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FireFighterNation logo An interview with our EV trainer Jason Emery was featured on, part of the FireRescue magazine network. The article and interview include a great summary of the potential challenges posed by electric vehicles and outline resources available to first responders through NFPA’s EV Safety Training project.


Jason took time to discuss recent developments in the field of electric vehicle safety and what firefighters and first responders can expect from our nationwide training project.

“We’ve developed a class that’s a national level curriculum for responding to hybrid and electric vehicles,” said Emery. “And over the next year and half we’re getting out to each of the states and conducting train-the-trainer sessions through the state fire academies, so their instructional personnel can turn it around and get it to the folks in the field.”

As Jason mentions in the story, our nationwide train-the-trainer session continues this fall in several states. View the full calendar and sign up for upcoming trainings. While you’re at it, check out Firefighter Nation’s Facebook and like this story there as well.


At EV Safety Training, we do our best to keep you updated on all of the great safety features and money-saving abilities of electric vehicles. But we know that there are still a lot of concerns. Will my EV get me where I need to go on one charge? What if I can’t find a charging station? EVs are so expensive!

These are all legitimate concerns, and we can understand where you’re coming from. But that doesn’t mean you should hold back from buying an electric vehicle!

This week, Jim Motava, a New York Times contributor, took to the popular Mother Nature Network to tell readers just where the myths of electric vehicles end in an article called “5 things you need to know about green cars.” What are the five most important things this green car fan thinks you should know? Head over to the article and find out!

FLS Blog
We have officially started our Fire & Life Safety Conference blog back up this week. With the Conference coming up in mid-December, we will be sharing news and updates leading up to the event, as well as highlighting some of the expert presentations, travel and lodging information and fun things to do while in Orlando.

Take a look at our first few posts - one a personal invite to attend and another highlighting Ron Cote's NFPA 101 presentation on December 12. Then, be sure to keep checking back for more!

NFPA's Fire & Life Safety Conference offers more than 60 educational sessions in four targeted tracks presented in three action-packed days by staff experts and committee members. Register for this event today!

-Lauren Backstrom

From the September/October 2011 issue of NFPA Journal®

By Jeffrey Sargent

70E When we talk about personal protective equipment, we typically picture arc-rated clothing, face shields, insulated gloves, and balaclavas. Insulated tools, non-conductive ladders, rubber insulating mats, and protective temporary grounding equipment also fit into the broader category of equipment designed to protect employees against electrical hazards.

The use of such equipment is determined through a shock hazard and/or arc flash hazard analysis. But how many workers conduct a shock hazard analysis before plugging in a portable electric tool or some other piece of equipment?

Unfortunately, the answer suggests that the awareness of the shock hazard for this type of work environment does not match that for a task such as working on an energized piece of electrical equipment. Many workers who will never be exposed to a shock hazard while working on energized electrical equipment will, in fact, be exposed to a shock hazard by using a faulty portable tool, appliance, cord, or other item in a wet, damp, or similarly conductive environment.

Read Jeffrey's entire article in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

Perspectives Paul Dunphy 
From the September/October 2011 issue of NFPA Journal®

By Paul Dunphy

Harvard University has been very busy over the last 10 years building and renovating research facilities, classrooms, dormitories, parking garages, and central utility plants. Some of the projects are complex and large, and include high-rise buildings with several levels below grade. In my role as an electrical inspector and compliance coordinator for the university, I’ve been engaged from beginning to end (and beyond) with each project. It’s from this perspective that I’ve become a staunch advocate for integrated testing of the fire and life safety systems on all of the university’s new building projects and for most of the more involved renovation projects. These are the kinds of processes covered by the new NFPA 3, Recommended Practice on Commissioning and Integrated Testing of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems.

Read Paul's entire article in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

On September 28, 1992, Denver firefighters responded to a fire in a two-story printing office.  During the fire suppression operations, one firefighter died.  When firefighters entered the building, they found fires in several areas (fire investigators considered the fire to be arson), and attempted to suppress the fires as they found them.  One firefighter was temporarily working by himself when a section of floor collapsed and the fire intensity suddenly increased.  The firefighter eventually reached a second-story window and alerted other firefighters who were outside.  Over a period of approximately 55 minutes, an estimated 15 rescuers attempted to remove the victim through a window; however, they were unsuccessful due to the confinement of the space in which they were working.  NFPA’s investigation and analysis established these lessons:

  • Operating in pairs while in hazardous areas can reduce the risk to individual fire department members while on the fireground.
  • In addition to entrapping firefighters, a floor collapse can prevent rescuers from reaching firefighters in need of assistance.
  • Rescue personnel operating in a small space can be subject to impediments created by physical conditions that can prevent rescue or lengthen the time required for rescue.

NFPA members can read the full investigation report, and NFPA’s report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States 2010 is available to all site visitors.

-Ben Evarts

JimShannon_NFPA NFPA President Jim Shannon announced the release of NFPA 56 (PS), Standard for Fire and Explosion Prevention During Cleaning and Purging of Flammable Gas Piping Systems at a press conference today in Middletown, Connecticut.  US Chemical Safety Board Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso and several elected officials from Connecticut, including Congresswoman Rosa DeLaruo participated in the event to announce the standard, which was developed in response to a deadly explosion that occurred at the Kleen Energy plant Middletown in February 2010.

