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Happy Halloween to everyone! NFPA wants to remind everyone to have a fun and safe holiday. Check out this safety tip sheet before heading out to trick-or-treat tonight. 


NFPA 56 (PS)
NFPA responded to a deadly power plant explosion in 2010 by creating a new consensus standard in a fraction of the time required to complete a typical document. The result, NFPA 56 (PS), demonstrates the ability of standards development organizations to move quickly to help safeguard lives and property. (Photo: AP/Wide World)

From the new NFPA Journal®, by Fred Durso, Jr.

Edward Badamo was at home when he heard the distant rumbling sound. It was about 11:15 on a Sunday morning, and at first Badamo, who is chief of the South Fire District in Middletown, Connecticut, and off duty at the time, thought the rumbles were the sounds of his two Rottweiler dogs wrestling. He soon learned otherwise. Badamo’s teenaged son heard the dispatches on his father’s emergency radio and was the first to inform him that the noise was something worse — an explosion had occurred at Kleen Energy, a natural gas-fueled power plant under construction about five miles away.

Badamo arrived at Kleen Energy minutes later and witnessed a horrific scene: large plumes of smoke and fire erupting from the rear of the building, bloodied workers carrying their injured colleagues to safety as other workers frantically searched for survivors, ignoring the smoke and flames and live electrical hazards. The damage was so catastrophic that it took Badamo, who was the incident commander, and the other first responders nearly two days to account for all of the plant’s employees, both alive and deceased. Six workers died and nearly 50 others were injured.

Read the entire article in the new NFPA Journal.

NFPA senior engineer Denise Beach illustrates several industrial practices covered by NFPA 56.

On Friday, October 30, 1992, an explosion and fire led to the total evacuation of a 101-bed nursing facility in Woburn, Massachusetts.    The explosion occurred when natural gas was accidentally released during construction activities.  This gas filed concealed spaces in the building and was eventually ignited by an undetermined heat source.  Once ignited, the fire spread vertically from the basement to the top of the building and blew off a section of the roof.  Twenty-one sprinklers activated, controlling the fire while staff evacuated patients.  Because the staff was able to handle most of the evacuation, firefighters were able to focus on fire suppression.  This fire caused injuries to twenty-one civilians and two firefighters, and an estimated $1.5 million ($2.3 million in today’s dollars) in property damage.

Based on NFPA’s investigation, the following contributed to the success of the fire response in this incident.

  • The installation and operation of a supervised and approved automatic sprinkler system
  • The existence of and administrative commitment to programs and procedures describing staff emergency response
  • The immediate actions of trained staff members following the explosion
  • The quick response of fire department, emergency medical, and other personnel who, through a coordinated effort, were able to perform their respective tasks as well as assist the nursing home staff in the care of evacuated residents.

NFPA’s full investigation report is available for free to members and a summary in Spanish is available to all site visitors.   If you’re not a member, consider joining, access to our research is just one benefit.

-Ben Evarts


EV Standards 101

Posted by andrewklock Employee Oct 28, 2011


With the number of electric vehicles on the roads growing, it’s becoming very clear that here in the United States we don’t yet have the infrastructure needed to support all-electric roads. In addition to a lack of available charging stations, education and training of first responders and auto workers also needs to be addressed.

Fortunately, the American National Standards Institute is on the job, and has created the Electric Vehicles Standards Panel, known as the EVSP. The EVSP will be charged with establishing standardization suggestions that will allow for safe and supported electric vehicle growth in the United States.

Jim Pauley, co-chair of the EVSP and senior vice president of external affairs and government relations for Schneider Electric, sat down with FenderBender to discuss the EVSP’s mission and goals. Check out the full interview!

On the night of October 28, 1998, a quick moving fire in a crowded dance hall in Gothenburg, Sweden resulted in the deaths of 63 people, and 180 injuries. A Halloween party was being held with approximately 400 people in attendance, but the maximum occupancy should have been 150 people. The hall where the party was being held had two exits located at each end of the hall, however because of the location of the fire, one stairway was impassable and was not used during the evacuation.

Shortly before midnight, the disc jockey opened the door leading to the southeast stairwell, and smoke from a fire in the stairwell came into the hall. The disc jockey called the fire brigade using a mobile phone, and then broke a window and jumped out of the building. Occupants of the hall became aware of the fire and attempted to evacuate from the northwest exit, but due to overcrowded conditions, this exit soon became blocked by bodies. Some occupants broke out windows and jumped from a height of 6 m (20 ft), these windows were 2.2 m (7.2 ft) above the floor, so it was difficult for occupants to use these windows to escape.

NFPA’s investigation found that the following were significant contributing factors in the loss of life in this incident

  • Overcrowding that exceeded the means of egress capacity
  • Lack of a fire alarm system
  • Ignition of combustible fuel load in a stairway

NFPA members can download the full investigation report, and all site visitors can download a summary in English or Spanish.

