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The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 99, NFPA 269, and NFPA 1124 are being published for public review and comment:

Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the July 2, 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

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 13, NFPA 13DNFPA 13R, and NFPA 25 are being published for public review and comment:

  • NFPA 13, Proposed TIA No. 1066, referencing, 7.6.1, 7.6.2,, 23.1.3(42),, and A.7.6, A.7.6.1, A. and A., proposed 2013 edition
  • NFPA 13D, Proposed TIA No. 1060, referencing 4.1.4, 5.2.7, 8.3, 8.3.1, 8.3.2(2), and 8.3.3, 2010 edition
  • NFPA 13D, Proposed TIA No. 1061, referencing  9.1, 9.1.1, 9.1.2(2), 9.2, and 12.3.5, proposed 2013 edition
  • NFPA 13D, Proposed TIA No. 1067, referencing Section 9.2 and A.9.2, proposed 2013 edition 
  • NFPA 13R, Proposed TIA No. 1062, referencing 5.4.1, 5.4.2(1), 5.4.3, and 5.4.4, 2010 edition and proposed 2013 edition 
  • NFPA 13R, Proposed TIA No. 1065, referencing 5.4.2 and A.5.4.2(1), proposed 2013 edition 
  • NFPA 25, Proposed TIA No. 1068, referencing, A., Table A., A., and A., 2011 edition 

Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the July 2, 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

Years before the latest Muppets movie wowed audiences  and resurrected the franchise, NFPA staff members were toying with the idea of  creating a “Muppets-style Sparky puppet” as a way to breathe new life into the 60-year-old spokesdog. Giving Kermit a run for his money, the newest version of Sparky--a four-foot-tall puppet made from foam--debuted this year, just in time to introduce this year's Fire Prevention Week theme, "Have 2 Ways Out!"

Curious about how the puppet was brought to life? Find out the details in the latest edition of NFPA Journal. Afterwards, watch the following video of the new puppet in action:  


-Fred Durso, Jr.

Ten-year old Victoria Lyons learned about the importance of knowing how to contact the fire department in an emergency as part of the Sugar Creek Township Fire Department Risk Watch® Program. This lesson was put into action on March 6, 2012 when she and her older sister Blake (age 13) arrived home and saw a large amount of smoke coming from the back yard. Both girls looked out the window and discovered the smoke was coming from their neighbor’s yard. The girls went to investigate. They discovered their neighbor leaning against a fence, his clothing partially burned from his body. Victoria ran back to the house and called 9-1-1. Blake pulled the man away from the burning field behind him. Victoria had learned how to contact the fire department and how to stay calm through the Risk Watch program taught in all fourth grade classrooms.

Fire Safety Educator Elizabeth Gulley of the Sugar Creek Township Fire Department, New Palestine, IN submitted this success story to NFPA. The girls were recognized for their bravery at an award ceremony - congrats girls!

01_sparky (2)The American Humane Association tapped our very own Sparky the Fire Dog to be an official “spokesdog” for the annual American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™. Presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and broadcast nationwide on Hallmark Channel, the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards are produced by Emmy® award-winning MRB Productions and will take place October 6, 2012 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California.

“Sparky has been a hero to children, adults, and firefighters for more than 60 years,” said Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. “He is a natural choice to help us celebrate the amazing things dogs do to help us every day that warrant recognition.”

The annual American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, which draws stars and celebrities (human and canine alike), features awards in eight categories, including law enforcement/arson dogs, service dogs, military dogs, hearing dogs, search and rescue dogs, guide dogs, therapy dogs, and “emerging hero dogs” (pets and ordinary dogs that do extraordinary things). During a nationwide search hundreds of dogs from all 50 states were nominated.

The public can now vote to choose this year’s finalists through June 30, 2012.

If you are interested in learning more about occupant protection and rescue solutions using advanced high-strength steels in vehicle applications at the 2012 conference & Expo then join us for an educational session presented by Casey Grant, Fire Protection Research Foundation, and David Anderson, Steel Market Development Institute. This session will be held on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Over the last 15 years, the automotive steel industry has successfully introduced and applied a new family of advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) for vehicle applications. Although the new steels have significantly improved occupant protection in the event of an accident, they have posed a unique challenge for fire and rescue personnel. Powered rescue tools are used by emergency first responders to extricate trapped victims. A common function of these tools involves rescuing victims from crashed motor vehicles, and a large inventory of these tools exists throughout today’s emergency response community.

The Fire Protection Research Foundation has initiated a project that identifies and provides an assessment of current and future extrication scenarios, especially those involving motor vehicles that use AHSS alloys and composite materials that are resistant to the performance of the present generation of powered rescue tools. This educational session is sponsored by the Fire Protection Research Foundation.

Register online today or for more information take a look at all of the educational sessions we have to offer.

NFPA 70NFPA membership will vote on the 53rd edition of the NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code®, at next year's NFPA Conference and Expo. In the meantime, committee members are addressing the number of proposals to the 2014 edition, which NFPA Journal columnist Jeffrey Sargent describes as examples into the "interesting times of the electrical industry."

Sargent's column, "Charting a Course for Safety," in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal highlights a noteworthy proposal on a new article on low-voltage suspended ceiling power distribution systems. Sargent explains that an increased interest in green technology prompted the proposal:

The substantiation supporting inclusion of the new article cited that direct current derived from alternative energy sources such as photovoltaic arrays and wind turbines is increasingly being used to supply power directly to lighting and control equipment. The use of the extensive grid work of a suspended ceiling system to support an electrical distribution system is an efficient means of delivering power to electrical equipment installed in these ceiling systems, which are commonly used in many types of building construction.

Read Sargent's column for more information on the proposed article. The closing date for comments on all NEC proposals is October 17. 

-Fred Durso, Jr.

