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Chief Paul J. Zbikowski, president, Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts, speaks at the Massachusetts press conference.

Against the backdrop of the firefighters memorial at the Massachusetts State House,  NFPA President James M. Shannon and representatives of every major fire  service organization in the state came together to protest against the  new building code in Massachusetts. 

All national model building codes include the requirement for fire  sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. The Board of Building  Regulations and Standards (BBRS) promulgated a building code for the  Commonwealth of Massachusetts in August and omitted the provision to require home fire  sprinklers in new construction.

“Your risk of dying in a home fire decreases by more than 80 percent  with sprinklers and property damage is reduced by 74 percent” said  Shannon. “By allowing substandard housing to be built in Massachusetts,  the BBRS puts firefighters and citizens at unnecessary risk. Their  action should be reversed.” 

Read more, watch video of the event at the Massachusetts State House on our Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog

NFPA 13, 13D, and 13R are a series of documents that deal with the installation of automatic fire sprinklers. NFPA's Matt Klaus, Senior Fire Protection Engineer, talks about some of the significant changes to the 2013 edition of these documents.

There are eight NFPA documents that specifically address dust, and all of them address two hazards -- fires and explosions. Guy Colonna, head of NFPA's Industrial and Chemical Engineering Division, says there is a new committee structure in the works for NFPA's combustible dust documents.

NFPA Certification Project Manager Larry McDonald and CFPS Board Chair Bruce Clark answer questions about certification and why it plays an important role in the career development of a fire protection specialist.

CFPS(1)The Certified Fire Protection Specialist Board (CFPS) was formed in 1971 to document competency and offering professional recognition for individuals involved in fire protection, fire safety, and fire prevention. In 1998, CFPS and NFPA partnered to jointly offer this highly regarded certification program.

The CFPS Board credential has been awarded to more than 2,000 professionals and is internationally recognized as a mark of achievement within the fire protection field. 

Learn more about the Certified Fire Protection Specialist program.


In a luncheon presentation at NFPA’s Fire & Life Safety Conference in Orlando today, Kathleen Almand, P.E., Executive Director of the Fire Protection Research Foundation, talked about the Foundation’s efforts to plan, manage and communicate research in support of the NFPA mission.

NFPA’s codes and standards are constantly evolving to meet emerging fire safety challenges, and that keeps the Research Foundation, an independent, charitable organization created in 1982, very busy. Kathleen said ideas for Research Foundation projects come from a variety of sources, including NFPA technical committees that need data about a particular issue, industries that want to introduce new technologies, and requests for in-depth research on emerging issues, such as alternative energy.

The final reports of the Research Foundation, all of which are free to the public, are posted on the Foundation’s web site and organized by topic (detection and signaling, hazardous materials, electrical safety, suppression, emergency responders, and structural fire protection).

One of the Research Foundation’s most recent reports focuses on lithium ion batteries. (Download the report, listed under "Other hazards"). Kathleen said this project looked at a wide range of batteries – from small to the larger units used in electric vehicles – and studied unique failure modes, storage concerns, and related fire service operations. It also contains an assessment of the life cycle of batteries, from manufacture, through storage and use, and recycling.

With the growing adoption of residential sprinkler ordinances in communities across the country, the Research Foundation is also conducting a study on the community impact of fire flow water consumption in both sprinklered and unsprinklered buildings. The report, expected to be released in January, will assess the fire flow fee structure in six U.S. communities.

Learn more about the Research Foundation, and read the Foundation blog to keep up with the latest research projects. 

Almost any medical process or procedure is feasible today. From heart transplants, to lung transplants to face transplants, the level of medical care and treatment is unprecedented. Codes, standards and regulations must be nimble and proactive to keep pace. While myriad changes were made throughout the 2012 edition of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, several changes directly impact the healthcare and ambulatory healthcare environments. Robert Solomon, P.E., of NFPA's Building Fire Protection and Life Safety division, provides an overview of these changes. goal of the Korean Fire Protection Association (KFPA), under the leadership of Young-sun Kauh, CEO of KFPA, is to increase its public education programs in South Korea and to adapt many of NFPA’s public education programs for its Korean audiences.

In November, Battalion Chief Derrick Sawyer of the Philadelphia Fire Department and I went to Seoul on a trip sponsored by the KFPA to speak at the International Seminar on Public Fire Safety Education. Three hundred firefighters and other professionals attended the conference, where Chief Sawyer spoke about the five-step planning process the Philadelphia Fire Department uses in public education programs. I spoke about NFPA’s public education programs for general audiences and for high-risk groups. I also showed how public education programs are most effective when used in combination with engineering and enforcement strategies and how NFPA collaborates with government agencies on public education and outreach programs.

Other speakers at the conference were Yeol Woo Shin of the Korea National Emergency Management Agency and Young Pyo Hong of the KFPA Public Education and Public Relations Division.
We also held a strategic planning meeting with the public education staff of KFPA. In addition to these meetings, Chief Sawyer and I visited a disaster simulation center and a Seoul Fire Department fire station.

Sharon Gamache


Battalion Chief Derrick Sawyer presents the Five-Step Planning Process as used in Public Education Programs in Philadephia.












Sharon Gamache (right) presents NFPA public education programs. Myongo Yoon professor of University of Seoul (left) moderates the conference. 


Myongo Yoon and CEO Young-sun Kauh of KFPA present plaques of appreciation to Battalion Chief Derrick Sawyer and Sharon Gamache.


KFPA public education staff strategize on public education programs with Sharon Gamache and Derrick Sawyer. Seung-il Ahn of KFPA translates. 

Another full day of educational sessions here in Orlando today. Presentations by NFPA experts and Technical Committee members are being offered up in four tracks: “Building and Life Safety”, “Detection and Alarm”, “Suppression”, and “Codes and Standards”. Add in featured luncheon presentations, CEUs, and networking with colleagues from all over the world, our attendees are getting a true career-boosting experience.

NFPA’s Ron Cote, P.E., Principal Life Safety Code Engineer, leads a packed session on changes to the 2012 edition of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®. 


NFPA’s Jonathan Hart, Associate Fire Protection Engineer, discusses fire protection schemes of various storage arrangements. 


The best way to ensure the long-term operational reliability of a fire alarm system is with a diligent inspection, testing, and maintenance program. At NFPA's Fire & Life Safety Conference in Orlando, Dick Roux, NFPA Senior Electrical Specialist, reviewed practical and time-tested ways to improve the effectiveness of any inspection, testing, and maintenance program. He also talked about significant changes in the latest edition of the document. Learn more about NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.


Ken Willette of NFPA's Public Fire Protection division talks about the interface of green building codes and tactical firefighting operations, and using NFPA 1500 and NFPA 1620 to develop response protocols that enhance firefighter safety. 

In the early-morning hours of December 13, 1977, a fire occurred in a college dormitory at Providence College in Providence, RhodeIsland.  The fire resulted in the deaths of ten students who were residents of the fourth floor.  The primary fuel for the fire was highly combustible Christmas decorations that had been put up in the corridors.  Two of the ten student fatalities died from injuries received when they jumped out a window, four died of carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation, and four died as a direct result of burns.  Twelve students and one firefighter were injured.

The extremely rapid fired development and a dead-end corridor were the most significant factors that contributed to the multiple loss of life in this incident.  NFPA members can download a 1978 Fire Journal article about this incident.  All visitors can read a full report about fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities and barracks as well.

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