-Ben Evarts

Firewise Communities award recipients

Nine Firewise Communities pilot sites were honored today at NFPA’s Backyards & Beyond conference in Denver for their ten years of commitment to the program.

Front row, from left: Mary Prescott (Orlando, FL), Harry Steele (Boise, ID), Kathy Christensen (Salt Lake City, UT), and Ann Cooke (Jemez, NM)

Back row, from left: Chief Darrell Willis (Prescott, AZ), Ken Kucera (Golden, CO), NFPA President Jim Shannon, Keith Worley (Sundance, UT), and Bob Owens (Larkspur, CO)

See an overview of each community’s efforts and more photos on our Firewise blog.

- Mike Hazell


School buses go electric!

Posted by andrewklock Employee Oct 27, 2011


It’s not quite Ms. Frizzle and her Magic School Bus, but the ride to school may be getting a bit more advanced.

According to Fox News,  New York-based bus manufacturer Trans Tech Bus has just revealed plans for an electric school bus be sold next year.

Known as the eTrans, the 42-passenger Type-A bus will be engineered in conjunction with Smith Electric Vehicles, based in Kansas City. Trans Tech Bus CEO Dan Daniels says that the eTrans will be available in several models, with a maximum range between 45 and 120 miles per charge—perfect for the average school bus. It will take about eight hours to charge completely (only a little longer than the average school day), and run at a top speed of 50 mph.

Lots of people are concerned about adults making their daily commutes more environmentally friendly, but often forget that kids have a commute, too! Approximately 26 million elementary and secondary school-age children ride a school bus twice a day in the United States. The eTrans is just one way for some of the country’s littlest future environmentalists to get a taste of doing their part to green up our roads.

Jim Shannon
It’s estimated that nearly 45 million homes abut or intermingle with wildlands in the United States. And while living in the wildland urban interface (WUI) is ideal for many, it comes with huge challenges, such as fire suppression costs, water supplies, and evacuation planning.

At the opening session of NFPA’s “Backyards & Beyond” conference in Denver today, NFPA President Jim Shannon said that resources to address these challenges continue to shrink due to tough economic times. “But wildfire isn’t concerned with those constraints, and as brush, grass and forest fires continue to rise, communities struggle with how to adapt,” he said.

The 2011 wildfire season is on its way to becoming one of the worst on record. The combination of severe drought and excess fuel build-up in forests and grasslands has made fire seasons progressively worse over the past 50 years.  Just last month, in Bastrop County, TX, more than 1,500 homes were destroyed, making it one of the worst fires in the history of the state. 

“Wildfires in the U.S. and around the world are placing greater demands on our resources and creating greater risks to lives and property,” said Mr. Shannon. “Many in this room have worked on the front lines and experienced first-hand the intensity and frequency of wildland fires. You know how much damage they do and anybody who lives in a community that has experienced a wildfire knows how devastating it can be.”

And wildland fires are not just a problem in the United States, said Mr. Shannon. “We know that wildland fires have had a profound impact on countries around the world. I extend a special welcome to our international visitors who have traveled from as far as South Africa, Australia and Canada to be with us today to join in this global wildfire conversation.”

Mr. Shannon thanked attendees for traveling to Denver, saying it was wonderful to see so many different organizations and agencies, including representatives from the forest service, fire departments, land management agencies, educational institutions, the insurance industry and homeowner associations. “All of you share this sense of purpose to protect lives and property in the wildland-urban interface,” he said.

Read complete coverage from this year's Backyards & Beyond conference in Denver on our Firewise Communiteis blog

Massachusetts sprinkler initiative adDid you know that every national model building code in the United States includes a provision for fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes?

And in Massachusetts, every major fire organization -- the state fire marshal, fire chiefs, firefighters and fire prevention officers from across the Commonwealth -- supports home fire sprinklers in new homes.

But in a recent action, the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) promulgated a building code for the Commonwealth and removed the provision for fire sprinklers in new construction. The new code became effective August 4, 2011.

Aren’t our lives and homes worth protecting?
NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative, supported by fire organizations from across Massachusetts, says the BBRS should reverse its action to better protect the citizens and firefighters of the Commonwealth, or at a minimum, push out the implementation date for the provision to become effective.

There are several ways you can take action for safer homes in Massachusetts. Visit to learn more about:

  • attending the BBRS public hearing on November 8.
  • writing or calling the BBRS to ask that the provision for fire sprinklers in new homes be added back to the building code.
  • placing our print ad and radio spot on your website or blog.

Don't allow substandard homes to be built in Massachusetts. Learn the facts and how you can help in this effort by visiting

According to a new NFPA report, roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths (2005-2009) resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. The report, “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires” is available for free on NFPA’s website. The report examines the number of reported fires in U.S. households with and without working smoke alarms, as well as the effectiveness of smoke alarms in preventing fire-related deaths.

