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NFPA Electrical Section Reception and Dinner

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YOU'RE INVITED!

 

Please join us for the NFPA Electrical Section Reception and Dinner (in conjunction with the NFPA Conference & Expo)

 

Date: Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Place: Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas, NV

Reception:6:00 pm – 7:00 pm (Cat House, Luxor Hotel)

Dinner: 7:00 – 9:00pm (LAX Nightclub, Luxor Hotel)

 

Buffet Dinner & Entertainment: Cost $85 inclusive/per person

No registration required for the Reception

 

REGISTER NOW

The newly formed Technical Committee on Building Fire & Life Safety Directors is charged with the development of national standards relating to facility emergency action plans and criteria for building fire and life safety directors. The committee’s scope is:

“This committee shall have primary responsibility for documents related to the duties, requirements, and competencies required of Building Fire and Life Safety Directors. This committee shall also have primary responsibility for the establishment of minimum requirements for emergency action plans addressing all-hazard emergencies within occupied structures having an occupant load of greater than 500 This committee shall not have responsibility of such qualifications, roles, responsibilities, or emergency action plans within industrial occupancies.

 

Its first project is to develop a standard that shall establish the duties, requirements, and competencies for building fire and life safety directors related to all-hazard emergencies in structures having occupant load of greater than 500.”

 

     At NFPA’s 2016 Conference & Expo on Tue, Jun 14, 2016 - 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM in Reef E of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, the committee will hold the following session:

T74 - Interactive Overview of NFPA's New Technical Committee on Building Fire & Life Safety Directors

 

    This interactive session will provide an overview of the Committee's thoughts and gather input from attendees regarding the segmentation and the various topic areas to be covered in the new document. This is a must session for everyone who is involved in emergency action plans for buildings with occupancies of more than 500 people. Be sure to save the time and date!

 

See you there!  

michaelwixted

NFPA Booth and Award

Posted by michaelwixted Employee Apr 27, 2016

Check out the NFPA Booth at the IAAI Fire Investigation Conference in Orlando.

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NFPA was honored to receive the Outstanding Accomplishment Award for the contribution of its Standards to the fire investigation community. These standards are the work of NFPA volunteers, industry experts who represent a diverse pool of interests, and who come together to develop consensus based standards to  to minimize the risk and effects of fire. 

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Next week I will be attending and presenting at the Door and Hardware Institute's annual conference (official conference title, ConNextions) in Orlando, Florida. 

 

I will have the opportunity to represent NFPA and co-present along with Paul Baillargeon, of the Door Security & Safety Foundation, an educational session on the impact of NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives.  This session will focus on the particular impact NFPA 80 has on the health care industry as well as some new requirements in the 2016 edition of the standard.  With the anticipated adoption of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, 2012 edition, by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the health care community will be faced with new requirements related to fire doors. 

 

Our session will be offered four separate times during the conference.  I am looking forward to meeting new faces in the fire door industry and talking about the role NFPA and NFPA 80 have in their work.  Facility managers, code officials, inspectors, manufacturers, all impacted by the provisions of NFPA 80, will be in attendance. 

 

Will you be there?  If so, swing by the NFPA booth and say hello.  I look forward to speading the word about fire door safety!

 

Are you attending the Fire Investigation Conference in Orlando this week and using NFPA Xchange for the first time? Check out the attached pdf for some quick tips. Also, the following blog posts may be of interest: NFPA® Fire Investigation Conference Sweepstakes NFPA 921 & NFPA 1033 - Where do you get them Internationally? NFPA 921 - 2017 Discussions Increasing Fire Investigator Awareness on Potential Alternative Fueled Vehicle (AFV) Safety Hazards Online Training

Are you attending the Fire Investigation Conference in Orlando, April 25th - April 29th? If so, stop by the NFPA Booth between 8:00am – 5:00pm Eastern Time (ET) on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 and 8:00am – 2:00pm ET on Thursday, April 28, 2016 (the "Contest Entry Period") to take part in our Sweepstakes. Give your business card to the NFPA representative at the booth for a chance to win up to $250 in NFPA Products. See official rules on our website at: http://www.nfpa.org/FICSweepstakes.

