When most people visit the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), they're likely to head up to the SkyDeck on the 103rd floor, to take in the magnificent view! Let's read what one of our instructors says about this iconic building in his hometown.
Jerry Schultz, PE indulges in his perspective of the Willis Tower as only he can. "The other place that I, as a fire protection engineer find fascinating is Willis Tower. The only problem that I have with this is that the fire protection features are not part of the visit. I always remember in the 70's when disaster movies were the rage watching the movie "The Towering Inferno". (A fire protection engineer who has not seen this movie should not call themselves a fire protection engineer—what great acting and special effects!) When they decide to blow the water tank to put out the fire and have to strap themselves to columns so they don't float off the floor, one can imagine the water tanks on the upper floors at the Tower. Keep in mind that I saw this movie once in the 70's and these are the items I remember—maybe I should watch it again to see if I can learn anything else. The protection provided in the Willis Tower consisting of intermediate water tanks on certain levels of the building show a forward thinking and makes me wonder what came first—the movie or the protection scheme in Willis Tower. Someone should do an article on the protection in Willis Tower and compare it to what is being done in high rise buildings today. For good measure, throw in references to The Towering Inferno."
Thanks Jerry, for that unique perspective! It should be noted that the Glass Tower used in the movie referenced above was a fictional composite of two buildings in San Francisco along with a model sculpture—no relation to the "Sears Tower".
Brush up on your knowledge of sprinklers and NFPA 13 with our 3-day pre-conference seminar taught by Schultz. Who knows, maybe you'll be the one to write an article on the protection scheme in Willis Tower...?
For more information on how Willis Tower management and the Chicago Fire Department joined forces to protect the country's tallest building, read the feature article "Drill Team" in the May/June 2013 edition of NFPA Journal.
Then make sure to attend the related session W30 Working Together for One Response — The Chicago Fire Department and Iconic Willis Tower, on Wednesday, June 12, 9:30-10:00 a.m., presented by Michael Schroeder, US Equities Asset Management and Anthony VanBuskirk, Chicago Fire Department. Register today!
For a SkyDeck fast pass and discounts to other top tourist attractions around Chicago, visit our discounts page.