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Fire-Ex Systems Engineering, inc.

3500 Stewart Ave
Wausau, WI 54401



Contact a Specific Person:

Russ Slaby:

Ext. 105
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Brian Vanderkooy:

Ext. 101
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Our Team

[accordion width="700px"][item title="Russ Slaby, SET"]

The only son of Ron Slaby,  the father of a son and daughter, and husband to Paula, Russ grew up with sprinklers.  He started working for his Dad at a very young age screwing hangers together after school and in the summer months.  After graduating high school, he joined Integrity Fire Protection, Inc.  full time in the fabrication shop.

After his father endured a painful separation from longtime friends and his business, Russ went with him putting on hold his lifelong dream of becoming a designer like his father.

When Russ tried to attend the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for studies in MIS, he visited the Financial Aid office to inquire about guaranteed student loans.  He was told straight out, "Tell Daddy to pay for it."  That was not an option.  Russ joined the United States Air Force.

While in the Air Force, Russ studied Imagery Intelligence Analysis.  Upon finishing school, he was stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany for 2 years.  It was a mind opening experience for him.

While in Europe, Russ studied by taking college classes through the University of Maryland-European Division.  He earned an associates degree in Applied Science from the Community College of the Air Force.

In 1987, Russ returned to The States to finish his first enlistment at Langley AFB in Hampton, VA.

In the spring of 1988, he received a call from his father offering the chance to learn his dream trade: Fire Protection Design.  It was a yes.

Russ has since become Certified NICET Level IV with expertise developed in all forms of Fire Pipe Fire Suppression.  Russ especially enjoys Foam System Design and Testing for many different applications.  Russ is our Vice President and Secretary and strives to continue his father's Design Excellence.

[/item][item title="Brian VanderKooy, PE"]

Brian holds his mechanical engineering degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (B.S.) and Purdue University (M.S.) along with more than ten years of industry experience. 

Brian's industry experience includes the areas of rotating machine design, system design, project engineering, and engineering management. 

His rotating machine experience includes design of machine components as well as specification of package systems.  His system design work includes projects in the power, oil and gas, wastewater, and fire protection areas.


Engineering Services

Equipment Specification and Review, Oil and Gas

We offer specification preparation and/or review including bid package preparation, vendor selection, and submittal documentation review for dynamic and static equipment including pumps, blowers, compressors, pressure vessels, tanks, heat exchangers, and coating systems.

Machine / Equipment Engineering

We offer detailed mechanical engineering design services including machine component sizing and material recommendations (shafts, bearings, etc.), along with review for manufacurability, assembly, and performance.

Piping System Design and Analysis

We offer piping specification preparation and/or feview in accordance with ASME and/or other standards along with piping design review services.  We can also provide piping calculations in accordance with ASME B31.1 or B31.3.

Project Engineering

We offer the ability to coordinate interdisciplinary activities and lead the engineering and design efforts on your project.

About Us

Fire-Ex Systems Engineering specializes in the design of all fixed pipe fire suppression systems. Since 1986 we as a company have gained extensive knowledge in designing Water and Foam-Water Deluge fire protection systems and Fire Pump Water Supplies for any high challenge industrial process facility. We have come to know the food processing facilities very well. We have vast experience in working with Alcohol Distillation, Bio-Fuels, Storage Tank Farms, Vegetable Oil Extraction Plants, Flour Milling, Industrial Process, High Challenge Storage and Hazard, Corn & Bean Processing Facilities and Co-Generation Facilities. We are very experienced in foam system application, design and testing. In addition, Brian VanderKooy our 'Oil and Gas' experienced Professional Engineer is on Staff to offer even more in industrial engineering solutions.

Of course, in addition to all the of the areas we have become specialized in, we are completely capable, knowledgeable and experienced in any NFPA compliant fire suppression system design.

Fire Sprinkler System Types

No matter what property you are managing, it is important for you to know which type of system will best protect it.  Click on a heading below to view a description:

[accordion width="700"] [item title="Deluge Sprinkler System"] deluge
Click to view PDF

The deluge sprinkler system has sprinklers which are open and attached to piping that is connected to a water supply. The valve is opened by the operation of a detection system installed in the same area as the fire sprinklers. 

When the valve opens the water flows into the pipes and discharges from all the sprinkler heads attached to the system. 

A deluge system will have the sprinkler heads open all the time. 

If there's a very large area that needs immediate attention in case of fire then this system would be the one to go with. It will allow rapid deployment of large quantities of water sprayed over a large space. 

The deluge sprinkler system can be controlled by hydraulics, pneumatically or electrically.

[/item][item title="Dry Pipe Sprinkler System"] dry
Click to view PDF

This type of fire sprinkler systems uses automatic sprinklers attached to a piping system that contains nitrogen under pressure or air. When released, the systems permits the water pressure to open up a valve known as a dry pipe valve. The water then flows into the pipes and out the opened sprinklers.

A dry pipe systems most often is installed in an area where a wet pipe system would be inappropriate. Areas that have very cold or below freezing temperatures would not be a good fit for this type of sprinkler system.

[/item][item title="Foam Water Fire Sprinkler System"] deluge
Click to view PDF

The foam-water fire sprinkler system is a more specialized system. The pipe is connected to both a source of foam concentrate and a water supply. The system has the appropriate discharge devices for extinguishing agent discharge and for distribution over the area that needs protecting.

The sprinkler piping systems is connected to a water supply through a control valve that is typically activated by some sort of automatic detection equipment. The detector is installed close to the sprinkler system.

The detector triggers the valve opening forcing the water to flow into the piping system while at the same time foam concentrate is injected into the water. The new foam based solution discharges and distributes the foam solution. When the foam solution is is exhausted the water starts discharging and continues discharging until until is manually shut off.

If an area has flammable liquids this fire protection system would be a good choice.

Always consult with a fire protection advisor whether it be your local fire department or an independent reliable fire protection company. Ask them which fire protection system would be the most effective for the items and or human life that needs protecting.

Talking to your insurance agent will give you an idea of how much you can save by choosing the right fire sprinkler system for your building or residence.

Foam-water deluge systems are applicable to the protection of two-dimensional flammable liquid hazards.

[/item][item title="Pre-Action Fire Sprinkler Systems"] deluge
Click to view PDF

This systems is very similar to the above mentioned deluge system except with this system the sprinklers are always closed. This system is good for areas containing very valuable items or information. If the items or information can be damaged easily by accidental release of water from the sprinkler heads then you might want to go with this system.

The pre-action valve is usually in a closed state and is operated by a separate detection system. 

When a fire detector is activated this system will open it's pre-action valve that will allow water to enter the piping system. The water will not spray from the sprinkler heads until heat activates the operating element in each sprinkler head. The opening of the pre-action valve converts the system into a wet pipe system.

[/item][item title ="Wet Pipe Sprinkler Systems"] deluge
Click to view PDF

A common sprinkler system used in commercial and residential structures is a wet pipe sprinkler system. This system employs automatic sprinkler heads that are attached to a piping system that contains water and is connected to a water supply. The water discharges immediately from the sprinklers that have been triggered by heat from the fire from below or surrounding them.

A wet pipe system usually is connected to an alarm that that sounds off when water starts flowing through the system.


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