“Working smoke alarms are essential in saving lives from fire,” says Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s Vice President of Communications. “We know you can have as little as three minutes to get out if you have a fire before it becomes deadly. The early warning provided by smoke alarms gives you extra time to escape.”

Download NFPA's full smoke alarm report for key findings and recommendations from NFPA on how to install and maintain smoke alarms in your home.

NFPA's Sharon Gamache discusses the latest information on types of smoke alarms you need, their placement and special features. Working smoke alarms give you early warning to help you escape a fire.

- Mike Hazell

Early in the morning of October 26, 1997, an explosion occurred in a store in Mableton, Georgia.  At the time of the incident, the store was occupied by only four employees, and not open to the general public.  It is believed that a LP cylinder being stored in the loading dock developed a leak, and the cloud of propane gas was ignited either by a thermostat or an overhead heating unit.  The initial explosion caused 150 feet of masonry block wall to collapse outward into a parking lot, and knocked over a storage trailer that was parked outside the building.  During fire-fighting operations, personnel reported at least three explosions, likely BLEVEs of three other cylinders.   It is also believed that the partition between the stockroom and sales floor was damaged at the ceiling level, allowing the products of combustion to spread horizontally through a void space above the sales floor.

Based on NFPA’s investigation , the following factors are considered to have contributed to the loss of property in this incident.

  • Improper storage of LP cylinders within the occupancy (the cylinders were stored inside which was not in compliance with NFPA 58)
  • Failure of one of the cylinders, which created the cloud of propane gas
  • A closed water valve, which limited the available water supply to the sprinkler system and fire streams

NFPA members can download the full investigation report for free and all site visitors can download a summary in English or Spanish.

-Ben Evarts

On October 25, 1987, three firefighters were killed and three others were injured during a live fire training exercise in Milford, Michigan.  The training exercise was intended to simulate realistic fire conditions, improve basic firefighting skills and aid firefighters in recognizing incendiary fire scenarios.

As part of the exercise, several incendiary fire “sets” were arranged throughout the house, most of which involved flammable and combustible liquids.  The “sets” were joined by a “trailer” designed to propagate fire throughout the building once it was ignited from a location at the main entrance door.  Ignition did not proceed as planned, and two firefighters went to the second floor to ignite the sets on that level.  Shortly afterward, four additional firefighters entered the building to make observations.  When they met the two other firefighters upstairs, they quickly realized that conditions had intensified and all six were trapped on the second floor, forcing them to escape through windows.  Three firefighters escaped through the windows, sustaining injuries, and three did not escape.  Factors that contributed to this incident included:

  • The use of flammable and combustible liquids in a live fire training exercise
  • The presence of combustible wall paneling and ceiling tiles within the training building
  • Lack of adequate planning and of communication of the training exercise objectives to all individuals involved
  • Lack of adequate assessment of the hazards of the training exercise and the hazards presented by the structure in such an exercise
  • Lack of an adequate training (fire) ground command structure to ensure safe and coordinated procedures

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

-Ben Evarts

Sparky in Times Square

Look! Sparky the Fire Dog is on a billboard in Times Square in honor of his new book.

Just in time for his 60th birthday, the special story was created for children covering fire prevention and safety tips in a fun way. 

In Sparky's new book, our fire dog 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.

If you haven't ordered your copy yet, what are you waiting for?! 

Recent forecasts indicate that almost one million Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) or Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEV) charge points will need to be installed in the United States by 2015, with approximately one-third of these being non-residential charging units. The National Electrical Code® addresses the safety of the built infrastructure with respect to charging. In 2011 a Task Force was established to explore this issue and its implications for the NEC. This project was undertaken in support of that Task Force. The report presents the results of a project whose overall goal is to facilitate the safe integration of electric vehicles in the nation’s electrical safety infrastructure. It describes a review of technologies likely to impact electrical safety and presents an assessment of needed changes to codes and standards and a roadmap for needed research on this topic. Break newsletterThe October issue of Fire Break, NFPA's monthly e-newsletter about wildland fires, is now available. Some of our great wildland fire news features include:

  • An announcement about the opening of our newest office in Denver
  • Highlights and a link to the special NFPA Journal wildfire issue
  • Information about NFPA’s/Firewise’s visit to Washington, D.C.
  • Details about our free Firewise webinar on November 8

Sign up today! It's free, informative and will keep you up to date on the latest news and information on mitigating your wildfire risk to take back to your communities, organization or fire house.