On Saturday, May 28, 1977, a disastrous fire occurred at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Kentucky, which claimed the lives of 165 patrons and employees, and injured about 70 others.    When the fire occurred, roughly 2,500 people were at the club, with about half in the Cabaret Room.  The fire originated in the Zebra Room, a small, unoccupied function room on the opposite end of the club from the Cabaret Room, and burned for a considerable time before it was discovered.  The probable cause was determined to be electrical in nature; and combustible material in a concealed space in the ceiling was the material first ignited. 

When the fire was discovered, the staff unsuccessfully attempted to fight the fire before notifying the fire department or alerting occupants.  Most patrons were evacuated with the assistance of employees, however, by the time the Cabaret Room occupants became aware of the emergency, they did not have adequate time to escape.

NFPA’s investigation found several major factors contributing the large loss of life in this fire, including:

  • The fire in the Zebra Room developed for a considerable time before discovery.  The presence of concealed, combustible ceiling tile and wood materials used for supports provided a fuel supply for continued spread of the fire through the original ceiling and other concealed spaces.
  • The Beverly Hills Supper Club staff attempted to extinguish the fire before notifying the occupants to leave the building and before calling the fire department.  There was no evacuation plan establishing fire emergency procedures for the club, and employees were not schooled or drilled in duties that they were to perform in case of fire.
  • The number of people in the Cabaret Room far exceeded the number of occupants that the room could safely accommodate according to codes and standards in effect at the time.  Also, the number of occupants in the Beverly Hills Supper Club (total building) on the night of the fire exceeded by about double the number of people that the building could safely accommodate
  • The interior finish in the main north-south corridor exceeded the flame spread allowed for places of assembly in the Life Safety Code and contributed to the rapid spread of the fire from the Zebra Room to the Cabaret Room.
  • The Beverly Hills Supper Club was not provided with automatic sprinkler protection as required by codes in effect in Kentucky at the time of the fire.

NFPA members can download the full investigation report.

On May 27, 1987, an estimated 8 to 10 gallons of flammable liquid was spilled in an automotive paint distribution center in Dayton, Ohio.  Apparently, sparks from an electric lift truck ignited the material, and the roof began collapsing within 15 minutes of the ignition.  The fire eventually consumed approximately 1.5 million gallons of automotive paints and related flammable liquids.  Despite attempted manual suppression, and sprinkler system operation, the entire warehouse was destroyed and the total cost, including debris removal reached $49 million (nearly $100 million in today’s dollars).

NFPA members can read the investigation report for free.

Fire Engineering Magazine recently published an article with participation by members of our EV safety training staff which provides an overview of the Chevy Volt, its systems, and emergency response procedures. The piece features relevant and useful information about key characteristics to identify a Volt; the vehicle’s construction - including the electrical system, high-voltage battery and occupant protection systems; and a step-by-step guide for responders. 

It also emphasizes that first responders must ensure that they understand the technology and operation behind EVs and HEVs to ensure overall safety for all parties involved.  We highlighted the specifics of the Chevy Volt in a vehicle profile on our blog earlier this year, but this article provides additional insight regarding the new technologies.

As part of NFPA’s mission to provide the latest information regarding electric vehicles to first responders, we would like to highlight key details noted in this article regarding the appropriate response procedure for a Chevy Volt. Similar information can be found on our website’s vehicle manufacturer resource page and will be included in our soon to be released “Electric Vehicle Emergency Field Guide”:

  • Identifying the types of vehicles in a crash is essential. It is more critical than ever for responders to identify the types of vehicles involved in a crash. As green technology and alternative fueled vehicles become more popular, responders should not immediately assume that they are working with conventional vehicles at a crash scene..
  • Securing vehicle from potential movement should be priority. Responders should control potential hazards by chocking the wheels, accessing the passenger compartment to set the parking brake, placing the vehicle in park, and shutting down the high voltage system. Specifically, in the case of a Volt follow this two-step process:
    • Shut the vehicle downby pressing the power button (found just above the gear selector).   If possible then remove the proximity keys from the vehicle.Then, disable the  12v electrical system by using the special cut location provided in the rear of the vehicle. In the rear hatchback, an access panel is found on the driver's sidewall of the cargo area. This access panel displays a logo of a firefighter's helmet to indicate its purpose. Behind the access panel is a bundle of wires in a black wrap with GM's "first responder yellow cut tape" attached to it. Make two cuts, one on either side of the yellow cut tape.
  • Extrication operations: Although high voltage cabling and components are not generally found in typical cut points, it is important to inspect the area that is being cut to confirm this.  . During extrication, it is important for responders to keep in mind that the Volt is comprised of approximately 80 percent high-strength steel. In order to respond effectively, responders should be aware of their rescue tools' ability to cut through these materials. Also noted in the article are back-up methods for responders in the case their tools are not capable of cutting high-strength steels.
  • Vehicle fires and submersions. Traditional firefighting equipment is acceptable to extinguish a Volt that is on fire and water application does not create a shock hazard. In addition, responders can safely operate around a submerged Volt in the same manner as a conventional vehicle or a hybrid.

Stay Safe,


The Fire Protection Research Foundation has announced the winners of the 2012 William M. Carey and Ronald K. Mengel awards.

The 2012 Ronald K. Mengel Award for outstanding detection paper goes to John Bullough, Y. Zhu, and N. Narendran of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for “Characteristics of Light-Emitting Diode Sources: Relevance for Visual Signal Detection.” 

The 2012 William M. Carey Award for best suppression paper was awarded to Rajesh Melkote UTC Climate Controls and Security, and Liangzhen Wang and Nicolas Robinet of Kidde France for “Next Generation Fluorine-Free Firefighting Foams.”

The awards will be presented next year at the 2013 Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications (SUPDET) conference, the Foundation’s annual technical working conference on suppression and detection research, and applications. The winners are chosen based on a vote by participants and presented with the awards the following year.

William M. Carey, a former senior staff engineer at Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., participated in many Foundation fire suppression projects, including the first: The National Quick Response Sprinkler Project. Throughout his career, he was often known for being "the bridge" between research and application of new fire safety knowledge.

