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The NFPA Standards Council met on April 4-5, 2017 in Naples, FL. At the meeting, some of the items below were addressed by the Council:

 

  • act on the issuance of a proposed TIA on NFPA 70
  • review new projects/documents on preparedness and response to active shooter scenarios and incidents; and electrical inspector professional qualifications
  • consider a request from the Committee to enter NFPA 1082, Standard for Facilities Safety Directory Professional Qualifications, into the Annual 2019 revision cycle
  • consider requests from Committees to change revision cycle schedules and committee scopes
  • act on pending applications for committee membership

 

Read the Council's preliminary minutes for all the results of items addressed at the meeting.

 

The NFPA Standards Council is a 13-person committee appointed by the NFPA Board of Directors that oversees the Association's codes and standards development activities, administers the rules and regulations, and acts as an appeals body. The Council administers about 250 NFPA Technical Committees and their work on nearly 300 documents addressing topics of importance to the built environment.

Fires in structures under construction

Ever wonder how many fires occur in structures that are under construction, undergoing renovation, or being demolished? Are there deaths or injuries that occur in these structures? What would be the causes of ignition or leading causes of fires? Well, we have those answers and more in our new Fires in Structures Under Construction, Undergoing Major Renovation, or Being Demolished report! This new NFPA report states that U.S fire departments respond to an estimated average of 3,750 fires in structures under construction each year, 2,560 fires in structures undergoing major renovation, and another 2,130 in structures being demolished. 

 

Did you know?

In structures under construction, cooking equipment was responsible for the largest share of fires (27%).

 

 

This report will answer your questions relating to:

  • Leading causes of fire
  • Extent of flame damage
  • Causes of ignition
  • Equipment involved in ignition
  • How many civilian deaths and injuries occurred

And much more!

 

Click on the link above to view the report!

We are a little over a month away from the 2017 NFPA Conference & Expo to be held this year in Boston, MA...NFPA's backyard! Following completion of the Public Input and Public Comment stages, there is further opportunity for debate and discussion of issues through the NFPA Technical Meeting that takes place at the NFPA Conference & Expo® each June. This year, the Technical Meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 7 and NFPA 1, Fire Code, will be up for discussion by the membership.

 

Prior to being on the agenda at the Technical Meeting, a document has to receive a NITMAM (those that do not go to the end of the process and are issued as consent documents by NFPA's Standards Council in advance).  NITMAMs are a accepted on portions of the Second Draft Report for the 5 weeks following the posting of the report. NITMAMs are then thoroughly reviewed and valid motions are certified by the Motions Committee for presentation at the NFPA Technical Meeting.  The NFPA membership then hears the issue, discusses and debates the issue and a vote is taken by the membership.  Any successful NFPA 1 motion would then be forwarded to the NFPA 1 Technical Committee for their vote as well. These are all steps in the standards development process to ensure that an issued code or standard is truly a consent document.

 

NFPA 1 received a total of six NITMAMs which were combined into five separate and certified motions.  The motions address topics including mass notification systems, animal housing facilities, integrated fire protection systems, and storage of combustible materials. Each of these motions will be presented to the membership at the meeting:

 

 

The full Motions Committee report is posted for public access in several different location on the NFPA website.  The report contains the Certified Amending Motions that may be presented at the Technical Meeting.  The motions may only be presented at the meeting and considered by the membership if a person authorized to make the motion or their Designated Representative appears no later than one hour before the beginning of the session.

 

The report presents each set of motions, by document, in an overview table (shown above), followed by additional details about each motion including the resulting code text if the motion passes or fails, (example shown below). The report is in order by document number, so NFPA 1 is easily found at the front!  Each motion presented in the overview is assigned a sequence number and a NITMAM log number.  The sequence number is the order in which the motions will be heard and the NITMAM log number is the number given to the original NITMAM in the order in which it was received.  Each motion also shows the section reference from the Code, the name of the person authorized to make the motion at the meeting, the recommended action of the motion and the page of the report which included the details about each motion.

 

 

The NFPA Technical Meeting is an important step in the standards development process as it provides the opportunity for those NFPA members to voice their opinion on important issues facing debate on NFPA's top codes and standards.

 

Will you be attending NFPA's Conference & Expo?  Are you an NFPA member planning to attend the Technical Meeting?  We hope to see you there!