“This is an example of the critical role NFPA plays in providing codes and standards for use by government and other entities throughout the world. Our ability to bring together the right people at the right time and to facilitate a consensus process in very short order resulted in a standard that will save lives and prevent a tragedy like the one in Connecticut from happening in the future," said Shannon.

Read the news release.


From the September/October 2011 issue of NFPA Journal®

By Judy Comoletti

Outreach_240 In a fire, people with developmental disabilities or cognitive deficits may not be able to take life-saving actions. They may wait for verbal instructions on whether to escape, decide to stay inside until rescuers arrive, or run back into a burning building to seek shelter where they feel safe.

NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week (FPW) in the United States since 1922. According to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center, that makes Fire Prevention Week the nation’s longest-running public health and safety observance. What began as a one-day observance in October has expanded to a week, which remains its official duration. Yet many fire departments across the country celebrate it throughout the month of October. However we recognize it, FPW has established a track record of which we can all be justifiably proud.

Read Judy's entire article in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

NH Training  (7) Trainees in New Hampshire learn about the components and safety features of a
new Chevrolet Volt, provided by Hilltop Chevrolet in Somersworth, NH

It was a beautiful fall day in New Hampshire, and the EV Safety Training Team was in Concord to deliver a train-the-trainer course. Nearly fifty students learned all there is to know about electric vehicle safety from Subject Matter Expert Chris Pepler and Project Coordinator Angela Burke.

Later in the afternoon, the class moved outside to explore some hybrid and electric vehicles. The New Hampshire trainees were lucky enough to have three electric vehicles (and even two hybrids) for the hands-on portion of their training: there were two Chevrolet Volts (one brought to us by Banks Chevrolet, the other provided by Hilltop Chevrolet), as well as a new 2012 Toyota Plug-in Prius provided by the New Hampshire Automobile Dealer's Association.

Curious about when the EV Safety Training team will head to your state? Check out our training calendar.

Alarm report A new National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report takes an in-depth look at at false alarm activity in the United States during 2010.

The report, by Michael J. Karter, Jr., says that in 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 2,187,000 false alarms. This was a slight increase of 0.4%. This means that one out of ten calls responded to by fire departments were false alarms.

The new report includes a table on fire department calls by type of call. Download your free copy of NFPA's "False Alarm Activity in the U.S. 2010" report.

- Mike Hazell

From the September/October 2011 issue of NFPA Journal®

By Wayne Moore, P.E., FSFPE

Buzzwords Major events such as the terrorist attacks on Khobar Towers in 1996, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and the shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 have all had an impact on the NFPA code-making system, resulting in new requirements that appear in the 2010 edition of NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®.

One example is that, for the first time, NFPA 72 now allows another emergency signal to take precedence over a fire alarm signal. Chapter 23, Protected Premises Fire Alarm Systems, of Section states that "Fire alarm signals shall have priority over all other signals." A clarification to this rule in Chapter 10, Fundamentals, states that "Fire alarm signals shall take precedence over all other signals, except as permitted by 10.6.1 or 10.6.3." Section 10.6.1, pertaining to emergency communications systems, notes that "ECS priority signals when evaluated by stakeholders through a risk analysis in accordance with shall be permitted to take precedence over all other signals." More specifically, Section 10.6.3 states that "Emergency mass notification signals and messages shall be permitted to have priority over fire alarm notification signals in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 24."

Read Wayne's entire article in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

Bilde[1]Subject matter expert Matt Paiss shows a first responder the interior of a Chevy Volt.
Photo from Statesman Journal.

The EV Safety Training tour is still underway! On September 22, NFPA Subject Matter Expert Matt Paiss headed to Oregon to deliver the electric vehicle safety course to a group of about forty first responders. A brand-new Chevrolet Volt was on hand for course attendants to get an up-close and personal look at the vehicle's interior.

"Nice vehicle," said John Brown, a firefighter with the Cresent Fire District in central Oregon. "Creates headaches for us."

Hopefully, with the distribution of NFPA's training, there will be fewer headaches--and even fewer shocks--for firefighters responding to an electric vehicle incident. 

"Our firefighters and first responders always have adapted their response to new types of vehicles and technologies," said Erik Gabliks, director of the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. "Oregon is one of the leading states in terms of hybrid and electric vehicle sales. This training will help our first responders prepare and have the knowledge to better protect the communities we serve."

To see some great footage of the training, head over to the Statesman Journal.

NIST The Fire Protection Research Foundation is collaborating with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to help develop a research agenda for their new structural fire resistance testing facility, which is set for completion in 2012.  The facility part of the Engineering Research Laboratory and is unique in its ability to test large scale structural elements, systems and their connections in fire conditions.

Recently, NIST and the Foundation held a workshop for industry leaders at NIST’s Engineering Laboratory to review and establish a prioritized national agenda designed to accelerate the implementation of performance-based fire engineering for structures post 9/11.  The Foundation is scheduled to complete this project in December.

To learn more about the development of NIST’s needs agenda, please read the release

From the September/October 2011 issue of NFPA Journal®

By Chip Carson, P.E.

In compliance Even though elevator lobby egress is more of a problem today as a result of an array of heightened security concerns, it’s an aspect of building safety that’s sometimes overlooked.

