fire/Life Safety (FLS) practice that focuses on Fire Alarm and Fire Protection system design, and Fire Protection/Life Safety Consulting services for everything from large new multi-million square foot facilities, to small complex renovations. Our fire and life safety engineers work hard to design fire detection and suppression systems to protect life and property.
In honor of Fire Prevention Week, we interviewed some of our FLS team to learn what they enjoy most about FLS:
Why did you pursue FLS as a career?
Chase Miller, PE, Vice President, Practice Lead | Fire/Life Safety: “As a kid I loved Legos and any opportunity to learn about the way things worked. I’ve always found joy in creating something or more simply taking things apart (not always successfully putting them back together). I also come from a family of military and medical professionals which gave me an understanding of the societal need for public service. While looking at colleges I came across Fire Protection Engineering which A. sounded cool and B. blended my natural desire to ‘engineer’ and do good in the world. After a semester in the Fire Protection program at Oklahoma State I knew I had found my niche and the rest is history.”
Zachary Beyar, PE, Fire/Life Safety Engineer: “I’ve always been interested in mechanical engineering because it incorporates all aspects of physics and science in a way that can be physically interacted with (engines, turbines, compressors, any form of piping systems, etc.). Fire life safety engineering work encompasses exactly that. It is good to know that our hard work pays off in the form of an engineered system that could potentially save lives, or to a lesser degree, protect the integrity of the infrastructure of the world.”
David Klepitch, PE, Fire/Life Safety Discipline Lead: “My older brothers were firefighters. The oldest of the two was also a fire protection engineer. I never got into firefighting but liked the notion of engineering fire protection systems. I always enjoyed being involved in a discipline that directly affected life safety and property protection. I always thought it was a way of looking out for people. As I grew in fire protection engineering, I started to get more involved in the business side of it. I learned that the business side of engineering was not a negative aspect of the design process. The business side adds to the challenge of optimizing fire/life safety so that funds are stretched to do the best. The optimization can also lead to providing performance-based design to the process which really makes design exciting.”
What do you enjoy the most about FLS?
Arthur Simpson, SET, Lead Fire/Life Safety Designer: “I enjoy the work I do and the different challenges out there. Working at Arora has and will continue to be rewarding to not only keeping my work limited to a local area, but to have the opportunity to broaden my scope in working in other parts of the country (for now) and being involved in the numerous projects Arora is involved. There are challenges to not only provide what is required locally, but to also provide what is required at the locations where the project will be constructed. Fortunately, with today’s technology, this research can be done from the office with possible follow-up communications to local officials at the sites. This allows me to manage my time with the design aspect rather than to devoting additional time to traveling to the site. Please keep in mind, there are times that travel to the site(s) is necessary and required. This travel opportunity is also rewarding as part of the job. Doing this place more than just a voice at the end of the ‘call’ or ’email’ and provides a more understanding of who I am working with/for on the project. This concept, for me, places a personal touch on the work.”
James Pazuchanics, Sr. Fire/Life Safety Designer: “The Fire Alarm side of the industry intrigued me due to the code requirements of these systems. These requirements are generally intuitive, but there are plenty of nuances that apply to different situations. I was pressed by a local fire marshal to learn the local amendments to the national codes and to apply these nuances to my designs. With the help of other industry professionals, industry organizations, and a lot of ‘light’ reading, I was able to apply the codes effectively to my designs. Applying the codes correctly makes me feel like I am doing my part to keep people and buildings safe.”
Jae Kwon, PE, LEED AP, Fire/Life Safety Discipline Lead: “Work for fire life safety is not just compliance with Codes/Standards, but also involves the application of scientific/engineering principles and exercise of the engineering judgement. Good design should take the various factors into account including effects of fire, behaviors of human to fire, people with disabilities, building characteristics, and code intent. It is fascinating that I contribute to safety of public and make a positive impact on society by addressing the challenges fire/life safety engineer’s encounter. In the United States, more than 1 million fire occurs, still resulting in more than 3,000 civilian deaths, 100 firefighter deaths, 14,000 civilian injuries, $15 billion in property damage and the damage to environments. My work is to protect people’s lives, properties, and environments, and thus bringing positive impact on society. It is challenging but rewarding for sure.”
Stas Kaspin, Sr. Fire/Life Safety Designer: “The most enjoyable part of my work comes from the diversity of the projects and challenges I meet day-by-day. From the smaller to the bigger complicated projects, there are different codes and regulations. Seeing the result of my projects at various airports, schools, or residential high-rise buildings brings me a huge satisfaction knowing that I was involved and that my solutions, ideas, and designs helped contribute to the success.”
Kenneth S. Buoy, Fire/Life Safety Intern: “What I enjoy most about Fire and Life Safety is how the community feels like one big family! The work I do helps to improve people’s everyday safety, which is why I chose to pursue this career.”
Are there any interesting facts about fire prevention and safety that you think everyone should know?
Daniel O’Brien, Fire/Life Safety Designer: “Fire alarm and fire protection systems are essential for the safety of occupants in any type of building. Whether it be a 2000 SQ FT office, or a 1 million SQ FT airport terminal, these systems, within seconds, respond to the presence of a fire and keep it under control long enough for occupants to escape.”
Chase Miller, PE, Vice President, Practice Lead | Fire/Life Safety: “Fires start when you have the four elements of the fire tetrahedron present (fuel, heat, oxygen, and chemical chain reaction) in the proper ratio. All fire suppression and extinguishing systems are designed to eliminate one or more of these elements to control or extinguish a fire.”
Jae Kwon, PE, LEED AP, Fire/Life Safety Discipline Lead: “In the movies, we see the entire building is drenched with activation of all sprinkler heads at once by pulling the manual alarm handle down in the corridor. First, sprinklers would not be activated by the manual pull station. Second, all sprinklers would not be activated at once in the buildings we live in.”
Zachary Beyar, PE, Fire/Life Safety Engineer: “Fire/Life safety is a discipline that is always in demand because in most countries, you cannot have a building or structure insured without having code compliant fire life safety systems that have been designed and stamped by fire protection/fire alarm engineers.”
Arthur Simpson, SET, Lead Fire/Life Safety Designer: I don’t know if I can add to the continual requests for everyone to practice safety and prevention that are already out there. The drawback is that these are brought about on a seasonal basis and when something tragic happens. Prevention and safety should be practiced daily and should come from within without relying on outside agencies so much. In the design aspect, I can design to past experiences, but I cannot foresee the unexpected. By designing to what has been established is evident, the future cannot be predicted, nor can what happen after the design and project is completed and turned over to the owner(s).