What I learned Last Summer

What I learned last summer came from two diverse experiences. First I was invited to be a member of the ICC Fire Code Action Committee, and secondly, I purchased a Jackson Coosa HD fishing kayak. Both of these experiences were firsts. This is the first time I have been asked to become a member of a national committee that shaped policy. And I have never fished out of a kayak, and adding to the kayak challenge I decided to use a 9-foot fly rod to fish for smallmouth bass and one crazy Muskie.

What I learned from the committee members was the amount of knowledge, passion, and patience required to be committed to developing regulations for safe and secure events. Also, allowing me to have access to the committee members outside of the scheduled online meeting thru email or a phone call allowed me to ask for clarification, how the current code was formed, or why a change, addition or deletion was proposed.

What really became apparent was when a standard from the entertainment world ANSI E1.21 was introduced and the value of the standard was discussed and then accepted with little opposition, the ANSI E1.21 standard provided rules and acceptable guidelines that where appropriate for special event structures. A committee member brought to our attention how the ANSI E1.21 standard was referred to as an entertainment standard. His concern was about tents and membrane structures that were designed for fireworks tents or other displays that he did not consider special events. The chairmen changed General 3105.1: Temporary stage canopies. Special event structures shall comply with Section 3104, Sections 3105.2 through 3105.8 and where applicable, ANSI E1.21 for temporary entertainment structures. The phrase “where applicable” was added during the conference call and accepted. It was incredible how the committee discussed and then established the change and moved on.

Outside of the committee conference call I asked a committee member,  “What is your definition of secure anchorage?” The answer was “You are from the tent and membrane structure world, so you tell us.” I emailed him a document produced by IFAI that defines proper staking techniques for a tent or membrane structures. He asked, “is it a standard?” My answer was no. He then said, “Deliver a standard and you will have answered your own question about secure anchorage using stakes.”

The committee is challenging the tent and membrane structure community to make available standards and become part of the process that develops solutions and defines special event regulations for a safe environment.

Speaking of development of standards, ASTM has posted a work item, which is the first step in developing a standard. The ASTM reference number is WK 45190, and the abbreviated title is Tent, Canopies, and Membrane Structures initiated 2/14. Start a conversation with the technical contact, ask questions about the scope, and request a current draft. If you do not participate in this collective body of knowledge, you have no one to blame but yourself. Follow this link and become involved.http://www.astm.org/DATABASE.CART/WORKITEMS/WK45190.htm

My kayak has become the mobile office where great ideas and blog posts begin, along with epic battles with 16-18” smallmouth bass. Although a distraction at times when the phone rings; yea right! I am sticking with the mobile office concept and if you want to discuss a problem and create solutions, the mobile office is at your disposal. It is not tax deductible, but I am sticking with the concept that solutions and ideas were conceived floating down the river last summer.

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