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A new NFPA report says that automatic sprinklers are highly effective and reliable elements of total system designs for fire protection in buildings.

The report, "U.S. Experience with Sprinklers", by John R. Hall, Jr., cites an American Housing Survey that states that in 2009, 4.6% of occupied homes (including multi-unit) had sprinklers, up from 3.9% in 2007, and 18.5% of occupied home built in the previous four years had sprinklers.

The report includes statistics on how often sprinklers are reported in fires, by property use, and their estimated impact in reducing the average loss of life and property per fire. It also includes statistics on performance, usage and reliability of sprinklers, as well as leading reasons when system fail to operate or operate but are ineffective.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) for NFPA 72 is being published for public review and comment:

Anyone may submit a comment on this proposed TIA by the May 18, 2012 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

At age 65, older adults are twice as likely to be killed in fires as the population at large. Thirty to 35 percent of people 65 and older fall each year, and one in five falls causes a serious injury.

To help address this problem, NFPA created the Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults. To encourage more fire departments to reach older adults with the Remembering When Program, NFPA will, for the sixth year, award scholarships to up 35 North American communities that will allow them to participate in the Remembering When training from December 2 to 4 at the Boston Long Wharf Hotel. The scholarships provide for training, travel expenses, and Remembering When materials to both a fire department public educator and a partner representative of an agency that serves older adults through home visits.

The deadline for submission of applications is August 10, 2012. Winners can use the original Remembering When program, the First Nations Remembering When program, or Los buenos recuerdos, the Spanish program, in their implementations. Download the application. Sharon Gamache

Cropped RW Photo 3.30.12

The annual Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Conference, powered by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), comes to a close at the end of today.   Presenters and attendees have gathered from around the world to discuss the many challenges associated with wildland fires in the WUI.  Pre-conference workshops, educational sessions, exhibits, and a field trip for Sand-Table Exercise have been taking place throughout the week.    




On Friday, March 23, Hylton Haynes of NFPA's Firewise program was part of a group that visited the LaJolla Band of Luiseńo Indians located 55 miles northwest of San Diego. They met Adam Giesler, the Tribal Council Secretary, and discussed the Firewise Communities/USA® recognition program, which encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others in the effort to protect people and property from the risk of wildfire.

During the visit, Adam went into great detail about all the wonderful work his Band has accomplished since the tragic Poomacha Fire of 2007 where 147 houses and 77 outbuildings were destroyed and took 19 days to contain. Read the full post on NFPA's Firewise Communities blog.

There has been a lot of discussion and speculation about the adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles among car buyers. It can take some time for the public to embrace new technology. It is hard to change, and many choose to avoid the discomfort of something new unless there is a catalyst for change. For some that catalyst may be $4.00 per gallon gasoline.

Earlier this month, Toyota reported that sales of all Prius brand hybrids rose 52% in February. Sales were far higher than the approximately 8% increase predicted by analysts at the beginning of 2012. As gas prices continue to climb demand has risen at such a fast pace that Toyota is sending more than 25,000 cars to dealers in an effort to meet demand.  


While not all alternative-fuel vehicles may be experiencing the same spike in demand, the Prius is an example of how, with time, the general public can learn to adapt and embrace these new vehicles. Nearly one year ago, Toyota announced that it had exceeded the one million mark in sales of the Prius, coming a long way since its first days on the road more than 10 years ago.

Have you responded to a crash involving a Prius? Chances are, many of you have. What was once a novelty on the road is now commonplace, and it may not be too long before you come across a Volt, Leaf or another electric vehicle.

Gas prices show no sign of falling anytime soon, and we are working to make sure first responders are prepared for what’s coming down the road as more and more consumers across the country look into making the switch to electric and hybrid vehicles.


NFPA at LEGOLAND Miniland 2

By now we're sure you have heard of our new fire safety partnership with LEGOLAND Florida. Yesterday, we received the photos above of the newest addition to LEGOLAND's Miniland and we wanted to share. An NFPA firehouse and fire truck are now situated in "Washington D.C." 

Have you been to LEGOLAND Florida yet and watched "The Big Test?" Now you've got one more reason to visit! Be sure to stop over at NFPA's website for discount tickets

Send us your photos! If you visit LEGOLAND, we want to see your photos at The Big Test and Miniland - so post them to Sparky's Facebook page

Illinois fire departments are being asked to sign a pledge to help prevent the second leading cause of firefighter fatalities.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, traffic crashes are the #2 cause of on-duty firefighter deaths. Ken Willette of the National Fire Protection Association says crashes are also about the last area his group can do something about.

Read the full report on CBS Chicago, hear audio from Ken Willette.


CertificationThe electrical industry has become increasingly aware of the safe work practice requirements outlined in NFPA 70E®, Electrical Safety in the Workplace®. The code's popularity has led NFPA to launch a new initiative this year that will provide NFPA 70E specialist supervisors and specialist workers with a tool to help them implement these requirements.

The latest edition of NFPA Journal outlines the new certifications, which will give workers and supervisors the ability to document their knowledge and competency of the code.

“NFPA, in creating the credentials, will have helped  to encourage a deeper understanding of 70E,” Robert Ruscitto, NFPA's director of certification, tells NFPA Journal. “In turn, an  increase in the understanding of such an important standard will  positively impact electrical safety in the workplace and will further  NFPA’s influence in carrying out its fundamental mission.”

For more information on the new initiative, read the full story in the March/April edition of NFPA Journal.

-Fred Durso, Jr.

Innovation at NFPA

http://www.nfpa.orgImage: Tree swallow singing by Alan Vernon via Flikr

Recently you heard about our new content strategy.  This strategic plan is far-reaching in scope, fundamentally redefining how we think about our core products, our customers and how we expect consumers of code to use them. The focus is now on delivering NFPA code and related content to the customer however, wherever and whenever it is needed.

Fortunately, NFPA recognizes that big change isn’t easy. It takes resources, customer and internal support, and a new perspective. One step that we’ve taken in this process was the formation of a new product innovation team. Our task: Come up with new product ideas to serve our mission and the new directives of our content strategy.

The new NFPA Innovation Team is Matt Cannavale, Lisa Frank, Lynn Kenney, and Sam Driver. We’ll be reporting regularly about the dynamics of new product development and innovation within the halls of NFPA.

This is an exciting role within any organization, but especially so during a major strategic shift. The role of innovation within an organization is centered on taking a look from that new perspective. Standing like a bird at the top of the tree we can take a look at what NFPA does from a new perspective and ask that most disruptive question:


Why do we do it that way? Why don’t we try this? Why don’t we take another look at that?

Pretty soon we’ll be asking “Why not?” and you’ll see new products rolling out– both physical and digital products. Be on the lookout for new products, and new ways of accessing existing products. We are listening to you — you’re demanding easier and customizable solutions, and more of them.

We’re here to deliver.

-Sam Driver

Sign up today to receive our free monthly e-newsletter. It will keep you up to date on the latest information on NFPA’s project to help firefighters and other first responders prepare for the growing number of electric vehicles on the road in the United States.




In the early morning hours of Saturday, March 24th, a fire broke out in a home in the City of Charleston, WV, killing two adults and seven children.




June is right around the corner - but you can save some green in April! There is&#0160;1 early bird discount and it wraps up on&#0160;April 27th. Gone like a wisp of smoke - poof! Also, it&#39;s a great idea to reserve your hotel because the amazing rates available at the Mandalay Bay, THEhotel at&#0160;the Mandalay Bay, the Luxor, and the Excalibur&#0160;end April 27th too.&#0160;




Marsha Giesler, public education officer, Downers Grove Fire Department, Downers Grove, Illinois, has been named the 2012 Fire and LIfe Safety Educator of the Year. Marsha has implemented fire safety education programs using NFPA materials for more than 20 years and has made Learn Not to Burn Preschool Program®, Risk Watch®, and Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults the cornerstone of her educational outreach.
Marsha visits 17 public and private elementary schools each month. She is also seen in her community routinely conducting evacuation drills. She is her department’s public information officer, assistant to the chief, and juvenile fire interventionist. A tireless advocate for fire safety education, she is known to work long hours. She recently wrote the more than 400 page Fire and Life Safety Educator, published by Delmar Cengage Learning. The reference book has been called a comprehensive and reader-friendly guide.
As educator of the year Marsha receives a $1,000 honorarium and travel to the award presentation at the NFPA conference in Las Vegas.  Her fire Department receives a $1,000 donation to support public education activities.