It’s not unusual for elevator lobbies to become security buffer zones. For example, the doors from the elevator lobby may be secured, requiring the use of a card swipe or cipher lock to enter the floor. If you don’t have your access card or don’t know the access code, this creates a locked elevator lobby from which the only way out is the elevator. This could potentially trap occupants in the elevator lobby, especially if the elevators are returned to the ground floor under Phase I emergency elevator operation.

Read Chip's entire article in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

A free webinar on HVLS Fans and Sprinkler Operation will be sponsored by the Research Foundation on October 27, 12:30-2:00 pm (EST).  High-volume low-speed (HVLS) fans are in increasing use in storage and manufacturing facilities. However, until recently, the interaction of these fans with automatic sprinkler operation was unknown. What impacts do the fans have on fire protection? Do they obstruct the flow from the sprinkler? How does the air movement of the fan influence the overall performance of the sprinkler in controlling or extinguishing a fire? And how can these effects be mitigated? This webinar presents the results of a comprehensive study of these issues and provides practical guidance on the use of these fans in sprinklered facilities. Register now.

From the September/October 2011 issue of NFPA Journal®

By Ben Klaene & Russ Sanders

Structural ops All kinds of buildings, from high-rises to single-family homes, are demolished every day for a variety of reasons. Fire departments must be aware of scheduled demolitions so they can develop contingency plans for fires, entrapments, and other emergencies that could occur while buildings are being razed. The fire department should also visit the site of a demolition before and during the operation.

In addition to problems associated with a particular wrecking operation, firefighters should be aware of problems that may be encountered when a building is intentionally destroyed. Explosives are often used to implode large structures, and the contractor and building owner must work closely with the fire department to ensure safety, not only on the day of the scheduled implosion, but during preparation, especially when explosives are on site. Other hazardous materials may also be encountered at a demolition site, especially if the building was previously inhabited by an industrial occupancy that used chemicals in its manufacturing process. Many abandoned buildings sit vacant for years with chemicals stored inside deteriorating containers.

Read the entire article in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

Home fire sprinkler message on AirTran Airways onboard magazine
NFSA ad The October 2011 edition of Air Tran Airways - one of America’s largest low-fare airlines - in-flight magazine will feature an ad advocating for home fire sprinkler requirements aimed at educating the flying public.

“Reaching an average of 2 million passengers per month”, according to AirTran, this impact piece by the National Fire Sprinkler Association highlights the fact that while travelers are protected by fire sprinklers in hotel rooms, most families are still not protected at home; the place where 85% of deadly fires occur.

- Maria Figueroa

Get Ready
Recent disasters have shown just how much communities count on their firefighters and other first responders to keep them safe and protected. But they have also revealed the strains placed on our emergency personnel during times of crisis. Today, more than ever, first responders and local residents must work together to prepare their cities and towns for disaster.

Especially during National Preparedness Month, for firefighters that means reaching out to members of their communities with essential safety information. To aid in this life-saving work, NFPA has developed a comprehensive guide for fire departments. The goal is simple: to give firefighters and other first responders the tools they need to help local residents prepare for disaster — before disaster strikes.

Download NFPA's presenter's guide, presentation materials, posters and facts sheets through our "Get Ready!" program to help with you community outreach. 

NFPA News The September issue of NFPA News, our codes and standards newsletter, is now available.

In this issue:

  • Commissioning with NFPA 3
  • Tentative Interim Amendments issued for NFPA 1, 13D, 25, 99, 101, 220, and 820
  • A look at the new NFPA regulations for documents in the Fall 2013 revision cycle
  • Call for members on technical committees

NFPA News is a free newsletter, and includes special announcements, notification of proposal and comment closing dates, requests for comments, notices on the availability of Standards Council minutes, and other important news about NFPA’s code and standards making process.

Free subscription
Sign-in on NFPA’s website and then select “NFPA News” from your e-mail options.

- Debbie Baio

From the September/October 2011 issue of NFPA Journal®

By Russell P. Fleming, P.E.

Heads_up_220 Among the curiosities of NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems, are the two small Sections and in the 2010 edition, two small sections that address "revamping" pipe schedule and hydraulically designed sprinkler systems. When NFPA 13 is translated into other languages, a term such as "remodeling" or "renovating" is presumably substituted. The term "revamping" has its origins in shoe repair, when a shoe was provided with a new vamp, the forepart of a shoe or boot that covers the foot behind the toecap.

The sections in NFPA 13 dealing with revamping have been in place for decades and originated as part of a rule addressing return bends: "In revamping existing systems, where it is not necessary to retain sprinklers in the concealed space, ½-inch or ¾-inch close nipples inserted in the existing sprinkler fittings may be used with 1-inch pipe and fittings for the other portions of the return bend."

Read Russell's entire article in the new NFPA Journal.

Firewise How-to Newsletter The Fall 2011 issue of the Firewise Communities How-To newsletter has now been posted online. 

This newsletter is published quarterly and distributed to residents of Firewise Communities/USA recognized sites and other interested folks. If you're a homeowner or community resident whose home is located in a region susceptible to wildfires, this newsletter will provide you with timely, pertinent information on how to best protect your home and yourself in the event of wildfire.