Across the United States, wildfire season has already begun in places we don’t normally think about.  In Kansas, the smoke from the 620-acre prairie blaze that started in Oklahoma could be seen from St. Louis, Missouri.

 

In Ohio, brush fires spread along a state turnpike in Lorraine County that was fueled by strong wind gusts of 28 to 35 miles per hour.

In Tennessee, 9 brush fires have been contained by the Tennessee Forestry Service with three more burning.  The warm temperatures have contributed to the fire season in the region.  According to an article by the WBIR news channel, Tips to protect your home in wildfire season, “The fire threatened four cabins, after wind blew a campfire out of control. Pigeon Forge Fire Chief Tony Watson said if not for good maintenance of the rental properties, the buildings could have been lost.”  On the video, Watson talked about the importance of following Firewise principles as you maintain your home this spring season.

 

“It’s also important to keep flammable material out from underneath stilted buildings, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Ben Franklin, one of the first volunteer firemen in Firewisenfpalogo500our country said that,” said Chief Watson. “That’s where we’re at, that’s what is important -- getting that word out.”

NFPA’s Firewise® program has some great tools to help you prepare, including no cost catalogue materials, online learning opportunities and the Firewise Toolkit.  Wherever you live you can be Firewise!

 

Read more about the fire that burnt 400,000 acres in Oklahoma and Kansas and how wildfires are burning in atypical areas across the US.

FEMA Disaster Dec

Looking at the FEMA issued map of disaster declarations for the last 50 years, I realized that there is a lot more work and research that needs to be accomplished to help communities be more resilient.  What does it mean to be resilient? From a NIST statement, it is; “The ability of a community to prepare for anticipated hazards, adapt to changing conditions, and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions.”

 

The NIST report went on to state; "Over the last 10 years, natural disasters have caused, on average, $62 billion in damages and killed more than 550 people annually.  From 2011 to 2013, the federal government spent an estimated $136 billion on disaster relief." The message is a wake-up call for every community that we need to be better prepared to fare better in the event of a disaster.

Disaster Infographic

 

Wildfire is one event that can be prepared for predisaster.  According to a US Forest Service study, "Wildland fire and related natural disturbances continue to grow as major global threats to property, lives, and ecosystem integrity." The data from NIST state that more than 46 million homes and 77,000 communities in the US are at risk from wildfire.

 

So what can you do? Insurance industry leaders have looked at the data and recognized the value of living in a nationally recognized Firewise Community. NFPA's Firewise Communities program enables residents, firefighters, and community leaders have the information, education, and tools that they need to understand what their risk is and how they can best "mitigate" or work towards lessening their risk to loss from wildfire.  NFPA is currently offering two activities directed at residents and firefighters.

 

The first, National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, on May 7th and the second, FEMA funded Home Ignition Zone (HIZ) training for firefighters. These activities will give individuals the opportunity to learn about and implement wildfire preparedness principles. You can also refer to the Firewise website for success stories, no cost grant funded educational products, and tools that you will need to develop and grow your own nationally recognized Firewise Community.

mwearley

NEC Quarter Century Club

Posted by mwearley Employee Mar 23, 2016

At this year's NFPA Conference and Expo, we

 

At this year's NFPA Conference and Expo we will be welcoming 7 new members to the NEC Quarter Century Club. I want to thank them for devoting so much of their careers to the NEC. I also want to recognize all of the Quarter Century Club members for their dedication to the NEC. This is the list of all inductees and the year that they were inducted. Please excuse the formatting problems.


                                                                                                                       

 

National Electrical Code® Committee

Quarter Century Club Members

 

1998 Annual Meeting

2004 Annual Meeting

2013 Annual Meeting

Richard G. Biermann*

William R. Drake

Barry S. Bauman

Mel F. Borleis*

Thomas L. Harman

A. Wayne Brinkmeyer

Dale R. Deming

Joseph H. Kuczka

Douglas S. Erickson

        S.E. (Sandy) Egesdal

Robert L. Simpson

Stanley Kaufman

George W. Flach*

James A. Weldon

Daleep C. Mohla

Richard P. Fogarty

Donald W. Zipse

George  J. Ockuly

George T. Howard

Jean A. O’Connor (Honorary)

