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OAM2012_Logo_RGB is Older American’s Month.  The theme for this year’s event, sponsored by the Administration on Aging (AOA), is "Never Too Old to Play".  You can download a free copy of AOA’s "Never Too Old to Play Activity Guide" that includes activities for commemorating the month.  You can combine direction from the guide with many of the activities that are a part of NFPA’s Remembering When™:  A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults.  The "Never Too Old to Play" guide recommends physical activity, including Tai Chi and other exercise, to build strength and balance.  Through the Remembering When program, we recommend the same kind of exercise as the number one message for preventing fall prevention: "Exercise regularly to build strength and balance". 
The "Never Too Old to Play Guide" also recommends brain exercises for fun and recommends holding a trivia competition.  We know from our user feedback that one of the most popular activities in the Remembering When program is the trivia game that couples questions on famous people, places, music, television shows and movies with questions on fire and fall prevention.  You could go a step further and work with a local radio station to have people call in to answer the various Remembering When trivia questions.
We supply Remembering When PowerPoint presentations, as well as Remembering When materials in multiple languages on NFPA’s website Remembering When pages.
You can also use information on how to conduct a fire department open house for older adults from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week materials.  The open house plan includes ideas for various learning stations and downloadable safety posters. 
AOA’s "Never Too Old to Play" guide also offers many intergenerational activities. NFPA’s offers many activities and games that grandparents can do with their grandchildren. 
Larry Gray, Public Information Officer for the Cleveland Fire Department, has given close to 200 presentations on Remembering When to groups in the city of Cleveland and says that the reason older adults enjoy the program so much is because they like the trip down memory lane and they love the interaction with the trivia game and all the props and handouts.
If you use any of these activities or ideas during Older Americans Month, please contact me at so I can share your successes and ideas with others. 

Sharon Gamache

EVnewsletterThe May 2012 issue of NFPA's "EV Safety Training News" is now available. In this issue:

  • Online EV training coming soon!
  • Massachusetts announces specialty plates for electric cars
  • New Mazda Tribute emergency response guide
  • Electric Vehicle Safety Training overview at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas
  • "Train-the-trainer" session at Fire-Rescue Med
  • EV Safety Training scheduled in two more states

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.

Global Research UpdateNFPA and the Fire Protection Research Foundation will present a one-day seminar focusing on recent global research that addresses high challenge warehouse storage and the call for improved fire protection strategies. The seminar, “Global Research Update:  High Challenge Storage Protection,” will be held June 27, 2012 at the Marriott Rive Gauche, in Paris, France, in cooperation with the European Fire Sprinkler Network conference.

“Many of today’s products including aerosols, lithium-ion batteries, and flammable and combustible liquids increasingly pose storage challenges in warehouses around the world,” said Kathleen Almand, executive director of the Fire Protection Research Foundation. “Participants at this event will explore the latest global research on storage protection and how to improve safety in the future.”  

The program will feature presentations from the insurance industry and global property owners who will provide a perspective on these emerging needs. In addition, global research organizations will highlight recent research works.

Honorary co-sponsors of the seminar are:

  • Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), UK
  • Ineris National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks, France
  • SP – Technical Research Institute of Sweden

For more information about the seminar and to register, contact the Fire Protection Research Foundation.

Hand drawingThe march of technological progress has left its footprints on the design, construction, and operation of buildings and facilities. It is easy to find video evidence on YouTube of the converts — architects, engineers, and facility managers — using new software solutions that can handle the sheer volume of information required for new projects.

The process of Business Information Modeling (BIM) has been around for as long as we’ve had buildings, but, increasingly, the term BIM has become shorthand in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry for the software that greatly streamlines that process.

In essence, BIM software provides a set of rules to govern large data sets from a wide variety of systems and render it in a way that humans can easily control. Think of it as the autopilot on the new Airbus A380. The pilots can control highly complex systems with an analog of the control interfaces of the earliest airplanes: the stick and rudder. There’s a lot going on under the hood — too much for a small team to reasonably manage — so the computer handles a lot of the routine work, letting the pilots make the strategic decisions.

This is a lot like what NFPA codes provide for their users:  sets of rules that govern large datasets (wood sheds to skyscrapers, rockets to cargo ships) to make it easy to design and operate systems for safety. Time and cost savings are available if designers, builders, and operators don’t have to reinvent the process. The code outlines the safe practice, allowing more time to be spent on functional design, aesthetics, and practicality for the client.

Our next challenge is to take these two logically aligned concepts and bring them together. We’re starting to delve into the needs of our members and customers to figure out how you want to use codes and BIM software together. If you have a perspective on this, drop in a comment.

-Sam Driver


The city of Kenai, Alaska, recently passed an ordinance that provides a homeowner tax credit for the installation of residential sprinkler systems. Homeowner who install a sprinkler system will receive a tax credit up to the total cost of the installation of the system, or two dollars per square foot for the size of their home, not including their garage.

Terry Bookey, a member of the Kenai City Council and a former Kenai firefighter, spoke at NFPA's Home Fire Sprinkler Summit in Chicago, and said that he's seen the ruin caused by home fires -- the lives lost and the property destroyed. "And I know devastation would be reduced if residential sprinkler systems were more widespread," he said. "So not only do residential sprinklers protect lives and property, they also provide an increased level of protection for myself and my fellow firefighters when we respond to home fires."

Read more about the tax credit program that's been initiated in Kenai, Alaska.

- Mike Hazell

On April 29, 1986, a fire occurred in the Central Library of Los Angeles, California.  The 400 occupants evacuated the library in about eight minutes without a mishap, but the ensuing fire resulted in a commitment of over 70 pieces of fire apparatus and nearly 350 firefighters, and took 7.5 hours to extinguish.  Fifty-five firefighters suffered minor injuries during fire suppression.

The fire destroyed an estimated 200,000 books, the largest collection of patents in the western United States, and 2/3 of the library’s magazine collection.  In addition, about half of the library’s 1.2 million volumes were damaged by water and smoke.  The area of fire origin was in one of the book stacks and the fire was suspicious in nature. 

The complex arrangement of the large floors prevented firefighters from immediately locating the fire.  The lack of sprinkler protection in many areas, the presence of vertical ventilation and other unprotected openings, as well as the abundant fuel contributed to the severity of the fire.  NFPA members can read the full investigation report for free. 

Wish List
NFPA’s Judy Comoletti, division manager of Public Education, Amy Lebeau, associate project manager of Public Education, and Lauren Backstrom, social media manager will be hosting a free webinar on Sparky’s Wish List™:  Partnering for Fire-Safe Communities on Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 2:00 PM (EST). During this time they will show fire departments how to create a registry and use the tools provided to promote the program in the community. Participants will be invited to ask questions.

Sparky’s Wish List is a new program that will bring together fire departments and local communities to help fund fire departments purchases of life-saving fire safety educational materials for Fire Prevention Week.  “With this free webinar, fire departments will learn how to create a wish list, add the educational materials they need, and use tools provided to reach out to members of their community to get support,” said Judy Comoletti.

Fire Departments are invited to create an online wish list for their required Fire Prevention Week materials that the public can then fulfill to provide critical educational materials for their communities.

Visit to learn more.

While perusing NFPA's site, you may have noticed a new take on a familiar face. Sparky®, NFPA's official spokesdog, has been transformed from a lovable cartoon into a full-fledged puppet, just in time to introduce this year's theme for Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13, and Sparky's Wish ListTM: Partnering for Fire-Safe Communities:


Turning 61 this year, the personable pooch has gone through a series of makeovers since arriving on the scene. Take a moment and read the feature story in NFPA Journal  on how Sparky has been portrayed through the years. And keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming Journal story on how NFPA brought the Sparky puppet to life.