The current issue covers the following features: The Firewise community - Making the most of Backyards & Beyond; A Firewise community: Wilderness Ranch; Questions and answers with Pat Durland; and Around the Firewise home: Autumn cleanup. 

Don't miss an issue! Add your e-mail address to our newsletter list.

Cool to do I am always on the lookout for fun activities to do with the kids after school. Check out our "Cool to Do" craft for the month of September: Sparky pencil toppers, complete safety messages.

These pencil toppers are easy to do and fun for all ages. Kids can pick from different images of Sparky with different safety messages. A great activity for open houses, class visits and after school programs too.

- Amy LeBeau

Fire Protection Research Foundation
The Fire Protection Research Foundation will hold the next Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications - A Technical Working Conference (SUPDET 2012) from March 6-9, 2012 at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel in Phoenix, AZ. 

A Call for Papers has now been announced. SUPDET 2012 will address the latest developments in research, technology, and applications for the fire protection community. Papers are sought on new developments with a focus on detection, suppression, and applications.

Interested presenters are asked to submit a one page abstract by e‐mail no later than October 14, 2011 to Eric Peterson.

More information on what to include in your submission and who makes up the program committee, who will review all applications, can be found on the SUPDET website

From the September/October 2011 issue of NFPA Journal®

By Kathleen Almand, P.E., FSFPE

Research In June, I traveled to Scotland to participate in a seminar at the University of Edinburgh on the topic of university curricula for fire safety engineering. The event was motivated by the need for a new generation of leaders that can guide the profession through the significant transition it is currently experiencing, one that is increasingly characterized by a performance-based design environment coupled with some level of risk analysis. I was asked to share my perspective on the role of codes and standards in the education of fire safety engineers. My central question was this: As the profession develops capable design tools based on a modern understanding of the relationship between buildings, their occupants and contents, and fire safety, is the teaching of codes and standards redundant or out of date?

Read Kathleen's entire article in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

A fire in a mall in Brunswick, Georgia on September 20, 1983 caused $11 million ($24 million in today’s dollars) in property damage.  There were minor injuries to firefighters, but no loss of life resulting from the fire.  The fire started from an electrical malfunction above the ceiling of one of the stores.  There were no fire protection systems or construction design features designed to limit the spread of fire in the building, which was in violation of the State Building Code from the time it was built.  Based on NFPA’s investigation, the following are considered to be major factors contributing to the large property loss in this fire.

  • Lack of fire detection or alarm systems
  • Lack of automatic sprinkler protection
  • Readily accessible hydrant protection was not provided around the perimeter of the shopping center

NFPA members can download the full investigation report free of charge. NFPA also has a report regarding fires in stores and other mercantile properties that is available to all site visitors.

-Ben Evarts

Dr. John Hall, who heads up NFPA's Fire Analysis and Research division, recently took a break from crunching numbers and did some fun research for our Fire Prevention Week campaign. The result? He's come up with a list of the 100 or so highest-charting popular songs with "Fire", "Flame", or "Smoke" in the title, going back to the late 19th century.

And now John has issued this challenge: how many more songs can you come up with that feature "Fire", "Flame", or "Smoke" in the title". And if you really want to show off, which musical acts performed those songs? (Note: some songs were hits for several acts.)

Read more; post your answers on our Fire Prevention Week blog.

!|border=0|src=|alt=Fire Loss Clock|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Fire Loss Clock|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef015391bad4a2970b! Did you know that in 2010, a fire department in the United States responded to a fire every 24 seconds?

Did you know that in 2010, one home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds?

Did you know that in 2010, one civilian fire injury was reported every 30 minutes?

Download a

free</span> copy of NFPA&#39;s new Fire Loss Clock handout that underscores the toll of fire in America. It&#39;s perfect for your next neighborhood meeting, fire department open house, or classroom safety lesson. All of the data is from NFPA&#39;s new &quot;[Fire Loss in the United States During 2010&quot; report |] by Michael J. Karter, which is also free from NFPA&#39;s web site.


- Mike Hazell </p>

Steve Dornbusch and Sparky the Fire Dog 
From the September/October issue of NFPA Journal®

By Steve Dornbusch, NFPA Senior Project Manager

You’ve probably heard the news by now, but Sparky®, NFPA’s official spokesdog, is celebrating his 60th birthday this year. Since my job title here at NFPA is Senior Project Manager for Public Education Products — otherwise known as “Sparky’s dad” — his birthday is a pretty big deal for me, and not just because I turned 60 this year, too.

Because of his spokesdog responsibilities — in print, on screen, and in big, furry real life — Sparky’s image, messages, and personality are very important. As I bring Sparky to life, I try to maintain strict standards for his appearance and how he’s represented in person and across many media. It’s important to maintain what I call “Sparky integrity.” Fire can be frightening to children, who are among those at highest risk from its dangers. So while I try to make Sparky fun and friendly, I’m also careful to show that he’s serious when he talks about the dangers of fire. To children, he’s an authority figure with an important message, but it’s important that he never be preachy.

Read the entire article in NFPA Journal.

Video: Steve Dornbusch describes how Sparky®'s image, message, and personality has evolved over the last 60 years.