Kim Novak
Actress Kim Novak uses a garden hose to wet down the roof of her home in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles on November 6, 1961, as a raging brush fire swept within 100 yards of the mansion. The house was saved, at least temporarily, but the homes of many other Hollywood celebrities were destroyed. (Photo: AP/Wide World/Ellis R. Bosworth)

Hollywood received a wake-up call in November, 1961, when a wildfire burned 16,090 acres (6,511 hectares), destroyed more than 484 homes, and caused an estimated $50 million in damage in the tony Brentwood and Bel Air sections of Los Angeles. Among the homes destroyed were those of Zsa Zsa Gabor and Burt Lancaster, according to the November 17 issue of Life magazine. Other celebs, including Kim Novak, Maureen O’Hara, Fred MacMurray, and Richard Nixon, took to their wood-shake roofs and hosed them down, saving them from windblown embers. Life dubbed the event "A Tragedy Trimmed in Mink."

What became known as the Brentwood-Bel Air Fire began on November 6 in a pile of rubbish in Sherman Oaks and was spread by Santa Ana winds gusting up to 60 mph (96.5 kph). It advanced with "nasty capriciousness," according to Life, "sometimes spilling into ravines, sometimes leaping from ridge to ridge."

Read the entire NFPA Journal® article by Kathleen Robinson.

A conflagration occurred in the hills above Oakland and Berkeley California on October 20, 1991.  Burning embers carried by high winds from the perimeter of a small but growing duff fire ignited overgrown vegetation and led to the ignition of tree crowns and homes.  The fire grew so rapidly that 790 homes were consumed in the first hour of the fire.  The cause of the original fire was labeled “suspicious” and many factors came together to contribute to the rapid spread of the fire:

  • A five-year drought dried out overgrown grass, bushes, trees, and shrubs, making them easily ignitable
  • The parched leaves of closely spaced trees touched in certain areas and overhung homes in others
  • Untreated wood shingles were the predominant roof covering for homes in the area
  • On the day of the fire, unseasonably high temperatures, low relative humidity, and strong winds pervaded the area

NFPA members can read the full investigation report for free.  For more information protection from fires in the wildland urban interface, please visit, where you will find a variety of resources and programs.  NFPA's video "Fire in the Hills" is also aviailable on the site.

-Ben Evarts

On a recent sunny Saturday afternoon, Sparky the Fire Dog® (the official mascot of the National Fire Protection Association) visited The Blue Bunny Bookstore, a children’s emporium full of books, puppets, toys, and much more in historic downtown Dedham, MA. When Sparky wasn’t outside greeting passersby, he was in the store meeting dozens of children and enjoying hearing his new book, "Sparky the Fire Dog", being read aloud by store manager Janet Reynolds. In the book, Sparky is just a puppy, but he dreams of being a grown-up super hero, taking a group of young animals through their neighborhood to point out fire hazards and give them basic prevention and safety tips.

Meanwhile, back at The Blue Bunny, it was a great day for everyone – Sparky enjoyed all the children, who loved his story and were thrilled to meet him, with lots of hugs and smiles all around. The book is available in major bookstores, at, and in libraries.

Here are photos of Sparky with some of his fans at The Blue Bunny Bookstore.





- Steve Dornbusch

Powered rescue tools are commonly used by emergency first responders to extricate trapped victims from crashed motor vehicles, and a large inventory of these tools exists throughout today’s emergency response community. Recent years have seen improved auto manufacturing processes that have resulted in the proliferation of high-strength metal alloys and composite materials resistant to existing powered rescue tools. This report identifies, collects, and assesses various informational aspects of this topic involving high-strength metal alloys and composite materials that are challenging the performance of the present generation of powered rescue tools. This includes consideration of vehicle extrication scenarios, clarification on the use of these high-strength materials, review of the existing field inventory of powered rescue tools, and recommendation to address identified knowledge gaps.

NFPA Journal® takes a closer look at brush, grass, and forest fires
A 16,000-acre brush fire meets a freeway in Southern California. Brush, grass, and smaller forest fires are common occurrences for many local fire departments across the country.(Photograph: AP Wide World/Mike Meadows)

By Marty Ahrens
From the October 2011 NFPA Journal®

Huge fires in the wildland-urban interface have made headlines in recent years, with stories about the federal and state agencies that battle to contain them. But local fire departments around the country are also engaged in fighting wildfire, responding to a range of smaller, but numerous, brush, grass, and forest fires.

During the five-year period of 2004–2008, local U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 356,800 brush, grass, and forest fires per year. On average, 976 brush, grass, or forest fires were reported per day. These incidents accounted for one-quarter (23 percent) of all fires reported to local fire departments. During this period, 4,800 buildings, on average, were involved annually in brush, grass, and forest fires handled by local departments.

The 356,800 natural vegetation fires reported per year include an average of:

  • 145,400 (41 percent) brush or brush and grass mixture fires
  • 132,000 (37 percent) grass fires
  • 36,700 (10 percent) forest, woods, or wildland fires
  • 42,700 (12 percent) natural vegetation fires that were not classified further.