-Sharon Gamache 12

Marsha 7
The NFPA, IAFC and NVFC launched a new contest this week, asking career firefighters, volunteer firefighters or other fire department employees and fire service members to submit a video that highlights their fire company operationally demonstrating firefighter health and safety.

The Contest will utilize the theme of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) combined International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week, which will be June 17-23, 2012. This year’s theme will be “Rules You Can Live By.”

Members of the fire service can submit their company-level videos demonstrating the safe practices of any of the IAFC’s Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Survival and Incident Commanders and NVFC’s Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Health. While any of the Rules may be used as the subject of each video, the following are a focus for NFPA due to their ability to help in promoting an increased awareness of safety and health as we work to change the culture in the fire service as well as assist in our curriculum development. These rules are:


  • Determine the occupant survival profile
  • Maintain continuous awareness of your air supply, situation, location and fire conditions
  • Ensure accurate accountability of every firefighter’s location and status


  • Take steps towards meeting NFPA health standards, such as NFPA 1500
  • Set S.M.A.R.T. goals for your health action plan – specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and timely
  • Rehab after all physical activity – stay hydrated

All videos submitted, regardless of topic chosen, will be given equal weight during the judging process.

Videos (3 minutes or less) are to be submitted between March 26 and May 11. NFPA, IAFC and NVFC will choose four finalists, and the public will be permitted to vote for one video per day from May 18 – June 11. The Contest winner will be announced on June 12 during the Fire Service Section Reception at the 2012 NFPA Conference & Expo. All submissions will become the property of NFPA.

See the official rules.

The fire company that receives the most votes for their video will receive a set of the most up to date NFPA public fire protection standards. The fire company will also receive an Apple iPad and $250 iTunes gift card to be used for training purposes and access to NFPA mobile applications. In addition, representatives from NFPA will visit the winning fire department to present the prize and hold a press event garnering local media attention. 

A new article on looks at the issue of why standards development organizations (SDOs), like NFPA, charge for their codes and standards. Author Bruce Watson writes:
"Codes and standards -- the rules governing everything from fire safety in your office to your home electrical system -- occupy a twilight area between private information and public law. On the one hand, some of these rules are part of the legal system, and a failure to abide by them can result in stiff penalties. On the other, many of them were developed and updated by private organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council, the National Fire Protection Association or the Society of Automotive Engineers. Having produced these codes and standards, these nonprofit organizations are legally allowed to charge for access to them."
For the past several years, NFPA has made all of its codes and standards available for free on its website in a read-only version.
But it's more than just a question of cost. NFPA President Jim Shannon points out that if private agencies were no longer able to produce codes and standards, that gap would be likely be filled by the federal government, and we would lose the efficiency, independence, and responsiveness of the nation's standards development organizations.
Read the complete article, "The 'Secret' American Laws You Have to Pay to See", on

The NFPA Standards Council has issued a decision based on a recent report by the Fire Protection Research Foundation that focused on the use of antifreeze in non-residential sprinkler systems. The report, “Antifreeze Solutions Supplied through Spray Sprinklers: Interim Report”, raised concerns surrounding the combustibility of antifreeze solutions in nonresidential commercial applications. The Council decision directs that the responsible Technical Committees meet and review the report and take appropriate action. Read the full Standards Council decision.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) for NFPA 72 is being published for public review and comment:

  • Proposed TIA No. 1050, referencing Section 14.4.5, Table, and 29.10 of the proposed 2013 edition

Anyone may submit a comment on this proposed TIA by the May 18, 2012 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 occupanciesThe March/April issue of NFPA Journal delves into the unique aspects of alarm and sprinkler requirements in industrial occupancies. As discussed by columnist Wayne Moore, these settings frequently store hazardous materials or use them in manufacturing operations, prompting the use of specific NFPA codes and standards, including NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®.

Here's a few words from Moore's column:

Code requirements for industrial occupancy fire alarm  systems are straightforward. However, the monitoring and additional  supervision requirements of the fire alarm and automatic sprinkler  systems mandated by some insurers could surprise designers and  installers, who must take care when determining the extent of the fire  alarm system design and its operation.

For the entire column, read the latest edition of NFPA Journal.

-Fred Durso, Jr.

“When You Hear a Smoke Alarm, Get Out and Stay Out” is the name of the NFPA’s new Learn Not to Burn Preschool lesson. It includes objectives, background information for the teacher, three lesson plans that teach the behavior in different ways, two newly recorded upbeat smoke alarm songs in MP3 files, new art for coloring to go with the songs, and a letter to send home to the parents. This lesson includes many activities that will engage the children while they learn.




Residents of two Washington communities have a chance to see, first-hand, the power of home fire sprinklers this week.




Part 5 of 5

A well-designed egress system can be compromised by a lack of visual cues or inconsistent/incorrect user information. NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® requires exit signs, directional exit signs, and NO Exit signs to provide occupants with sufficient information to make effective use of egress routes with which the occupants might have no familiarity. The problem of conflicting or incorrect information can be worse than providing no information. Exhibit 1 depicts signage on a door equipped with delayed egress locking hardware. The sign directing the user to “Push Until Alarm Sounds…” is required by NFPA 101. The sign advising that a security code must be inputted prior to exiting via the door might be correct for non-emergency, day-to-day use by authorized personnel but is incorrect relative to the operation of the door under fire or similar emergency. The conflicting information might cause a person to leave the area in search of another exit door rather than attempting to open this door.


Emergency door

Exhibit 1. Door with delayed egress hardware and conflicting information placards.

Assembly venue egress systems, although code-compliant when installed, must be vigilantly inspected and maintained in order to perform as designed in time of fire or similar emergency.

For expanded commentary and additional photos, see the Life Safety Code® Handbook – 2012 available from NFPA. 

-Chris Dubay

Congratulations to our 10 Firewise calendar photo contest winners! It was a hard choice; all of the photos showed great creativity! We received over 60 photos so we want to thank everyone who participated in the contest - we wish we could use them all!




A story out of Hartlepool, England reminds us that the home fire death problem and the life safety communities’ passion for solving it have no borders. As reported in the Hartlepool Mail, the woman, Cindy Collins has become an advocate for fire sprinklers after nearly dying in a fire in her home, adding; “fire victim said goodbye and prepared to die.”




NFPA&#39;s Chris Dubay, Vice President, Codes and Standards, and Chief Engineer,&#0160;says if you&#39;re looking for the latest on codes and standards, the Conference &amp; Expo is the place to be. See the list of codes and standards that will be presented for action at the Las Vegas meeting.




Part 4 of 5

Assembly venues often control access by limiting entry to that provided by the main entrance where admission tickets can be collected or patron identification verified. The main entrance will serve as the main exit and is referred to in NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® as the main entrance/exit. Yet other exits are required. They take the form of doors and exit stair enclosures that are not used on a regular basis. The exit enclosure needs to be inspected as it is an inviting place to store things. Exhibit 1 depicts rolled carpet stored within an exit stair enclosure. The storage encroaches on the required egress path and introduces combustibles that could burn so as to prevent the use of the stair enclosure as an egress route. 


Infrequent stairs

Exhibit 1. Rolled carpet stored in an exit enclosure. (Photo courtesy of Jake Pauls)

Assembly venue egress systems, although code-compliant when installed, must be vigilantly inspected and maintained in order to perform as designed in time of fire or similar emergency.

For expanded commentary and additional photos, see the Life Safety Code® Handbook – 2012 available from NFPA. 

-Chris Dubay Corp, a U.S.-based international fire services company which offers “clean tech” fire prevention and fire fighting products, announced today that it has become an NFPA member.