On September 17, 1984, an explosion occurred in a cold storage warehouse building in Shreveport, Louisiana.  The explosion occurred while two members of the Hazardous Material Unit were attempting to isolate an anhydrous ammonia leak in the building’s refrigeration system.  One firefighter died within 36 hours of the explosion and another was admitted to a hospital in critical condition.  Factors contributing to the loss of life included:

  • The ignition of a flammable mixture of gas during the emergency scene operation
  • The lack of proper precautions by workers to reduce the possibility of a hazardous accumulation of gas
  • The lack of awareness by firefighters that the conditions for a hazardous accumulation of flammable anhydrous ammonia gas were present

NFPA members can download the full investigation report for free, and all site visitors can read NFPA’s report: Firefighter Fatalities in the United States 2010.

-Ben Evarts

Sparky the Fire Dog Book NFPA recently teamed up with Emmy-award winning and best-selling author Don Hoffman and illustrator Todd Dakins to create Sparky the Fire Dog®, a picture book to be released on October 1, 2011, in celebration of the NFPA mascot’s 60th birthday.

The story, based on the life of Sparky, offers an entertaining and educational adventure filled with lessons and fire safety messages for youngsters. This adorable Dalmatian puppy is an important member of the fire station team. He’s rescued a little girl and her family, and now he’s helping kids become junior fire inspectors right in their own homes. In colorful, appealing illustrations, Sparky takes a group of young animals through the neighborhood, pointing out hazards, giving basic fire prevention and safety tips, and showing them how to be prepared in case of an emergency. From having a working smoke alarm to being careful with candles and knowing where your exits are, Sparky’s advice may be the most important thing children—and their parents—ever learn.

Fore more information on the book, including how you can now pre-order, visit Sparky's Birthday web page

-Lauren Backstrom

Dave Nuss, NFPA's Director of Wildland Fire Operations Division, invites you to attend this year's "Backyards & Beyond" Wildland Fire Education Conference in Denver this October. This event is devoted to bringing together a diverse audience of leading wildland fire experts, Firewise® community representatives, community planners, civic leaders, homeowners and residents, insurance professionals, landscape architects and others. Register now and reserve your seat!


Georgia marked the third stop on our national “train-the-trainer” tour and nearly 100 firefighters and first responders from across the state turned out to take part in the training.

NFPA trainer Matt Paiss and Project Manager John Cannon were joined by members of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, GA to take part in the day-long training.

In addition to the classroom training, participants were able to view the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (provided by Riverside Ford Lincoln in Macon) and see first-hand the inner workings and new technologies in the hybrid electric vehicle.

“This is a great opportunity for many members of Georgia’s firefighting community to learn more about these new vehicles,” said Georgia Fire Academy Director Dave Wall, of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center. “Here in Georgia we are starting to see a larger influx of new hybrid and electric vehicles. This training will help our firefighters prepare and have the knowledge to better protect the communities we serve.”

Participants in the Georgia training were provided with resources and materials to take back to fire districts across Georgia.

We have a busy couple of weeks ahead of us with stops in Oregon (September 22), New Hampshire (September 26) and Connecticut (September 30).

To find out more information about the EV safety training series, and to register for upcoming sessions near you, visit our calendar

In 1999, the scope of NFPA 1124 was expanded to include requirements for retail sale of consumer pyrotechnics and the Pyrotechnics Committee was charged with the development of a new chapter on permanent facilities (both fireworks only and mixed commodity facilities), and temporary stands, tents and other retail sales facilities. In 2007, the Foundation conducted a hazard assessment and gap analysis for the standard. An identified gap in information is sprinkler protection criteria for the storage of this commodity in retail facilities.

This new report presents the results of a field survey of stored consumer fireworks in retail facilities; a hazard assessment based on that survey and other information, and a research plan to evaluate required sprinkler protection design criteria.

NFPA Fire Loss Report 
A firefighter escapes through a second-story window while battling a house fire in Clear Spring, Maryland. The blaze destroyed four row houses. (Photograph: AP/Wide World)

The new issue of NFPA Journal® highlights data from NFPA's "Fire Loss in the United States During 2010" report, by Michael J. Karter, Jr. Public fire departments responded to 1,331,500 fires in the United States last year, according to estimates based on data NFPA received from fire departments responding to its 2010 National Fire Experience Survey. This represents a slight decrease of 1.3 percent from the previous year and is the lowest since NFPA started using its current survey methodology in 1977–78.


  • 1,331,500 fires were responded to by public fire departments, a decrease of 1.3 percent from the year before
  • 482,000 fires occurred in structures, an increase of 0.3 percent from 2009
  • 384,000 fires, or 80 percent of all structure fires, occurred in residential properties
  • 215,500 fires occurred in vehicles, a decrease of 1.6 percent from the year before
  • 634,000 fires occurred in outside properties, a decrease of 2.3 percent from 2009

Read the full NFPA Journal report for additional data on civilan fire deaths and injuries, property damage, and intetionally-set fires.

- Mike Hazell

Fire Protection Research Foundation
The Fire Protection Research Foundation will hold the next Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications - A Technical Working Conference (SUPDET 2012) from March 6-9, 2012 at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel in Phoenix, AZ. 