-Fred Durso, Jr.

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

Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the June 1, 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

On April 27, 1998, a fire in an occupied board and care facility in Arlington, Washington killed eight of the building’s 32 residents.  The facility was originally built as a hospital but had undergone several renovations and changes in usage over the years, and was not equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system.  A local fire alarm system was installed with hardwired, AC powered smoke detectors and heat detectors in corridors and common areas.  There were also manual pull stations next to the exterior exit doors. 

The fire was determined to be incendiary in nature, and is believed to have begun when a resident ignited her bedding material with either a lighter or matches.  Based on NFPA’s investigation and analysis, the following were significant factors contributing to the loss of life in this incident.

  • Lack of an automatic fire sprinkler system
  • Lack of system smoke detectors in the room of origin
  • An open door in the room of origin
  • Additional open doors

NFPA members can read the full investigation report, and all site visitors can read a summary of the investigation

Shock of the NewThe March/April issue of NFPA Journal featured a column by Research Foundation's Kathleen Almand titled "Shock of the new."  In it, Kathleen states that we’re all aware of the many energy-saving technologies entering the marketplace. Those of us who use NFPA codes and standards every day are also aware that some of these technologies introduce questions that relate to electrical safety in the built environment, though these issues may not be readily apparent. It wasn’t until rooftop photovoltaic panels became widespread, for example, that concerns about de-energization and firefighter safety came to light as a result of a number of incidents worldwide.

In 2011, the Fire Protection Research Foundation conducted four projects that addressed the impact of these technologies on electrical safety, as well as an assessment of the NFPA codes and standards that might be affected. These projects have a few common attributes: an assessment of the electrical safety hazards presented by fast-moving technological developments; a review of the relevant codes and standards to ensure that their provisions are developed as needed to address these hazards; and a strong technology transfer component to provide training to the people  who enforce those codes.

Those who use the NFPA codes and standards have a long history of protection against hazards associated with new technologies. The goal of all of these projects is to quantify these hazards and inform NFPA codes and standards development committees so that NFPA’s technical documents can be ready with appropriate safety-related provisions.

To read about the details of each project, read the full article in NFPA Journal part of the new materials designed to reach populations at high risk during Fire Prevention Week, NFPA is providing four new Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults posters in English and Spanish on the topics of escape planning, smoke alarms, space heater safety, and cooking safety. The posters can be downloaded free of charge.
The 8 ½-by-11 four-color posters can be put on bulletin boards or windows of senior centers, fire stations, places of worship, grocery stores, restaurants, libraries, senior housing, or assisted living buildings or they can be handed directly to older adults who attend a group presentation or are visited in the home. There is also room on the posters to put in the local fire department contact information.

-Sharon Gamache


Register for the NFPA Conference & Expo by Friday, April 27 to take advantage of the special Early-Bird discount. NFPA Members and Technical Committee Members are eligible for additional discounts.

There are plenty of great ways to get educated on many different areas of fire and life safety at the NFPA Conference & Expo, but the event goes far beyond the education sessions themselves. NFPA's Chris Dubay tells us about the special tracks the education sessions are broken into, as well as the ways attendees can capitalize on these sessions by meeting directly with exhibitors at the event.



!|src=|alt=CFSI|style=width: 450px;|title=CFSI|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef016765a5632f970b!
On April 25-26, 2012, the Congressional Fire Services Institute will host the 24th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner and Seminars in Washington, DC. It is an extraordinary opportunity for fire service representatives to engage Congressional leaders and Administration officials in discussions about federal programs and legislation addressing the needs of local first responders.


Throughout the two-day event, CFSI will host a series of seminars focusing on issues that directly relate to the safety of first responders. Covering important topics such as interoperable communications, federal grant programs, health and safety, and pending federal legislations, the seminar program helps fire service leaders understand the role of the federal government in training and equipping local first responders. With local governments facing tough economic challenges, the information presented at these seminars can be of great benefit to fire officials.

NFPA will be participating by presenting at the following seminars:

Automatic Fire Sprinklers: Who Says They Don’t Make Sense/Cents? - Chief Tim Travers

Adopting the Latest Model Codes & Standards: How to Make it Happen - Meghan Housewright

Only You Can Prevent Wildland Urban Interface Fires - Dave Nuss

Fire Service-Based EMS: Educating Policy Leaders about the Critical Role of Fire Departments in Delivering Emergency Medical Services - Chief Ken Willette

Strength in Numbers: Working together on Capitol Hill - Chief Greg Cade</li> </ul>

The highly-anticipated launch of the VISION House® exhibit in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® took place, appropriately enough, on Earth Day, April 22.

The innovative exhibit, a 4,500 square-foot show house located inside the theme park’s 100,000-square foot INNOVENTIONS building, was launched by Green Builder Media® to present green living ideas in a fun and informative manner. NFPA partnered with Green Builder Media to present information about the environmental impact of home fire sprinklers.

"NFPA, in conjunction with the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, is thrilled to have the opportunity to tell the millions of visitors to Epcot each year about the green benefits of home fire sprinklers," says Lorraine Carli, NFPA's Vice President of Communication.

Here are photos and video from the VISION House launch event:





Sara Gutterman (left), CEO of Green Builder Media, prepares to take a tour group through the VISION House. "Our goal is to have all guests walk away with one or two ideas about how they can live a greener life," she said.


Guests learned about the major themes of green building, including energy generation and efficiency, water conservation, and indoor environment quality.


Ron Jones, President of Green Builder Media, said he was thrilled to be able to include home fire sprinklers as a green component of the VISION House. "If you have ever seen a building that has burned down, it’s a toxic waste site. You have all this release of material into the air, you have all of the water that’s wasted and washed down into the soil and into the watershed, and you have all of this material that’s lost and needs to be taken to the landfill. And it can haunt a particular piece of property, as well as the family and property owner, for decades. So it is really important for us to stress that fire sprinklers are an environmental story, and not just a health and safety story."
Tour guide "Sawyer" prepares to bring a group of guests through the front door of the fictional Monteverde family's home. The family's vision was to create a home that works in harmony with the environment.


Sawyer tells guests about the green technologies and products in the VISION Home kitchen.


In the studio located in the "backyard" of the VISION House, Sawyer explains the environmental impact of home fire sprinklers. "Automatic sprinklers can limit the spread of a fire, and they use much less water than a typical fire hose. That means less air pollution, and most importantly, less stuff that gets hauled off to the landfill," she said.

Watch VISION House tour guide "Sawyer" talk about the environmental impact of home fire sprinklers:

Watch this video tour of the VISION House, produced by INSIDE THE MAGIC:

Emergency Communications report graphic

The Technical Committee for Emergency Communications Systems within the NFPA 72 project has developed significant revisions to NFPA 72 (including a new chapter 24 in the 2010 edition) to address this topic which has resulted in the  identification of a series of information and messaging needs. Other work,  including a recent NIST workshop (NIST Pub# 1093, “Mass Notification Messages: Workshop Proceedings”, Mar 09) has also identified a need for further research on messaging and communications strategies. These efforts recognize that in recent years there have been major advancements in technology and systems availability and new demands on systems to meet the needs for emergency events other than fire (e.g. security, natural catastrophe, etc). Also, more recent studies of human behavior in a variety of emergency situations have increased awareness regarding the need for effective communications before and during different stages of an emergency.