"We rely heavily on professional insights into the fire problems which our industry strive to combat," said Kristian Schiorring, CEO, Bioflamex Corp., in a press statement. "Saving lives and property in a responsible way is our objective, and the research and analysis we gain access to through NFPA helps us develop innovative products. Products that will improve quality of life for our customers and create profits for the company. Therefore it is only a natural step for us to become a member of this reputable association."

The statement said that insights from a NFPA report on home structure fires inspired the development of the company's new aerosol extinguisher designed to aid first response against fires in kitchens, typically in conjunction with frying oil or fats self-igniting. According to NFPA's 2011 report on home structure fires, by Marty Aherns, cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries, while smoking materials remain the leading causes of home fire deaths.

Thanks for joining NFPA, Bioflamex Corp.! If you're not already an NFPA member, learn more about the many benefit of joining, including receiving exclusive access to technical assistance and information.

After years of debate and failed attempts, members of the Idaho House on Tuesday approved a ban on texting while driving.





Hybrid Vehicles 101

Posted by andrewklock Employee Mar 22, 2012


With so many vehicle ads emphasizing acceleration time, horsepower, and top speeds, it’s no surprise that many drivers worry about the real-world practicality of alternative-fuel vehicles. But some people underestimate the capabilities of hybrid and electric vehicles to keep up with their conventionally-fueled competitors. Fortunately, is here to help. The website has posted a great article on the types of hybrid vehicles.

How much do you know about hybrid and electric vehicles? Keep yourself informed by taking our Online Electric Vehicle Safety Training for the Chevrolet Volt. Already taken the Volt course? You can read up on the latest research and emergency response guides at our Resources Page, and keep an eye open for our full online training, covering all types of hybrid and electric vehicles, which will be available in May 2012!

Firefighter studyWhat does the fire service need to limit risk to firefighters, paramedics, and the public?

That was the question asked during the Multiphase Study on Firefighter Safety and the Deployment of Resources, a joint venture including the International Association of Fire Fighters and International Association of Fire Chiefs. A column in the latest edition of NFPA Journal discusses how the study included the participation of more than 400 U.S. fire departments to assess which staffing levels, response times, and deployment of resources are ideal when responding to a variety of fire or EMS events. 

Here's a snippet of the column, adapted from the NFPA publication Structural Fire Fighting by Ben Klaene and Russ Sanders:

The results, according to the study's website, will be “especially useful to the many fire  departments across the nation that are challenged by budget crises,  rising call volume, personnel and equipment shortages, security issues,  and an overall expectation to do more with less.” These and other  factors, all too often, are present in line-of-duty injuries and deaths  among firefighters. Preliminary results from the high-rise experiments  are expected early this summer, with full results and conclusions  available early next year.

Read the entire column in the March/April edition of NFPA Journal.

-Fred Durso, Jr.

Part 3 of 5

In assembly venues, small elevation differences, as might be created by a couple of risers, create an additional tripping hazard as the presence of the treads is not as obvious, to the approaching occupant, as that presented by a full flight of stairs. In Exhibit 1, the small elevation difference is mitigated, as required by NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® by stair treads with an exaggerated depth, complete with a handrail at one side, but the patterned carpet obscures any indication of tread edge location – the stairs are not seen as separate stepping surfaces. 


Small elevation 1

Exhibit 1. Patterned carpet obscures any indication of tread edge location. (Photo courtesy of Jake Pauls)

Exhibit 2 depicts a small elevation, similar to that shown in Exhibit 1. The stair treads have the requisite exaggerated depth; the presence and location of each step is marked with contrasting tape; handrails are provided at both sides of the stair; and a placard stating “please watch your step” is provided as an extra precaution. 


Small elevation 2

Exhibit 2. Small elevation change effectively marked with striping tape and caution sign. (Photo courtesy of Jake Pauls)

Assembly venue egress systems, although code-compliant when installed, must be vigilantly inspected and maintained in order to perform as designed in time of fire or similar emergency.

For expanded commentary and additional photos, see the Life Safety Code® Handbook – 2012 available from NFPA.

-Chris Dubay EckleyCOThe recent fire in the small town of Eckley, in the state’s northeastern plains, highlights the threats to homes and property from wildfire in communities across Colorado. The lack of snowfall, coupled with higher-than-normal temperatures and high winds, lead experts to predict that Colorado’s wildfire season will be active and potentially dangerous.

Many local residents have already taken steps to reduce their wildfire risk in this wildfire season.  35 Colorado communities have participated for several years as Firewise Communities. A list of all Colorado Firewise-recognized sites can be found on the Firewise website.

A great reminder following this Colorado wildfire is that wildfire doesn’t have to burn everything in its path. In fact, cleaning your property of debris and maintaining your landscaping are important first steps. Below are a few additional actions you can take to reduce the risk of your home and property becoming fuel for a wildfire:

  • Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves,      porches and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
  • Create a “fire-free” area within five feet of the home,      using non-flammable landscaping materials such as rocks, pavers and/or      high-moisture content annuals and perennials.
  • Remove dead vegetation from under your deck and within      10 feet of the house.

For more tips on how to keep your family safe and reduce your home’s risk for wildfire damage, please read the full press release.

Part 2 of 5

Attractions, like a concert by a musical group or competition between rival sports teams, draw patrons to assembly venues. Providing good line-of-sight of the attraction is paramount to the success of the venue. Tiered seating is provided to help assure line-of-sight. Patrons traverse the multiple seating elevations via stepped aisles which create potential for trips and falls.

The model codes, like NFPA 101® – Life Safety Code®, where used to construct the facility, provide a safe and usable stepped aisle, complete with handrails to help arrest a fall in its initial stage. But, the aisle floor coverings and the cues to safe aisle use, such as cautionary marking striping at the leading edge of each tread, must be maintained. Exhibit 1 below depicts tread nosing marking attempted with the use of tape that is set back from the nosing or leading edge of the tread. Note that the tape is not permanent and has peeled back from the tread. Had the tape been positioned at the nosing or leading edge of the tread, it would have been subject to greater wear by users and would have failed earlier. Exhibit 2 shows nosing marking accomplished by the contrasting floor covering used at the leading edge of the tread. Its presence and effectiveness is expected to last for years.


Attractions 1

Exhibit 1. Stepped aisle nosing marking attempted with nonpermanent tape. (Photo courtesy of Jake Pauls)


Attractions 2

Exhibit 2.
Stepped aisle nosing marking accomplished with permanent flooring material. (Photo courtesy of Jake Pauls)


Assembly venue egress systems, although code-compliant when installed, must be vigilantly inspected and maintained in order to perform as designed in time of fire or similar emergency.

For expanded commentary and additional photos, see the Life Safety Code® Handbook – 2012 available from NFPA.

-Chris Dubay

Safety SourceThe March issue of "Safety Source", NFPA’s monthly public education e-newsletter, is now available. This issue includes information on our new Learn Not to Burn Preschool® lesson plan; how to stay safe when using the microwave, and a new sorting activity that reinforces your important "HOT things" messages.

Sign up today to receive our free monthly e-newsletter. "Safety Source" will give you the latest information on happenings in the public education division, Ready for Risk Watch® news, Remembering When™ activities, fire statistics, trends, educational tips, life saves, and more.

Two fires occurred in an occupied, operational general merchandise warehouse on March 21, 1996 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The warehouse had a combination of high racks and low racks, some of which were all equipped with in-rack sprinklers.  The initial fire, which was determined to be incendiary in nature, began between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m. in one of the non-protected racks, which contained wicker baskets and plastic lawn chairs.  Once employees discovered the fire, they attempted unsuccessfully to extinguish the fire using portable fire extinguishers followed by occupant-use fire hoses.  The overhead sprinkler system that was located approximately 50 feet above the top level of the racks activated, but did not extinguish or control the fire.  The fire was extinguished by the fire department using an interior attack.  Once fire control had been achieved, all of the sprinkler systems were manually shut down.

A second fire occurred at approximately 2:00 p.m. in an area remote from the original fire, in a high rack storage area.  When this fire occurred, employees immediately began to turn the sprinkler system back on, but they system was not able to control the fire, and the warehouse and distribution area were destroyed.

