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As you probably know, our Fire Prevention Week campaign is in full swing. This year, our theme is "Protect Your Family From Fire", and our web site has all of the information and resources you need to keep you, your family, and community safer from fire.

Take a peek at the video we've created for the campaign. It's called "Sparky and the Runaway Robot!" and tells the story of the madcap adventures of a Safe-T-Bot who short circuits, races out of the fire station, and becomes an uninvited ''guest'' at the home of a family getting ready for a birthday party.

Incidentally, the voice of Sparky in this video is none other than Barry Brickey, a public education officer for the Kingsport (TN) Fire Department, who won our "Voice of Sparky" contest earlier this year.

On July 30, 1985, a fire erupted from a 20-pound LB gas cylinder beneath a steam table in the main dining room of a restaurant in Seaside Park, NJ. Everyone in the building, including 75 to 80 patrons, as well as employees and two occupants of the second floor, narrowly escaped.

According to investigators, the fire was caused when a flexible metal hose used to connect a 20-pound LP-Gas cylinder to a steam table failed. Ignition quickly followed, likely from either residual flame at the steam table, or by "sterno" cans that heated trays of food at the adjacent table. Some patrons felt trapped due to the proximity of the fire to the dining room exit. Bystanders outside of the restaurant broke out windows, allowing these patrons to escape. Damage to the restaurant and its content was estimated at $205,000 (Over $400,000 in today's dollars).

This fire demonstrates the hazard that improper use of LP-Gas can pose, and the importance of complying with NFPA 58.

Members can read the full investigation report, as well as a report about fires in eating and drinking establishments, all site visitors can download a free fact sheet and the report's executive summary.

-Ben Evarts Training   
Class attendees check out the brand new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, instructed by Subject Matter Expert Jason Emery.

It was a beautiful day in Massachusetts yesterday, and what better way for the EV Safety Training team to enjoy it than to launch our very first official train-the-trainer session?

Over seventy training officers, department chiefs, and first responders attended the session, which took place at the brand-new Massachusetts Firefighting Academy facility in Stow, MA. Director Ed Walker introduced the training, expressing his excitement at not only receiving the training but also being the first stop of the EV Safety Training national tour. Following Director Walker, NFPA representative Chris Dubay provided some background on the NFPA and the EV Safety Training Project.

The class, led by Subject Matter Experts Jason Emery, Chris Pepler, and Matt Paiss, ran for about eight hours, and included detailed curriculum taught through PowerPoint slides, videos, and interactive scenario discussions, as well as a hands-on portion during which the attendees were able to get up-close and personal with a new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which was generously lent to us by Hyundai Training Facility in Shrewsbury, MA.

Following the class, students called the instructors “engaging”, “well-informed”, and “easy to understand”, and headed out with their instructor guides and teaching materials to pass on their new information to their departments. What a successful launch of the program!

Look out, New York—we’re heading to you next week!

Judy Comoletti Emergency planning is important no matter where you are – home, work, school and even vacation. My recent vacation was a cruise to Bermuda. Before we set sail, everyone participated in an emergency evacuation drill, making our way to an assigned life boat location and learning how to put on a life jacket. When we arrived in Bermuda, I looked over the balcony and saw the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service. Of course, I had to investigate and found Lieutenant Josonee Smith, fire safety officer for the department. He explained that the ship was conducting an emergency drill with a dirty bomb. The drill used simulated smoke and the entire crew had to evacuate the ship.

Read Judy Comoletti's entire post on NFPA's Fire Prevention Week blog.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIA) on NFPA 51A, NFPA 70, NFPA 407, and NFPA 1911 are being published for public review and comment:

  • NFPA 51A, Proposed TIA No. 1036, regarding adding new definitions to Sections 3.3(new), and the revision of 10.6 and
  • NFPA 70, Proposed TIA No. 1034, regarding the deletion of "thermoplastic-insulated" in 230.44(5)
  • NFPA 70, Proposed TIA No. 1037, regarding the revision of 625.13
  • NFPA 70, Proposed TIA No. 1038, regarding the revision of 625.14
  • NFPA 407, Proposed TIA No. 1029, regarding the addition of and A. and the revision of A.
  • NFPA 1911, Proposed TIA No. 1030, regarding the revision of 7.3.3 and 7.3.4  

Anyone may submit a comment on this proposed TIA by the September 9, 2011 closing date. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.

- Debbie Baio Journal Live NFPA Journal® Live presentations, created specifically for NFPA members, feature NFPA technical staff or outside experts discussing a topic related to the featured content in the latest NFPA Journal®. NFPA Journal Live will consist of a presentation by a topic expert, followed by a question-and-answer session that members are invited to participate in. Featuring expert analysis, Journal Live promises to be an informative tool that you can use to stay current on important codes and standards issues. 