This project focuses on establishing best practices for emergency message content and delivery as a function of emergency type, temporal framework, intended audience, and delivery format. This report is a result of Year 1 of the project, which includes a review of the state-of-the-art in emergency communication technology, approaches, and research on human behavior in response to public warnings. In Year 2, tools and templates for message providers (e.g., incident commanders, facility managers, etc.) will be developed to assist in planning and composing messages that will maximize effectiveness for the method of delivery. Messaging strategies will focus on events internal to buildings or collections of buildings (e.g. campuses).

Download the full report now


Do you want to make a difference? We have an ideal opportunity for a Database Administrator to be responsible for directing all database related activities, as assigned by the Division Director, Information Services.

This position will be based in Quincy, MA. If interested, please take a look at the job requirements and principle responsibilites

To apply, please send your resume, cover letter and salary requirements to NFPA Human Resources

Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletterThe new issue of Fire Sprinkler Initiative News, NFPA's monthly e-newsletter, features Chief Brian Black, who tells a compelling story about a fire that destroyed his home. We also look back at last month's Home Fire Sprinkler Summit in Chicago, where NFPA President Jim Shannon said that NFPA is in the fight for sprinkler for the "long haul", and where Canadian homebuilder Murray Pound said that installing home fire sprinklers is part of being a responsible builder.

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.

NFPA has named the Brockton Fire Department of Massachusetts as the recipient of the 2012 Rolf H. Jensen Memorial Public Education Grant. The $5,000 grant will support the department’s fire and life safety public education initiative in high-rise housing, called the “High-Rise Apartment Safety and Emergency Preparedness Program.”

  Jensen 2012 left: Lt. Robert Hendrigan, Captain Jeffrey Gillpatrick, Chief Richard Francis of the Brockton Fire Department, Brockton Mayor Linda Balzotti, Gary Keith of NFPA, Rosemary Foster, president of Belair Tower Tenants Association, and Richard Sergi of Brockton Housing Authority. Photos available; please contact

NFPA awards this grant annually to support a community-wide fire and life safety education program or campaign.

In 2011, Brockton Fire Department responded to 21,277 incidents and 1,180 of these occurred at the same five high-rise properties. The fire department will team up with the Brockton Housing Authority and the Brockton Emergency Management Agency to provide public education to these five properties and will then expand the outreach to other housing developments.

The program will be evaluated using a three-part approach: a comparison of incident numbers before and after the program’s implementation, instructor evaluations, and an apartment fire safety survey in which residents will respond to questions about fire hazards in their homes.

Sidewall Venting into Screened Enclosures report photo
The "Sidewall Venting Into Screened Enclosures" report, written by Filippo Gavelli of GexCon US, has recently been published. 

NFPA 54, the National Fuel Gas Code, currently does not explicitly address installation requirements for appliance sidewall vent terminations located in screened-in enclosures. There is some concern that screen-in enclosures may impede the dispersion of combustion gases. There are many parameters that are, or could be, important in determining how flue gas will disperse in the real world and what the limits might be for safe venting in screened enclosures. These include: the appliance input rating, excess air, and efficiency which determine the combustion gas flow rate, temperature, and composition; the design and location of the sidewall vent terminal; the enclosure volume and screen mesh free area; and other factors such as wind speed and direction, outdoor ambient temperature, nearby topology, the presence of barriers such as nearby buildings, trees, and hills, the accumulation of lint from clothes dryers exhausting into the screen space(for dryer appliances). In 2011, the Foundation initiated a project to develop practical guidance on this issue.

The full report is available for download


Today, we kicked off a new program to help fire departments fund the purchase of life-saving fire safety educational materials. Sparky’s Wish List™:  Partnering for Fire-Safe Communities invites fire departments to create a free online wish list for Fire Prevention Week materials. Businesses and the public can fulfill departments’ wish lists and provide these critical educational materials for their communities.

"Fire safety education saves lives, but with current budget pressures, it’s hard for many departments to pay for a range of educational materials,” said Jim Shannon, NFPA president. "Sparky’s Wish List is designed to help close the gap between what fire departments can afford and what they need to educate on fire safety.”

Every year, fire departments in the United States respond to more than 350,000 home fires resulting in at least 2,500 deaths and more than 12,000 injuries.

The official launch of Sparky’s Wish List was held at the Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis where thousands of firefighters were among the first to learn about the new site.

“Every year, we see fire-related injuries that might have been prevented if the victims had received fire safety tips, installed functioning smoke alarms or practiced an escape plan,” said Chief Brian Sanford, Indianapolis Fire Department who was among the first to sign up his department. “Our first line of protection is educating the community. Sparky’s Wish List will allow us to work with community members to provide these critical educational resources.”

Fire departments create a wish list by creating a profile and clicking the boxes to indicate the materials they need. Donors can purchase those materials by searching for their hometowns and opening their department’s registry. The materials will be sent directly to the fire department.

Visit Sparky's Wish List and follow step-by-step directions. Tools and resources are also available for departments to learn how to spread the word to the community and engage potential donors.

Partnership to show environmental benefit of home fire sprinklers

VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®NFPA has partnered with Green Builder® Media, North America’s leading media company focused on sustainable living to participate in the VISION House® located in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort. The innovative exhibit is set to present green living ideas in a fun and informative manner that will empower guests with the knowledge that a sustainable future is possible.

NFPA will showcase home fire sprinklers as an important addition to the home.

“Through this partnership with Green Builder® Media, we hope to educate visitors on the key environmental benefits of sprinklers,” said Jim Shannon, NFPA president. According to findings of a groundbreaking study, greenhouse gases released by burning buildings can be reduced by 98 percent when automatic fire sprinklers are installed. The study, conducted for the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, also found that automatic sprinklers:

  • Reduce fire damage up to 97 percent
  • Reduce water usage to fight a home fire by upwards of 90 percent
  • Reduce the amount of water pollution released in the environment

The VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS is inspired by Green Builder Media’s VISION House demonstration home series and will open Earth Day, April 22. Guests visiting the house will explore the major themes of green building, including whole-home automation, energy generation and efficiency, water conservation, indoor environment quality and high-performance materials and durability.

Code ConsumerHow do you use the code? This is one of the most challenging questions the NFPA product innovation team faces. There was a simple answer: “I read the book.” In practice, this was the perfect answer—  there really wasn’t any other option.

Today, our customers have access to smart phones, tablets, laptops, and office computers. We’re meeting some of the market demand with electronic formats of our titles in PDF form. The common thread is that almost all of these variant formats replicate the printed book experience. Given that the variety of ways in which to view our codes and standards content is rapidly expanding, we need to have a better understanding . . .  of that initial question: How, in fact, do you actually use the code?

We historically tend to classify code consumers into two basic groups: office-bound or in-the-field. We can use this classification to model usage, but it is becoming a less relevant way to describe how many of us do our jobs.

One thing I’ve learned from my role as a consumer of information is that I like to have access to it wherever I am. I want the physical books for long sit-down sessions. I want that same information on my mobile devices when I’m out of the office, and I also want the electronic versions so I can easily capture information for reports.

No, it’s not greed. And I’m not alone. What we all actually want is a convenient way to access our information. What this means from a product development standpoint is that we can’t just classify code users as “office” or “field” workers. The best way for us to understand how you use our codes is for you to tell us.

Adapting to new technology trends is always a stepwise process. First we copy the original into the new format (PDFs of existing book layouts).  Then we start customizing the content to fit the capabilities of the new format (NFCSS, NECplus). The third step is fundamentally changing the way we present the content to fit the new medium.

Ultimately, we’ll be able to take advantage of these new formats to create new, customizable experiences for the customer. And then we won’t have to predict how you use the code. We’ll give you the information and the tools, and you’ll be able to customize it to fit your needs.

