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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 

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