Next up:
Join us Thursday, July 28, at 2 p.m. for our NFPA Journal LIVE presentation, “Extinguishing Fires in High-Challenge Warehouses: The Fire Service Perspective.” Richard Gallagher of Zurich Services Corporation Risk Engineering and NFPA’s Steven Sawyer will discuss how large warehouses have evolved and the challenges that warehouse fires pose for the fire service. Register Now

Angela Burke Want to multi-task while you are waiting for your prescription to be filled? Why not charge your new electric vehicle (EV)? Walgreens – one of the nation’s biggest drugstore chains – has announced its plan to become the country’s biggest host for EV charging stations. According to the Department of Energy, with approximately 800 stations expected to be installed among the company’s 7,733 locations by the end of the year, Walgreens will make up as much as 40 percent of the public charging stations located across the country.

Read the entire blog post by Angela Burke on NFPA's Electric Vehicles Safety Training blog.

Did you choose to live in a house with fire sprinklers? Share your story with the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and you could win a Flip video camera. Entries cannot exceed 140 characters (letters and spaces). Tweet your story to!/HFSCorg) or post it their Facebook page.

Best story in 140 characters or less wins! Tell your friends. Entry deadline is August 15, 2011.

NJ-Hotel-Fire On July 26, 1980, a fire occurred in the late evening at a hotel.  Most of the guests at this hotel were people who had a cognitive disability, or people who were elderly.  Of the 38 people in the building at the time, 24 perished.  The fire was probably caused by a ground fault in which an ungrounded conductor came into contact with the metal armor of the type AC cable. The fire began in a concealed space, which delayed detection of the fire by occupants.

Other factors contributing to the severity of the incident included:

  • The lack of an early-warning detection system
  • Lack of a second means of egress from the second and third floors
  • Louvers on guest-room doors, which allowed smoke to spread into the rooms

NFPA members can download the full fire journal article which contains NFPA's investigation of the incident.  Those interested in more information about hotel and motel fires can download NFPA's free fact sheet, and members can read a full report.

-Ben Evarts

FPW quiz Have you tested your fire safety IQ yet? Our Fire Prevention Week campaign's theme is "Protect Your Family From Fire." Keeping in line with the theme, this year, the focus is all about keeping you, your family, and your community safer from fire.

We've developed a short online quiz to test your fire safety knowledge. After you take the quiz, you can continue to click through to see the answers to any questions you missed. You can also share your results on Facebook and Twitter.

NOLA-Hotel-Fire On July 23, 1971 in New Orleans, Louisiana, six people died when fire erupted in a twelfth story room of a 17-story hotel. At about 2 a.m. the hotel management had a disagreement with the occupants of room 1218 over rules, and the occupants of that room checked out and left the building. Some time later, other hotel occupants noticed the smell of smoke and reported it to the front desk. Two hotel security guards investigated and determined that the fire was in room 1218. One guard broke the door to the room open while the other started evacuating guests.

Five of the victims of the fire were trying to escape by taking the elevator down from the fifteenth floor. When the elevator reached the twelfth floor, it stopped and the doors opened, allowing heat and smoke to pour into the car.

Factors contributing to the severity of this incident included:

  • Delayed notification of the Fire Department
  • The guard opening the door to the room, allowing fire to enter the hallway

Members can download the full Fire Journal article.  Those interested in more information about hotel and motel fires can download NFPA's free fact sheet, and members can read a full report.

-Ben Evarts

RF news Read the latest issue of the e-newsletter published by the Fire Protection Research Foundation.

In this issue:

  • Bigglestone Award, Foundation Medal presented at NFPA Conference in Boston
  • New Research Foundation reports and projects
  • Join us in Detroit this September for the Dust Explosion Hazards 2-Day Symposium
  • Award-winning research papers available online for limited time

Sign-up to receive this bi-monthly newsletter.

The Research Foundation plans, manages, and communicates research on a broad range of fire safety issues in collaboration with scientists and laboratories around the world. The Foundation is an affiliate of NFPA.

Rememberwhen Do you have what it takes to help make your community safer for older adults? NFPA is committed to helping communities reduce fire and fall injuries and deaths among older adults. In December, NFPA will host representatives from up to 40 communities to attend its Remembering When Conference in Boston.

We're looking for fire departments to partner with an agency whose main outreach to older adults is through home visits. As a team, the fire department and the agency will support the implementation of Remembering When at the local level.

Apply today for a Remembering When award, which is valued at more than $4,000 and includes:

  • A training workshop in Boston on December 4-6, 2011 for each two-member team. NFPA will cover the expense of travel, hotel, and group meals for each team. Attendance at all sessions is mandatory. All events and meals are funded for invited attendees only.
  • One Remembering When: Fire and Falls Prevention program curriculum for each team member.
  • One hundred “How to Prevent Fires” brochures for distribution to older adults.
  • One hundred “How to Prevent Falls” brochures for distribution to older adults.

But hurry: the deadline for applications is August 15. See more information and complete rules.


