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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

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