-Sam Driver

Fire Pump Field Test Data photo
Gayle Pennel, of Aon Risk Solutions, recently authored a new Fire Protection Research Foundation report titled, "Fire Pump Field Data Collection and Analysis." Fire pumps are relatively complex electro‐mechanical devices that perform a vital emergency function on an infrequent basis. They are an integral and essential component of built‐in fire protection systems, and to assure reliability they are tested periodically. However, the type and frequency of these tests is the subject of on‐going debate that extends to the earliest days of the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Pumps established in 1899.

Presently the testing of fire pumps generates field data that’s independently available to users, installers, insurers, servicing organizations, and others. This data is not, however, being collected in a standardized manner and it is not subject to statistical analysis to substantiate any particular testing protocol. A collective set of standardized data would provide a scientific basis to support periodic testing requirements, which are currently a focal point of controversy in the codes and standards process.

This study seeks to provide credible and statistically valid fire pump performance data that substantiates testing frequencies and protocols. The tasks of this project are being addressed in two parts: Part I focuses on clarifying the landscape of existing field data and establishing a sampling component for subsequent project tasks; and Part II establishes a framework and clarifies the details on how this data will ultimately be handled and used in a credible manner. The deliverables in this report address both parts of this overall project.

Download the full report, available for free

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 June 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

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An emergency drill at the University of Maryland campus.

This week marks the five-year anniversary of the massacre at Virginia Tech, where a gun-wielding student killed 32 students and teachers and wounded more than 20 others. A similar tragedy also occurred this week in 1999, when two gunmen opened fire at Columbine High School in Colorado, killing 12 students and a teacher.

Both incidents placed emergency preparedness at school settings under the microscope. While campuses are still susceptible to an array of threats initiated by man or Mother Nature, sharing best practices across the U.S. is an effective tool that can be used to prepare for the worst.


Highlighted in an +NFPA Journal+ feature story, a 2010 report by the National Campus Safety and Security Project (NCSSP) evaluates the current state of emergency preparedness, shortfalls in safety, and best practices at U.S. educational institutions. Assisting colleges and universities with the NCSSP recommendations outlined in the report are relevant NFPA codes and standardsspecifically NFPA 1600,  +Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs +that address effective emergency management planning.


Read the +NFPA Journal+ feature for more information about the NCSSP study and the state of safety at colleges nationwide.


-Fred Durso, Jr.</p>

http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sparky.orgEarth Smarts
Sparky the Fire Dog is celebrating Earth Day all month long! He has partnered with NFPA's Firewise program to develop a great checklist that parents and their children can do together to help protect their homes from wildfire. By checking off everything on the list , you will be helping to protect animals, trees, plants and your home!

PhotoTo get started, you'll need:

As a special surprise, if you leave us a comment here on the blog, or on either Sparky the Fire Dog or Firewise Communities' Facebook pages, you'll be entered into a random drawing to win one of 5 reusable Sparky bags!

Just let us know if you have used the checklist, what you thought about it, or your future plans to go through it with your children!

Fire Prevention Week 2012

The reality is that when fire strikes, your home could be engulfed in smoke and flames in just a few minutes. It is important to have a home fire escape plan that prepares your family to think fast and get out quickly when the smoke alarm sounds. What if your first escape route is blocked by smoke or flames? That's why having two ways out is such a key part of your plan.

The theme of NFPA's 2012 Fire Prevention Week, “Have Two Ways Out!”, focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.

Check out our new Fire Prevention Week web site to learn more about the importance of home escape planning, and for the tools and resources you need to teach your community about this life-saving exercise.

IFE AwardsThe Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE), United States of America Branch, has recognized Casey Grant, P.E., of the Fire Protection Research Foundation (Foundation), NFPA’s Gary Keith, vice president of Field Operations and Education, and Russell Sanders, director of the Central Regional Office for NFPA, with the grade of “Fellow in the Institution,” which is the highest level of membership given by IFE. The grade of Fellow also represents one of the top degrees of authority within the fire engineering community.

Casey is responsible for a wide-range of research projects that support NFPA’s mission, including activities directly related to the fire service community. He received his Master of Science degree in Fire Protection Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and a B.S. degree in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland.

Gary oversees six NFPA divisions and directly manages 13 field offices across the United States and Canada, which support the adoption and use of NFPA codes and standards. He received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering technology from Wentworth Institute of Technology.

Russ is responsible for promoting the adoption of NFPA codes and standards and the implementation of NFPA’s advocacy projects across nine states. In addition, he serves as the executive secretary to the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association and as president of the United States delegation to the International Fire & Rescue Services. He is the former chief of the Louisville, Kentucky Fire Department and received his Master of Science and Master of Education degrees from the University of Louisville..

Plant Contest
The Firewise Communities Program has announced the winners of the Firewise Plant Calendar Photo Contest. The calendar, which serves as a valuable resource for homeowners, landscapers, planners and others involved in home building and landscape maintenance, will be available later this year through the program’s online catalog.

Entrants submitted original photos of Firewise plants, flowers, trees, shrubs and grasses found in their region. Ten winners were chosen and prizes include an Amazon gift card. The contest winners are:

  • Michieal Abé, Wasilla, Alaska
  • Connie Berg, Duvall, Washington
  • Ronald Billings, College Station, Texas
  • Liron Galliano, McClellan, California
  • Jeannine Giuffre, Tehachapi, California
  • Mike Kuhns, Logan, Utah
  • Audrey Lawson, Salem, Oregon
  • Jim McFarland, Ashland, Oregon
  • Richard Nelson, Pocatello, Idaho
  • Patricia Peters, Cragsmoor, New York

One of the primary principles of the Firewise Communities Program involves creating a Firewise landscape around a house to help decrease the risk of spreading wildfire. All vegetation has the potential for becoming fuel for a fire. A state list of native Firewise plants is available on the Firewise website.

More information about Firewise plants and landscaping can be found on the homeowners page of the Firewise website.

IFE AwardsThe Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE), United States of America Branch, has recognized Casey Grant, P.E., of the Fire Protection Research Foundation (Foundation), NFPA’s Gary Keith, vice president of Field Operations and Education, and Russell Sanders, director of the Central Regional Office for NFPA, with the grade of “Fellow in the Institution,” which is the highest level of membership given by IFE. The grade of Fellow also represents one of the top degrees of authority within the fire engineering community.

Casey is responsible for a wide-range of research projects that support NFPA’s mission, including activities directly related to the fire service community. He received his Master of Science degree in Fire Protection Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and a B.S. degree in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland.

Gary oversees six NFPA divisions and directly manages 13 field offices across the United States and Canada, which support the adoption and use of NFPA codes and standards. He received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering technology from Wentworth Institute of Technology.

Russ is responsible for promoting the adoption of NFPA codes and standards and the implementation of NFPA’s advocacy projects across nine states. In addition, he serves as the executive secretary to the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association and as president of the United States delegation to the International Fire & Rescue Services. He is the former chief of the Louisville, Kentucky Fire Department and received his Master of Science and Master of Education degrees from the University of Louisville..

IFE represents the leading fire service and engineering professionals with over 60 branches and 11,000 members worldwide.

NISTAgenda includes recommendations to enhance performance-based fire engineering for post 9/11 structures

A research agenda designed to help expedite the implementation of performance-based fire engineering and design methods for structures post 9/11 is the subject of a report, Structural Fire Resistance Experimental Research - Priority Needs of U.S. Industry, released by the Fire Protection Research Foundation and prepared for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Engineering Laboratory. 