!|src=|alt=Cruise-Ship-Fire|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Cruise-Ship-Fire|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01538fbf38ab970b! On July 20, 1998, a fire occurred on the passenger cruise ship "Ecstasy".  The fire began when maintenance personnel were repairing a pressing and folding machine in a laundry area. An arc from a welding rod ignited combustible lint in and around the machine. Soon, smoke spread to the decks above and below the laundry area. 

The fire grew in intensity, and eventually smoke could be seen by United States Coast Guard cameras at the Port of Miami.  The Coast Guard asked the ship's captain about the smoke, and the captain indicated that the crew was controlling the fire. Approximately 30 minutes later, the captain contacted the Coast Guard to ask for assistance.

The combination of the ship's fire brigade and other fire-fighting vessels eventually brought the fire under control, but the ship lost control of its propulsion systems and had to be towed back to the Port of Miami.

Factors that directly contributed to the severity of the fire included

    • Cutting and welding without proper precautions

    • Avenue of fire spread through ventilation ducts containing lint and dust accumulations

    • Delay in discovery of the fire on the mooring deck


Members can download the full investigation report , and site visitors can download a summary in english or spanish .

 -[Ben Evarts |]

Dave_nuss_50x60 A recent guest commentary on by Rick Cables, a regional forester for the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service, caught my eye this week. His explanation of why forest fires are sometimes necessary, the purpose of prescribed burns, and his message about doing our part to help our wildland firefighters struck a chord with me. 

Read the entire blog post by Dave Nuss on NFPA's Firewise Communities blog.

Safety Source Read the July issue of "Safety Source", NFPA’s montly public education e-newsletter.

In this issue:

  • New Firewise website offers new resources for educators
  • Find out how you can reduce fire and fall injuries among older adults in your community
  • This year's Fire Prevention Week campaign (Oct. 9-15) is all about keeping you, your family, and your community safer from fire.
  • For the kids: an egg-cellent idea for your left-over eggshells.
  • NFPA Journal® explores the bizarre tale of a deadly wave of molasses that decimated a Boston neighborhood.

Don't miss an issue! Sign up now and be the first to get the latest information on happenings in NFPA's public education division, Ready for Risk Watch® news, Remembering When™ activities, fire statistics, trends, educational tips, life saves, and more.

- Mike Hazell

The nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) and NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative, together with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), will be awarding a fire chief for their outstanding local efforts to increase the installation of residential fire sprinkler systems. The “Bringing Safety Home” award recognizes a fire chief who uses resources from the HFSC and NFPA to educate their communities and ensure that decision-makers have information to pass or upgrade residential fire sprinkler legislation at the local level.

The deadline for submissions is July 29.  Last year, Chief Timothy Solobay of Cannonsburg (PA) Volunteer Fire Department was the first recipient of the “Bringing Safety Home” award. He was recognized for the role he played to educate decision-makers in his area and state.

This year, the award will be presented by IAFC’s Fire and Life Safety Section at the 2011 Fire Rescue International in Atlanta.

Download a nomination form.

Ev Safety Training
Developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in partnership with the U.S.Department of Energy, the Electric Vehicle Safety Training course is designed to provide emergency responders with the information needed to respond safely and effectively to emergencies involving hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, and to emergencies involving vehicle charging stations.

The course provides basic instruction in:

  • The realities and myths regarding hazards and risks to responders
  • Vehicle components, systems and safety features
  • Vehicle recognition and identification techniques at accident scenes
  • Procedures for initial response, shutdown and immobilization, and
  • Guidelines and safety considerations for emergency operations

The first Train-the-Trainer course will be held in Massachusetts, at the Department of Fire Services in Stow, MA on July 28, 2011. If you are a MA-based first response training officer and are interested in Electric Vehicle Safety Training, register for this training course now.

Don't live in Massachusetts, but are interested in participating? Watch for updates on when the training program comes to your state.

-Lauren Backstrom

RF news Read the latest issue of the e-newsletter published by the Fire Protection Research Foundation.

In this issue:

  • Bigglestone Award, Foundation Medal presented at NFPA Conference in Boston
  • New Research Foundation reports and projects
  • Join us in Detroit this September for the Dust Explosion Hazards 2-Day Symposium
  • Award-winning research papers available online for limited time

Sign-up to receive this bi-monthly newsletter.

The Research Foundation plans, manages, and communicates research on a broad range of fire safety issues in collaboration with scientists and laboratories around the world. The Foundation is an affiliate of NFPA.

In 2008, NFPA’s Standards Council approved NFPA 1917, Automotive Ambulances, for inclusion in the 2012 revision cycle. The new standard establishes the minimum requirements, performance parameters, and essential criteria for new emergency medical services (EMS) vehicles and could replace federal specification requirements currently guiding ambulance construction. Read the full article.

Video: NFPA's Larry Stewart gives an overview of NFPA 1917.

Read the NFPA Standards Council agenda and hearings schedule to find out what appeals will be heard and items to be addressed at its meeting on August 9-11 at NFPA headquarters, Quincy, MA. The Council will act on the issuance of the Annual 2011 documents and the appeals on these documents at this meeting.