Ronald K. Mengel, for years the vice president of industry affairs of the system sensor division of Honeywell Corporation, had a long and distinguished career in fire protection. He was instrumental in Honeywell’s efforts in industry-sponsored research and training. Mengel contributed to a number of Foundation projects and served on the Foundation’s Fire Detection and Alarm Research Advisory Council.

Emergency communications systemsThe 2010 edition of NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code includes a number of requirements for emergency communications systems. As outlined by columnist Wayne Moore in the latest edition of NFPA Journal, ensuring intelligibility requirements is likely the biggest challenge for new installations and retrofits of specific systems. That being said, what are the ways to address these challenges?

As Moore explains, "because most fire alarm designers, authorities having jurisdictions, and installers are unfamiliar with basic communications concepts, they don't really understand what hints the requirements provide. Issues related to intelligibility should convince all code users that they are responsible for pursuing the training and education they will need to successfully design, install, and inspect these important systems."

Read additional tips from Moore in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal.

-Fred Durso, Jr.

NFPA’s Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program is honoring 20 official Firewise communities from 11 states who celebrate their 10-year anniversary of continued participation and successes in reducing wildfire risks. The communities became nationally recognized in 2003, and were among the earliest adopters of the Firewise Communities/USA process.

FirewiseThe following communities are celebrating their 10-year anniversaries of active participation as Firewise Communities/USA sites:

  • Holiday Island, Arkansas
  • Joplin, Arkansas
  • Norman, Arkansas
  • Story, Arkansas
  • Lakewood, Florida
  • Verandah, Florida
  • Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa,      Minnesota
  • River Run Plantation, North Carolina
  • Town of St. James, North Carolina
  • Village of Ruidoso, New Mexico
  • Bear Creek Lakes, Pennsylvania
  • Mountain Plains I & II, South Dakota
  • Cumberland Cove, Tennessee
  • Tierra Linda Ranch, Texas
  • Wildcatter Ranch and Resort, Texas
  • Chuckanut Ridge POA, Washington
  • Lummi Island Scenic Estates, Washington
  • Story, Wyoming
  • Union Pass, Wyoming

Each community will receive a special flame-shaped glass award in honor of their long-term commitment to community wildfire safety.

More information about the Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program and a complete list of official Firewise Communities/USA sites can be found on the Firewise website.


NFPA is turning up the heat in Las Vegas at the annual NFPA Conference & Expo, June 11-14. The conference will cover a range of fire safety issues impacting everything from technological advancements to day-to-day living. Notable presentations include:

This year’s featured keynote session “9/11: Leadership Before and After the Crisis” is presented by Deputy Chief Jay Jonas of the New York City Fire Department. Deputy Chief Jonas will share his captivating story of survival while highlighting improvements to the fire service and built environment since 9/11. 

Register now for the NFPA Conference & Expo and receive additional information. Download the 2012 NFPA C&E Mobile App through the Apple App Store or for other devices.


Click to Tweet: Join fire industry leaders & experts at annual @NFPA Conference & Expo June 11-14 @MandalayBay #Vegas #NFPAConf

Karma Fisker
Charging up the Fisker that was loaned to us by Fisker Silicon Valley.

Earlier today, California first responders had the opportunity to learn more about essential procedures for responding to emergency situations involving electric and hybrid vehicles. NFPA, in collaboration with the Santa Clara County Fire Chiefs Association, hosted a train-the-trainer session at the San Jose Fire Department Training Center. California was the 30th state to receive this training since it was launched last summer. 

Tesla Roadster, Plug-In Prius
Following the classroom training, students step outside to review the
components of the Tesla Roadster, Plug-In Prius and other EVs.

Given that the training was held near some of the most exotic electric vehicle manufacturers in the world, course attendees were given access to a Tesla Roadster, a Karma Fisker, and more. Prior to that portion of the training, each participant was given an Emergency Field Guide to familiarize themselves with the vehicle-specific response recommendations. They now have a better understanding of the technologies and special features included in these new vehicles.

To find out when you may have the opportunity to experience a training in your area, be sure to visit our Calendar!

- Angela Burke

Kathleen's articleIn her May/June NFPA Journal® research column, Kathleen Almand explores the  connection between data centers and fire protection, the introduction of new changes to equipment housed in these centers, and the types of fire safety challenges they present including fire load, energy density, accessibility, and a high and complex airflow environment to manage waste heat. According to Almand, each of these challenges affects the design of fire safety systems, including detection, suppression, and emergency response. So, how can data centers, including the fire protection systems and engineering tools needed to evaluate their performance, continue to evolve to address these issues?

Read the full article.

On May 23, 1996, an explosion and subsequent fire occurred at an abandoned automotive service station in downtown Portland, Maine.  The blast killed one, injured three more, and caused extensive damage to surrounding buildings. 

An underground gasoline storage tank was in the process of being removed at the time, and an accumulation of gasoline vapors apparently ignited when a vehicle ignition was turned on, resulting in the explosion of a nearby tank.  The significant factor contributing to the loss of life in this incident is considered to be the accumulation of vapors in proximity to an ignition source while freeing a tank of flammable vapors.  In the aftermath of this event, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the State Fire Marshal’s office developed a detailed protocol to facilitate the safe removal of underground gasoline storage tanks within the state.

NFPA members can download the investigation report for free.

FF_Vid_Contest_300x250Recently, NFPA, IAFC and NVFC asked career firefighters, volunteer firefighters or other fire department employees and fire service members to submit a video that highlights their fire company operationally demonstrating firefighter health and safety.

The contest was run under the theme of NVFC and IAFC's combined International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week (June 17-23, 2012) of “Rules You Can Live By.”

A panel of judges from NFPA, IAFC and NVFC have selected two finalists - the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue for their video "Rules you can LIVE by," and Westampton Township Emergency Services for their video "Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Health." 