Mark  C. Ode

Thomas A. Jacoby

Kenneth E. Vannice

Kenneth E. Jannot

2007 Annual Meeting

Randall K. Wright

Allen F. Knickrehm*

Alonzo Ballard*

 

Edward C. Lawry

Andre Cartel

2016 Annual Meeting

Irving Mande*

Phil Cox

Timothy M. Croushore

Albert J. Reed

Mark Earley

Richard E. Loyd

Roger L. Sandstedt

Hugh Nash

Vincent J. Saporita

Charles B. Schram

Elliot Rappaport

Arthur E. Schlueter

Peter J. Schram

Phillip Simmons

Michael D. Skinner

John W. Troglia

 

Donald J. Talka

        D. Harold Ware

2010 Annual Meeting

Frederic P. Hartwell

Jack Wells

         James W. Carpenter

 

Bernard W. Whittington

         Robert Deaton

 

 

         William T. Fiske

 

2001 Annual Meeting

         Bruce A. Hopkins

 

Stanley D. Kahn*

         Kent Perkins

 

         L. Bruce McClung

         George A. Straniero

 

Saul Rosenbaum

         Raymond W. Weber

 

Ronald J. Toomer

         David B. Wechsler

 

John T. Weizeorick

 

 

Thomas H. Wood

 

 

Robert Yurkanin

 

 

*Deceased

mwearley

The Gold Roadrunner's Club

Posted by mwearley Employee Mar 18, 2016

The NEC® would not have been successful for 120 years if it were not for some great industry leaders who recognize that safe installations are only possible if the inspectors and installers are kept up-to-date with changes in the code. These communities often come together at meetings of IAEI. IAEI brings together inspectors, contractors, testing/certification organizations, NFPA and others to discuss code issues.

 

Since 1970, there has been a group of electrical experts who have traveled the country speaking at meetings about the NEC.. The meetings were primarily electrical inspectors meetings (IAEI). These NEC experts often traveled together, were dubbed “Roadrunners or circuit riders” and were entertainers and experts on the National Electrical Code. On October 20, 1970 at the IAEI Southern Section Meeting of the IAEI, MS "Dude" Parmley*, President of the Southern Section, with the support of IAEI Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, decided to honor the expert panel members with a Gold Road Runner Pin to honor these ten distinguished gentlemen. The original group of ten NEC experts who were presented with the gold Roadrunner pins were; Richard “Double L” Lloyd (UL)*, Kent Stiner (ITE
Imperial)*, Dan Boone (FPE)*, Ed Brand (EEI)*, Money Brandon (UL)*, Lou LeFehr (IAEI)*, Len Sessler (Bell laboratory)*, Frank Stetka (NFPA)*, Hank Watson
(Burndy)*, and John Watt (NFPA)*.   Later that same year at the Southwestern Section of IAEI in Fresno, CA Gold Roadrunner pins were awarded to Clem Baxter (Sylvania)*, Alan Reed (Daniel Woodhead)*, Ben Segall*, Dick Shaul (NEMA)*, Bill Summers (NFPA / IAEI) Colorado Springs CO, Jack Wells (Pass & Seymour) Pinehurst NC and Baron Whitaker (UL)*.

 

After the initial awards were made, it was decided by the new group of Roadrunner members that a formal fraternity would be formed with MS. "Dude" Parmley, as “master of ceremonies” and R.L. “Dick” “Double L” Lloyd as Chair and secretary.  Shortly after a small group of the Roadrunners was formed to set up guidelines and qualifications for membership as Gold Roadrunners. In 1992 M.S. “Dude” Parmley requested that the Roadrunners take responsibility for managing the Roadrunner organization from the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter. Dude stated he felt it was the right time to turn it over to the Roadrunner members. He and Richard L. “Double L” Lloyd then asked Richard E. “Single L” Loyd and his wife Nancy to have a new Roadrunner pin mold made and to oversee the Roadrunner organization. New Roadrunner members are nominated only by existing active members. The proposed new members are then voted on by
the existing active Roadrunners. A prospective new Roadrunner must receive the positive votes of all active Roadrunners to become a member.  Inductions of new Roadrunners are occur at the first IAEI Section meeting where the new member will be in attendance.  Over the years, the following Roadrunner members were inducted:

 

1977   Gene Carlton*

1980   Earl Roberts (GE)

1988   Artie O. Barker*

1991   Richard E. Loyd

1991   Charles Forsberg (Carlon)

1992   Harvey Johnson (FPE)*

1992   D. J. Clements (NEMA)*

1992   George Flach*

1995   Jim Pauley (Schneider Electric)

1995   J. Philip Simmons (IAEI)

2000   Philip H. Cox (NEMA)

2007   Mark Earley (NFPA)

2007   John Minick (NEMA)*

2008   Alan Manche (Schneider Electric)

2008   James Carpenter (IAEI)

2011   Charles F. “Chuck” Mello (UL)

2011   Mark C. Ode (NFPA / UL)

2014   Keith Lofland (IAEI)

2014   Vince Saporita (Eaton’s Bussman Business)

*Deceased

New Members

At the International Association Electrical Inspectors Southwestern Section’s 2015 annual meeting, it was my pleasure to introduce Mark Ode, Roadrunner recipient and member, to honor and present the prestigious Gold Roadrunner Pin Award to Michael J. Johnston with the assistance of other past recipients in attendance Chuck Mello, J Philip Simmons and Vince Saporita. Mike is NECA's Executive Director of Standards and Safety. He holds a BS in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. He is the Chairman of the NEC Correlating Committee and an Alternate on Code Making Panel 1. He served on NEC Code Making Panel 5 in 2002 and 2005, and was Chair of Code Making Panel 5 representing NECA for the 2011 NEC cycle. Among his responsibilities for managing the codes, standards, and safety functions for NECA, Mike is secretary of the NECA Codes and Standards Committee. He is a
member of the IBEW and is an active member of ANSI, IAEI, NFPA, SES, ASSE, ANSI-EVSP, ANSI-ESSCC, the UL Electrical Council, and the National Safety
Council, and is Vice Chair of the NFPA Electrical Section. Prior to joining NECA, Mike served as the director of training at IAEI. Prior to IAEI, He worked
as an electrical inspector for the City of Phoenix. At the IAEI Southern Section’s 2015 annual meeting, Mark Earley, Roadrunner recipient and member,  was asked to honor and present the prestigious Gold Roadrunner Pin Award to Jeff Sargent with the assistance of other past recipients in attendance Jim Carpenter, Mark Ode,
Keith Lofland, and Vince Saporita. Jeff is NFPA’s Regional Electrical Code Specialist, serving the geographic areas as the Eastern and Southern Sections
of IAEI. He previously served as a senior electrical specialist at NFPA, as staff liaison to several NFPA technical committees, including Electrical Safety
in the Workplace (NFPA 70E), Electrical Equipment Maintenance (NFPA 70B), and Emergency Power Supplies (NFPA 110 AND 111). He was managing editor for the 2011 NEC Handbook and was an editor for the 2002, 2005, and 2008 editions. He was formerly executive secretary for the NFPA Electrical Section. He is the
coauthor of the Electrical Inspection Manual with Checklists and NEC Q and A. Prior to joining NFPA in 1997, he served as an electrical inspector in New Hampshire state and municipal inspection agencies. He also served as an instructor in the electrical program at the New Hampshire Technical College. Mr. Sargent is a licensed master electrician and a member of IAEI.

 

Both Mike and Jeff have both presented educational programs on the code and have participated in the development of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Both are active members of IAEI and both have presented at numerous IAEI meetings across the USA.

 

Richard E. Loyd, Master of Ceremonies and Secretary

Mark C. Ode, Member

Mark W. Earley, Member

120th
Birthday of the National Electrical Code®

 

Today, March 18, 2016 is the 120th birthdayof the National Electrical Code. The first official meeting was held at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in New York City on March 18-19, 1896. The meeting was attended by 23 people, representing the major electrical industry interests in the U.S. at the time. It was truly the infancy of the electrical industry. It was also the infancy of the infrastructure of transportation. How did those who attended the first NEC meeting get there?  Would it have been a Ford Trimotor?  Hardly, the Wright brothers would not fly near Kitty Hawk, NC until 7 years later.  So they were confined to ground transportation.  But what kind?  Henry Ford was still working as a mechanical engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company.  He would test his quadricycle 2 ½ months later. He would not found his auto company until 7 years later.  There was limited train service.  So transportation options were limited. The weather forecast was for March 18, 1896 was for snow mixed with rain.  Instead, it turned out to be a bright sunny day.  This turned the streets into slush.  Yet, the importance of their mission motivated these people to brave the cold. 