 

Thanks for reading and happy Friday!  Stay safe!

NFPA warmly welcomed a Chinese delegation on Tuesday, as the Association looks to deepen ties with our counterparts in China. Don Bliss, Olga Caledonia, and Guy Colonna met with Mr. Liu Xuefeng, accompanied by NFPA representative in China, Yuanjing Liu, to discuss opportunities within the Chinese first responder and enforcer communities.

 

From left to right: Guy Colonna, Liu Xuefeng, Jim Pauley, Olga Caledonia, Don Bliss, and Yuanjing Liu

From left to right: Guy Colonna, Liu Xuefeng, Jim Pauley, Olga Caledonia, Don Bliss, and Yuanjing Liu

 

Much of the discussion focused on the changing dynamics of fire safety in China, and the necessary response of the fire service.  Association members took this opportunity to learn more about the changing safety environment on the ground, as Mr. Liu explained the massive growth that has propelled China to become the world’s second largest economy:

 

“It has been a population explosion”, he says.  “In another 30 years, it will be a different country.  Developments in the fire service can’t catch up.”

 

Currently, China has 200 academies providing training on prevention and inspections, with three main regional academies dedicated to first responders. These facilities have trained over 170,000 fire service military professionals throughout the country, and tens of thousands more private citizens will soon enroll to bolster man power.

 

Mr. Liu leads a fact-finding mission to inform these important national initiatives, at the request of the China Fire Protection Association (CFPA).  His visit to Quincy was just part of a US tour, following a stop at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD.  After the successful meeting with NFPA staff, Mr. Liu departed for the Midwest, with stops at FDIC in Indianapolis and the Illinois Institute of Technology.

 

The Chinese delegation offered unique insight into the future of the fire service in China.  Yuanjing Liu is a retired colonel from the China Fire Service, and over the past fifteen years she has continued her work through her relationship with NFPA.  Mr. Liu’s path to this partnership began in Chinese politics, and has since led to leadership positions both within the CFPA and the Beijing Fire Protection Association.  He has also led a successful PPE company, Yingtelai Technical Co. 

 

The CFPA partnership stands amongst the oldest and strongest NFPA collaborations in Asia.  This recent meeting keeps our fingers on the pulse of one of the world’s most dynamic countries, and looks to open exciting opportunities this year and beyond.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) for NFPA 30A, Code for Motor Fuel Dispensing Facilities and Repair Garages, is being published for public review and comment:

 

 

Anyone may submit a comment on this proposed TIA by the June 15, 2017 closing date. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.

NFPA is continuing its efforts to provide data solutions to the enforcement community. This week we launched Phase II training of “PIP” - a tool for Property Inspection Prioritization. PIP uses an artificial intelligence approach – in other words, it is based on the collective wisdom of those in the enforcement community who have agreed to participate in its training. In the past few months, we have successfully completed our “Round 1” training and testing. Preliminary tests showed that “PIP” is an effective decision assist tool to help AHJ’s prioritize fire inspections based on multiple risk factors. To ensure the PIP tool is robust and reliable, we have reached out to the members of the International Fire Marshals Association (IFMA) to further refine and train the tool.

IFMA members who participate will be presented with 50 randomly generated “test” properties that need to be inspected. Each property will have varying levels of risk factors. Based on their expertise and experience, they will choose the 20 properties that have the highest priority need for inspection, based on risk. The “PIP” tool “learns” from these choices.

The result will be a decision support tool for enforcers who are faced with these decisions every day. We welcome your feedback; contact the NFPA PIP team at pip@nfpa.org.

NFPA has issued the following errata on NFPA 1983Standard on Life Safety Rope and Equipment for Emergency Services:NFPA 1983

  • NFPA 1983, Errata 1983-17-2, referencing various sections of Chapter 5 of the 2017 edition, issued on April 25, 2017

An errata is a correction issued to an NFPA Standard, published in NFPA News, Codes Online, and included in any further distribution of the document.

In honor of National Poetry Month, we thought we would share something from the September 1971 issue of NFPA's Fire Journal:

 

Ode To NFPA

 

 

For more information on NFPA and fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Library

The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic. Library staff are available to answer reference questions from members and the general public.