Congratulations to our finalists! Everyone is able to vote on their favorite finalist once per day through June 11th. Vote here if you are a Facebook member and here if you do not have a Facebook account

High rise firesCommercial office high-rises have become one of the most challenging settings for firefighters. Luckily, new research is helping get a firmer grip on adequate crew and staffing sizes needed to effectively combat blazes in these buildings.

In the May/June issue of NFPA Journal, columnists Ben Klaene and Russ Sanders highlight a new project examining deployment and tactics for use in high-rise building fires. Funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program, the study will compare fire operations in sprinklered and nonsprinklered buildings as well as scenarios where firefighters use either stairways or elevators to reach their intended floor.

Here's a snippet from their column:

Some of the questions we intend to answer during the  full field experiments include: What is the best way to support or  assist this first crew on the fire floor? What is the minimum number of  firefighters required to deploy this first fire line? How long will  their air supply last under these strenuous conditions? Similar staffing  and time issues will be answered for each task necessary to save lives  and property during a high-rise fire.

Read the full column in the latest edition of NFPA Journal.

-Fred Durso, Jr.

Do you want to learn more about the history of the NFPA/Fire Protection Research Foundation’s code fund? Well join us at this year’s Conference and Expo for an educational session on the last 5 years of NFPA’s code fund, presented by the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s Casey Grant on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 from 2:45 pm to 3:45 pm.

The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF)/NFPA Code Fund was established in 2006 and is supported each year by a generous financial contribution from NFPA of $150K annually. The purpose of the Code Fund is to stimulate and provide a mechanism for facilitating research to support the work of NFPA technical committees.

This presentation will take a look back at the achievements of the past five years of Code Fund projects and how they have impacted NFPA codes and standards and is sponsored by the Fire Protection Research Foundation.

Register online today or for more information take a look at all of the educational sessions we have to offer.

Student ProjectsEach year, in our dialogue with NFPA technical committees, the Fire Protection Research Foundation identifies a range of projects to meet their information needs. Some of these projects are small literature reviews or assessments that might be well met by a graduate or senior level undergraduate student. The concept would be to match the interests of students with the project needs of the technical committees. The advantage to the student would be working on a project that will have direct impact on codes and standards development.  

These projects would not be subject to the Foundation’s normal competitive RFP process and projects will be available on a first come-first serve basis. If there is a student (or a group of students) at an institution who is interested and a faculty member willing to supervise and be the Principal Investigator, then we would proceed. The Foundation would provide a small technical oversight panel that would guide the project. Presumably, this would be useful to the student as well. The timeframes on these projects will also be flexible so that they fit in to the academic model. 

We would encourage the students to attend and present at the NFPA annual meeting poster session after the project is completed. It is possible that there will be funding available for direct costs related to the projects.  

For more information, contact Amanda Kimball, Project Manager.

FSI0512The new issue of Fire Sprinkler Initiative News, NFPA's monthly e-newsletter, features a new partnership betweem NFPA and Green Builder® Media that will mean millions of people will learn about the environmental impact of fire sprinklers. We also look at exactly how fire sprinklers help protect the environment. We highlight important home fire sprinkler news from both Maryland and Minnesota, and feature a video interview about a new program in an Alaska community that offers homeowners a tax credit for installing home fire sprinklers.

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.

!|src=|alt=Wildfire|title=Wildfire|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef0167669007c1970b!

The aftermath of the Lower North Fork fire in Colorado in March, which killed three people and destroyed more than 4,000 acres.(Photo: AP/Wide World, David Zalubowski)


The 2012 wildfire season has begun, evident by a string of blazes taking place in Arizona. Communities in other states across the U.S. may soon be going on high alert, too, as forecasters warn of the potential for significant and widespread fire events.[ |]


A story in the latest edition of +NFPA Journal+ examines the season's predictions put forth by the National Interagency Fire Center, the nation's support center for wildland firefighting. A recent report by NIFC predicts "above normal" significant fire potential in certain areas of the Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Southern California, and Western Great Basin through July. Above normal conditions are also forecasted in portions of the South.


NFPA&#39;s Wildland Fire Operations Division is urging residents to safeguard their homes by adhering to principles of the ®Firewise<sup>®</sup> Communities Program. &quot;The unusually dry weather means that wildfires pose a greater threat to individual properties and neighborhoods,&quot; Michele Steinberg, program manager of the Firewise Communities Program, tells +NFPA Journal. +&quot;Residents can do their part and take simple steps today to lessen the risk of damage if a wildfire occurs.&quot;


Read the full story in +NFPA Journal,+ as well as an online version of the magazine&#39;s special wildfire issue.


-Fred Durso, Jr.</p>

FireBreak0512The May issue of Fire Break, NFPA’s wildland fire newsletter, is available for viewing. In this issue, you’ll find:

  • A story that highlights the complicated debate between insurance companies and homeowners living in high-risk wildfire areas
  • A link to a recent online forum aimed at Northeast residents that provided timely Firewise tips and resource to help address concerns over the increased number of local brush fires
  • An article about garbage-eating bears that are “teaching” residents in WUI communities about responsible landscape management
  • A link to a number of Firewise interactive modules, games and quizzes to help communities reduce their wildfire risk
  • An update on the Fire Adapted Communities Congressional Briefing on June 5

Sign up today to receive Fire Break each month via e-mail. It's free and will keep you up to date on the latest news and information on mitigating your wildfire risk to take back to your communities, organization or fire house.

Casey Grant of the Fire Protection Research Foundation and Ken Hollando of NFPA's Public Fire Protection Division are attending a workshop over the next two days down in Virginia. The workshop will assist in the current Foundation research project, "Fireground Injuries: An International Evaluation of Causes and Best Practices."

Firefighting has one of the highest occupational incident rates for injury and fatalities, a large number of which occur during fireground operations. An international comparison of fireground ops provides a unique opportunity to discover effective procedures for preventing injuries.The study is based on the hypothesis that fireground injury rates will vary by department and country, and that lower injury rates will be associated with more extensive training as well as following high quality standard operating guidelines (SOGs).

