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Nfpa56_600
The cover story
in the November/December NFPA Journal takes a close look at the creation of NFPA 56 (PS), Fire and Explosion Prevention During Cleaning and Purging of Flammable Gas Piping Systems. A new fast-track development process allowed NFPA to create the consensus standard in less than six months.

Among the practices addressed by the standard are gas blows, whereby large volumes of natural gas are moved through piping systems under high pressure as a way to clean debris from the pipes. The standard was developed in response to the deadly Kleen Energy disaster in Middletown, Connecticut, in 2010, where a gas blow resulted in a catastrophic explosion that killed six workers and injured dozens.

- Scott Sutherland

From the November/December issue of NFPA Journal 

November_december_2011_cover_200The explosion at the Kleen Energy power plant in Middletown, Connecticut in February 2010 was one of the worst workplace accidents to occur in the United States in recent years. A gas-blowing operation to clean debris from pipes led to an explosion and fire that killed six people and injured about 50 others.

In the aftermath, investigators, including the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), determined that there was no safety standard governing the operation that caused this catastrophe. In its report, the CSB recommended the development of a standard to prevent such explosions from happening again.

NFPA was the only organization that stepped up to close this dangerous gap in standards dealing with natural gas. Because it was believed that the gas-blow procedure was used in many other plants around the country, NFPA and safety officials at the federal, state, and local levels felt that time was of the essence in the development of the standard. Our regulations permit the development of standards through an expedited process if there is an urgent need to do so. We worked with CSB to get its views on what should be covered in the standard. The Standards Council quickly authorized the project and appointed the Technical Committee, which got to work in the spring of 2011.

Read NFPA President Jim Shannon's entire column in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

Bucks County sprinkler reportBetween 1988 and 2010, there were 90 home fire fatalities in non-sprinklered one- and two-family homes in Bucks County, PA. During that same time span, there were zero fire fatalities in county homes protected by fire sprinkler systems. The report, just published by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, also details the vast difference in average property loss in sprinklered ($14,000) and non-sprinklered homes ($179,896) that experience fires. 

Details, download the report on the home fire sprinkler experience in Bucks County, PA.

The public has spoken, and three college students have nabbed the top prizes in a fire safety video contest. The challenge, issued by NFPA  and The Center for Campus Fire Safety, was for college students to created 30- or 60-second video public service announcements (PSAs) showcasing the importance of fire safety.

  • Winning college fire safety videoDan Nguyen of Columbia University and Tampa, FL, won first prize for his video “College Fire Safety Tips”.
  • Katelyn Watkinson of Vancouver Island University and Nanaimo, British Columbia, was awarded second prize with her entry “Adults Need Fire Safety Too”.
  • Anthony Gentles of Northeastern University and Lowell, MA, placed third with his entry, “Fire Prevention Video.”

Watch the winning videos.

The three winners will receive Amazon gift cards and their video PSAs will be offered for use by television stations located in markets where the students’ universities are located as well as the their hometowns.

Read NFPA's fact sheet on campus fire safety.

- Mike Hazell

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