The following were found to be major contributing factors to the loss:

  • Excessive clearance between the ceiling sprinklers and the top of the storage racks in the area of fire origin for the first fire
  • Lack of in-rack sprinkler systems
  • Shutting off all of the sprinkler systems in the building following the first fire
  • Restoration of electrical service without evaluating the damage to the electrical system (this action was determined to have caused the second fire)
  • Lack of a fire separation wall within the warehouse

The fire highlighted issues with rack storage to be addressed by further research and in NFPA documents.  NFPA members can read the full investigation report, and all site visitors can download a summary of the investigation in Spanish

Part 1 of 5

Large assembly venues are characterized by crowd packing where patrons often are not familiar with egress paths other than the main entrance/exit through which they entered the facility. Exhibit 1 below depicts the level of crowd packing common in assembly venues.

Compliance with applicable building, fire and life safety codes (like NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®) at time of construction provides facility operators – upon initial occupancy – with the features and systems needed to protect patrons’ lives from fire and similar emergency. These systems and features must be kept in working order. Changes, as might be made to accommodate function after the facility is up-and-running, need to be evaluated relative to their potential to adversely impact the existing life safety systems.


Large assembly venue crowd

Exhibit 1.  Assembly venue crowd packing.

Assembly venue egress systems, although code-compliant when installed, must be vigilantly inspected and maintained in order to perform as designed in time of fire or similar emergency.

For expanded commentary and additional photos, see the Life Safety Code® Handbook – 2012 available from NFPA.

-Chris Dubay

Emery - Volt Figure 8 (Courtesy of General Motors)

Today we are going to take a quick look at the first Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV) on the market, the Chevrolet Volt.  It was first released in the fall of 2010 in select markets, and went nationwide in 2011. 

From the exterior, the vehicle can be primarily identified by the “Volt” badging on the front fenders and on the liftgate.  Additionally, the door for the charging port is located on the driver’s side front fender underneath the Volt logo.  The interior features digital display screens which also provide clues such as the battery state of charge indictor.

The Volt is constructed of nearly 80% high and ultra-high strength steel with the vehicle essentially built around the six foot, 400 pound, liquid cooled, 360 volt lithium ion battery that runs down the center of the vehicle and under the rear seats.  In addition to the high voltage battery, there is an engine generator under the hood that is designed to generate electricity to power the drive motors when the battery becomes depleted.  The average range on the fully charged battery is 25-50 miles with an additional 344 miles provided by the engine generator running off the 9.3 gallon gasoline supply.  The Volt battery can be recharged using a level I or II charging station.

Since this vehicle has both a high voltage electrical system as well as a gasoline powered generator onboard, first responders should treat this vehicle as you would a hybrid and be sure to control both energy sources.

For a more in depth look at this vehicle and its emergency response procedures be sure to take our Volt safety training course.

Stay Safe,


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Whether it&#39;s the batteries powering the latest crop of electric vehicles or photovoltaic panels on rooftops harnessing the sun&#39;s power, energy-saving technologies continue to enter the marketplace. The latest issue of +NFPA Journal+ examines the Fire Protection Research Foundation&#39;s projects addressing the impact of these technologies on electrical safety as well as NFPA&#39;s codes and standards.


Here&#39;s a snippet, written by Journal columnist and Foundation Executive Director Kathleen Almand:


The Foundation has been active in  areas related to electric vehicle safety. A project completed in 2011  identified the specific provisions of NFPA 70 + +®+, National Electrical Code+ +®+, and of&#0160;[NFPA 70E®, Electrical Safety in the Workplace® |]<a href="" target="_blank">,</a> that will be affected by electric vehicle charging, work that can help a  task force evaluating the NEC determine what changes are needed for the  code in the current cycle. The Foundation’s Property Insurance Research  Group completed an assessment of the hazards associated with  lithium-ion batteries, the predominant EV battery technology, in storage  configurations; work continues this year and will explore storage  protection methods.


Read the entire column in the latest edition of +NFPA Journal. +


-Fred Durso, Jr.</p>

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The fire escape at the Asch Building that collapsed during the fire, sending dozens to their deaths.


This week marks the anniversary of the historic fire at the Triangle  Waist Co. on March 25, 1911, which killed 146 workers and injured  scores. As discussed in an +NFPA Journal+ article, Triangle remains the deadliest accidental industrial  building  fire in the nation’s history. It also helped spark sweeping reforms  that included the  adoption and enforcement of a host of workplace  safety measures, including the development of NFPA 101 ®, +Life Safety Code+®+.+

Despite the sweeping changes that have occurred, deadly fires still plague the international garment industry. Read the +NFPA Journal+ feature to learn more about NFPA&#39;s roleboth past and presentin helping to safeguard these facilities from future disasters.


Also, watch a slideshow of the Triangle fire and its aftermath as well as a video of NFPA President James Shannon commenting on the tragedy:&#0160;



-Fred Durso, Jr.</p>

On March 17, 1996, a fire occurred in a single-story board and care facility in Laurinburg, North Carolina.  The fire was caused by sparks from a faulty electrical receptacle which ignited bedding materials in one of the resident rooms.  Smoke spread into other areas when cross-corridor doors were opened during evacuation and fire suppression.  Eight residents died in the blaze.

According to NFPA’s investigation, the following contributed to the loss of life in this incident:

  • Staff members’ inability to enter the fire area due to smoke and heat
  • Occupants’ inability to evacuate before untenable conditions developed in the fire area
  • Room doors that remained open due the lack of door self-closing devices
  • Lack of automatic sprinklers

NFPA members can read the full investigation report

Dominos(1)Members of the South Baldwin (PA) Volunteer Fire Department will be helping deliver pizzas this weekend. As part of a joint safety project, the South Baldwin fire company, Domino's Pizza, and NFPA, are teaming up to honor the tradition of spring cleaning by reminding customers what they can do in the home to stay fire safe.

According to a report on, members of the fire company will be working with Domino's this weekend, as they deliver fresh batteries and new smoke alarms along with chicken wings, pizza and pasta to area residents.

"We love it. It's awesome, especially seeing their faces," said fire company President and 1st Lt. Chad Hurka. "When they usually see us, they think something's wrong or we're asking for money."

When the handful of firefighters arrive at a home with a delivery, they also will check smoke alarms to ensure they're working, assistant Chief Dan Ridenour said. If all of the smoke alarms in the home are working, customers will receive $5 off their order. If alarms are not working, firefighters will replace batteries and provide residents with new smoke alarms.

We'd like to hear about other fire companies teaming up with Domino's. Please tell us about it in the Comments section below.

NFPA Journal March April
The latest edition of the NFPA Journal® has been released for March and April focusing many articles on storage and warehouse safety.

The cover story, “Elemental Questions,” focuses on concerns related to fire-safety hazards of lithium-ion battery use. It details how NFPA has conducted research and established several partnerships to study and address fire-safety risks associated with lithium-ion batteries.

For instance, the Electric Vehicle industry has heavily invested in lithium-ion technology to power its products and the rise in the number of electric vehicles on the roads presents new challenges for emergency responders. A recent incident in which a Chevrolet Volt caught fire has brought closer examination to issues related to lithium-ion batteries in the vehicles, and NFPA is working with government agencies, insurers, and car manufacturers to address these issues on a national scale.

Also featured in this issue:

To read the full journal, visit our website.

New webinar will explain changes



On March 9, 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a Standards and Certification (S&C) letter to address certain provisions of the 2012 edition of  NFPA 101: Life Safety Code.  The S&C letter is directed towards the changes in the 2012 code that address culture change.  These changes are intended to offer a more homelike environment for residents of long-term care/nursing home facilities.   Evidence suggests that such home like environments are better for the resident, the family and the staff.  Beginning in 2008, the committees responsible for development of NFPA 101 have been working to address certain features for inclusion in the 2012 code. Four specific areas were addressed and are now included in the new code.

NFPA's Robert Solomon will host a webinar on Thursday March 22nd to discuss the S&C letter and its impact on specific health care facilites.The history of nursing home fire safety, the fire loss data and how NFPA 101 went from being a barrier to culture change to a catalyst for culture change will be covered.  A review of the specific portions of NFPA 101-2012 edition that may be considered by providers to implement the changes through consideration of a waiver process will also be covered.