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

<span style="font-weight: normal; font-size: small;"> !|src=|alt=Denver CO|style=width: 225px; margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Denver CO|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef0162fbc28f8c970d!As part of the Wildland Fire Operations Division&#39;s efforts to increase the visibility of its wildfire initiatives and provide a point of contact in the western half of the U.S., NFPA has opened an office in Denver, Colorado.&#0160;</span>


<span style="font-weight: normal; font-size: small;">The Wildland Fire Operations Division Field Office promotes NFPA’s activities and programs related to wildland fire and safety mitigation. It supports NFPA’s Firewise Communities/USA Recognition and Firewise Communities Programs , in addition to major initiatives including the Fire Adapted Communities Program , the application of wildland fire codes and standards, research projects, community outreach and membership, and represents NFPA at major wildfire related conferences and events.&#0160;</span>


[Learn more about the new field office and the NFPA staff members who will be based there |]. 



While hybrid and electric vehicles have higher concentrations in urban areas, especially along the East and West coasts, the love and preparation for these cars spans the whole country—so much of a span, in fact, that when the folks at Plug-in America wanted to start an event to bring EV drivers together, they knew they couldn’t do it in just one place.

So instead of holding parades and tailgating events in just one city, National Plug-in Day—intended to draw global awareness to the environmental, economic and other benefits of plug-in electric vehicles—took place through simultaneous events in twenty-six cities across the United States.

The Plug-in Day events drew EV owners, car dealers, and many people who were simply curious about how EVs work and why they’re so crucial to the environmental movement. Advertised as the “largest grassroots EV event in history”, National Plug-in Day featured “tailpipe-free” tailgate parties, lectures, a ceremonial plugging-in and other grassroots events.

To see some great photos of the event, check out the event page.

On October 18, 1984, an incendiary fire was set on the third floor of a hotel in Paterson, New Jersey, resulting in the deaths of 15 people and injuries to over 50 others.  The fire was started by a resident of the hotel (who also worked for the hotel as a part-time handyman), after he got into a fight with the night manager.  The fire department received the alarm shortly after midnight, and the fire was knocked down a bit before 3 a.m. 

Although the hotel was equipped with 3 enclosed stairways and a smoke detection system, the stairway doors were not closed and allowed early failure of the exit system due to smoke and heat.  Vertical ventilation shafts servicing the bathrooms of each guest room also spread smoke to upper story guest rooms.

NFPA members can download the full investigation report for free, as well as a statistical report about hotel and motel fires.  All site visitors can read the report’s executive summary and a fact sheet.

-Ben Evarts

Surgical FiresDid you know that an estimated 550 to 650 surgical fires occur in the United States each year? It was news to me. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and its partners have just launched the “Preventing Surgical Fires” initiative to raise awareness of the risks of surgical fires and promote the adoption of risk reduction practices throughout the healthcare community. The initiative is providing patients with information on surgical fires including the risks, how these fires happen and things that can be done to reduce the possibility of a fire. Healthcare professionals can find recommendations on preventing surgical fires as well as resources and tools. Videos, checklists, and more have been created for this project.

- Judy Comoletti

Vote Voting has officially begun for NFPA’s College Fire Safety Video Contest.  From now through October 28, visitors to Sparky’s Facebook page can vote for their favorite PSA made by college students across the U.S. and Canada. 

Sparky and the Center for Campus Fire Safety launched the contest during Campus Fire Safety Month in September and asked college students to submit a 30- or 60- second video PSA using NFPA’s fire safety messaging.  Contestants with winning submissions will receive a $500, $250, or $100 dollar Amazon gift card.  That’s a big chunk of change in the eyes of a college student, so take a few moments and vote for your favorite video now!

-Courtney Flynn’s time again for the creepy decorations, falling leaves, endless costumes, and lit Jack-o-lanterns. As families across the country begin to prepare for what has become an increasingly popular holiday, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is reminding everyone to take a few simple safety precautions in order to ensure a fun, safe, and not too scary Halloween.

“It’s an exciting holiday especially for the kids but if precautions are not taken, scary things can happen,” said Lorraine Carli NFPA’s vice president of communications. “Candle decorations and flowing costumes create an extra risk of fire.” According to Carli, candle fires represent a leading cause of U.S. home fires and Halloween is one of the top five days for candle fires.

Read more Halloween safety tips from NFPA.

Judy Comoletti, NFPA Division Manager of Public Education, talks about how planning ahead can help make this Halloween a fire-safe one.

