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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

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