For more information and to register for the webinar click here.

In the pursuit of luxury and efficiency, Mercedes has developed two new models for 2012; the E300 Blue TEC Diesel Hybrid, and the E400 Hybrid.  Unfortunately, the E300 Blue TEC diesel is for the European market only at this time.

With the introduction of the Mercedes E300 & E400 hybrids, Mercedes has presented one more twist to the game for first responders.  The high voltage battery pack is not where we have been accustomed to looking for it, such as the rear cargo area or under the rear seat.  Mercedes has put the .8Kw Li-Ion battery pack in the engine compartment, operating at 120Vdc.

As you can see from the pictures, the battery is behind the front strut tower (normally covered).  The familiar orange cables are also quite close to the right quarter panel.  This may cause some concern for those who look to put a relief cut here for a dash lift maneuver, or to gain access to the engine compartment for extinguishment operations.
In addition to the HV battery may be two 12v auxiliary batteries.   One in the trunk to support cold start demands, SRS , appliances, and another small battery to maintain consistent lighting voltage, and support infotainment appliances.


So, the obvious take-away here is to “Peek before You Pry”, or cut.  As with any new building, or vehicle innovation, we are constantly challenged to stay on top of the technology that makes our lives more difficult in the work place.

Stay Safe,
Matt Paiss, NFPA EV Safety Instructor

UDPATE: The Associated Press recently reported that New York state and New York City have joined forces to address the growing number of roll-your-own cigarette establishments. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said these stores endanger customers by selling cigarettes not complying with fire safety standards. 


Roll your own cigarette shop
The owner of a roll-your-own cigarette shop in Seattle cleans one of his rolling machines. Photo by Newscom.

"Mission accomplished."

Those were the words proclaimed in 2010 by fire  officials nationwide when Wyoming became the final state to pass  legislation ensuring all cigarettes sold in the U. S. would adhere to  specific fire safety standards.

Those same officials now face another battle to  ensure that the fire-safety intent of the law is not eroded:  roll-your-own establishments that let customers make their own  cigarettes, which do not use the fire safety standards required for all  manufactured cigarettes sold in the U.S.

A story in the latest edition of NFPA Journal examines this issue throughout the U.S., where some states are citing a disregard of the statewide fire-safe  cigarette laws that were prompted by the efforts of NFPA’s Fire-Safe  Cigarette Coalition.

“NFPA feels strongly that stores with roll-your-own  machines fall under fire-safe cigarette laws that define manufacturers  as ‘any entity that manufactures or otherwise produces cigarettes or  causes cigarettes to be manufactured,’ and states should be enforcing  this provision,” Lorraine Carli, NFPA's vice president of Communications tells NFPA Journal. “Without enforcement, you are allowing two  fire safety standards — one for those that pay the price of traditional  cigarettes, and one for those that pay for less expensive roll-your-own cigarettes."

Other short stories included in the latest edition include residential sprinkler news from across the country--including new Faces of Fire profiles and videos--and new studies on firefighter health and U.S. emergency preparedness. Read them today.

-Fred Durso, Jr.

!|border=0|src=|alt=Solar panels|title=Solar panels|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef016763dd956c970b!


An article in the Freehold Patch describes a legislative proposal that would require an emblem on buildings where solar panels are attached to protect firefighters from electrocution.&#0160;With the increasing number of buildings using alternative energy, emergency responders are often unable to identify structures with solar panels on their roofs — putting them at risk of electrocution in the event of a fire.&#0160;

In an effort to protect firefighters against the danger of electrocution posed by solar panels, Assemblyman Robert Schroeder (R-Woodcliff Lake), a volunteer firefighter in the Township of Washington since 1980 who has twice served as fire chief, has sponsored a [bill |] that would require buildings to clearly label with an exterior emblem whether they have solar panels.

The bipartisan bill was approved by the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee, on which Schroeder serves.

"Safe firefighting requires knowledge and awareness of the situation. This bill will let emergency responders know at a glance when there's a threat of electrocution because the building is actively harnessing power from the sun."


The NFPA report, &quot;Fire Fighter Safety &amp; Emergency Response for Solar Power Systems,&quot; recommended the safety measure as it focuses on&#0160;on structural firefighting in buildings&#0160;that utilize solar panels to generate thermal and/or electrical energy.

According to the report, buildings with solar power systems "can present a variety of significant hazards" for firefighters.  

In addition, the bill requires that all existing and newly constructed buildings with solar panels be equipped with an external shut-off switch. 

"We can have clean reliable energy without making fires any more dangerous than they already are," said Schroeder. "As a firefighter, I understand the value of knowing immediately what potential dangers await in a burning building I might have to enter."

In the video below, 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.



Linda Chavis of Lexington, South Carolina, lost her firefighter son in a house fire in 2001. "It is definitely a parent’s worst nightmare to receive a call saying your child has been hurt," she says. "My first thought was no, he’s a fireman. He helps people, he can’t be hurt."


Linda's story is featured as part of NFPA's "Faces of Fire" campaign, a resource developed to help people and groups across the country promote the use of automatic fire sprinklers in one- and two-family homes.

By containing fires before they spread, home fire sprinklers protect lives and property. The personal stories told through the "Faces of Fire" campaign will show the experiences of those who escaped or lost loved ones in home fires and those whose lives and property were protected by home fire sprinklers.

"Faces of Fire" is a project of NFPA funded by a Federal Emergency Management Agency Fire Prevention and Safety Grant. 

Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter March 2012The new issue of Fire Sprinkler Initiative News, NFPA's monthly e-newsletter, has details of a HUD committee debate on sprinkler requirements in manufactured housing. We also feature the story of Linda Chavis of South Carolina, who lost her firefighter son in a home fire. She has since become a sprinkler advocate and is featured in NFPA's "Faces of Fire" campaign.

We also look at:

  • the defeat of a sprinkler proposal in Massachusetts, and updates on other anti-sprinkler efforts around the United States
  • NFPA's effort to get more enforcers participating on its technical commitees
  • a new Research Foundation report on the fire protection water demand for various building types

Subscribe today to automatically receive our monthly Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter. It's free, informative, and will keep you up to date on anti-sprinkler legislation, our advocacy efforts, and other sprinkler-related news.

How hot does a sprinkler burn?Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering a bill that would legalize the sale and use of consumer fireworks in the state, but the legislation is facing strong opposition from local fire officials and NFPA.

House Bill 3372, "An Act Relative to the Sale and Use of Fireworks", filed by MA State Representative Richard Bastien, would give cities and towns the option to issue permits to use fireworks as well as licenses to sell them. Fireworks would remain illegal in communities that choose not to participate.

"For more than 100 years, NFPA has opposed the use of consumer fireworks for the simple reason that consumer fireworks are so inherently dangerous," wrote NFPA President Jim Shannon in a Feburary 27, 2012, letter to members of the state's Public Safety Committee.

In 2009, fireworks caused an estimated 18,000 reported fires in the United States, including 1,300 structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 other fires, and resulted in 30 civilian injuries and $38 million in direct property damage.

In addition, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,800 people for fireworks related injuries in 2009. Just over half of those injuries were to the extremities and 42% were to the head.

VIDEO: NFPA's Jim Shannon discusses the safety concerns surrounding consumer fireworks and addresses the Massachusetts legislative efforts to legalize the devices.


"If this bill becomes law, it is reasonable to expect an increase in injuries and visits to emergency rooms," says Mr. Shannon. "Sadly, our experience indicates that most of those injured will be children. As responsible adults, it is imperative the we set a good example and leave the fireworks to the professionals."

Four states ban the use of fireworks by consumers: Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. The other 46 states and the District of Columbia permit some or all consumer fireworks. 

What do you think about the consumer use of fireworks? Click on the "Comments" link below to respond.

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The NFPA recently published an updated report on "The Total Cost of Fire in the United States," written by John R. Hall, Jr. The report includes human and economic losses, costs of the fire service, built-in fire protection, and costs associated with the insurance industry.