This is a three year international study partnering with fire departments in Australia (Melbourne), United Kingdom (Lancashire), and the United States (Columbus OH, Phoenix AZ, Washington DC, and two combination fire departments to be determined).

The workshop will look at many department case studies and identify best practices that can be incorporated to reduce the risk of injury. 

On 9/11, Jay Jonas of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and five other firefighters ascended  a stairway of the North Tower on a search-and-rescue operation as both World Trade Center towers burned. When the South Tower collapsed, their orders  immediately changed: get out as fast as you can. Heading back down the  stairs, they stopped to assist a woman on the 20th floor who was having  trouble walking.

Slowly, they helped her  negotiate the stairs, floor by laborious floor. What they feared  ultimately occurred only four floors from the exit — the building began  to collapse.

Jonas describes his harrowing escape following the terrorist attacks in the latest issue of NFPA Journal. As the featured presentation at this year's NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Jonas will share his harrowing story of survival while highlighting improvements he's seen in the fire service and building safety since 9/11. "I continue to have little revelations from 9/11," Jonas tells NFPA Journal. "One of them is that from the time I walked into the North Tower to the time I got out, the world changed."

Read the full Q&A in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal, and watch a clip of Jonas discussing some improvments to the fire service while being interviewed at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City:


-Fred Durso, Jr.

NESMA 6-year-old Alabama child received severe burns after coming into contact with a transformer in a public sports complex late last month. With the end of the school year rapidly approaching leaving children with more time to play outdoors and summer recreational activities in full swing, NFPA and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) are joining forces to warn the public about outdoor electrical dangers that can pose as safety threats to children.

This collaborative effort is part of National Electrical Safety Month, an annual public awareness campaign sponsored by ESFI to promote the importance of electrical safety and educate key audiences about the steps that can be taken to prevent electrical fires, injuries, and fatalities at home, in public, and in the workplace.

NFPA and ESFI are offering the following tips for parents to enforce to their children this summer to ensure that they avoid electrical shock or burns while playing outdoors:

  • Electrical equipment enclosures and boxes      should not be used as a playground toy or something to sit on or play      around. Equipment that has been damaged or not maintained can present a      shock hazard.
  • If you see a power line on the ground, tell an      adult right away.
  • If there is lightning, do not stand near trees. Go inside right      away.
  • Parents should notify town or local officials      if they observe electrical equipment that is in a state of disrepair so      that repairs can be initiated.

For more information on keeping children safe and for educational resources, visit and

Eric Kuligowski leads workshop at SUPDET 2012

Erica Kuligowski leads workshop at SUPDET 2012

During the recent SupDet 2012, the Fire Protection Research Foundation held a well attended workshop on emergency messaging, which involved the development of emergency messaging templates that will serve as the technical basis for explanatory material in the next edition of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.  Guidance was presented to workshop attendees by Erica Kuligowski of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) who is currently working on a guidance document on emergency messaging for a Foundation project sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Then, workshop attendees were split into groups to develop message templates for various types of scenarios, which were then critiqued by the other workshop attendees, which included several experts on human behavior.  The critiqued, expert-driven messages will be included in the guidance document, which will later be used by NFPA 72 Technical Committees to create explanatory material for development of emergency messages.  

This workshop also provided workshop attendees an opportunity to practice message development and planning, which made for an interesting and fun session for all.  Please keep on the lookout for official workshop proceedings, which will be posted on the Foundation website.

Do you want to make a difference? We have an ideal opportunity for a Senior Project Manager to independently plan and direct projects within the Association budget and specified deadlines. Identifies project objectives, coordinates resources and oversees team members to deliver project results.

Principal Responsibilities:

  1. Develop marketing plan and budget for NFPA’s publications products.
  2. Monitor publications revenue budget. Recommend modifications to strategy to reach revenue goals.
  3. Manage marketing promotions and new product introductions, to achieve revenue goals.
  4. Determine appropriate marketing strategy for products by understanding market dynamics and customer needs
  5. Work closely with Database/Circulation Group to develop, manage, monitor, analyze and measure results and promotion effectiveness. Make recommendations to improve promotion response.
  6. Manage promotion expense budgets related to the responsibilities assigned above. Attend budget meetings. Identify possible cost savings in applicable areas.
  7. Manage and develop monthly reporting for analysis, including summary ‘dashboard’ reports for senior management to monitor product lifecycles and revenues.
  8. Participates on cross-functional teams working on fulfillment systems and web commerce systems to ensure that promotions will be successfully implemented.
  9. Assignments are received in objective or goal format. Provides general guidance to subordinates based on organizational goals and company policy. Work is reviewed in terms of meeting the division’s objectives and schedules.
  10. Establishes operating policies and procedures that affect subordinate department units. Interprets, executes, and recommends modifications to divisional policies.
  11. Responsible for all projects assigned to the organizational unit. Acts as an advisor to subordinate supervisors or staff members to meet schedules or resolve technical or operational problems. Develops and administers budgets, schedules, and performance standards.
  12. Leads, develops and manages direct reports.

To learn more about the job requirements and information on how to apply, please visit our Careers webpage

WeBulldog have talked often about the success and fun we had during Sparky’s 60th Birthday campaign last year, but it's now being honored beyond NFPA. This week we were notified that NFPA has won a 2012 Bulldog Media Relations Awards for Excellence in Media and Publicity Campaigns for our "Sparky the Fire Dog turns 60" campaign and will receive a Bronze award in the Best Not-for-Profit/Association/Government Campaign category.

Sparky 60 yearsWinners were chosen exclusively by working journalists from hundreds of entries representing the very best strategic and tactical prowess that PR/corporate communications has to offer. Campaigns were judged by a team of working journalists, who assessed them on the basis of their ability to achieve extraordinary visibility and influence opinion, as well as on their creativity, command of media and technology, and tenacity.