On October 16, 1996, an accidental fire occurred at a hospital in Hyannis, Massachusetts.  Sprinklers protecting a nurses’ lounge operated, controlling the fire while the nursing staff evacuated patients.  Because the hospital staff members were able to evacuate patients, responding firefighters were able to concentrate on the suppression of the fire.  Nine staff members and two patients sustained smoke-related injuries during the evacuation.  There were no fatalities or firefighter injuries.  Over the years, NFPA has investigated several hospital fires that have killed patients and caused heavy damage, the following factors contributed to the successful outcome of this incident:

  • Pre-fire planning and training of hospital staff
  • Cooperation between the hospital’s administrators and staff and the Hyannis Fire Department before and during the incident
  • Compartmentation afforded by noncombustible construction
  • The presence of an automatic sprinkler system

NPFA members can download the full investigation report for free and all site visitors can download a summary of the incident in Spanish.  NFPA also has a report regarding fire incidents in medical, mental health, and substance abuse facilities that is available free to members, all site visitors can read the executive summary and a fact sheet.

-Ben Evarts

To wrap up the week here at NFPA of Fire Prevention Week activities, Domino's dropped in for a pizza party! NFPA and Sparky the Fire Dog have teamed up with Domino’s Pizza to deliver fire safety messages to homes across the nation for the past several years – and this year expanded its fall fire safety program to homes throughout Canada as well.

Dominos Pizza Party

During Fire Prevention Week, October 9–15, participating markets in the U.S. have been delivering important fire safety messages on top of pizza boxes featuring Sparky’s image. The messages support the theme for the Fire Prevention Week campaign: “Protect Your Family From Fire.”

In addition, customers who order from participating Domino’s Pizza stores throughout the U.S. and Canada in October may be surprised when their delivery arrives aboard a fire engine. If all the smoke alarms in the home are working, the pizza is free. If a smoke alarm is not working, the firefighters will replace the batteries or install a fully functioning fire safety device in the home.

A big thank you goes out to Domino's for all of the FPW support, and of course, for the pizza!

On-line presentation features Firewise principles, information and resources for people in the wildland-urban interface  

With the 2011 wildfire season on its way to becoming one of the worst on record, the Firewise staff knows how important it is for residents living and working in wildfire high-risk areas to get the information they need to mitigate their wildfire risk and reduce losses.

WebexPlease join Michele Steinberg, program manager of NFPA’s Firewise Communities Program, at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, November 8, for an online wildfire safety presentation featuring the Firewise program. Learn how wildfires behave and homes ignite. We will also review Firewise resources and materials available to help homeowners and neighbors work together to design a safe community.

Have questions? This is the perfect way to share your thoughts with others who face the same challenges in their own communities. We encourage you to submit your questions through November 7th.   And don’t forget to register for the free wildfire safety webinar

FW WebinarLike social media? We’ll also live Tweet via Twitter. Mark it in your calendar and tweet the webinar using hashtage #Firewise or submit your question to @Firewise.

In the meantime, our online newsletters, “The How To” and “Fire Break” are a great source for the latest news and information about NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division, our Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program and other wildland fire resources to help you get started. Subscriptions to both newsletters are free. Why not sign up today?

We look forward to having you join us on November 8!

Motor vehicle crashes involving ambulances used for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) pose serious risk to both the crew and the patients. Data collection for ambulance crashes are regularly reported on a local or statewide basis and a need exists to compile and coordinate this data on a national basis. This reporrt provides summary information that identifies available data sources for ambulance crashes, provides a limited analysis of the data, and recommends optimum data formats. Download the report.

NFPA publishes a number of standards that deal with important fire service issues such as firefighter training and the organization and deployment of fire department resources. Because it is important that members of the fire service have access to these documents, NFPA's Ryan Depew hosts this video, which outlines the step-by-step process that the fire service can use to access our codes and standards online.

Fire Prevention Week quiz 
Take NFPA's Fire Prevention Week quiz to test your fire safety knowledge - and be sure to share your results on Facebook or Twitter. Let us know how you did!

Watch NFPA's interview with Fire Safety Educator, Becki White, who trains fire departments in Minnesota on how to teach different audiences about fire safety. White also talks about the use of many NFPA materials for Fire Prevention Week, as well as NFPA's Sparky the Fire Dog mascot.


By Ryan Depew, NFPA Fire Service Specialist

From the October 2011 issue of NFPA Journal®

NFPA codes and standards provide a practical and effective blueprint for how to minimize and manage the wildfire threat, and NFPA technical committees are working to standardize how we should collectively address wildfire issues. This work comes at a critical moment; from January through August this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, wildland fires burned nearly 7 million acres (2.8 million hectares), significantly above average for the year-to-date period and the fourth-most on record. The month of June was the second-worst on record, with 1.3 million acres (526,091 hectares) burned. During that eight-month period, thousands of structures were lost in the wildland-urban interface, or WUI — the area where wildland fuels and structures intermix — and hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on fire suppression efforts. It is clear that more work needs to be done in order to address loss of life and property as a result of wildfire.