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 

hybrid and electric vehicles—even when running!—are silent 
One of the most important things that EV Safety Training’s curriculum for first responders teaches is that hybrid and electric vehicles—even when running!—are silent. While these silent engines could present a danger to first responders, they could also be dangerous to pedestrians, especially those who don’t always take the time to look both ways before crossing the street.

Read the entire post on NFPA's Electric Vehicle Safety Training Project blog.

Fire-Sprinkler-Initiative-newsletter The July issue of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter features NFPA President Jim Shannon's speech at the Conference & Expo responding to anti-sprinkler legislation and challenges facing supporters of sprinkler requirements. Also featured is a video of NFPA's Maria Figueroa and Peg Paul from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, as they debunk common sprinkler myths during an enlightening interview.

Read the newsletter by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

Itching to take a road trip in a brand new electric vehicle? Here is news that may get you charged up. This week Washington state transportation officials announced their goal of placing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at key intervals along Interstate 5, the West Coast’s busiest highway.

That means, by 2012, EV drivers will be able to drive the 580 miles from the southern border of Oregon to Canada, all without releasing a single carbon emission from their vehicle during the trip. But, more charging stations soon may be on the way. The initial charging station installation is part of the West Coast Green Highway – proposed by the states of Washington, Oregon and California – that would run 1,350 miles from Canada to Mexico.

With the growing number of EV drivers, pulling into a charging station soon may be as common as pulling into a gas station has been for decades. EV drivers will be able to travel farther and without worrying about how many miles they have left.

This announcement also is a sign that more and more of these vehicles soon will be traveling on our nation’s busiest interstates. With more EVs on the road, the likelihood that first responders will face emergency situations involving EVs also increases. That’s why we are working hard with first responders to make sure they are equipped with the knowledge they need to respond without hesitation.

Ask your North American Fire Training Director if they have signed up for NFPA’s Electric Vehicle Safety Training. If you haven’t already, you may see an EV coming down the road sooner than you think.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) on NFPA 20 is being published for public review and comment:

Anyone may submit a comment on this proposed TIA by the September 2, 2011 closing date. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.

- Debbie Baio

On July 18, 1988, at approximately 8:20 p.m. a fire started on the 34th story of a high-rise building in Los Angeles, CA. Workers were refinishing a combination credenza/bookcase by stripping the furniture with paint and varnish remover, cleaning the wood with a lacquer thinner, then applying new finish. The stripper was a Class II combustible liquid, and the lacquer thinner was a class IB flammable liquid. An arc occurred when one of the workers was removing finish around the electrical box. Despite the quick spread of the fire and presence of flammable and combustible liquids, severe damage was contained to three offices and a secretarial area.

Factors that helped to limit fire spread included:

  • office partitioning equipment
  • immediate notification of the fire department
  • adequate water
  • it was the evening, so firefighters could enter the building without being delayed by people who were evacuating

NFPA members can download this investigation report for free, and all visitors can download a fact sheet about fires in office buildings.

-Ben Evarts

One of the most important things that EV Safety Training’s curriculum for first responders teaches is that hybrid and electric vehicles—even when running!—are silent. While these silent engines could present a danger to first responders, they could also be dangerous to pedestrians, especially those who don’t always take the time to look both ways before crossing the street.

To address this potential hazard, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on Thursday that it has proposed sound regulations to protect pedestrians from accidents involving hybrids and electric vehicles. These regulations come in the wake of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010, which established a standard that requires EVs and hybrids to make some kind of sound to alert pedestrians, but as of yet there are no regulated levels of volume or uniformity in those sounds.

According to the New York Times, The NHTSA plans to survey the impact of any proposed noises on community environments, analyze this feedback, and begin to create regulations by July of 2012. The rule establishing the standards is expected to be published by January of 2014.

What sort of sound do you think electric vehicles should make? Should it be regulated to sound similar to an internal combustion engine, or should it be customizable, like a ringtone? We asked that question on NFPA's Facebook page - and here are some of the responses we got:

  • "Get clothespins and playing cards?"
  • "A buzzing sound works fine , except someone might think its a giant bug and try to smash it lol"
  • "Make it sound like a motorcycle... Ask any biker and they'll tell you.. "Loud Pipes Save Lives"."
  • "A digitized recording that is about as loud as a new auto; it doesn't have to be LOUD but about the same as current vehicles. The recording could be a voice saying "Be careful. An Electric (Tesla, Leaf, Volt) is approaching"

We want to hear from you! Click on the "Comments" link below and tell us what you think an EV should sound like.

- Angela Burke

Judy Comoletti Today, NFPA launched the annual Fire Prevention Week blog! We have exciting new FPW information to share. Our blogging team has expanded to include representatives from several different areas at NFPA - public affairs, marketing, web publishing, the home fire sprinkler initiative, and, of course, public education. Fire Prevention Week Blog This year’s theme is “Protect Your Family from Fire.” We are focusing on three key areas – smoke alarms, escape planning, and home fire sprinklers. And, “family” covers everyone from a family of one to a hundred and one. This theme is for you.