In 2009 the total cost of fire is estimated at $331 billion, or roughly 2.3% of U.S. gross domestic product. The components were as follows:

It should be clear that most of the analysis supporting these estimates is soft and has wide bands of uncertainty. Nevertheless, the conclusion that fire has a tremendous impact on the way the U.S. uses its resources is indisputable.

It also is clear that we have a dual interest in reducing U.S. fire losses – which include human losses that are among the highest per capita in the industrial world – and in seeking ways to achieve equivalent fire safety at lower costs, since the growth in total cost of fire has been led not by the fire losses but by the other cost components. This provides a clear indication of need for product innovations or other programs (e.g., residential sprinklers, educational programs) that can improve fire safety at the same or lower costs. It also shows the need for improved methods (e.g., models) for calculating fire performance and costs, so the implications of different choices can be considered and judged more comprehensively.

[Take a look at the full report and download the accompanying fact sheet. |] NFPA members can download all NFPA reports for free, but they are also available for purchase. 


On March 15, 1994, an accidental fire occurred in a Pacific Bell telephone exchange, interrupting telephone service for a large part of the city of Los Angeles.  Some areas of the city were without E911 service for more than 12 hours.  The fire occurred during the rearrangement of battery strings on a power plant that supported telecommunications equipment carrying E911 traffic.  Investigators determined that a shutdown of rectifiers in the power plant began a sequence of events that caused a short in temporary transition cables.

This fire highlighted the absence of universally accepted fire protection systems for telecommunications facilities, as well as potential risks and difficulties firefighters can face when suppressing fires in these properties.

NFPA members can read the full report and all visitors can download a summary in Spanish.

At its March 5-6, 2012 meeting, the NFPA Standards Council considered an appeal regarding the issuance of proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) No. 1039 on Section of the 2010 and 2013 editions of NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives.

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.

Ernest MitchellWith nearly 40 years of fire service experience under his belt, Ernest Mitchell, Jr. has willingly risen in the ranks from wildfire mapper to fire marshal. Now the head of the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), he is tackling an array of new responsibilities, from strengthening partnerships with other federal agencies to improving firefighter health and safety.

Many of these tasks go hand-in-hand with NFPA efforts. "I think the things we can do with NFPA are almost unlimted," says Mitchell in the latest edition of NFPA Journal. "Standards are the foundation for  our ability to put together coordinated and integrated responses in  groups. They go hand in hand. I knew coming into the job that  discussions were going on about fire service groups that could respond  to disasters in groups of 300, 500, or even 1,000 or more. I knew that  there was discussion about more fire service involvement in the command  structure under the national response framework. We have so many  individual resources in the country that are doing good things, and the  key is to connect the dots and pull people together to work on the same  issues and problems. Standards can help us make that happen."

Mitchell also discusses USFA's evolving role in wildland/urban fires and its push for residential sprinklers. Read the full interview in the latest edition of NFPA Journal.

-Fred Durso, Jr.

An early morning fire on March 14, 1981 resulted in the deaths of 19 tenants, and injuries to 13 other persons (including two police officers).  The fire began in a first-floor laundry room and quickly spread to a nearby stairway, which trapped many of the 62 occupants of the four-story residential hotel. 

The Chicago Fire Department first received a telephoned report of smoke at 2:59 a.m.  When they arrived at 3:02 a.m. they found the rear stairway of the hotel fully involved.  Rescue operations were made difficult by the extensive fire involvement, thick black smoke, and the loss of the rear stairway, however, firefighters were able to rescue 20 occupants from the upper floors by means of ground ladders. 

Several factors contributed to the severity of this incident:

  • Lack of adequate corridor fire protection
  • Lack of adequate protection in hazardous areas
  • The hotel reportedly served as a residence for patients in area drug and alcohol detoxification programs, people undergoing this treatment may not be capable of self preservation during a fire emergency
  • Performance of detectors and alarm systems was inadequate, and many room detectors did not have batteries

NFPA members can read the Fire Journal article


Hybrids vs. Plugin Hybrids

Posted by andrewklock Employee Mar 13, 2012

With the release of more and more hybrid and EV models, it may be difficult to understand some of their more subtle differences.  In the case of hybrids and plugin hybrids, while there are certainly some engineering differences, from an emergency responder perspective they are handled the same.

Hybrids are self-contained units that use both electric motor(s) and an internal combustion engine (ICE) to propel the vehicle.  The high voltage battery is recharged through power taken from the ICE and through a process called regenerative braking that captures energy from the braking process.  Both of these methods ensure that the user never has to consciously make an effort to charge the battery, it’s done automatically.

Plugin hybrids are simply an offshoot of that concept; they allow for a connection to be made to a Level I or Level II charging station for another charging source for the high voltage battery.  These vehicles also include a larger capacity battery to store that extra energy and improve the overall energy efficiency of the vehicle.  In the event that you cannot connect to a charger, the high voltage battery is recharged through the same means as a standard hybrid.  Ironically enough when hybrids first were released, there was a concern among manufacturers that people would not understood that they did not need to be plugged in.  A decade later that concept has become more acceptable to the general public and the plugin hybrid was born.

There is essentially no difference for the first responder in how we handle these vehicles in an emergency situation.  Both types contain a high voltage power source and an internal combustion engine with a fuel source and should be treated as such.  The only real difference would occur if the plugin hybrid was attached to the charging station at the time of the incident.  In this case you would want to secure the power source supplying the charging station as a first step in mitigating the scene. 

As always, be sure to use the Identify, Immobilize and Disable approach on all vehicles and assume there is a potential to be dealing with a Hybrid or Electric Vehicle when approaching a crash or fire scene.

Stay Safe,

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

In this issue:

  • Comments sought on proposed TIA on NFPA 25
  • Errata issued on NFPA 1977
  • New standards development process at Standards Forum
  • Committee Leadership Conference
  • Changes to the Convention Rules
  • Online applications for Technical Committee membership
  • Committees soliciting Public Input (formerly Proposals)
  • Committees seeking members
  • Committee meetings calendar  

NFPA News is a free newsletter, and includes special announcements, notification of public input 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 web site and then select “NFPA News” from your e-mail options.

- Debbie Baio

Microwave ovens are one of the leading home products associated with scald burn injuries not related to fires. 

With busy lives, families rely on the microwave oven as a quick way to heat up a meal, warm up a drink or defrost dinner. While the convenience of the microwave oven is something we take for granted, safety should not be. By following a few simple safety tips you can prevent painful burns and possible fires.

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[Download these NFPA safety tips on microwaves. |] (PDF, 960 KB)


Safety tips

    • PURCHASE a microwave oven that has the label of an independent testing laboratory. Make sure to complete and return the product registration card. This way the manufacturer can reach you if there is a recall on the product.

    • PLUG the microwave oven directly into the wall outlet — never use an extension cord. MAKE sure the microwave oven is at a safe height, within easy reach of all users.

    • OPEN food slowly, away from the face. Hot steam or the food itself can cause burns. FOOD heats unevenly in microwave ovens. Stir and test before eating or giving to children.

    • NEVER heat a baby bottle in the microwave. Since a microwave oven heats unevenly, it can create hot pockets, leading to burns. Warm a bottle in a bowl of warm — not hot or boiling


The Instructors of the Vermont Fire Service showed tremendous dedication and motivation during a gloomy Saturday morning class. A special thanks goes out to Kevin O’Brian, of the Burlington VT FD, and Tom McGrath, of the University of Vermont Transportation Research Center (TRC). These two individuals obtained four different vehicles for the students to explore.

Mr. McGrath brought the University of Vermont TRC’s Spark shall I say a converted plug-in Prius. The Spark, which is pictured above, is a 2007 Prius that had a Lithium Ion battery added to convert it into a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Other vehicles included a new Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius, provided by Alderman’s Auto. This class was especially relevant as EV-related work has been a focus of the TRC. The Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, housed at the TRC, is currently part of a ten-state EV planning grant sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The work aims to streamline procedures and outreach efforts in order to prepare the northeast for mass EV deployment.