A Call for Papers has now been announced. SUPDET 2012 will address the latest developments in research, technology, and applications for the fire protection community. Papers are sought on new developments with a focus on the following:


  • Advanced Detection Research
  • Approaches and Human Response to Emergency/Mass Communication


  • New Developments in Water Based Suppression Systems
  • Environmental Regulations and New Fire Suppression Agents


  • System Reliability and Performance
  • Specialized Applications/Case Studies

Interested presenters are asked to submit a one page abstract by e‐mail no later than October 14, 2011 to Eric Peterson.

More information on what to include in your submission and who makes up the program committee, who will review all applications, can be found on the SUPDET website

The final details of NFPA and SAE International’s 2nd Annual Electric Vehicle Safety Standards Summit are coming together as the event on Sept. 27-28 draws near.

Last week additional speakers were announced, adding to the already impressive list of government representatives and experts in the fields of vehicle safety, fire protection, electrical safety and emergency response.

The latest additions made to this year’s list of speakers include:

  • Phil Gorney, U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Lonny Simonian, California Polytechnic
  • Mark Earley, NFPA
  • Seth Gerber, Consumers Energy
  • Ken Boyce, Underwriter’s Lab – EVSE standardization
  • Andrew Klock, NFPA
  • Bob Duval, NFPA
  • Bill Giorges, Michigan Towing
  • Rich Gallagher, Zurich Services
  • Carl Rivkin, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

This list represents leading subject matter experts in a variety of areas pertinent to overall EV safety standards in the United States. The panel will provide insight into the many areas that must be considered for electric vehicle safety, such as utilities, electrical codes, charging codes and standards and potential fire issues.

EV Safety Training Project Manager Andrew Klock will discuss NFPA’s efforts surrounding the firefighter and first responder training program.

Be sure to download the agenda and register for the event before it's too late!

NFPA has been conducting a number of surveys on home fire sprinklers. Recently, attendees of the National Conference of State Legislators took part in a survey that gauged their understanding of the home fire problem and the role sprinklers can play in reducing the deadly consequences of fire. The respondents, comprising legislators, legislative staffers and the public, answered questions related to the topics of cost, environmental benefits, and general fire safety information. Overall, respondents felt that fire and life safety information was most accurate coming from the fire service - over building officials, design professionals, home builders or lobbyists.

  • 70% did not think smoke alarms were enough protection to home occupants in the event of a fire.
  • 63% thought home fire sprinkler minimum standards of safety should be mandated.

See all survey results.

- Karen Wallingford

Ad Week Walk of Fame

We all know and love Sparky the Fire Dog, and now he is being recognized as one of the country’s top-notch mascots in the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in NYC. Before he marches down the famous street on October 4, you can vote for him as your favorite icon!

Sparky Voting starts today and will be open through September 30th. Established during the inaugural Advertising Week, the inductees are voted on by the general public and the winners are announced during Ad Week, October 3-7th. Two icons will be chosen as winners this year.

Help Sparky out by spreading the word! What a great way to round out his 60th birthday celebration this Fall!

Vote for Sparky now!

-Lauren Backstrom

We will never forget. NFPA joins in the remembrance of all that was lost on September 11, 2001. 

9.11 Slide

The September/October issue of NFPA Journal includes a cover story titled, "9/11: A Special 10th Anniversary Report" highlighting fire and life safety improvements and NFPA’s effort to strengthen codes and standards since that day. 

News reports are coming out all the time with more information about the many benefits of driving green cars. It’s common knowledge that the U.S. government offers tax credits to buyers of environmentally-friendly vehicles—up to $7,500 for some models.

But the advantages of driving a green car don’t stop at tax season. Drivers of environmentally-friendly cars can enjoy the perks all year round as they cruise past gas stations: hybrid vehicles fill up far less often than standard vehicles, plug-in hybrid and extended-range electric vehicles even less. Many highways allow hybrid and electric vehicles carrying only one occupant to use high-occupancy vehicle lanes, usually reserved for carpoolers and families, as well as offering cheaper tolls. Some cities also allow green vehicles to park for free in areas where other cars have to pay meters.

It’s not just governments that are offering privileges to green drivers. Private businesses are also offering incentives in various forms, from free valet parking to store and restaurant discounts, to both employers and customers.

What are some of the perks to driving green in your area? 


Public Fire Protection Division Manager Ken Willette discusses the experience of the fire service following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Read more about the experience of emergency responders after 9/11 and how NFPA improved safety codes for firefighters following the attack in the new issue of NFPA Journal®.

On September 9, 1989, the Seattle Fire Department responded to a fire in a vacant lumber warehouse.  The incident quickly became a multiple alarm fire due to several factors, including multiple fire sets (fire investigators determined that the cause of the fire was arson).   A fire officer and a firefighter who were in a smoky section of the main building became disoriented.  The firefighter was found and rescued, but the officer was not able to escape, and died of smoke inhalation.  Factors contributing to the death of the fire officer included:

  • The inability of fireground officers to account at all times for the location of all personnel
  • The actions of firefighters that failed to conform to safe fireground practices as recommended by NFPA and the International Fire Service Training Association, and required by the Seattle Fire Department
  • The inadvertent use of the wrong radio channel by the two disoriented firefighters

NFPA members can read the full investigation report, and all site visitors can read NFPA’s report: Firefighter Fatalities in the United States 2010.