 

It had only been 17 years since Edison introduced his incandescent light bulb and 20 years since Alexander Graham Bell received his patent.  Imagine what a remarkable time it was, many of the revered names of engineering where alive (Edison, Ford, Bell, Wright & Wright, Tesla, and Armstrong). The electrical industry was in its infancy, but growing rapidly.  Questions were arising about the safety of electricity.   In the electrified mills of New England, electrical fires were becoming commonplace.  The Associated Factory Mutual Fire Insurance Companies reported 23 fires in 65 insured textile mills in New England.  Frequent electrical fires at the Palace of Electricity at Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition caused many to wonder if electricity could be used safely (Bezane, P.5). Bezane noted that “A rash of fires had plagued major American cities throughout the 1890s. “Better buildings” said a member of the National Board of Fire Underwriters are “burning in a greater ratio than ever before…and there are mysterious causes at work that we do not understand. I believe the cause to be electricity” (P.6). A large part of the problem was the lack of standards.  As one of the early participants in standards activities noted:

“We were without standards and inspectors, while manufacturers were without experience and a knowledge of real installation needs.  The workmen frequently created the standards as they worked, and rarely did two men think alike.”

 

The losses concerned Factory Mutual so much that they established their own electrical
requirements in order to stem the heavy losses from electrical fires.  Other insurance organizations such as the New
York Board of Fire Underwriters and the New England Fire Insurance Exchange
were also establishing electrical requirements.
At the time, governmental inspection departments were rare.  Most inspectors came from the insurance industry.

 

By 1896, five sets of electrical rules were in existence in the United States.  As a result there was disagreement, and controversy.  It was a real problem for manufacturers who had to manufacture different products for different markets due to differing rules.

 

Everyone recognized a need for rules.  They also believed that the rules had to be universal. So, in the words of Merwin “Money” Brandon, former President of Underwriters Laboratories,

 

“the competing groups had the intelligence to submerge their differences and begin to work together for some program that was of mutual benefit to themselves and the public.” 

 

Professor Francis B. Crocker of Columbia University a member of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (now IEEE) is credited with organizing the first meeting.  The Group elected a chair from the National Electric Light Association (EEI) Mr. William J. Hammer and a Secretary from Factory Mutual, Mr. C.J.H. Woodbury, who was representing the American Bell Telephone Company during the meeting.  Each of the representatives was invited because they came from an organization that was national in scope.  Some guests of smaller organizations also participated, but the national view was what the committee sought.  A Celebrity at the meeting was the founder of Underwriters Laboratories, William Henry Merrill.  In fact over the years, four presidents of UL served as chair of the NEC!

 

During his acceptance speech, the chairman cut to the chase with the comment:

 

“I desire to express my heartiest appreciation of my election as permanent chairman of the important gathering and I certainly trust that we have taken a decisive step towards the securing of the much to be desired result of having one national code which will meet the full approval of the electrical, insurance and allied interests.” 

 

The Second speaker, C. H. Wilmerding the president of the National Electric Light Association echoed these sentiments with the comment:

 

“It is undoubtedly a very desirable thing that a national code of rules be adopted.”

 

Those present at that first meeting recognized that each of the existing codes had merits, but their approaches were different.  In order to be universal, the code had to incorporate the best of each of those codes. 

 

There were several areas of discussion and controversy during that first meeting, including

 

-AC vs. DC for lighting and power systems-As you may recall there was a major dispute between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, over which was the most practical and which was the safest.

 

-The tapping of street lighting circuits for lighting of buildings.

 

-The installation and operation of telephone and telegraph equipment.

 

-Problems associated with marble and slate materials in the construction of switchboards

 

-The use of bare copper conductors as fuses or fusible alloy wires to protect circuits.