History shows that confined space operations are an extremely dangerous activity for the fire service. The danger starts when firefighters and responders don’t recognize the presence of or hazards within a confined space and enter without appropriate atmospheric monitoring and equipment.  In many cases, the rescuer then becomes the victim.  Last evening’s episode of Chicago Fire brought this issue to the forefront showing how taking shortcuts when entering confined spaces can lead to fatal consequences. These events do not just take place on television, they occur regularly in real life. (See my previous blog: “Three die in confined space and firefighter in critical condition”.)

 

Recognizing the continuing hazard for the fire services, NFPA will soon be offering a free Confined Space training for fire service professionals designed to raise awareness and understanding about the risks associated with confined spaces in May 2017.

 

In the meantime, login or register for Xchange today to download the NFPA 350 Fact Sheet to keep as a reference – and by downloading, you will receive an invitation to the free training when it’s available.

 


 

 

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has created a new animated video to bring attention to the organization’s Serve Strong program and raise awareness about contamination and cancer in the fire service. The video is the second developed by NVFC. The first NVFC video, focused on being fit for the role of firefighter, received excellent feedback and garnered nearly 100,000 views on Facebook.

 

The challenges that firefighters face are daunting. Maintaining optimal safety and wellness is key for firefighters and EMTs. Serve Strong offers training and resources to support first responders so that they can be strong and healthy. The initiative is centered around the premise that the health and safety choices that firefighters make impact themselves, their departments and the communities that they serve.

 

Share this video to make others aware of some simple steps that will go a long way in preventing firefighter contamination and cancer.

Earlier this week, NFPA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Corpo de Bombeiros da Polícia Militar do Estado de São Paulo (CBPMESP). CBPMESP is the leading public safety institution in the state of São Paulo with the resources needed to carry out fire and life safety programs, fire investigations and risk reduction. They are able to respond based on practices, procedures, up-to-date protocols and the ability to meet the changing demands of the state of São Paulo.

 

"NFPA has had a relationship with the SPFD for over 15 years and we are honored to not only formalize our longstanding collaboration via this MOU, but strengthen our fire safety efforts by supporting public education and enforcement programs here,” NFPA President Jim Pauley told SPFD leader, Cel. Cassio Roberto Armani. The two organizations are committed to the advancement of fire protection and fire prevention practices; and share a goal of promoting effective fire safety outcomes locally and internationally. The MOU signed this week establishes an overarching framework to advance fire safety in São Paulo.


As is the case in many corners of the world, NFPA will share guidance, research, resources, best practices and lessons learned from global stakeholders to CBPMESP. The agreement encourages the exchange of relevant fire, emergency and incident data, as well as training programs to help reduce risk and enhance fire safety.

NFPA works internationally with organizations, governments and businesses sharing technical and educational information about fire, electrical and related hazards. Anderson Queiroz, NFPA’s representative for Brazil, is based in Rio de Janeiro and available to assist local stakeholders.

 

A number of NFPA codes are translated into different languages and NFPA has Chapters in Argentina, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. NFPA offers training in Spanish throughout the region, and fire and electrical safety information is also shared via NFPA Journal Latinoamericano®, a bilingual magazine published in Spanish and Portuguese.

My two-week hiatus from #101Wednesdays had me teaching the Life Safety Code Essentials seminar in Atlanta the first week, and on vacation last week (if you can call chasing a couple tweens around hot, crowded theme parks for five days a “vacation”) – both experiences contributed to today’s installment. (This was my view as I waited to enter one of said theme parks – woo hoo!)

 

 

It’s all about context.

 

It might seem rudimentary to some, but I see enough people trying to use the Code this way that it warrants a blog post. Let’s say you have an existing five-story building with two exit stairs, each enclosed with 1-hour fire barriers and 45-minute rated doors. You want to determine if this arrangement complies with the 2015 edition of NFPA 101, so you go to the index and look up ‘Enclosures, Exit’, which directs you to 7.1.3.2. There you see 7.1.3.2.1(3):

 

(3)*The separation shall have a minimum 2-hour fire resistance

rating where the exit connects four or more stories,

unless one of the following conditions exists:

(a) In existing non-high-rise buildings, existing exit

stair enclosures shall have a minimum 1-hour fire

resistance rating…

 

Since your building is existing and you determine it does not meet the definition of ‘high-rise’, 1-hour enclosures are sufficient. So far so good. Now what about those 45-minute doors?