Read Ryan's entire article in NFPA Journal.

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

In this issue:

  • New Regulations and terms for Fall 2013 and subsequent cycles
  • Standards Council minutes available
  • Errata issued on NFPA 30 and NFPA 30A
  • Call for technical committee members
  • Committees soliciting proposals
  • Committee meetings calendar

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 web site and then select “NFPA News” from your e-mail options.

- Debbie Baio

Jobs at NFPA 
NFPA continues to expand our leadership in fire and life safety, education, and technological advancements. With more than 81,000 members worldwide, NFPA works to make the world a safer place. Do you want to join us?

NFPA is currently recruiting for the following positions:

To apply, e-mail your resume and a cover letter, including salary requirements, to  All attachments submitted should be in a Word or PDF file document.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Sparky the Fire Dog® are again teaming up with Domino’s Pizza to deliver fire safety messages to homes across the nation – this year expanding its fall fire safety program to homes throughout Canada.

During Fire Prevention Week, October 9–15, participating markets in the U.S. will be delivering important fire safety messages on top of pizza boxes featuring Sparky’s image. The messages support the theme for the Fire Prevention Week campaign: “Protect Your Family From Fire.”

In addition, customers who order from participating Domino’s Pizza stores throughout the U.S. and Canada in October may be surprised when their delivery arrives aboard a fire engine. If all the smoke alarms in the home are working, the pizza is free. If a smoke alarm is not working, the firefighters will replace the batteries or install a fully functioning fire safety device in the home.

NYC_10-10-1996 Early in the morning of October 10, 1996, an electrical fire occurred at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.  Several fires broke out in five remote locations, filling many areas of the building with smoke.  The entire building was evacuated, traffic was stopped for several blocks around the building, and 12 firefighters and 5 civilians were injured.  Factors contributing to the loss of property in this incident included:

  • Inadequate circuit protection.  High circuit flows within the electrical system allowed for the cabling in five separate rooms to ignite
  • Unprotected vertical and horizontal penetrations, which allowed the smoke to spread beyond the electrical rooms into the occupied floor areas
  • Lack of sprinkler protection in the areas of the fires
  • Confusing building layout
  • Failure of the building fire alarm system to detect the fire and transmit the alarm

NFPA members can download the full investigation report, and all site visitors can read a summary in English or in Spanish.

-Ben Evarts

“It’s Fire Prevention Week. Protect your Family from Fire!” This year, this annual campaign from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is all about keeping you, your family, and your community safer from fire. You'll find educational material and tip sheets on the leading causes of home fires, information about protecting your home and families with life-saving technologies, and the importance of home escape planning.

We have special content for the fire service, kids and familiesteachers, and populations who are at high risk to fire

There's lots more to do and learn on our web site...visit for all of the details.

I had no idea that Sparky had moves like this. West Pierce Fire & Rescue in Washington State, produced this great video for school assemblies. Do you have a video you would like to share? 


- Amy LeBeau

In 2011, The Fire Protection Research Foundation’s Property Insurance Research Group initiated a study of the hazards associated with lithium ion battery storage, with an aim of developing fire protection strategies to mitigate loss associated with fire incidence with these batteries in bulk storage and distribution, alone and in manufactured products.  The overall aim is to develop the technical basis for requirements in NFPA and other standards which prescribe protection requirements.

The first phase of the project, conducted by Exponent, Inc., was a literature review of battery technology, failure modes and events, usage, codes and standards, and a hazard assessment during the life cycle of storage and distribution.  It lays out a research approach toward evaluating appropriate facility fire protection strategies.

The Foundation convened a research planning workshop on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011, in Baltimore, MD.  Approximately 85 representatives from the battery, automotive, aircraft, insurance, fire protection and fire service sectors attended the workshop and participated in active discussions.  The goal of the workshop was to review the findings in the Phase I study, and develop a strategy to implement the next Phase of the project.

NFPA, Sparky the Fire Dog and Domino's Pizza are all in Detroit, MI today to kickoff Fire Prevention Week

During Fire Prevention Week, October 9–15, participating markets in the U.S. will be delivering important fire safety messages on top of pizza boxes featuring Sparky’s image. The messages support the theme for the Fire Prevention Week campaign: “Protect Your Family From Fire.”

In addition, customers who order from participating Domino’s Pizza stores throughout the U.S. and Canada in October may be surprised when their delivery arrives aboard a fire engine. If all the smoke alarms in the home are working, the pizza is free. If a smoke alarm is not working, the firefighters will replace the batteries or install a fully functioning fire safety device in the home.

Today in Detroit, the Detroit Fire Department welcomed students to learn about fire safety along with Sparky the Fire Dog. Everyone enjoyed Domino's Pizza before the team went out on the first fire engine pizza delivery of the program! Take a look at some of our photos from the event below. 

