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.