 

Back to the index and under the entry for ‘Fire door assemblies’ you find a reference to Table 8.3.4.2, Minimum Fire Ratings for Opening Protectives in Fire Resistance-Rated Assemblies and Fire-Rated Glazing Markings. The table provides the minimum fire protection ratings for opening protectives in fire barriers having various fire resistance ratings and applications. In the row for ‘Vertical shafts (including stairways, exits and refuse chutes)’ and 1-hour walls and partitions, you find an entry indicating 1-hour fire door assemblies are required. Looks like those 45-minute rated doors need to be replaced with 1-hour doors. In a five-story building with two stairs, you’re looking at something like ten doors – not necessarily an inexpensive proposition.

 

Or are you? This example is based on an activity the students complete in the seminar, and about nine times out of ten, this is the answer they come up with. My response is always, “You can’t use the Code with blinders on. How did you get to Table 8.3.4.2?” In many cases it’s via the index. However, the index is only informational; it points to relevant Code sections. There is nothing mandatory about the index. A table or figure in an NFPA code means nothing until a mandatory code paragraph sends you to the table or figure – typically the paragraph with the corresponding number. If you look at paragraph 8.3.4.2, you find:

 

8.3.4.2* The fire protection rating for opening protectives in

fire barriers, fire-rated smoke barriers, and fire-rated smoke

partitions shall be in accordance with Table 8.3.4.2, except as

otherwise permitted in 8.3.4.3 or 8.3.4.4.

 

This is the mandatory requirement that tells you opening protectives need to meet the ratings provided in Table 8.3.4.2. But what about, “except as otherwise permitted in 8.3.4.3 or 8.3.4.4?” Let’s take a look:

 

8.3.4.3 Existing fire door assemblies having a minimum

34-hour fire protection rating shall be permitted to continue

to be used in vertical openings and in exit enclosures

in lieu of the minimum 1-hour fire protection rating required

by Table 8.3.4.2.

 

We can stop there, because 8.3.4.3 gives us the answer: existing ¾-hour, or 45-minute fire door assemblies are permitted in existing 1-hour exit enclosures. If you went straight to Table 8.3.4.2 without looking at paragraph 8.3.4.2 (and subsequently 8.3.4.3), you might have needlessly spent a bunch of money replacing a bunch of perfectly acceptable fire doors without gaining a whole lot of additional protection. Don’t read the Code with blinders on. Look at every requirement in context.

 

Here’s another example, based on a question I had in the office yesterday. You want to determine if your new building needs elevator lobbies, so again, the index entry for ‘Elevator lobby’ points to 7.2.13.3:

 

7.2.13.3 Elevator Lobby. Every floor served by the elevator

shall have an elevator lobby. Barriers forming the elevator

lobby shall have a minimum 1-hour fire resistance rating and

shall be arranged as a smoke barrier in accordance with Section

8.5.

 

Looks like you’ll be constructing rated elevator lobbies with rated doors on every floor level. But are they really needed? If you look at the heading of 7.2.13, it reads, “Elevators in Towers.” The provisions of 7.2.13, including 7.2.13.3, are specific to elevators serving as a second means of egress from towers, such as airport traffic control towers. This is a unique application and elevator lobbies are not generally required by NFPA 101 in typical buildings. Again, applying a code provision out of context could have unnecessarily cost a lot of money.

 

And what does all this have to do with my vacation? On the plane ride home, I watched “La La Land.” Remember the movie that won the Oscar for Best Picture for about 90 seconds? Despite Warren Beatty's obvious befuddlement, he let Faye Dunaway read what was on the card: “La La Land.” But the card also said “Emma Stone,” and at the bottom in teeny-tiny print it read, “Best Actress.” Oops. You’ve got to read the fine print. Don’t put blinders on. Think of the big picture (not the Best Picture - that's different).

 

It’s all about context.

 

(By the way, I highly recommend “La La Land.” It probably deserved to be Best Picture for at least two minutes.)

 

Thanks for reading. Until next time, stay safe!

 

Got an idea for a topic for a future #101Wednesdays? Post it in the comments below – I’d love to hear your suggestions!