This was the first time I had the opportunity to see an aftermarket battery installed along with an AC outlet designed to charge the battery. Upon investigation, the company Hymotion designed the L5 Plug-In conversion module for Prius (2004 – 2009). This battery system has been discontinued as A123 systems, have now put their efforts into the global auto industry.

Stay safe,

Chris Pepler, NFPA EV Safety Training Instructor

Confined spaces
Nearly 100 people die every year in areas called confined spaces--storage tanks, process vessels, hoppers, silos, sewers, boilers, pipelines, and cargo spaces--that have limited means of entry and exit as well as unfavorable ventilation.

A feature story in the latest edition of NFPA Journal outlines the potential dangers workers face in these settings, and includes examples of actual fatalities in three states. Also discussed is NFPA's longstanding response to these hazards, including a new project that will more directly address the ongoing problem of fire and life safety issues in these spaces.

Here's a snippet on the new committee from the feature: "The responsibility of NFPA's Committee on Confined Space Safe Work Practices will be to identify the basics of safe practices for entry, work, and exit, and then develop safe work practices applicable to specific workplaces or occupancies. The individual work practices can be specific to industry, space types and design, or to work activity, such as hot work repairs, tank cleaning, or coating and painting."

Make sure to register for the next NFPA Journal LIVE presentation on April 5, when NFPA's Guy Colonna, head of the Industrial and Chemical Engineering division, will present "Tight Spot: NFPA and the Issue of Confined Space." In the meantime, watch the following video of Colonna giving an overview of the new NFPA project:


-Fred Durso, Jr. 


Name a simple household task that helps protect your home from wildfire. What serves as a pathway for fire to reach your house? What’s the definition of wildfire “fuel”? Test your wildfire safety knowledge in our latest, “Preparing Your Home for Wildfire Season” quiz and start using Firewise principles today.

The quiz ends May 9, 2012.


At the end of the quiz, share your results with us, and your neighbors. Work together now to help prepare your homes and community against a possible wildfire threat in the future.

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Do you want to make a difference?  We have an ideal opportunity for an Human Resources Administrative Assistant. The applicant should be well versed in handling confidential correspondence and possess the ability to exercise a high degree of discretion and good judgment in supporting the department in various functions. The position requires a refined sense of relationship building, initiative, common sense, verbal & written communication, and confidentiality. The main purpose of the Coordinator position is to provide support to the department and deliver service excellence to managers & employees of NFPA. 

For more details on responsibilities, job requirements and how to apply, visit our career center on the website

Fire Alarm Lesson Plan Boy_Page_1“When You Hear a Smoke Alarm, Get Out and Stay Out” is the name of the NFPA’s new Learn Not to Burn Preschool lesson. It includes objectives, background information for the teacher, three lesson plans that teach the behavior in different ways, two newly recorded upbeat smoke alarm songs in MP3 files, new art for coloring to go with the songs, and a letter to send home to the parents. This lesson includes many activities that will engage the children while they learn.

- Sharon Gamache

Photo from the Food and Drug AdministrationRelated tragedies in Massachusetts have raised awareness on the hazards surrounding medical oxygen in residential settings.

The Boston Globe reports that bottled oxygen was a "major contributor" to a February fire that killed a 64-year-old smoker. The blaze, which began in the woman's bedroom, was hot enough to melt the woman's ashtray adjacent to her bed. This week, another fire still under investigation and apparently fueled by medical oxygen killed an 84-year-old woman. The Globe states that neighbors could hear the sound of the canister erupting.  

Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan recently announced a new public education campaign that touts safety tips on oxygen usage well as NFPA statistics on this issue.“Oxygen soaks into bedding, clothes, hair, furniture, and the air,  creating an oxygen-enriched environment,’’ said Coan. “This makes things  catch fire more easily, fire spread faster and burn hotter. As more and  more people are bringing medical oxygen into the home, they need to  understand the new fire risks they also bring into the home.”

Download NFPA's smoking and home fire safety tip sheet for more information on safeguarding residences against medical oxygen fires.

-Fred Durso, Jr. 

Kim Fontes
The changes that have occurred in the publishing industry over the last several years are enough to make your head spin. E-book sales in 2011 have surged, surpassing most industry expert’s predictions. Technology has offered us Kindles, Nooks, IPADs, tablets, smart phones, the list goes on and on.  The way that we purchase, customize and consume content is remarkably different than it was even 12 months ago. 

NFPA, more so than many organizations is dramatically affected by these changes and has an enormous opportunity to use technology to further our reach and provide customers with more enhanced content. Our most constant questions are, “How can we ensure greater access to our codes and standards,and how can we meet our customer needs by providing timely, relevant content in various formats for consumption on different devices?”

Well, we start with an ambitious and innovative vision about how we will develop and distribute content. It is NFPA’s Vision for Content Strategy. Our goal  is to be a leader in wider and easier access to our basic codes and standards content while providing solution based products that help meet your needs and job requirements. We add some guiding principles about how and what we develop as products.

If we are successful in providing greater access to our codes and standards we not only fulfill our mission but expand it.  If we give customers better tools, we are also successful.

We would love to hear your thoughts. Take a look at the content strategy and share your thoughts with us. Tell us if you think this vision will help meet your needs and expectations in the future. Tell us if you think we are on the right track. Our aspiration is that we can harness new technology to do what we do best -- to protect and save lives.

It's easy to give feedback: Just click on the "COMMENTS" link below to get started.

Kim Fontes
Division Director, NFPA Product Development

On March 9, 1984, a fire occurred in a crew cabin of a ship on a daily cruise approximately 5 miles off the coast of central Florida.  The fire was discovered at approximately 7:30 p.m. and officers on the bridge immediately mobilized the ship’s fire brigade.  Crew members attempted unsuccessfully to extinguish the fire; while the attempts were being made, the captain alerted the passengers and returned the ship to a terminal at Port Canaveral.  When the ship reached land, the ship’s crew assisted all 744 passengers in safely disembarking the ship, meanwhile, land-based fire crews boarded the ship and began fire suppression operations. 

Fire suppression operations took 40 hours, and caused 90 firefighter injuries.  Six of the injured were transported to local hospitals for treatment.  Six factors were identified during the investigation which contributed significantly to the magnitude of this incident.

  • The failure to extinguish the fire in its incipient stage
  • The fuel loading of the cabins in the area of initial fire involvement
  • The failure of fire station hoses onboard the ship when fire crews attempted to place these lines in service
  • The incompatibility of the ship’s fire station (standpipe) hose connections with land-based fire department hose couplings
  • The lack of a detailed contingency plan for firefighting operations onboard ships docked at Port Canaveral
  • The lack of training of the land-based fire department units in shipboard firefighting tactics

NFPA members can download the full investigation report

NFPA, along with its partner Domino’s Pizza, is honoring the tradition of spring cleaning by reminding customers what they can do in the home to stay fire safe. In participating markets across the country, Domino’s will utilize its pizza boxes to deliver fire safety tips throughout the month of March.

“Spring has arrived, and with spring cleaning comes a timely reminder to take steps to keep your home safe from the threat of fire,” said Chris Brandon, Domino’s Pizza spokesperson. “Domino’s delivers about 1 million pizzas each day – so we reach a lot of people in their homes, where fire safety begins. We are excited to work with NFPA to use our network of delivery experts to make homes across the country a little bit safer.”

According to NFPA, roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Domino’s is reminding customers that a great time to change the batteries in their smoke alarms is when daylight saving time begins in March. 

“Spring is the perfect time for a refresher on fire safety tips that should be followed year-round to make home fires less likely to happen,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of communications. “Keeping fire safety in mind when adding things to a to-do list, like cleaning a dryer’s lint filter after each load of laundry and keeping the stovetop clean and clear of clutter, will help prevent fires.”

Take a look at all of the important spring cleaning home fire safety tips from the NFPA. Cover
As the demand for hybrid and electric vehicles continues to grow, it’s important for first responders to understand what informational resources are available to us.  The NFPA is leading the way by compiling information in one easy location at

One of our best sources of information is the vehicle’s emergency response guides as prepared by the manufacturers.  These are all available for download as PDFs on our resource page.  Additionally, we are in the process of creating Emergency Field Guides (EFGs) for each of these vehicles.  These field guides are designed to be single-page, double-sided “quick reference” guide covering critical information needed in a response.  Be sure to add your name to our mailing list to find out when they are released.  Joining our mailing list will also keep you up to date on industry information through our monthly newsletter.