The agenda, which identifies and prioritizes a set of research recommendations for NIST, is the final step of a Foundation project aimed at developing a proposed list of projects for NIST’s new structural fire resistance testing facility based in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The facility, scheduled to open later this year, provides the capability to test large scale structural elements, systems and their connections during a fire.

To support the agenda, the Foundation looked to community stakeholders for input, conducted a literature review of large-scale structural fire testing, and a held a one-day research needs workshop in September 2011. Forty representatives from academia, engineering and the materials industry attended the workshop and provided their perspective on the needs that such a unique facility might address.

NIST will utilize this new facility to work on ways to identify which current construction methods and building materials (designed in accordance with current building codes) work best when tested under realistic fire conditions, and evaluate the design performance of each. This type of testing can also inform improved post-fire structural repairs and remediation methods when a building sustains damage from a fire.

More information and the full report are available on the Foundation’s website.

Fire Hose Friction Loss photo
The Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Determination of Fire Hose Friction Loss Characteristics," has been issued and is now available. The report was authored by Joseph L. Scheffey, Eric W. Forssell and Matthew E. Benfer.

The calculation of friction loss in fire hose is a common task for fire fighters responsible for operating fire apparatus pumps. This is required to deliver water at the proper flow rate and pressure to fire fighters controlling the fire hose nozzle. Pressures and flow rates too low will be insufficient for fire control, while pressures and flow rates too high create dangerous conditions with handling the nozzle, burst hose and other hazards.

Baseline friction loss coefficients used by today’s fire fighters for calculating fire hose pressure loss were derived using hose design technology from upwards of 50 years ago. A need exists to update these coefficients for use with today’s fire hose. Modern fire hose is generally perceived by fire fighting professionals as having less friction loss and different performance characteristics than the hose on which these coefficients were originally based. The focus of this study has been to develop baseline friction loss coefficients for the types of fire hose commonly used by today’s fire service, and identify any additional performance characteristics that should be considered for friction loss calculations.

The full report is also available, "Determination of Fire Hose Friction Loss Characteristics". All Fire Protection Research Foundation reports can be downloaded for free. Printed copies are $50, except where otherwise noted. If all reports in a subject category are requested, a 20% discount applies. Please pre-pay by check or money order to the The Fire Protection Research Foundation. You may also pay using VISA, Mastercard or American Express. E-mail the Foundation or call +1 617 984-7443.

On April 16, 1996, a fire occurred at a fully sprinklered bulk retail store in Albany, Georgia.  Arriving firefighters found the fire venting through the roof and an area where the walls had begun to separate.  Despite their efforts, the fire destroyed the entire building and all the merchandise inside.  The loss was estimated at $9 million ($13 million today).  The cause of the fire was not determined, but began in the area where pool chemicals were stored.  NFPA’s investigation found several deviations from code requirements at the time.

  • The storage of oxidizers on racks that exceeded height and depth limits for retail storage
  • The lack of solid, noncombustible vertical barriers between oxidizers and incompatible materials
  • The lack of in-rack sprinklers for the area protecting the oxidizer storage
  • Sprinkler systems that were designed to discharge densities and areas of operation that were below current NFPA requirements for oxidizer storage

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

Ford-hybrid-logoAs hybrid and electric vehicles become more popular on the roadways, it is more important than ever for responders to understand the best identification methods.  Most responders tend to rely on external badging as the sole identification method; this however can result in some vehicles not being properly identified.  First keep in mind that there are no industry standards for external markings.  Vehicle markings can range from all four sides to a complete absence of external badging.  Responders must also consider that the potential exists for external markings to become hidden or dislodged as a result of a crash.
During an emergency response, the most appropriate action is for first responders to treat any vehicle as if it is some type of alternative fueled vehicle until you can make positive identification one way or another.  Additionally, if at first glance you do not see any badging, be sure to look for less conventional identification methods such as battery vents, dashboard logos or indicators, orange cabling, etc. to ensure that you are not dealing with a hybrid or electric vehicle.  For more detailed information on proper identification methods take the online class available soon on our website, or be sure to attend a training class in your area using the NFPA classroom program. Safe,


Journal Detection
Suppression gets most of the attention when the topic turns to protecting large warehouses, but the size and complexity of modern storage spaces is also driving a rethink of detection strategies. In the March/April issue of NFPA Journal, Amanda Kimball takes a "Harder Look at Detection."

Most types of warehouses are not required by current codes and standards to include automatic fire detection. A report NFPA published last year, Structure Fires in Warehouses, found that automatic detection was present in 22 percent of the warehouses involved in fires in the United States during the period between 2005 and 2009. The report also found that detection systems only operated in 15 percent of those fires. By comparison, automatic suppression systems were present in 36 percent of warehouses involved in fires between 2005 and 2009, according to the 2011 NFPA report U.S. Experience with Sprinklers.

In 2009 and 2010, the Fire Protection Research Foundation conducted workshops to address fire safety concerns in modern warehouses. Participants included warehouse users, insurance companies, fire protection engineering firms, researchers, fire protection system manufacturers, and codes and standards developers, including NFPA. The workshops explored the application of fire detection for early fire warning, fire location identification, and monitoring, as well as the potential benefits of quicker-response suppression systems, reducing water supply requirements, and minimizing the involvement of fire departments. (The 2010 workshop included proposals for forward-looking concepts for automatic control and extinguishment of fires in high-challenge warehouses, ideas that were published in “Warehouse Challenge,” the cover story of the July/August 2011 NFPA Journal.) One of the conclusions resulting from these workshops was that there is little research or guidance available on the use of fire detection technologies in warehouse environments.

To address this need, the Research Foundation has begun a research project focused on this issue. The first phase of the project, which included a literature review, hazard assessment, and development of a research plan, was completed by Hughes Associates and is now available online. It is expected that this project will continue to a second phase later this year, which would include full-scale fire testing to characterize design fires and to evaluate various detection technologies.

Visit the NFPA Journal website to read the full article, including the methods and challenges of this project, and a look forward

Read the NFPA Standards Council preliminary minutes to see the results of the items addressed at its meeting on March 5-6 at the Marriott in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

At its meeting, the Council considered some of the following items:

  • an appeal regarding the issuance of a TIA to NFPA 80
  • considered recent report on the use of antifreeze in non-residential sprinkler systems
  • the issuance of proposed TIAs on NFPA 13D, 30B, 51A, 75
  • reviewed and considered new projects 
  • the issuance of Fall 2011 Consent documents
  • considered requests from Committees to change revision cycle schedules

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 Baio 

Jay Jonas of the New York City Fire Department  (FDNY) was a captain with Ladder 6 in Chinatown when he and five fellow  firefighters ascended the World Trade Center’s North Tower on September  11 on a search-and-rescue operation. Their orders immediately changed  once the South Tower came crumbling down. Heading down the stairs, they  stopped to assist an elderly woman when what they feared ultimately  occurred only four floors from the exit—the building began to  disintegrate.

Now a deputy chief with the FDNY, Jonas will share  his survival story while highlighting improvements to the  fire service and built environment since 9/11 during the featured  presentation “9/11: Leadership Before and After the Crisis” at NFPA’s  Conference & Expo on June 12.

NFPA Journal staff writer Fred Durso, Jr. interviewed Jonas at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City about some of the safety upgrades he's seen since the terrorist attacks. Watch the following video, and be on the lookout for a more in-depth conversation with Jonas in the upcoming issue of NFPA Journal:


-Fred Durso, Jr.