This is a terrific honor for NFPA and we are very proud to have been selected as an award winner. We knew all along that Sparky’s year-long birthday celebration was a winner - now it’s officially an award-winning celebration!

NFPA Insider
Join us May 31st at 2:00pm ET for our first "NFPA Insider", featuring news and content from the latest issue of NFPA Journal® and other Association sources. R

These live bi-monthly 30–45 minute sessions — an added benefit for NFPA members only — feature expanded news and content from the latest issue of NFPA Journal® and other NFPA sources. A new interactive format, featuring real-time streaming video and enhanced graphic capabilities, will allow you to be part of the discussion and ask questions via e-mail or twitter. The advanced technology gives you more access, so you feel like you’re in the same room with the expert presenters.

In this session: 

  • First Word
    Welcome from NFPA President Jim Shannon.
  • “Up-to-Code”
    Live Q&A with Amy Cronin, Division Manager of NFPA’s Codes & Standards Administration. Discussion will feature the impact of the new codes and standards development process, how people can get involved, and the need for enforcers to serve on technical committees.
  • NFPA Journal LIVE (See past NFPA Journal Live presentations)
    Live Q&A featuring an in-depth discussion of changes coming up for the 2013 edition of NFPA 72 and previews of 72-related education sessions scheduled at the upcoming NFPA Conference & Expo, with NFPA Senior Electrical Engineer Lee Richardson.
  • And More!

Register now for this complimentary session.

Have a question you want answered during the live NFPA Insider? Leave us a comment below and tweet it to us using hashtag #NFPAInsider.!|src=|alt=May June Journal|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=May June Journal|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef0167667d7103970b!NFPA Journal has now made it easier than ever to keep up with fire and life safety news by offering a newly developed [digital version |] that makes stories and information more accessible. The May/June digital version is available through the [NFPA website |] and offers hot-linked content from the print version. A special branded app will be available through the Apple App Store in June.

This issue focuses on the upcoming NFPA Conference & Expo (June 11-14, 2012) with highlights on code changes, educational sessions and special events, including:


NFPA recently launched a recruitment campaign to increase the number of code enforcers participating on NFPA’s technical committees. NFPA seeks to have code enforcers represent at least 20 percent of the overall technical committee membership by 2013.

“One of the greatest strengths of the NFPA standards-development process is broad participation. We work extremely hard to ensure we have a balance of interests on these committees,” said James Shannon, president of NFPA. “We need code enforcers because they have particular knowledge and experience on how our codes and standards are applied in the field. We need them to provide their expertise to the important work that is being done by our technical committees in order to advance our safety mission.”

Recent cuts in municipal budgets, including elimination of travel expenses for public employees, have made it harder for code enforcers to participate in technical committee meetings. In response to this concern, NFPA created a special fund to subsidize 80 percent of travel and lodging expenses that may come when code enforcers participate in technical committee meetings. The assistance with these expenses is available to code enforcers who are public employees or part of the volunteer fire service.

“We created this special fund as part of our commitment to make NFPA technical committees as accessible as possible to code enforcers whose participation is needed to ensure that we have a balance of voices in the process,” said Shannon.

To learn more about the benefits of joining an NFPA technical committee and to apply online, code enforcers can go to

2012 nfpa conference and expoCurious about the safety upgrades taking place at the Statue of Liberty? Want the specifics on the largest nuclear fire disaster in U.S. history? Interested in hearing how NFPA's Sparky the Fire Dog made an appearance at Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays?

These and other savory topics will be discussed during education sessions at this year's NFPA Conference & Expo, June 11-14 in Las Vegas. Get a taste for this year's hot topics in the latest issue of NFPA Journal, which features a subjective rundown of education session highlights. Complementing a session on the newest research on fire extinguisher use, for example, is another on new health hazards for firefighters.

After reading the feature story, make sure to take a peek at the more than 130 ed sessions taking place during this year's conference.

-Fred Durso, Jr.

ElectricianIn a world of market research, focus groups, and leading indicators, it’s easy to overlook the most direct way of learning from customers — talking to them. Last week I met up with a local master electrician whose truck is a common sight in my neighborhood.

The first thing I noticed was that he brought a tabbed and worn copy of the NEC as well as a copy of 72 for which he made his own tabs.

I asked what NFPA could do to improve his job and his experience using the code. Like others have said before, he wished that local AHJs would interpret and apply the code the same way he does . He noted that when he and the AHJ have a disagreement, he’s the one who loses money. He also wished the NEC was smaller, but at the same time, he admitted there wasn’t anything that he thought could be taken out. In fact, he wished the book had more information, but could somehow be smaller.

He has also recognized a new challenge he must deal with: His customers are becoming more educated, skeptical, and inclined to look things up on the Internet. It’s no longer enough to explain that something is required by code. Consumers now expect him to explain why. He added that having access to this information would also be useful in training his helpers more effectively.

This is prime stuff for new product development. He wants an easy way to explain common code questions in consumer-friendly language. He wants a more portable, compressible format. He is starting to see the code as more than a safety document — it is becoming a training and sales document as well.

Fortunately for all of the master electricians like mine, NFPA’s new digital-first Content Strategy is focused directly on these customer challenges. We’re launching a number of new mobile products. Our training focus is expanding beyond face-to-face sessions and into blended learning and self-paced lessons, learning tools suitable for his helpers. Our goal is to support safety in as many ways as we can.

Individual conversations don’t define new products, but they can definitely shape them. Who knows your job better than you? If you want to talk, please let me know. I’m always interested in listening. 

-Matt Cannavale

Learn more about the assessment of wildfire regulatory and planning tools at the 2012 conference and Expo. This session will be presented by NFPA’s Molly Mowery, Ray Bizal, Don Elliot of Clarion Associations, and Casey Grant of the Fire Protection Research Foundation on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 from 9:30 am to 10:30 am.

