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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


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