FirewiseWe recently distributed some tips to the residents of Massachusetts, given the wildland fire activity they were seeing. Now, fires on New York’s Long Island, in upstate New York, as well as Staten Island and nearby Connecticut and New Jersey, have raised concerns for community safety. With experts predicting these conditions will occur through Spring, communities can’t help but feel that they are at high risk from wildfires.

“The unusually dry and w weather at this time of year means that wildfires pose a greater threat to individual properties and neighborhoods across New York,” said Michele Steinberg, NFPA’s Firewise Communities Program Manager. “It’s simply easier in these conditions for fires to start and burn out of control. But residents can do their part and take simple steps today to lessen the risk of damage if a wildfire occurs.”

The Firewise program wants to remind communities that wildfire doesn’t always have to burn everything in its path. Below are a few 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 from the house.
  • Remove flammable materials (firewood stacks, small propane canisters, dry vegetation, etc.) within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it tough your house, deck or porch.

For more easy safety tips, please take a look at the full press release

Learn more about how to keep your family safe and reduce your home’s risk for wildfire damage at Many resources are free and complementary brochures, booklets, pamphlets, and videos can be found on the “information and resources” page of the website and ordered online through the Firewise catalog.

Innovation at NFPAAt every turn you see advertising for a new smartphone. 2012 is the year of the tablet. Skype, FaceTime, Instagram, and Hipstamatic are rapidly becoming verbs. We live in a technology-oriented society, and it is no surprise that technology companies are household names.

What’s been different over the last decade is how influential technology reaches our hands. Traditionally, we got access to technology at work first, and eventually in the home. Today, that dynamic is reversed. Businesses are scrambling to meet employee demands to connect their shiny new smartphones and tablets to the company network.

Part of the reason why there is such a scramble is that most organizations assumed they had plenty of time to implement new mobile solutions. The generally held belief was that this new technology was really only valued by the young, emerging employee population. The reality was quite different. Some industry analysts have discovered that the average age of the technology advocate is over 50.

What does this trend mean for the NFPA member or customer?

First: we hear you! You want to use our content in more mobile-friendly ways. We’re burning the midnight oil to develop and deliver content in new formats, how and when you need it.

We’ve already begun to feel the real impact of this trend. Everywhere you turn, you hear customers’ stories about how their jobs are changing:

  • Installation and maintenance crews don’t rally up at the office first thing in the morning anymore – they can get their maps, job orders, and contact information via email or text message.
  • Sales teams can bring video demos of project work right to the customer.
  • Team leaders can send video of a repair right to the home office, streamlining repair reporting.
  • Inspectors can tag video to a violation report with voice commentary.

Add it all together and you get a mobile workforce that can save a lot of time, energy, and money by getting connected while out of the office. 

-Sam Driver

Image by Jeff Bundy via Flikr. CC attribution license.

The following new proposed standard is seeking public input on its Preliminary Draft (formerly pre-ROP):

  • NFPA 4, Standard for Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing

This preliminary draft is being circulated to allow the public to view and submit public input (formerly proposals) prior to the publication as a First Draft Report (formerly Report on Proposals).  The public input closing date for this proposed new standard is June 22, 2012.

On April 11, 1996, a fire in an occupied passenger terminal at the airport in Düsseldorf, Germany, killed 17 people and injured 62.  The fire began when a welder working on expansion plates in a roadway above the terminal building ignited the insulation used in the void above the ceiling on the first level.  The smoke and flames spread throughout the first level, then the second level through unprotected open stairwells and escalator openings.  Seven of the victims died in elevators, eight more died in a VIP lounge on the third level, one in a lavatory, and one in an unknown location.  Factors determined to have contributed to the loss of life and property damage in this incident include:

  • Failure of workmen to take adequate precautions during welding operations
  • The presence of combustible insulation in the ceiling void above the lower level of the terminal
  • A lack of automatic suppression systems in the void and in the occupied area of the terminal
  • Unprotected vertical openings that allowed the fire and smoke to spread to the upper levels
  • The transmission of erroneous information over the voice annunciation system during the first 10 minutes of alarm activation
  • The ability to shut down the public address system in the lounges.  (This system was also used to transmit the emergency voice announcements.)
  • Inadequate means of egress capabilities from the VIP lounge
  • Two occupied elevators that opened directly into the fire area

NFPA members can read the full investigation report, and all site visitors can read a summary of the investigation in English, Spanish, French, or German

At its March 2012 meeting, the NFPA Standards Council considered and reviewed the following four new projects/documents and is seeking public review and comments by the June 1, 2012 deadline:

Anyone interested in commenting on these new projects, should include the following information: resources on the subject matter, the names of those interested in participating on the Committee (if established), the names of other organizations actively involved with this subject, and whether there is a need for such a project.  Submit your comments to the Codes and Standards Administration Department, NFPA, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169-7471

- Debbie Baio

The Children’s Safety Network eNewsletter serves as a forum for sharing information about child and adolescent injury and violence prevention. It provides weekly listings of events, news items, and reports on specific injury-related topics. The April 5 issue included new resources and tool kits for April’s National Child Abuse Month.

In addition, the newsletter’s fire and burn safety piece in this edition discusses NFPA’s Learn Not to Burn Preschool Program’s new smoke alarm lesson: “When You Hear a Smoke Alarm, Get Out and Stay Out.” The smoke alarm lesson 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 parents.
- Sharon Gamache

Fire Alarm Lesson Plan Frog-1

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

In this issue:

  • Comments sought on proposed TIAs on NFPA 72
  • TIAs issued on NFPA 13D, 30B, 51A, and 75
  • Public Input closing dates for Annual 2014 documents
  • Four new projects/documents seeking comment
  • Errata issued on NFPA 5000® and 820
  • NFPA Conference & Expo information
  • Committees seeking members
  • Committees soliciting public input
  • 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


The Research Foundation and NFPA invite you to the Global Research Update: High Challenge Storage Protection symposium to be held June 27, 2012 at the Marriott Rive Gauche in Paris, France.

High challenge warehouse fire protection strategies are of global concern to the fire protection community. As new high hazard commodities appear in challenging storage arrangements, new approaches to fire protection are required. This symposium will present recent global research to being carried out to address that need, and is being held in cooperation with the [European Fire Sprinkler Network conference |].

[The programme |] (PDF, 22 KB) will feature recent research work sponsored by the Foundation’s Property Insurance Research Group and other global research organizations. Presentations from the insurance industry and global property owners will provide a perspective on emerging needs.

[Register now |] and join attendees from around the globe for this unique event. Regular rate is $395. A special rate of $350 applies to those also attending the European Fire Sprinkler Network Conference.

We thank our honorary co-sponsors of the Global Research Update: High Challenge Storage Protection:

    • GIDAI – Fire Safety Research & Technology

    • HSL - Health and Safety Laboratory, UK

    • Ineris - National I stitute for Industrial Environment and Risks, France

    • SP – Technical Research Institute of Sweden

    • UC – Universidad de Cantabria


Do you want to make a difference? We have an ideal opportunity for a Library and Records Management Analyst who will direct, design, develop, recommend and implement manual and automated records filing and retrieval systems. Creates and maintains company retention schedules. Conducts legal research necessary to determine retention values; evaluating and recommend designation of records/information that are considered vital to the organization. Writes procedures and provides training to departmental personnel. Supports day-to-day library activities, including reference, circulation, and customer service. 

Interested? Take a look at the complete list of job responsibilities, requirements and competencies and send your resume in to HR today!

