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Rich Bielen, NFPA's Director of Fire Protection Systems Engineering, talks about changes to NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code. One of the biggest changes to the latest edition of the document was a move toward a risk-based, rather than an occupancy-based, approach. RIch also addresses the highly-debated issue of whether operating rooms should be considered as "wet locations".


According to Bill Koffel, P.E., FSPE, President of Koffel Associates in Columbia, MD, too many fire alarm projects suffer from inadequate planning and design. Bill highlights some of the problems that may occur when planning and design issues are not addressed up front, and says the key to successful projects is communication among all parties.

Read "The Oops Factor" in the latest issue of NFPA Journal®, where Bill talks about learning from mistakes in the design and installation of fire protection systems.

What's the latest on NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Protective Openings, and why is this document so important to a building's fire protection system? In this video from NFPA's Fire & Life Safety Conference in Orlando, NFPA's Kristin Bigda, P.E., Fire Protection Engineer, talks about some of the "hot topics" related to fire doors and what changes might be in store for the 2013 edition of the document. Learn more about NFPA 80.


See photos, coverage of our Fire & Life Safety Conference taking place this week in Orlando.

 “Emerging Issues” was the topic at today’s luncheon at NFPA’s Fire & Life Safety Conference. Attendees were invited to ask questions on any of nearly two dozen topics related to fire and life safety issues, including high rise building safety, health care trends, false alarms, combustible dust, mass notification, and the re-engineering of the NFPA code and standard development system.

Panel session 2
Serving on the NFPA panel during the luncheon presentation was Rich Bielen of NFPA’s Fire Protection Systems Engineering Division; Dick Roux, NFPA Senior Electrical Specialist; Ken Willette of NFPA’s Public Fire Protection Division;; and Chris Dubay, Vice President of Codes and Standards.

Panel session 1
Also serving on the panel was Guy Colonna of NFPA's Industrial and Chemical Engineering Division, and Kristin Bigda, NFPA Fire Protection Engineer.


Our attendees have arrived, our presenters are standing by, and we're gearing up to make the next few days as interesting and impactful as possible for the fire and life safety professionals who have gathered here in Orlando to enhance their code-related knowledge and develop new skills

We'll be offering more than 60 educational sessions in four targeted tracks on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and then present four post-conference seminars focused on:

  • water supply analysis and hydraulic calculations based on NFPA 13
  • the 2012 edition of NFPA 1, Fire Code
  • changes to the 2012 edition of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®
  • an update on the 2012 edition of NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code

Stay tuned to the Fire & Life Safety Conference blog for updates from Orlando. If you want conference news sent to your in-box once a day, just visit this page and select "Get NFPA Fire & Life Safety Conference delivered by email".


NFPA's Ken Willette speaks with Gregg Cleveland, Chief of the La Crosse, WI, Fire Department about his experience at the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Conference in Orlando.

In September, NFPA and SAE co-hosted the 2nd Annual Electric Vehicle Safety Standards Summit in Detroit, Michigan. The Summit had several objectives, including reviewing the progress of electric vehicle technology, filling in gaps in codes, standards, and specifications that address the safety hazards associated with electric vehicles, and creating an action plan to continue research, training, and communication for electric vehicle safety.

The summary report from the Summit, prepared by Casey Grant, is currently available for download on our website. The report contains an executive summary of the Summit as well as more detailed information about the discussions and progress that took place over the course of the event.

 NFPA's Ron CoteWhat happens when a building falls into several occupancy classifications? This was the focus of the session “Using NFPA 101: Properly, Starting with Occupancy Classification” taught by NFPA’s Ron Cote.


Ron used a standard U.S. hotel (like the Orlando Hilton where the conference is being held) as an example of a multi-occupancy building. A hotel can have single rooms, atriums and large open spaces, and restaurants. The life safety requirements for each of these are different. How do you manage this? NFPA requires you to compare occupancy requirements and choose the stricter/strictest.

“101 is very much an occupancy code," said Ron. "It‘s a road map and beautiful formatted.  And you quickly learn that, in multi-occupancies, some occupancies are incidental …. and you can whittle it down to exactly what you need.”

- Bob Finn

As the kick-off session in the Codes & Standards track at NFPA's Fire & Life Safety Conference in Orlando, Guy Colonna, P.E., head of NFPA's Industrial and Chemical Engineering Division, spoke about what it takes to perform "hot work" (activites that produce or use sparks, flames, or heat) safely. Typical hot work includes welding, cutting, grinding, soldering, heat treating, and hot riveting.

Guy presented a three step approach to a hot work safety program:

  1. Hazard recognition: determining the type of hot work and heat sources
  2. Evaluation: assessing the degree of hazards, including a visual inspection of the hot work location
  3. Control: taking steps to minimize and/or eliminate hazards (may include training, "Safety Teams" and permits, ventilation, isolation of fuel and ignition sources, etc.)

Guy also reviewed some of the key documents to help a facility conduct safe hot work operations, including OSHA 29 CFR (Subpart Q), NFPA 51B, Standard for Fire Prevention During Welding, Cutting, and Other Hot Work; and ANSI Z49.1. 

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