-Ben Evarts

Simplex Grinnell Attention NFPA members: Join us Thursday, September 22, at 2:00 pm (EST) for a free NFPA Journal® LIVE presentation on, "High-Rise Building Safety: Code Developments in Building and Occupant Safety Post-9/11". This presentation will feature Kristin Collette, P.E., NFPA Fire Protection Engineer, and Jim Quiter, P.E., FSFPE, Principal with Arup.

Kristin Collette and Jim Quiter NFPA Journal® Live presentations, created specifically for NFPA members, feature NFPA technical staff or outside experts discussing a topic related to the featured content in the latest NFPA Journal®. Our presentations consist of a presentation by a topic expert, followed by a question-and-answer session that members are invited to participate in. Featuring expert analysis,

Members: register today for the September 22 event.

Not an NFPA member? Learn more about the benefits of joining the Association.

From the September/October issue of NFPA Journal®

NFPA Journal September October 2011 In July, a few days after 76 people were killed in the terrorist attacks in Norway, the Norwegian crime novelist Jo Nesbo wrote a column for The New York Times. The title, "The Past Is a Foreign Country," caught my attention. Nesbo wrote movingly about how horrible events change the world forever. Describing Norway as a place where people had never had to think about security concerns, he said, "There is no road back to the way it was before."

Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, Americans know exactly what Nesbo means. It is hard to remember now how different life was before that day, when hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania, and it is not just security lines at airports and screenings in high-rise office buildings that signify the change. All of us are more aware and more wary. Innocent occurrences trigger dire possibilities in ways they did not before. Perhaps those fears will dissipate over time, but for everyone who was old enough to understand what was happening, 9/11 will never fully disappear from memory.

Read Jim's entire article in the online edition of NFPA Journal.

Immediately following the 9/11 attacks, the Federal Emergency Management Agency assembled a Building Performance Assessment Team (BPAT) to analyze six key areas surrounding the events and circumstances that led to the collapse of the two towers and other buildings on fire at the World Trade Center (WTC). The 26-member team was made up of fire protection and structural engineering experts, and included members of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Robert Duval, NFPA regional director and senior fire investigator, joined the BPAT team at the WTC site just weeks after the attacks. NFPA Journal® talks to Robert about his experience with the investigation.


NFPA senior fire investigator Robert Duval talks about his work with the Building Performance Assessment Team (BPAT) which assessed the structural performance of all the buildings at the World Trade Center.

On September 8, 1974 a fire began on the ninth floor of an eleven story hotel in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The fire eventually spread to the nearby elevator lobby and killed one motel employee who attempted to fight the fire. 

The fire was discovered by a maid making her rounds, who immediately pulled a fire alarm.  Hotel personnel responded to the scene to determine the extent of the fire, but decided not to open the door to the room.  The assistant manager arrived, decided to attempt to fight the fire, and opened the door to the room.  Inside the room, plate glass windows to the balcony were open and a strong wind drove the fire into the hallway.  The assistant manager was separated from the other employees; at this time, another hotel employee called the fire department.

Significant factors contributing to the severity of this fire included:

  • Delayed alarm
  • Failure of certain fire protection devices to function properly

NFPA members can read the Fire Journal article from January 1975.  NFPA also has a full report regarding fires in hotels and motels that is available free of charge to members, and a fact sheet, which is available to all site visitors.

-Ben Evarts

The Fire Protection Research Foundation  has been asked by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to assist in the development of a prioritized research agenda for work in their new structural fire resistance testing facility, part of the Engineering Research Laboratory (BFRL). The laboratory, with its unique capability to test large scale structural elements, systems and their connections in the fire condition, is scheduled for completion in 2012.  The agenda is designed to accelerate the implementation of performance-based fire engineering for structures post 9/11, and is based on the needs and priorities identified by stakeholders in structural fire safety. Over the past year, this information has been gathered and assembled by the Foundation. General topics include:

  • Validation of models, which predict structural behavior in fire
  • New construction system types, or types that are not well represented by the standard fire test
  • New construction materials, which result in structural failure mechanisms which are different than those which serve as the basis for calculation
  • Validation of full scale connection behavior

NIST and the Foundation are hosting a workshop on Sept. 8 for industry leaders at NIST’s Engineering Laboratory in Gaithersburg, MD, to review and further develop this information, and create a prioritized national agenda.  A full report of the workshop and agenda will be posted on the Foundation and NIST web sites.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, NFPA launched a widespread effort to strengthen codes and standards for first responder safety, the built environment, emergency preparedness, and more.  Ten years later, those efforts continue — and they’re making America safer. Read the new NFPA Journal® feature on September 11.


NFPA President Jim Shannon recounts how the attacks of September 11 changed the National Fire Protection Association. “What are the top (3) three lessons you hope to learn from the Conference and bring back to your community, fire house, organization or association?”

The answer to that question just may get you a free registration to this year's event in Denver. Whether you're a regular attendee or will be a first-time attendee, we'd like to know why you attend and what you get out of NFPA’s Backyards & Beyond Wildland Fire Education Conference.

Between August 29 – September 28, 2011, we're asking you to tell us, in 200 words or less, what the event means to you. An NFPA panel will select one winning entry and announce the winner by September 29, 2011. All submissions will become the property of NFPA.