On April 9, 1998, a fire was reported at a large turkey farm near Albert City, Iowa.  The fire began when an ATV driven by teenagers struck two pipelines carrying liquid propane from an 18,000-gallon (68m3) LP-Gas tank, creating a leak.  The ensuing cloud of vapor was ignited, however, the teens were able to escape the area and call 911.  The fire department arrived and began to set up operations to protect exposed buildings with hose lines.  Because there was no water supply in the area, a tanker shuttle operation was implemented.  Meanwhile, the gas venting from the pressure relief valves on the tank created a loud noise similar to a jet engine, making communications on the fireground difficult.  The fire chief indicated that the plan was to allow the tank to burn itself out and protect exposed structures from positions 90 to 100 feet (27 to 31 meters) from the tank.  As this plan was being implemented, about 7 minutes after the fire department arrived, an explosion occurred, sending large sections of the tank flying in four different directions.  One large piece of the tank struck two firefighters who were about 100 feet (31 meters) away from the tank.

On the basis of the fire investigation, the NFPA determined that the following were significant factors directly contributing to the explosion and firefighter deaths.

  • Lack of protection around the LP tank installation and associated equipment; this lack of protection allowed the ATV to strike the piping
  • The impingement of flame on the propane tank, causing the tank shell to weaken and fail
  • The close proximity of fire department operations to the LP tank while the tank was being exposed to direct flame contact
  • The lack of an adequate reliable water supply
  • The decision, given the lack of an adequate water supply, to protect the exposed buildings and not relocate all personnel to a safe location.

NFPA members can download the full investigation report for free, and all site visitors can download a summary in English or Spanish.   

Ron Moore, one of fire service’s leading experts in extrication and automobile rescue, has joined NFPA's Electric Vehicle Safety Training Project to serve on the program’s roster of subject matter experts and trainers. Moore, who has more than 32 years of experience in the fire service, joins Jason Emery, Chris Pepler and Matt Paiss to lead electric vehicle safety trainings across the United States. Read more about Ron Moore and his background, including how he will be an integral part of the EV Safety Training program moving forward. 

This winter season's warmer temperatures, although embraced by communities across New England, have actually had negative effects on this year’s wildfire season. A recent brush fire that occurred in Brimfield, MA., along with others in neighboring towns and states, are underscoring the threat these fires pose to homes and properties across New England. A lack of snowpack, warmer temperatures, high winds and excess tree debris from last year’s devastating tornado and October blizzard have only contributed to the dangerous fire conditions that experts predict will continue into the Spring.

The Firewise Communities Program wants residents to know that there are efforts that they can make to help protect their homes from the threat of wildfire, because wildfire doesn’t have to burn everything in its path.  In fact, cleaning your property of dead leaves, needles and branches, and maintaining your landscaping are extremely vital first steps. Here are just a few ways that you can help 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.
  • Remove      flammable materials (firewood stacks, propane canisters, dry vegetation)      within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including      garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house,      deck or porch.

For more easy safety tips, please take a look at the full press release

Learn more about how to keep your family safe and reduce your home’s risk for wildfire damage at Many resources are free and complementary brochures, booklets, pamphlets, and videos can be found on the “information and resources” page of the website and ordered online through the Firewise catalog.

Put Out the Fire
The most visited section on the Sparky the Fire Dog® web site just got even better! Launched this month, the new fire truck section lets kids of all ages get an inside view of different kinds of fire trucks, explore a quint truck, color and print trucks online, and play fire truck games. Reinforce listening and sequencing skills with "Follow the Sounds," a sound pattern game for preschoolers and school-aged children. "Put out the Fire" is a game of skill in which critical thinking is a must. "It is the Angry Birds of fire-safety, I'm addicted," said one player. is a safe learning environment for children, trusted and approved by teachers, parents, and fire safety educators. 

Attending the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas?  Join us at our Standards Forum on Tuesday, June 12, at 1:30 pm, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, for an update on the proposed re-engineering of the NFPA standards development process. At this session technical committee members and interested parties will be able to see the latest updates to the New Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards and the features of the new Electronic Submission System.  Advanced registration is not required.  For questions please contact Codes and Standards Administration or call 617-984-7240.


The Foundation has issued a report on Structural Fire Resistance Experimental Research - Priority Needs of U.S. Industry. This report provides a synthesis of stakeholder input to a prioritized agenda for research at the National Fire Research Laboratory (NFRL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) designed to accelerate the implementation of performance based fire engineering for structures. It includes a comprehensive literature review of large scale structural fire testing and a compilation of research needs from a variety of sources. It concludes with a prioritized set of research recommendations for the NIST facility.

The NFPA and Fire Protection Research Foundation&#0160;recently published the results of a new report.&#0160;According to the report, “Fire Flow Water Consumption in Sprinklered and Unsprinklered Buildings: An Assessment of Community Impact,” the amount of water used during a fire when a building has a sprinkler system is less than that of an unsprinklered building.&#0160;




FSIThe NFPA and Fire Protection Research Foundation recently published the results of a new report. According to the report, “Fire Flow Water Consumption in Sprinklered and Unsprinklered Buildings: An Assessment of Community Impact,” the amount of water used during a fire when a building has a sprinkler system is less than that of an unsprinklered building. 

Water authorities have introduced strategies over the past three decades to recover costs for water consumed in sprinklered buildings. These fees are typically not related to the actual sprinkler flow, but address the fact that these flows are not metered and therefore not accounted for in conventional cost recovery systems. Fires that occur in unsprinklered properties that utilize water from hydrants, which are not metered, are typically not subject to fees. 

The study found that an owner of an unsprinklered building received the full benefit of unlimited water through the public water system during a fire without an increased cost, while the owner of a sprinklered building pays for the water used for commissioning, inspection, testing and maintenance (CITM) of the sprinkler system.

“As the number of sprinklered buildings increases over time in communities, we must make sure that the incentives for providing built-in fire protection aren’t offset by financial disincentives from water distribution fees – a fire in an adequately sprinklered building will always result in a more efficient use of water resources compared to a fire in a similar unsprinklered building,” said Gary Keith, NFPA's VP of field operations and education. “It’s our hope that fire departments and water authorities will use this report as a basis for reviewing the policies in their own jurisdictions."

Smoking Material Report NFPA
A recent report on the Smoking-Materials Fire Problem stated that in 2010, 610 civilian deaths resulted from an estimated 90,800 smoking-material fires, a number that is at or near the all-time-low and well down from the 1980 levels in the United States. Several factors can be attributed to this decline over the last 30 years, including a decline in smoking and stricter fire resistant standards on mattresses and upholstered furniture. The most recent drop in the fatalities and injuries, though, owes much to the “fire-safe” cigarette legislation.

It wasn’t until 2003 that U.S. states began requiring that all cigarettes sold must be “fire-safe”, that is, have sharply reduced ignition strength or ability to start fires. By 2010, the fire-safe cigarette legislation was in effect in 47 states. From 2003 to 2010, the number of civilian deaths in smoking material fires fell by an average of 21 percent. year marks the first year that all 50 state laws are in effect, and a projection linking the percentage decline in fire deaths to the percentage of smokers covered suggest that when the smoking material fire death numbers are analyzed for the year 2012, the reduction in civilian deaths will reach roughly 30 percent. This marks an all-time-low in civilian deaths caused by smoking-material fires since the year 1980; more than 30 years.

“NFPA is very encouraged by these numbers, which show the requirements are having the intended consequences,” said Lorraine Carli (NFPA's VP of Communications). “It is clear that our efforts have already made an impact on public safety and will continue to provide further progress in the years to come.”