The risk of catastrophic fire occurrence in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) is a major issue in today’s fire protection community. There are many potential tools for zoning administrators, planners, and fire/emergency managers to consider when addressing their community’s wildfire risk. These tools include comprehensive planning, land use regulation, building codes and standards, voluntary programs (e.g. Firewise Communities/USA recognition program), Community Wildfire Protection Plans, and hazard mitigation planning.

This topic will be addressed through a panel discussion that will focus on: framing the WUI problem and general tools for addressing the WUI; regulations as a tool and results of a recent applicable research study; and highlighting current NFPA codes related to wildland fire. This session is sponsored by the Fire Service Section, Fire Protection Research Foundation, and the Wildland Fire Management Section.

Register online today or for more information take a look at all of the educational sessions we have to offer.

On May 12, 1999, an accidental fire occurred at a fraternity house in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  Five occupants were killed and three others were injured.  Local and state fire investigators determined that smoking materials most likely ignited combustible materials underneath an alcohol bar in the basement.  The fire then spread to the combustible interior finishes.  Based on its investigation of this fire, the NFPA determined that the following factors contributed to the loss of life in this fire.

  • The presence of combustible interior finish materials.
  • The presence of an open stairway.
  • The lack of fire-rated construction separating the assembly areas from the residential areas of the building.
  • The lack of automatic fire detection and fire alarm systems throughout the building.
  • The lack of automatic sprinkler protection.
  • The improper use or disposal of smoking materials.

In the wake of the tragedy, the Chapel Hill town council voted unanimously to work toward a plan that would require sprinklers in fraternity and sorority houses, and on June 19, 1996, the state legislature granted the town authorization to enact a retroactive sprinkler law.  NFPA members can read the full investigation report, and all site visitors can download a summary in English or Spanish

I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in the second National Vision 20/20 Symposium on models in prevention, held May 4–6 Reston, Virginia.
“The purpose of the symposium was to highlight prevention programs from across the nation and Canada who have documented the results they have achieved in measurable and meaningful way,” explained Jim Crawford, Vision 20/20 project manager. “With this overall effort to promote evaluation of programs, we accomplish several things at once. We raise the collective bar of our professionalism in the field. We encourage practitioners to use model evaluation metrics so we can compare our results in meaningful ways. And we encourage the use of tools that will help demonstrate their worth locally, which others can emulate or adapt to meet their own local conditions”.
Peg Carson, Vision 20/20 operations manager added, “It was rewarding to see the enthusiastic response from nearly 170 leaders in fire prevention from across the U.S. as they learned from their peers about the elements that contributed to successful programs…”
I presented the research and evaluation on NFPA’s Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program on Older Adults. NFPA’s Steve Sawyer, who represents the International Fire Marshals Association on the Vision 20/20 steering committee, conducted a panel on model prevention programs. Exhibiting NFPA public education programs at the conference were Maria Figueroa, regional manager of NFPA’s Fire Prevention Field Office, and Antiliano Estrella, NFPA Public Education field advisor. Gary Keith, NFPA’s vice-president of Field Operations and Public Education, also serves on the Vision 20/20 steering committee.
Symposium participants learned from more than 20 presenters how they used four evaluation methods—formative, process, impact, and outcome—in their prevention programs. I think everyone who attended will have a better understanding of the meaning and importance of each of these evaluations.

-Sharon Gamache

NFPA 150Similar to the nationwide debate on sprinklering one- and two-family dwellings, the argument of whether or not to sprinkler animal housing facilities centers on cost. Some parties responsible for overseeing these animals say sprinkler requirements could place undue burden on them during tough, economic times, while sprinkler advocates say cost shouldn't be an issue when it comes to saving lives.

A feature story in the latest edition of NFPA Journal examines this debate as well as related provisions and proposals to NFPA 150, Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities. A certified amending motiion to require the sprinklering of all animal housing facilities--zoos, barns, poultry farms, animal testing laboratories, pet shops, and more--will be voted on at NFPA's Association Technical Meeting in Las Vegas in June.

Here's a snippet from the story, authored by NFPA 150 staff liaison Tracy Golinveaux:

Fires in all types of animal housing facilities in the U.S., including barns, have declined steadily for three decades. Despite the decline in the number of fires, the  losses of animals can be every bit as staggering today as they were  decades ago. According to Laurie  Loveman, who runs the advocacy website Fire Safety in Barns, six  separate fires in April 2011 alone killed eight lambs, 20 cattle, 31  horses, and 300,000 chickens. Her records for the year include  information on more than 80 fires that killed 200 horses, 850 cattle,  15,000 sheep, 461,000 chickens, and 18,500 other fowl.

Read the entire feature in the latest issue of NFPA Journal, and watch a video of Golinveaux highlighting the evolving history of NFPA 150:



-Fred Durso, Jr. 2012 NFPA Conference & Expo mobile app for your smart phone or tablet is now available! The NFPA Conference & Expo app provides easy-to-use interactivity that will enhance your event experience. See below for instructions on how to download to your mobile device.

Mobile app> Build your personal schedule and know exactly what's next with the dashboard
> Access education sessions, special meetings and events
> Keep up with industry news and alerts
> Connect with built-in Twitter feed and Google+
> Browse exhibitors by product category
> Map out your booth visits
> And so much more! the 2012 NFPA Conference & Expo mobile app is easy!

For iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad and Android phones: Visit your App Store or Google Play Android Market on your phone and search for NFPA For all other mobile devices (including BlackBerry and all other web browser enabled phones): While on your smartphone, point your mobile browser to From there you will be directed to download the proper version of the app for your particular device, or, on some phones, you simply bookmark the page for future reference.

NfpaqrcodeScan the QR (Quick Response) code with your smart phone or tablet.


As we go into the month of May, NFPA is recognizing May as Electrical Safety Month .&#0160;It’s not only important to be safe around electricity but it is also important that you review your organization continuity plan for backup power. The ability to operate and perform key functions is vital to your organization’s success.&#0160; How long can your organization be without power before it begins to adversely affect your data information recovery?&#0160;


!|src=|alt=Sparky electrical safety photo|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Sparky electrical safety photo|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef0168eb52b35e970c!