By now I’m sure you’ve had a chance to take a look at the FPW site – your source for everything you need for the campaign. We’ll be blogging daily on interesting topics from high-risk issues to products to website materials and even interesting experiences of our blog team.

Check out the first post and make sure to come back each day for more!

photo from the Wall Street Journal blog

In an effort to reduce pollution, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city is acquiring 70 electric vehicles to be used by a number of city departments, including 50 Chevrolet Volts. The Volts scheduled to become police patrol cars are likely to receive the most attention, as the Volt will be the first all-electric car used by the New York City police department. “This is the latest and largest-ever addition of electric vehicles to the City’s fleet, which is already the largest municipal clean-air vehicle fleet in the nation,” Bloomberg said.

This new addition puts New York City’s electric-vehicle total at 430. The NYPD already boasts an impressive fleet of clean-fuel vehicles, including the Toyota Prius, Nissan Altima Hybrids, and Ford Fusion Hybrids. New York City also expects to add six Nissan Leafs to the fleet to be used as cabs by the end of this year.

New York’s new electric patrol cars mark the first foray into all-electric vehicles as official first responder cars. If the fire service follows suit—all-electric fire engines, anyone?—it will become even more important for all first responders to be trained in electric vehicle safety.


Thousands of people live in areas prone to wildfire and new communities are frequently being developed in there.  Watch the Firewise® Communities Program new video that explains the process for developing a community in a wildfire-prone area using Firewise principles.  Safer From the Start: Developing a Firewise Community, focuses on cost-effective measures and proven Firewise principles, which developers and planners can adopt when building communities.  Homeowners are also likely to be interested the information and techniques presented. The complimentary DVD (18 minutes) was produced in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service, US Department of the Interior and the National Association of State Foresters. To order a free copy visit NFPA's Online Catalog. It is also available to view or share on YouTube.  Please let us know your thoughts about the video.

Read more about Safer From the Start


EV Safety Summit 
Registration is now open for the “2nd Annual Electric Vehicle Safety Standards Summit” on Tuesday and Wednesday 27-28 September 2011 in Detroit, MI.  The two day meeting will be held at the Marriott Detroit Renaissance Center Hotel, 400 Renaissance Drive, Detroit, MI. Similar to last year’s successful Summit, this year’s event is again co-hosted by NFPA and SAE International.  We’re also pleased to welcome our key note speaker, Robert C. Lange, Principal and Group Vice President of Exponent, Inc.

This year’s Summit will address the following topics:

  • What’s new with vehicles and batteries
  • Trends in the EV marketplace
  • A successful EV fleet case study
  • EV charging infrastructure and the NEC
  • A case study of an actual EV related emergency event
  • Concerns for indirect EV issues such as bulk battery storage and transportation 

A summary report of last year's Summit is available on the Foundation’s website. 

If you’re a safety representative for vehicle and equipment manufacturers, a fire protection specialist, a member of an electrical safety organization and/or an emergency responder, or part of a governmental entity at the federal, state and local level involved in enhancing consumer safety and interagency communications, you don’t want to miss this important summit. 

Please join us.  We hope to see you there!

Register here. Save $100 by registering before September 16th, 2011!  Also, find additional information including lodging, available through SAE.

-Casey Grant


How long, round trip, is your daily commute? If it’s close to 40 miles, you might want to consider a new car.

On Monday, Chevy Volt marketing director Cristi Landy announced that out of more than two million miles driven by Volt owners, over two thirds of them were powered purely by domestically-produced electricity. “We are hearing from owners…who are able to charge both at home overnight and at work during the day. These owners are able to maximize driving on electricity alone, seeing real savings at the pump and in their wallets.”

For some Volt owners, the power of electricity is having a profound effect on their lives. Kory Levoy, who used to spend up to $200 a month on gas, has filled up his Volt only three times in 7500 miles of driving. Levoy uses his 240-volt home charger to charge the car overnight, and uses a portable 120-volt charger at work to refill the battery. Since his total daily commute is only 50 miles, he has plenty of battery power to make the round trip.

The Chevy Volt can drive up to 40 miles on battery power only on a full charge, at which point the gas engine kicks in. Since the average American only drives about 33 miles a day, the Volt—and other electric vehicles—present a great alternative to internal combustion engine cars, especially with gas prices climbing every day. EV Safety Training is committed to making sure that as electric vehicles become more popular, first responders know how to work with them in case anything ever goes wrong.

Harold Schaitberger NFPA announced yesterday, that during the June Board meeting in Boston, IAFF General President, Harold A. Schaitberger was elected to the NFPA Board of Directors.

Schaitberger is general president of the 300,000-member International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), the largest fire fighter and paramedics union in the world. The IAFF represents more than 85 percent of the professional fire fighters and paramedics in the United States and Canada. Elected by the membership in 2000, he is currently serving his third, four-year term as General President.