For the full report (PDF, 2 MB), safety tips and information, or to learn more about the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, visit our website

The Committee Leadership Conference has been planned for Sunday, June 10, 2012, at 8:00 a.m during the NFPA Conference and Expo at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV.  This conference, held each June, is an interactive training program that provides NFPA technical committee officers and members with specific training in carrying out their duties and responsibilities for their committee work.  The conference is open to all NFPA committee participants and anyone who wishes to attend.  To pre-register for the conference, please contact the Codes and Standards Administration or call 617-984-7246.

NFPA's Jim Shannon makes opening remarks at the home fire sprinkler summit
Speaking before a crowd comprising fire service representatives and other safety advocates from every state, President Jim Shannon this evening promised that NFPA would continue to lead the fight to require the installation of fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes.

Mr. Shannon was the featured speaker at tonight’s kick-off dinner for a one-day home fire sprinkler summit in Chicago. The event brings together sprinkler advocates for networking and the sharing of lessons learned and best practices. Attendees will also go home equipped with the information and resources they need to help make the case for sprinkler requirements.

Currently, three states (California, Maryland, and South Carolina) and scores of communities across the United States have adopted requirements for automatic fire sprinkler systems in new one- and two- family dwellings. And Mr. Shannon admits the effort has been an uphill battle.

“We knew right from the start that we were going to run into opposition, especially from homebuilders, who have a great deal of influence and seasoned lobbyists working on their behalf,” he said. “And we knew that they would fiercely oppose our efforts to get states to require sprinklers. But we are not discouraged because the logic of our efforts will ultimately prevail.”

Jim Shannon makes opening remarks at the NFPA home fire sprinkler summit

Mr. Shannon compared the fire sprinkler campaign to an initiative that NFPA launched several years ago to save lives and prevent injuries from cigarette-ignited fires.  

The concept of fire-safe cigarettes (cigarettes that have a reduced propensity to burn when left unattended) had been floating around for decades, but it never went anywhere, namely because of the power of the tobacco lobby, said Mr. Shannon. “But finally, New York State decided to take a stand, and passed a law that allowed only the sale of fire-safe cigarettes."

The New York law went into effect on June 28, 2004 – the first time that cigarette manufacturing had been regulated in the history of the world. Canada became the first country to require fire-safe cigarettes when its law became effective on October 1, 2005.

NFPA's Jim Shannon makes opening remarks at the home fire sprinkler summit

After the New York experience, Mr. Shannon said that NFPA started thinking that a state-by-state effort to require fire-safe cigarettes might be a more workable strategy than a national campaign. “When we started, we figured it would take eight or nine years to accomplish our goal. But in just under four years, we had worked with the fire service and other advocates to pass fire-safe cigarette laws in all 50 states.”

And according to an NFPA report just released today, civilian deaths attributed to smoking material fires in the United States in 2010 were at or near an all-time-low. Several factors, including a decline in smoking, stricter fire resistant standards on mattresses and upholstered furniture, and the new fire-safe cigarette laws are being credited with the decrease in smoking material fire deaths.

“The point is that we didn’t settle and we didn’t give up,” said Mr. Shannon. “And by using our new strategies and working with the committed members of our nation’s fire service, we believe we can save even more lives with home fire sprinkler requirements.” 

Mr. Shannon said the effort to require home fire sprinklers in every state might take 3 years, or 5 years, or 10 years, “but we are in this fight for the long haul because it’s the right fight,” he said. “We have to push for change like this, because it will ultimately protect us and our homes. And it will protect the lives of our future generations, whose safety depends on our success and our efforts today.”

Watch our Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog on Tuesday for more updates for NFPA’s home fire sprinkler summit in Chicago.

- Mike Hazell

At its March 5-6, 2012 meeting, the NFPA Standards Council considered the issuance of several proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIA).  The following TIAs on NFPA 13D, NFPA 30B, NFPA 51A, and NFPA 75 were issued by the Council on March 6, 2012:

  • NFPA 13D, TIA 10-4, Referencing Section 6.5.3 
  • NFPA 30B, TIA 11-1, Referencing Sections 2.3.2, 6.1.1,, A., A., and 6.2.2
  • NFPA 51A, TIA 12-1, Referencing Sections 3.3 (New), 10.6,, and B.1.2.1
  • NFPA 75, TIA 09-1, Referencing Sections 10.4.4 and A.10.4.4 

Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) are amendments to an NFPA document processed in accordance with Section 5 of the Regulations Governing Committee Projects.They have not gone through the entire codes and standards-making process of being published in an ROP and ROC for review and comment. TIAs are effective only between editions of the document. A TIA automatically becomes a proposal for the next edition of the document, as such is then subject to all of the procedures of the codes and standards making process.  TIAs are published in NFPA News, NFCSS, and any further distribution of the document after being issued by the Standards Council.

NFPa product innovationA common question of people and businesses is “what do you do?” Most of our customers would probably answer “NFPA makes code books.”  

At first glance, they’re right, of course. We’ve got a phenomenal staff that produces over 300 codes and standards, the handbooks for some of those codes and standards, and a variety of supporting material.

But that’s not the whole story. What about our training programs, public education programs, web tools, and mobile device apps? Once you start piling it up, you realize that maybe our eye is drawn to the physical object on the shelf, and that we overlook the less tangible answer:

NFPA’s core product is information.

And not just any information, but the collected, debated, and exhaustively researched answer to a broad question: What is the minimum safe way to…?

As technology marches on, we often focus on information as a valuable resource in its own right. But the diffuse knowledge that is forged from our technical committees isn’t terribly portable. We add a lot of value to information when we make it easier to use, and relevant to the task at hand. Strategically, we design products with three major factors in mind:

  • Convenience – portable formats where and how you need them
  • Enhanced content – explanatory, supporting material
  • Customer-based customizability – assemble the right toolkit for your job

We are looking at ways to deliver code and code-related content that is more useful to our customers. Does the customer sit in an office all day at the computer? NFCSS and necplus are ideal products. Is the customer in the field? We’ve got physical books, e-books, mobile device apps. And that’s just the beginning. We are building solutions that give the customer more control over what they see and how they see it. Self-customization is one of the hallmarks of modern smart devices, and we’re building solutions to match.

Customer feedback is the primary driver for this initiative, so reach out to your NFPA friends, or drop us a note with your vision of the perfect NFPA code product.

-Sam Driver

Early in the morning of April 2, 1973, a fire involved a second-floor night club in a 12 story hotel in Rosemont, Illinois.  This fire was of particular interest because it exposed a 10 story atrium in the center of the hotel, and even though property damage was high, only one of the 1,000 guests required hospital treatment.  The fire was discovered coming from the nightclub at 4:30 a.m. by a maintenance employee, who activated a manual fire alarm station and then pulled out a standpipe hose and began applying water.

The atrium, located in the middle of the building was filled with smoke when firefighters arrived, and visibility was down to 10 feet in most areas.  Most of the firefighters were assigned to prevent panic among the occupants and assist with evacuation.  NFPA’s Fire Journal article regarding the incident found several items of note:

  • The building’s mechanical exhaust system did not operate; because the switch connecting the smoke detection system to the smoke exhaust system had been turned off (the system had to be manually turned on during firefighting operations)
  • Visibility was severely reduced, to the point of obscuring exit signs
  • Exit doorways were painted the same color as the surrounding wall, obscuring their location to occupants in the dense smoke
  • Guests attempted to use the automatic elevators for escape; since the elevators could not be manually controlled for escape, firefighters had to ride the cars to prevent their being used
  • The large volume of the atrium permitted dilution of smoke in the early stages of the fire, enabling some guests to escape without much confusion
  • Quick action by firefighters to control panic probably held injuries to a minimum; one firefighter was injured in this incident

NFPA members can read the Fire Journal article.

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