 

-The temperature limits assigned to conductors.  It was suggested that the limit should be based on the maximum temperature at which the hand could be closed on the conductor insulation.

 

-The ampacity of conductors, an issue heavily discussed and debated in recent codes.

 

The founding fathers of the code also recognized that there were efforts offshore that were also worthy of consideration.  The code that evolved therefore also incorporated some rules from the German Code as well as two sets of rules from England: the Rules of the Board of Trade and the Phoenix Rules.

 

It was recognized that the rules had to be safe as well as practical.  Recognizing that compliance with the rules would be the basis for determining insurability Mr. F.W. Jones of the postal telegraph company noted:

 

“We are here to take the most enlightened stand on the subject.  If people do not take risks, and do not build shops, and put in electric wire, there will be no money to pay insurance premiums.  If you are going to put up high standards, where the cost of the installation and wiring will be very great, it will stagnate the whole business, as the Board of Trade did in London where they made their rules so conservative.”

 

Recognizing the need for public review and consensus.  They distributed the code to 1200 individuals in The U. S. And Europe before they met again in 1897 to finalize the document.

 

From the very beginning, it was recognized that no one individual or industry segment possessed all of the answers.  Representation would be needed from all affected segments.  Today those segments are categorized as:

 

Enforcers

Manufacturers

Contractors

Labor

Insurance

Users

Utilities

Research/Testing

Special Experts

 

The broad involvement of interested parties is based on the democratic principle that those who are governed by the rules should also make the rules.  The Code was well received and new editions followed every two years as technology changed. After 15 years of Code development under the Underwriters National Electrical Association, the association was dissolved and the Code was turned over to the National Fire Protection Association.  That was in 1911.  NFPA has published the NEC continuously for the 84 years since.  We have published 45 of the 53 editions and supplements.

 

The 1920 edition was the first edition to become an ASA Standard (ANSI). For a while, it was identified as ASA C1. With the ASA adoption, more public review was incorporated to ensure, in the words of former Chairman Alvah Small “that the stillest smallest voice must be heard.”  This is a principle that lives on today. Today, it is designated as ANSI/NFPA70 and it still has its original title. 

 

The NEC touches the lives of all Americans.  It not only is the basis for the premises wiring rules, but most of the electrical product standards reference it, because the product standards are based on installation in accordance with the NEC. 

 

Since 1953, the NEC has been revised every three years in order to stay abreast of the rapidly changing electrical industry, as well as to take advantage of the collective experience of electrical professionals. The code-making panels include many electrical industry experts who make sure that the code addresses the industry’s need for safe and up-to-date electrical installation practices. We will soon be releasing a new edition which promises to address new industry concerns, including large scale PV systems, energy storage, stand-alone electrical systems, and microgrids. 

 

Because you are reading this, you are probably an electrical professional. You should be proud of what your industry has achieved over the past 120 years. You have created an infrastructure that is the safest in the world. Thanks for your support of the NEC!

 

References

 

Bezane, N (1994).
This inventive century-the incredible journal of Underwriters laboratories,
Underwriters Laboratories, Northbrook, IL

 

Brandon, M.W.
(1971). The National Electrical Code and Free Enterprise (a history), National
Fire Protection Association, Boston, MA.

 

Minutes of first
meeting of the National Conference on Standard Electrical Rules (1896).

Join us on April 18, 2016 at the Holiday Inn Munich - City Centre in Munich, Germany for an in-depth review of the latest emerging issues important to the global fire protection community. NFPA and the Fire Protection Research Foundation present a one-day symposium on recent global research to address the challenges of today and tomorrow.  The program includes presentations about intelligent building design, tall wood buildings, lithium-ion batteries, big data for fire protection, and much more.  Additional details and a full program can be found on our website: www.nfpa.org/munich.

 

The symposium will take place the day before Fire Sprinkler International 2016 which is being held April 19-20 at the same hotel.

 

Regular rate is $395 USD. A special rate of $350 USD applies for those who are also attending Fire Sprinkler International 2016.

 

Register now to reserve your spot for this important global symposium.