“Harold Schaitberger is one of the most respected leaders in the fire service and we are delighted that he is joining the NFPA Board,” said James M. Shannon, president of NFPA.

Read more about Harold's experience and new role.

-Lauren Backstrom


Earlier this month, Ford revealed its first all-electric vehicle at a corporate conference in Dearborn, Mich. The release of the Ford Focus Electric 2012 — which is expected to hit the roads later this year — is yet another indication of the rising popularity of electric vehicles. As referenced in a previous post on our blog, Google research estimates that electric, plug-in and hybrid vehicles will dominate the road by 2030.

Last week, the Forbes Green Tech blog posted an article about Ford’s new vehicle and the growing EV marketplace. The post includes a pretty interesting video about Ford’s new and expanding fleet of electric vehicles — including the Ford Focus Electric — and highlights the technology and features of the new vehicles.With this transitioning market, it is imperative that emergency responders shift gears and learn about these new vehicles should they ever be involved in an accident.

NFPA’s electric vehicle project is driving this training initiative and will begin our full state-level “train-the-trainer” sessions in Massachusetts on July 28. Stay tuned for more information about trainings across the country and how to participate in a program near you by visiting  

In 2010, NFPA’s peer reviewed Journal Fire Technology celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Bigglestone award: given by the Foundation for the best paper in each annual issue. These twenty five award winning papers represent a significant contribution to the advancement of the state of the art of fire safety research and engineering. Eight original award winning authors responded to our invitation to submit a retrospective on the topic addressed in their original paper. Like Fire Technology itself, the papers cover a broad range of fire protection engineering and research subjects, reflecting on advances in the science and practice since the time the paper was written. These papers are available through Springer On-Line Open Access until July 31.

Redline PDF Example 
We all appreciate resources and tools that can help us be more efficient in our work and make things a bit easier. NFPA has new offerings that do just that for folks who use our codes and standards. PDF versions of the 2011, 2010 and 2009 National Fire Codes® Sets can now be downloaded for offline access and searching across the complete code set. The PDFs can also be maintained as an electronic archive. Another new resource that has been well received is Redline Editions (available for select codes) which, through the use of color, identify changes in the code from one edition to the next. Check out which documents are now available as redline.

Read more about PDF and redline versions of NFPA codes.


by Russell Fleming, P.E.
From the new issue of NFPA Journal®

Headss up NFPA Journal While the “small room rule” has been around for 40 years, it remains a source of confusion in the application of NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems. The rule is never clearly stated but exists as a combination of special allowances made for rooms no larger than 800 square feet (74.3 square meters) in size.

One area of confusion is between the small room rule and the “room design method.” The room design method is an alternative to the use of a density/area method when deciding which sprinklers constitute the “design area,” the reasonably worst-case arrangement of sprinklers expected to operate simultaneously during a fire. The size of the design area determines the minimum water supply for the area.

Read Russell's full article in NFPA Journal.

2011 Fire Prevention Week Quiz The NFPA 2011 Fire Prevention Week campaign's theme is "Protect Your Family From Fire." Keeping in line with the theme, this year, the focus is all about keeping you, your family, and your community safer from fire. We've developed a short quiz to test your fire safety knowledge as part of this campaign! Take the quiz on our website and afterwards, continue to click through to see what the correct answers were to any you may have answered incorrectly. Also, be sure to share your results on Facebook and Twitter.

Take the Fire Prevention Week quiz now!

For further 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, visit the Fire Prevention Week website.

-Lauren Backstrom

NFPA Fire & Life Safety Conference 
Looking for a good reason to visit Orlando this December? Look no further...NFPA will be hosting its second Fire & Life Safety Conference at The Hilton in the Walt Disney World® Resort, December 12-14.

We'll be offering 50 educational sessions in four targeted tracks -- Building & Life Safety, Detection & Alarm, Suppression, and Codes & Standards -- all presented by NFPA staff experts and committee members. Add a lunchtime keynote and panel discussion, CEUs, networking with colleagues from all over the world, travel and hotel discounts, and the exciting, warm, family-fun Orlando location, and you’ve got a career-boosting experience you don’t want to miss.

In addition, if you'd like to extend your stay in Orlando, we're offering four post-conference seminars:

  • Water Supply Analysis and Hydraulic Calculations (formerly known as Sprinkler Hydraulics)
  • 2012 NFPA 1, Fire Code
  • 2012 NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® Changes
  • 2012 NFPA 99, Standard for Health Care Facilities Update

Register today for this great learning opportunity...and a chance to spend a few winters days in Orlando!

Crowd at 2010 NFPA Fire & Life Safety conference 
A full house at the 2010 NFPA Fire & Life Safety Conference in Orlando.

