Thread: Beware of Specs

  1. #1
    FireOptic Guest

    Post Beware of Specs

    My marketing manager just showed me a competitive lockout bid spec which we recieved from a municipality.

    It reads like this:

    Exposure to Heat and Flame

    Condition: Pre-heat at 95C for 15 min. Flame 1000C

    Reference Specification: NFPA 1981, Sections 3-11.1, 4-11.1 through 4-11.17, No Flame 2.2 seconds after removal of ignition source.

    Duration: Pre Heat: 15 minutes. Flame Test: 12 seconds

    Note: This test simulates flashover conditions. The camera is not required to function after this test.

    Amazing, simply amazing. I'm not sure what a spec like this is supposed to indicate, nor the validity of having a camera self-extinguish after 2.2 seconds. I particularly like the last "Note" section.

    Following the "Exposure to Heat and Flame" test is the drop test spec:

    The camera shall withstand a drop, on any axis, of 1.0m onto steel plating without significant damage or loss of function.

    How about no damage, instead of "without significant damage". What is the definition of "significant"? What does the fire department that gets this camera and puts it through this test (some actually do, and all should) use to evaluate "significant damage"?

    I asked our engineering & quality personnel to develop a similar type of specification for our TIC, and for those of you who want a lock out bid spec for the FireOptic, feel free to use the following:

    Simulated Drop Test

    Condition: 250 foot elevation. 12" thick reinforced concrete pad, 10 ft sq.

    Reference Specification: MIL-C-10022D

    Duration: The duration of the test shall not exceed the amount of seconds (T) as defined by the following equation:

    T (seconds)=SQRT(500/g)
    (where g=local gravitational acceleration)

    Note: Camera shall not shatter into more than 125 pieces. Distribution of the TIC into less than 125 pieces shall constitute passing this test. Protective eyewear recommended. Do not perform this test in an explosive atmosphere, or in the presence of those with a weak constitution. Twenty minutes of stretching and/or karmic meditation recommended if test is performed in months ending in "r".

    Effective immediately, we will be ading this to our TIC spec. By the way, the MIL spec mentioned above is for Chewing Gum. Really.

    This is a perfect example of some of the meaningless specs which are being used to somehow "qualify" TICs for use on the fireground. Granted, there are some reasonable specs, but some, like this one above, demonstrate how foolish and unapplicable, but impressive sounding, specs can be.

    Make sure the specs being called out are doing what they're supposed to do, set a qualification threshold for TIC operation and/or it's environmental operating conditions for safe and reliable use. Next to each specification, write an english version of what you want the spec to guarantee so you can wade though the techno-mumbo-jumbo that seems so popular.

    Don't bother putting in useless crap, or you may end up with useless crap in return.

    By the way, I know of at least one TIC that can pass the "Exposure to Heat and Flame" test and not suffer any burn damage and keep working after the test is over.

    Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

    Tom Clynne
    President - ICC

  2. #2
    JAPFPE Guest


    That was worth a good chuckle Tom !

    I would take it a step further. Any potential TIC purchaser who uses a TIC manufacturer "standard specification" is not doing their job. The subject specifications are written for one camera and one camera only (the camera manufacturer who published the spec.). I suggest that any department who is soliciting bids based on a TIC manufacturer's "standard specification" simply do everyone a favor up-front and admit that they are "sole sourcing" the purchase.

    Also ask your self if you could defend your spec if challenged by someone who had some reasonable knowledge of TIC technology and fire fighting in general. With regard to the spec that FireOptic referenced, I would be glad to help "educate" the local governing body where the spec was published.

    Do your homework, perform an OBJECTIVE evaluation and purchase what is right for YOUR department.

    Joe Pechacek
    Hamilton Fire Department
    Hamilton, NY

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