 

Did you know NFPA 101 is available to review online for free? Head over to www.nfpa.org/101 and click on “Free access to the 2015 edition of NFPA 101.”

 

Follow me on Twitter: @NFPAGregH

For the past few months, NFPA has hosted a series of videos to help explain the significant changes to the 2017 edition of NFPA 70: National Electrical Code (NEC) that impacts the electrical industry as a whole, as well as the work you do every day. Many of you have told us how valuable this series is, that the information contained in each of the videos has not only helped you to perform your jobs more efficiently, but it has in effect, helped you to advance electrical safety in the process.

 

That’s why I’m pleased to tell you that the entire NEC changes video series is now available any time you need to revisit a topic or if you want to watch a video for the first time. Whether you’re looking for changes to the code relating to residential or commercial installations, alternative energy technologies, electrical vehicle supply equipment, limited energy and communications systems or special occupancies, or maybe your focus is on the five new articles in the 2017 NEC not covered by previous code editions, you’ll now be able to access this NEC video series easily, and in one place, here on our Xchange platform.

 

 

If you haven’t registered for Xchange yet, you can do so today. Look for the login link above to login or register for your free account. Many of you have already expressed an interest in using the platform, and still many more have actually utilized Xchange to ask questions, start conversations and collaborate with expert staff and peers. As your partner in electrical safety, NFPA is here to support you and the work you do every day. Visit Xchange today and find out what the platform can do for you.

This week I participated in the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Connected Buildings Forum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was an opportunity for NEMA members to learn from related industry speakers about the internet of things and its connection to their business.  I was asked to kick off the Forum by presenting NFPA’s vision of the opportunities that connected buildings present to enhance fire safety.  Using the Research Foundation’s Smart Fire Fighting Roadmap as a starting point, I structured my presentation around four key areas with examples of opportunities in each. Here are some highlights:

 

  • fire prevention – how building data (from BIM and other systems) can identify high risk structures for community risk reduction programs and to improve fire protection system inspection, testing and maintenance;
  • fire protection – how information from embedded building sensors could improve the performance and durability of both active and passive fire protection systems
  • fire mitigation/fire fighting – how real time sensor data can provide information for pre-planning, firefighting tactics, situational awareness and even firefighter health and safety
  • fire forensics – how building performance data can inform fire investigation and lead to improvements to fire safety codes and design methods.

 

NFPA has a good story to tell in terms of the resources we already offer on this topic.  I pointed to our electrical and building codes, our data exchange, and our fire service-related standards as examples of how to make the connection a reality. I talked about the Research Foundation’s work to enhance these standards and to highlight the smart home and smart firefighting issue. I also talked about our Data Analytics Sandbox and National Fire Data System projects which are leading the data exchange activities in our community.

 

If we are going to benefit from the connected buildings movement, we have to continue to reach out to organizations outside the fire community to show others the potential for these technologies to interconnect and enhance safety in a multitude of ways.

Boston Globe photo

 

It was great to see that Commissioner Joe Finn of the Boston Fire Department (BFD) was recognized by the Metro Chiefs as Fire Chief of the Year. The honor was bestowed on him during the recent Metro Chiefs Annual Conference in Orlando.

 

As you may know Commissioner Finn is a passionate and articulate advocate, who has made significant strides in raising awareness about the terrible toll cancer has taken on the fire service. Drawing from his own personal experience where he has seen many of his colleagues fall prey to this dreadful disease at an early age, Finn’s leadership team has taken the initiative to transform the Boston Fire Department. BFD is establishing itself as a nationally recognized leader in the advancement of firefighter health and safety.

 

Whether it's looking for and securing the latest equipment; revising department operating procedures; holding command officers accountable for fire ground behaviors; or working with top researchers both from Boston and across the globe; Commissioner Finn has left no stone unturned in his push to reduce firefighter exposure.

 

The Metro Chiefs made a fine choice in selecting Commissioner Joe Finn for this honor; his commitment to the city he has spent his whole career protecting and defending is commendable. Finn is a great example of modern leadership – a veteran with extensive firefighting skills and the command presence to match the most challenging of events.

We look forward to continuing our support of Commissioner Finn as he leads Boston Fire and champions the health and wellbeing of fire service members.

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