- Mike Hazell

Molly_mowery People often wonder, what happens to the wildlife when a wildfire burns through a large area?  The answers vary depending on many factors, such as the size of the fire, the intensity and rate of spread, as well as other conditions.  While most of the focus (that we hear about) tends to be on structures and the  numbers of acres lost, we don't want to lose sight of the bigger picture of all those struggling to live with wildfires. Read Molly Mowery's entire post on the Firewise Communities blog.

by Casey Grant, P.E., FSFPE
From the new issue of NFPA Journal®

Research NFPA journal The trend in equipment used in today’s telecommunications and information technology (telecom/IT) facilities is for smaller, more powerful characteristics that can require unique operating features and create challenges for fire protection. New and different layout configurations, facility designs, power requirements, and environmental support, such as HVAC needs, have resulted in a changing landscape for these applications.

From a risk standpoint, the indirect impact of fire loss due to business interruption and loss of critical operations, sometimes geographically very distant from the telecom/IT facility itself, can far outweigh the direct property loss.

Read Casey's full article in NFPA Journal.

NFPA Journal looks at unwanted alarms 

Tracking the number of emergency calls it receives is a top priority for Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, which serves 450,000 people in nine Oregon communities. But it wasn't until the release of its 2009 study on emergency calls that the department realized the extent of the problem it has with what it terms "low-risk, high-frequency" calls: of the more than 10,000 commercial automatic alarms the department responded to during a five-year period, 99 percent were what the report described as "false alarms" or "no-hazard incidents," which Tualatin defines as alarms triggered by burnt food, welding, dust exposure, and problems with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

Read the entire article by Fred Durso in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

by Lisa Braxton
From the new issue of NFPA Journal®

Outreach NFPA Journal In a fire, people with developmental disabilities or cognitive deficits may not be able to take life-saving actions. They may wait for verbal instructions on whether to escape, decide to stay inside until rescuers arrive, or run back into a burning building to seek shelter where they feel safe.

Fire and life safety experts say that, in an emergency, it is critical that firefighters know ahead of time that they are responding to persons with developmental disabilities and that they understand the characteristics of those disabilities.

One such disability is autism, which has been in the news a lot lately. A study recently published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests the disorder may be far more prevalent than suggested by earlier research. That’s a concern for first responders like Bill Cannata, a captain with the Westwood Fire Department in Massachusetts. Cannata is also statewide coordinator of the Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition (ALEC), which trains first responders to recognize situations involving people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Read Lisa's full article in NFPA Journal.

Also see: download NFPA's free "Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities".


With recent media releases revealing that the state-run China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) kept a huge oil spill hidden from the public for an entire month, it becomes clearer and clearer every day that electric vehicles are a cleaner alternative transportation option for the future.

CNOOC publicized the spill on Monday, one month after it was detected in the oil field in Bohai Bay on June 4. The Global Times newspaper accused the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) of shielding the oil company from the public outrage that would surely result if the sill was made public.

On Tuesday, ConocoPhillips China issued a statement claiming that after the spill, it had “promptly notified relevant authorities.” The statement continued, “Currently there is no oil sheen in the Bohai Bay operating area; the source of the sheen has been contained and clean-up work is close to completion.”

Greenpeace, however, was not satisfied with the statement, responding that CNOOC had not learned from last year’s oil spill near the port city of Dalian, where 60,000-90,000 tons of crude oil poured into the yellow sea.

These dangerous oil spills overseas are no longer unfamiliar to Americans after the British Petroleum oil spill last April, during which an estimated 140 million gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.

With man-made environmental disasters like this happening far too frequently due to our dependency on gasoline, it is clear that in order to protect our world we need to start moving towards a better fuel source. Electric vehicles will allow us to do just that, and EV Safety Training is committed to making sure that long before all the cars on the road are electric, first responders will be trained to handle incidents involving this new technology. has developed and launched a new Certificate of Educational Achievement program to allow NFPA seminar attendees to further validate their code knowledge and earn additional Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Check out the fire and life safety seminars now offered with an additional day to include a review session and self-assessment exercises, followed by an exam for attendees to demonstrate their ability to understand and apply what they have learned. Upon successful completion, attendees receive their Certificate of Educational Achievement. Tip: Follow @nfpatraining on Twitter for announcements and information on learning opportunities from NFPA. 

Read more about Certificate of Educational Achievement program.


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

In this issue:

  • Overview of new NFPA Regulations
  • Results from the 2011 Association Technical Meeting on 19 NFPA documents
  • Free live web updates regarding antifreeze in sprinkler systems
  • Call for members on technical committees
  • Committees soliciting proposals
  • Committee 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 website and then select “NFPA News” from your e-mail options.

- Debbie Baio

Karen Wallingford Almost three months after the Welsh Assembly passed a law requiring the installation of residential sprinklers, a reporter for the BBC covered a live burn demonstration in Warwickshire, England with hopes that such coverage would persuade lawmakers towards similar legislation. The Warwickshire Fire and Rescue service demonstrated the difference a sprinkler makes to a house fire, and the side-by-side demonstration was captured on video.