Joseph M. Fleming, Boston Fire Department, argues that we don’t.  In his presentation at SupDet 2016, “Improving Data Collection of Smoke Alarms in Fires,” Fleming points out the investigators may be prone to bias, assuming fire alarms did or didn’t go off based on their expectations regarding survival likelihood.  If no one escapes, they might simply assume that the alarm was not triggered.  Investigators may even code the NFIRS Detector Operation Field as “failed to operate” or “undetermined” based on their assumptions despite witness testimony to the contrary.  Regarding the “Detector Failure Reason” coding, he states, “Most fire chiefs are not trained to make this determination. When this form is being filled out right after a fire, how would the fire chief know if the victim was impaired or deaf?  What if the victim was alerted but alerted after it was too late?”  All of these may lead to bad data and thus to incorrect conclusions.

DSC02076

Fleming recommends working to improve our data and the consistency/accuracy of coding, as well as applying data analysis to fire fatalities in different areas, keeping in mind their different requirements, to shed light on the number of flaming vs. smoldering fires, the number of furniture fires, the efficacy of smoke detectors, and other issues.

 

This echoes the calls we’ve heard throughout the week, most particularly at Workshop on Big Data and Fire Protection Systems, for better data combined with robust algorithms to help us tease out patterns and solutions which will allow us to make the best evidence based recommendations.

 

To access the SupDet 2016 presentations and papers, please visit the proceedings website

Remembering When is a fire and fall prevention program for older adults developed by NFPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is designed to help older adults live safely at home as long as possible. There are sixteen key messages, eight related to fire prevention and eight related to fall prevention, developed by experts from national and local safety organizations as well as through focus group testing in high-fire-risk states. The program is intended to be led by members of the fire service in their local communities. Remembering When offers flexibility to form a coalition of professionals and volunteers who assist with the group presentations and home visit delivery as well. Coalition partners include service clubs, social and religious organizations, and retirement communities. Coalition members determine the best way to implement program components based on the unique needs of the community.

NFPA wanted to evaluate the program to determine the program’s efficacy, as well as identify any areas where the program could be improved and so the Fire Protection Research Foundation initiated this pilot project studying five communities in Iowa, to do that.

Download the report, "Pilot Evaluation of the Remembering When™ Program in Five Communities in Iowa" authored by Carri Casteel, Ph.D., Rebecca Bruening, and Sato Ashida, Ph.D., with the University of Iowa.

Every Friday I will be highlighting a topic contained in NFPA 1, Fire Code, or an issue currently being considered by the Fire Code Technical Committee during this revision cycle.

 

NFPA 1 addresses many areas of fire and life safety for nearly all occupancies and facilities. It provides minimum levels of protection needed to provide for life safety from fire to building occupants, property protection, and enhanced emergency responder safety.

 

Let's start with indoor children's play structures.  Why?  Well, I am a mom, and it's winter in New England, and indoor play areas seem to be on my horizon.  I have seen many facilities featuring these play structures pop up recently, and safety is paramount.

 

Section 10.19 of NFPA 1 addresses these indoor play structures that exceed 10 ft in height and 160 ft2 in area.  Think places such as a McDonald's PlayPlace or this.

 

With foams, and plastics and composite materials, these play structures can account for a very high fuel load in a relatively small area.  They accommodate children and other occupants that are unfamiliar with their surroundings and may need assistance to evacuate.  NFPA 1 provisions focus on the materials used for the construction of these indoor play structures.  Per NFPA 1, it is required that they be constructed out of noncombustible materials, or combustible materials complying with one of the options provided in Section 10.19.1.1.  Even balls used in ball pools/ball pits must comply with a specified heat release rate.  Additional provisions are listed in Section 10.19.1.2 for when light-transmitting plastics are used.

 

There is also a requirement for the separation of indoor play structures from one another and as well as a size limitation.  The size limitation of 300 ft2 can be increased where approved by the local AHJ.

 

For addition details, please refer to the 2015 edition of NFPA 1, Fire Code,  which can be viewed for free at www.nfpa.org/1 or NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, 2015 edition, sections 12.4.8 and 13.4.8.

 

Kristin Bigda

Principal Fire Protection Engineer, NFPA