It's easy to enter: Just head on over to the Firewise Communities blog and leave a blog comment answering the question above. 

See more information and complete rules on the contest

    Backyards & Beyond

    Picture 7 
    Flames creep toward a house in Bastrop's Tahitian Village neighborhood Monday. Planes later dumped fire retardant on the home, which was still standing mid-Monday. Nearly 500 homes in Bastrop had been destroyed. Photo: Jay Jenner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

    Dozens of wildland fires continue to burn out of control in Texas. According to a report on, more than 60 new fires erupted over the weekend. The report says that hot, dry weather, coupled with a historic drought, have made conditions ripe for rapid fire growth. The Austin Statesman reports that in Bastrop County, about 30 miles southeast of Austin, authorities have raised early estimates of the number of destroyed homes from 300 to nearly 500.

    NFPA’s Firewise Communities web site offers a wealth of information about wildlfires, including frequently asked questions, evacuation planning, and videos on how to make your home safer from fire.

    - Mike Hazell

    Hamlet-NC-Food_Processing On September 3, 1991, an intense, fast-moving fire in a food processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina caused the deaths of 25 people and injured 54 more.  The fire began at about 8:15 a.m. in the processing area of the plant.  The cause of the fire was the ignition of hydraulic oil from a ruptured hose line, near a natural gas-fueled cooker.  The rupture occurred during repairs, and the line began to discharge fluid at an estimated pressure of 800 psi onto the floor and onto the nearby cooker.  Within minutes of ignition, the fire had dispersed hazardous products of combustion throughout most of the plant.  Factors contributing to the loss of life included:

    • Several building exits were blocked or locked and exits were insufficient in number
    • The lack of internal walls or doors allowed rapid spread of smoke and fire throughout the structure

    All site visitors can download a summarized fire investigation report which appeared in the January/February 1992 edition of NFPA Journal.  NFPA also has a report regarding fires in industrial and manufacturing facilities that members can download, and a fact sheet available to all site visitors.

    -Ben Evarts

    In a press release issued yesterday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with nine manufacturers and distributors, announced a voluntary recall of all pourable gel fuels made or sold by these companies.

    NFPA issued a warning in August urging the public to use extreme caution when using gel fuel, a product typically used with fire pots, personal fireplaces, and some patio torches. In light of the recall, NFPA recommends that consumers immediately stop using pourable gel fuel and contact the manufacturers for refund and product return information.


    NFPA has updated its safety sheet with the latest information about gel fuel and it can be downloaded from the website.

    Companies participating in the voluntary recall include:

    Concern about the use of gel fuel stems from a number of serious incidents reporter to CPSC. According to CPSC they are aware of 65 incidents resulting in two deaths and 34 victims who were hospitalized with second and third degree burns of the face, chest, hands, arms or legs.

    Of the 65 incidents, 28 of them, including 37 burn injuries and two fatalities, occurred with fuel gel products made by Napa Home & Garden, which conducted a recall of its products in June 2011, in cooperation with CPSC.

    Lorraine Carli

    September 11 feature in NFPA Journal
    Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, NFPA launched a widespread effort to strengthen codes and standards for first responder safety, the built environment, emergency preparedness, and more.  Ten years later, those efforts continue — and they’re making America safer.

    It is a hot July day in downtown Brooklyn, located across the East River from Lower Manhattan, and Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano is giving a tour to a reporter inside the headquarters of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). He opens a door to a small room, no larger than a couple of standard-sized offices, filled with racks of humming computer servers. Ten years ago, on September 11, this was the room that housed FDNY’s operations center. Cassano was the assistant chief back then, and this was where he tried to monitor what was happening across the river at the World Trade Center after one hijacked airplane, then another, struck the towers. "We had a few phones, a couple of TVs, and that was it," he says. "I was trying to get a handle on what was going on at a 16-acre [6.5-hectare] site, trying to round up where our people were, which hospitals they were in. None of that was available to us at our fingertips."

    Read the entire article by Fred Durso in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

    Lisa Yarussi NFPA VP HR NFPA welcomes Lisa Yarussi as vice president of Human Resources. Lisa will lead the Human Resources Division out of the Quincy headquarters. NFPA has more than 300 employees and more than 70,000 members.

    In her new role, Lisa will lead a team that is responsible for all human resources functions, including managing employee relations, training and development, benefit and compensation planning, and recruitment and retention.

    Read more about Lisa's background and new position responsibilities

    Sparky the Fire Dog is teaming up with The Center for Campus Fire Safety (CCFS) and asking college students to submit 30- or 60-second video public service announcements (PSAs) highlighting the importance of fire safety. 

    Video submissions will be accepted throughout Campus Fire Safety Month, September 1-30. The winner of this contest will receive a $500 gift card!

    The contest is part of Sparky’s expanded public outreach efforts during the year-long observance of his 60th birthday. In celebration of his six decades as a fire safety icon, Sparky is asking college students to brush up on lessons they may have learned as children and to take a fresh look at fire prevention and safety information that will help them prevent fires and protect themselves as they live independently from their parents in on- or off-campus housing. Read NFPA's fact sheet on campus fire safety.

    For more information on the contest, including how to enter, please visit Sparky's Birthday website

    -Lauren Backstrom

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