Read Karen Wallingford's entire post on NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

Perspectives NFPA Journal 
NFPA's Fred Durso talks to Ken Holland and Laurence Stewart
From the new issue of NFPA Journal®

In the unfortunate event that you need emergency transportation to a hospital, you can take comfort in knowing that NFPA is helping make future models of ambulances even safer.

In 2008, NFPA’s Standards Council approved NFPA 1917, Automotive Ambulances, for inclusion in the 2012 revision cycle. The new standard establishes the minimum requirements, performance parameters, and essential criteria for new emergency medical services (EMS) vehicles and could replace federal specification requirements currently guiding ambulance construction. The document’s Report on Proposals (ROP) was released in June, and the public has until August 30 to submit comments on the ROP. 

Read the full article in NFPA Journal.

Hartford Circus Fire On July 6, 1944, a fire at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus led to the deaths of over 160 people. Most victims were women or children, over sixty were under 15 years of age.

It is thought that the fire was started by a discarded match or cigarette. The fire quickly engulfed the canvas "big top" sending patrons scrambling for the exits.  Most fatalities were due to severe burns, as the canvas fell onto the crowd, and it is likely that some were due to crushing by the crowd rushing to get out.

All visitors can download an article from the July 1944 edition of NFPA's The Quarterly. The article includes a newspaper article, and recommendations regarding circus fire safety.

-Ben Evarts

NFPA's Guy Colonna Combustible dusts pose a significant fire and explosion hazard for any industry that manufactures, handles, stores, or recycles solid materials.

Zurich FREE! Register now and plan to join NFPA's Guy Colonna on August 23 (12:30-2:00 pm, EST) for a webinar entitled "Identify and Prevent Dust Explosion Hazards". During this webinar, Guy will discuss NFPA 654, Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids, and related standards to identify dust explosion hazards and review safety practices so you can recognize the potential for a dust hazard condition and outline the various controls.

Learn more about this free event and register now!

by Ben Klaene & Russ Sanders
From the new issue of NFPA Journal®
Structural ops NFPA Journal One way firefighters can avoid injury or death on the fireground is to follow the many safety requirements spelled out in codes and standards such as NFPA 1500, Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program. These codes and standards not only explain safe operations, but also require that provisions be made to rescue firefighters when they are lost, trapped, or otherwise unable to make their way to safety. We advocate full compliance with these codes and standards, including an immediate call for assistance when firefighters are in trouble.

While unexpected circumstances can delay rescue, placing firefighters in even greater jeopardy,  certain tricks of the trade can increase your chances of survival while waiting for help. Intentionally creating confusion and disorientation during training exercises is an effective way to reduce the likelihood of panic during a real incident. It is also important to familiarize yourself with the building during pre-incident planning.

Read Ben and Russ' full article in NFPA Journal.

If you're wondering when the next NFPA Conference & Expo will be held, future dates and locations for the next three years have been set.

Take a look:

- Debbie Baio



by Wayne Moore, P.E., FSFPE
From the new issue of NFPA Journal®

Buzzwords NFPA Journal A year ago, I wrote about the importance of testing a fire alarm system, and everything interconnected to it, to ensure operational reliability. In a letter to NFPA Journal, a fire marshal responded that, even with budget cutbacks, he understood the importance of testing and hoped that his colleagues would take up the challenge to hold alarm companies and electrical contractors to the requirements of the 2010 edition of NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®.

He didn’t stop there. He also said that, in many jurisdictions, no one requires contractors to meet the testing requirements of NFPA 72 and that contractors often complained when he requested it of them. He further asserted that “virtually no advocates for the fire marshal” exist.

Read Wayne's full article in NFPA Journal.

First responders check out an electric vehicle at our Austin pilot training session.

EV safety training 
First responders check out an electric vehicle at our Austin pilot training session.

Andrew Klock Since the announcement of the EV Safety Training project last year, we have been working to develop and perfect a training program to benefit firefighters and first responders across the country. This spring, we conducted pilot trainings in several select markets – and received a great response from those in attendance.

We are excited to announce that several state North American Fire Training Directors have signed up for the full EV Safety Trainings, beginning in July. Where will our trainings be held?

Read the entire post by NFPA's Andrew Klock on our Electric Vehicle Safety Training blog.

by Jeffrey Sargent, NFPA senior electrical specialist
From the new issue of NFPA Journal®

Locking and tagging in NFPA Journal Establishing an electrically safe work condition is the only personal protection method that guarantees there is no electric shock or arc-flash hazard. No electric power equals no electrical hazard, which means that workers are protected from accidental activation of equipment and subsequent injury or death. Article 120 of NFPA 70E covers the process of establishing an electrically safe work condition, a key component of which is controlling hazard electrical energy — or, as it is more commonly called in the industry, lockout/tagout.

The 2009 edition of NFPA 70E provides three methods of controlling hazardous electrical energy, one of which is the use of an individual qualified employee control procedure to ensure that the source of electrical energy is disconnected to establish an electrically safe work condition.

Read Jeff's full article in NFPA Journal.

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