Judy Smoke Alarms
Sparky in Detroit 2
Dominos in Detroit
Pizza Delivery

For more information on Fire Prevention Week and the Domino's Pizza partnership, please visit our website

06-rx400-hero[1]Hybrid SUVs like the Lexus RX 400h allow drivers to enjoy Montana's beautiful off-road scenery...without polluting it in the process!

October is Fire Prevention Month, and who better to show first responders a few new things about preventing fires in electric vehicles than the EV Safety Training crew? Subject Matter Expert Matt Paiss visited the Montana Fire Services Training School on Saturday October 1st to deliver the electric vehicle safety for first responders train-the-trainer course to a full house of firefighters and instructors.

First responders attending the class also got the chance to see the inside workings of a Toyota Prius, generously lent by City Toyota.

For more coverage of the training in Montana, as well as some great video footage, check out the article from the local News Channel 5.

On October 5, 1989, a fire in a nursing home located in Norfolk, Virginia resulted in the death of 12 patients and required hospital treatment or relocation of 96 others.  The fire began in a patient’s room on the second floor, and was probably caused by careless disposal of smoking materials, according to local investigators.  Upon discovering the fire, the nursing staff immediately began to evacuate patients, activate the fire alarm system, close patient room doors, and notify the fire department.  When the fire department arrived, they began an interior fire attack and soon knocked down the majority of the fire.  Severe heat and smoke conditions still existed on the fire floor, so the firefighters began to evacuate patients from their rooms.

Nine patients on the second floor died during the fire, and following the fire, three additional patients died.  Two of these fatalities were on the second floor, and one was on the third floor.  Significant factors contributing to this incident included:

  • The rapid growth and development of the fire within the patient room
  • The absence of automatic sprinklers that could have prevented full room involvement or flashover
  • The lack of compartmentation due to the open door to the room of fire origin
  • The lack of automatic detection and failure of the fire alarm system to function properly

NFPA members can read the full investigation report, and NFPA’s research report regarding structure fires in nursing homes, all site visitors can download a fact sheet about nursing home fires.

-Ben Evarts

Today, Sparky the Fire Dog headed down to Madison Avenue in New York. Sparky was recognized as one of the country’s top-notch mascots in the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame contest. The public was able to vote for their favorite icon over the last couple of weeks in September. 

All of the nominees, inluding Sparky, Smokey Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog, AOL Running Man, Mr. Peanut and more, met up today to hear who had won the contest and to participate in a parade down Madison Avenue. 

Sparky and NFPA congratulate The Kia Hampsters who won Rookie of the Year, and Allstate's Mayhem and the Coca-Cola Polar Bears for winning this year's top honors! Check out some of our photos from the event below. 


Sparky in Walk of Fame

Sparky 2

Sparky 3

Judy Comoletti and Amy LeBeau of NFPA's Public Education division answer your questions about this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign.

Got more questions about Fire Prevention Week? Just click on the "Comments" link below and submit your question. We'll get back to you as quickly as we can!

Read the NFPA Standards Council agenda to find out what items will be addressed at its meeting on October 17-18 at the Hyatt Regency, Savannah, GA. 

At this meeting, the Council will:

  • act on the issuance of proposed TIAs on NFPA 20, 51A, 70, 407, 1911
  • review two new projects:  guide for using large buildings for mass shelters; and a document as a screening fire test standard for textiles based on the Small Scale test method
  • consider requests from Committees to change revision cycle schedules and committee scopes

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.

- Debbie Baio 

Facebook-Like-Button-big Are you following Fire Prevention Week on Facebook and Twitter? If not, you should take a minute and do so now! We post photos, updates, news and more on each of those social media platforms - and you'll want to stay as up to date as possible with FPW only 1 week away!

Like Fire Prevention Week on Facebook now!

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We'd also love to hear from you. Be sure to post your FPW photos, questions, ideas and events for others to check out and enjoy. 

-Lauren Backstrom


Smoke from a distant wildfire hangs in the sky in early September near Bastrop, Texas. The 2011 fire season has been marked by some of the largest wildfires on record, underscoring NFPA’s varied efforts to address the wildfire problem at home and abroad. (Photograph: AP Wideworld/Eric Gay)

One evening in April, Ed Brown and his wife, Val Hall, left their Fort Collins, Colorado, home as wildfire approached and drove to the safety of a friend’s house. From there, they could see thick black smoke emanating from nearby Crystal Mountain and hear propane tanks exploding in the distance. They returned home the next morning to discover their house was the only one in the neighborhood not impacted by wildfire, which destroyed 13 homes and burned nearly 3,000 acres (1,214 hectares).

Read "Working Together", the cover story of our bonus issue of NFPA Journal®, which looks at new research on brush, grass and forest fires, the effectiveness of codes and standards on wildfire issues, and environmental factors that affect wildfires.

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