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August 23, 2011 Previous day Next day

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 struck this afternoon near Washington, DC, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. reports that the epicenter was in Mineral, VA.

Online news reports say residents up and down the east coast of the United States felt the tremor (including here at NFPA headquarters, located just south of Boston). quotes earthquake experts as saying that aftershocks may still occur. No reports of major damage or injury have been reported.

Supplies kit Did you know that 45 states and U.S. territories are at moderate to high risk for earthquakes? Check out NFPA's fact sheet on earthquake preparedness, including steps you should take before, during, and after an earthquake. You should also consider creating a family disaster supplies kit so that you and your loved ones will be prepared in the event of a disaster. Here's NFPA's list of items that should go into your kit.

- Mike Hazell

PS: Did you feel the quake? Tell us about it in the COMMENTS section below.

Stop Drop and Roll 
Photo: Andrea Melendez/The Register

During a special event at the Iowa State Fair this past Sunday, there was an attempt to set a record for the most people simultaneously performing "Stop, Drop, and Roll". And according to a report in the Des Moines Register, the attempt unofficially exceeded the current world record by almost 1,000 participants.

Visit our Fire Prevention Week blog to learn more about this record-breaking event, the correct procedure for "Stop, Drop, and Roll", and links to free fire safety education materials.


Dr. John Hall, director of NFPA's Fire Analysis and Research Division, will discuss NFPA's recently-released "Third Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service" in a free webinar on August 24. In the webinar, sponsored by the Congressional Fire Service Institute, Dr. Hall will discuss important findings from the report that demonstrate how the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and Staffing For Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) are addressing the needs of fire departments.

The free webinar will take place on August 24 from 2:00-2:45 pm (EST). To register, please e-mail by 12:00 pm on August 24.

Also: Download a free copy of NFPA's "Third Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service".

Massapequa_rooming-house Early in the morning of August 23, 1986, a fire began on the front porch of a rooming house located in  Massapequa, New York. ven though the facility had operated for over 10 years, it was not licensed, and consequently, no inspections had been conducted. This fire claimed 5 lives in total (4 that night, and one more several weeks later).

The Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office determined that the fire was incendiary, and within 24 hours of the fire, a former resident of the rooming house was arrested and charged with 4 counts of murder and 1 count of arson. Other significant factors contributing to the loss of this life in this incident included:

  • Delayed detection of the fire due to inadequate fire detection system
  • The combustibility of the interior finish
  • A delay in notifying the fire department

Members can download the full investigation report, as well as an article about the incident that appeared in Fire Command. Members can also download a full report about fires in Rooming and Boarding houses. If you’re not yet an NFPA member, consider joining, access to our research is just one benefit.

-Ben Evarts

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