If you are looking for more in depth information on electric and hybrid vehicles be sure to take a look at our research page which has numerous reports on topics ranging from our annual EV safety standards summit, to information on the use of high strength steel and the potential obstacle it poses to extrication operations.

For those of you interested in participating in training, the online program designed around the Chevrolet Volt is exactly what you are looking for.  This highly interactive training scenario will teach you everything there is to know on responding to incidents involving the Volt.  With over 20,000 people trained since October 2010, it is one of the more popular resources on our site.  We are also putting the finishing touches on the online version of our electric and hybrid vehicle safety training program.  Stay tuned for more information on its official release date.

These are just a few pieces of information available on our website.  Please feel free to explore the site and look at all of the valuable resources available as we continue to make this a one stop shop for everything first responders need to know on the subject.  If you have any questions about hybrids or EVs, don’t hesitate to reach out to us using our contact page, we would be happy to assist you.

Stay Safe,


Lithium-ion batteryMany of the gadgets you can't live without–-cell phones, laptops, and BlackBerries, for example--are most likely energized by lithium-ion batteries. Deemed today's power source of choice for most electronics, these batteries have an exceptional chemistry that has only increased their popularity over the years.

As lithium battery usage swells, so do concerns related to the fire-safety hazards of these devices. NFPA has been proactively addressing these concerns through a series of endeavors. In the March/April edition of NFPA Journal, a feature highlights a new project by the Fire Protection Research Foundation that addresses battery storage issues, as well as NFPA's involvement following an investigation by a governmental agency that examined lithium battery fires involving specific electric vehicles.

Check your mailboxes soon for the print version of the new issue. In the meantime, read a news story on a recent fire in San Antonio, Texas, that was possibly prompted by the charging of lithium batteries.

-Fred Durso, Jr.

Come join us this year in beautiful Las Vegas for our 2012 NFPA Conference & Expo, where you can impress your peers and coworkers with your extensive knowledge on all the newest technological innovations in your field while still enjoying live entertainment performances


Need a reason to attend? NFPA Senior Project Manager Erik Holden breaks down some of the top ten reasons to be a part of the exciting conference in June

Come join the fun! This year the award-winning entertainer Gordie Brown, who is well-known for his fast-paced comedy, will be performing at the conference. Think that you do a pretty impressive Vito Corleone from the Godfather? Just wait until you see Brown performing his vast repertoire of celebrity impressions! 

This year our featured Conference presentation is “9/11: Leadership Before and After the Crisis,” given by Chief Jay Jonas, a Deputy Chief in the New York City Fire Department taking place on Tuesday, June 12. Jonas was one of the first responders to the attacks on the twin towers. After helping rescue many trapped citizens on upper floors of the building, Jonas and his crew were exiting the building when the tower collapsed on top of them. He was one of only 20 people who survived that collapse of the second tower. Come listen to this empowering speech of how the events of that day unfolded. 

Visit the 2012 Conference & Expo blog to stay current on general news about the conference as well as updates on education sessions and tracks.  To learn more about the Conference & Expo, visit and register to attend.

In anticipation of Spring, sunshine, and blooming flowers, NFPA has posted a new Sparky “Cool to Do: Spring Seed Pods” children’s activity and a new “Crack the Code” game. 
-Sharon GamacheA_Seeds

On March 4, 1991 a fire of accidental origin occurred at a board and care facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado, leaving 9 residents dead.  Eight other residents and five firefighters were injured.  An electric motor in a ventilation fan apparently malfunctioned and ignited combustible materials in the attic.  The fire burned for an undetermined amount of time, spreading above several rooms before causing a ceiling collapse in a residents’ lounge.  It was at that point that the corridor smoke detection system was activated, and staff began their emergency procedures.

According to the investigation, the following factors appear to have significantly contributed to the loss of life:

  • Heat detector system in the attic did not provide early warning
  • Fire separations did not prevent the spread of smoke and fire
  • Combustible ceiling in the dining room
  • Lack of adequate fire safety training for staff and residents

NFPA members can read the full investigation report and all site visitors can read a summary in Spanish

IMG_3688Jason Emery, one of NFPA's EV Instructors, discusses with the class
why this training is so important to first responders.

Last Friday the NFPA conducted its 23rd Electric Vehicle train-the-trainer in Lexington, Kentucky. Special thanks to Bryant Stiles, Marc Rudder, and the staff of the 2012 Fire Officers School for their hospitality! With over 100 students in the class from all around the state it was a very well attended session and the students responded to the curriculum positively. This eight-hour training program covered all aspects of responding to incidents involving hybrid and electric vehicles and prepared the instructors to take the program out into the field. The students also had the opportunity to take a close look at a Toyota Prius that was brought right into the training room. As a result of the training there are over 100 instructors in KY now qualified to help attain our goal to train emergency responders across the country. As always, the opportunity to speak with firefighters from around the state and answer their questions was the most rewarding. This time around I was able to grab lunch with a great group of firefighters representing the fire investigation side of our business and talk through some of the unique issues they would face.

Stay Safe,

RFA new Fire Protection Research Foundation report analyzes the fire protection water demand for various building types, including residential dwellings. It concludes that the amount of water used during a fire in a sprinklered building is less than that of an unsprinklered building. In addition, in most cases, the amount of water required per year in a sprinklered building for commissioning, inspection, testing, and maintenance of systems is less than that of an unsprinklered building.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

As an experienced firefighter and a devoted father to an autistic son, Bill Cannata is combining the two worlds he knows so well to help protect others. MSNBC and the Today Show told his story and we thought it was important enough to also share with NFPA Today readers. 

Being in a fire can be confusing and overwhelming -- especially for someone with autism, says Cannata, a fire captain in Westwood, Mass. And autistic people may react in a way that seem combative to emergency first responders. His mission is to teach first responders around the country how to identify someone with autism and how best to help them in an emergency, when every second counts.

Cannata knows about autism first-hand: His 21-year-old son, Ted, who has the disorder, is unable to speak and is highly sensitive to sight, sound and touch.

“People with autism follow a routine and if that routine is broken, this is where the confusion begins with a lot of them and they don't know what to do,” Cannata says. “People with autism have left a burning building, but because of the confusion, went back in because that's their safety [place], or some people will run away just to get away from all of the noise and the confusion.”

The fire/rescue autism program has educated more than 15,000 first responders, as autism spectrum disorders affect a growing number of families each year.

An estimated 1.5 million Americans may have autism, a developmental disorder marked by impaired communication and social skills. An estimated one in 110 children have an autism-spectrum disorder, making the first-responder education more crucial than ever.

We send our thanks to Bill Cannata for helping to bring attention to this cause. Check out NFPA's safety tips to help people with autism in a fire as well.  

On March 1, 1966, a house fire in Longmeadow, Massachusetts resulted in the deaths of four people, including three children.  The fire started late at night and was probably caused by careless smoking, according to the investigation.  Only one of the five people who was in the house at the time escaped.  A 1966 Fire Journal article was published about the incident in order to remind people that “ordinary” dwelling fires are much more common than larger fires in other occupancy types.   NFPA members can read the full article.

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NFPA&#0160;is offering a Two-Day Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone Workshop (HIZ) at several U.S. locations in 2012. The curriculum is aimed at fire service professionals, urban and state foresters, developers, community planners, insurance professionals and others who are committed to understanding and learning about ways to reduce losses from these fires, and increasing wildfire risk awareness among residents and communities.


As part of the two-day course, the HIZ workshop incorporates NFPA 1141 , Standard for Fire Protection Infrastructure for Land Development in Wildland, Rural and Suburban Areas and NFPA 1144 , Standard for Reducing Structure Ignition Hazards from Wildland Fire as the basis for assessing these hazards and recommending appropriate mitigation measures to reduce damage and losses of homes, developments, communities and subdivisions.</p>

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