In less than a month we will be entering hurricane season which can produce major damage to electrical power lines and this concern is not only for communities along the coast. As storms make landfall they can produce severe storms including tornados.  You should also review your Family’s Preparedness Plan in case your community loses power.  If your plan includes the use of a Portable Generator here are a few basic safety tips:

    • Read all manufacture safety and user manuals

    • Have a licensed electrician inspect and recommend necessary requirements prior to connecting your portable generator into your household wiring

        1. Connecting your generator into your household wiring can cause a back feed onto the power lines.  The back feed can be increased by the transformer which can produce enough voltage to injure or kill a utility linesman making repairs on the line. 

    • Never use a generator inside your home or in an attached garage.

    • Never re-fuel generators while they are operating

TeachersrockAlmost all of us remember a teacher who taught us the lessons we needed to guide us through life, and now’s the time to let them know it. The PTA’s Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7–14, and it’s a good time to recognize the teachers who have meant a lot to you and your children. If your children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews have a favorite teacher they would like to recognize, they can do so by downloading and coloring Sparky’s “Teachers Rock” coloring sheet and presenting it to them.
And for those of us who are all grown up, it may not be too late call or e-mail that special teacher you remember from childhood and thank him or her for the good influence they had on your lives. I can think of a couple of special teachers who taught me a lot: Sister Gervais, political science teacher at O’ Gorman High-School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Bernice Ptacek, Sociology professor at the University of Sioux Falls. I would like to thank them now that I realize what they did for me.

-Sharon Gamache

KARE 11, a news affiliate serving Minnesota's Minneapolis-St. Paul area, recently featured a segment highlighting the sprinkler debate taking place in the North Star State, and why certain residents are praising sprinkler protection in residential settings. A bill banning mandatory installation of home fire sprinklers in new construction is headed to the state Senate, according to the station.

One resident, Kathy Lamont, lost her 10-year-old son in a house fire. "I think sprinklers would have saved my son," she tells KARE 11. "I definitely think so."

The segment also features interviews by Minnesota fire officials, including St. Paul's fire chief, who initiated a side-by-side burn demonstration of two identical rooms--one with sprinklers, one without--and the dramatic differences in each room. NFPA has a series of similar burn demonstration videos available on its website.

For additional testimonials highlighting the benefits of automatic fire sprinklers, check out NFPA's Faces of Fire, a component of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative, which includes the following video of burn survivor Princella Lee Bridges and other sprinkler advocates: 


 -Fred Durso, Jr.

Cone Calorimeter

Simplified schematic of Cone calorimeter

A new Fire Protection Research Foundation report has just been published titled, "Fire Performance of Ordinary, Non-listed and Non-metallic IBCs with Aqueous Solutions of Flammable and Combustible Liquids." The report's authors include P. Hooker, G. Atkinson, G. Burrell and J. Fletcher from the Health & Safety Laboratory. 

As part of the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s mission to develop data to support NFPA technical committees, two previous research studies on IBCs with flammable and combustible liquids have been conducted. Each has provided information which is referenced in NFPA 30; however, the proliferation of IBCs used for storage in violation of NFPA 30 continues. There are several strategies which have been discussed by the members of NFPA 30 and others to address this situation, including increased enforcement of NFPA 30, education programs, development of new IBC technology, etc. There is a general agreement that a common understanding of the range of liquids that can be stored in ordinary non listed, non-metallic IBC’s to meet the requirements of NFPA 30 is an important element.

The objective of the project is to develop credible independent data to support a low fire hazard designation (in consideration of NFPA 30) for a group of commonly used aqueous liquids and emulsions that may exhibit a flash point, though containing high concentrations of noncombustible substances. The consideration is storage of such mixtures in non-listed composite IBCs in a manner that will be recognized by NFPA 30 as "protected storage."

Download the full report

NFPA 72Despite a welcome decline in the number of fires in  certain settings over the past 20 years, the number of false alarms over  the same period has been on the rise. The trend, documented through  NFPA research, is of particular concern to the fire service, which is  deciding how best to address the unwanted alarms problem, especially in  commercial settings, while maximizing its resources in a tough economic climate.

Through its code-development process, NFPA has  prompted the fire service to assist with the development of a  standardized solution addressing the problem of commercial building  alarms where there is no working fire. A change to the 2013 edition of NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, would allow for a verification of an actual emergency following a fire  alarm signal before the fire department responded to the scene.

In the May/June issue of NFPA Journal, a feature story highlights these and other proposed changes to the new edition of NFPA 72 that takes aim at aspects of alarm use and testing. Topics receiving a Notice of Intent to Make a Motion that become Certified Amending Motions will be discussed during the  Association Technical Meeting, which will be held June 13–14 at NFPA’s Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

Read the feature in the lastest edition of NFPA Journal.

-Fred Durso, Jr.

The Stephan Bridge Road Fire, which began on May 8, 1990, eventually spread across 5,916 acres of wildland/urban interface area near Crawford, Michigan.  The fire eventually destroyed more than 76 homes, and 125 other structures, plus 37 vehicles and boats.  Losses from the fire were estimated at $5.5 million, plus $700,000 in destroyed timber (all told, $10.8 million in today’s dollars).

The fire originated from a controlled burn which rekindled seven weeks after the initial ignition, and spread to nearby ground fuels.  The weather played a significant role in this fire: low rainfall, rising temperatures, and high winds combined to dry out the forest and ground fuels.  Then, during fire suppression, strong gusting winds sent the fire out of control in a new direction. 

This wildfire represents just one example of the risks of building homes in the wildland urban interface.  NFPA members can read the full investigation report. Anyone interested in fire hazards and safety in the wildland urban interface can visit

The Report of the Motions Committee addresses twelve Annual 2012 documents with Certified Amending Motions for consideration at the Association Technical Meeting in Las Vegas on June 13-14, 2012: 

This Report also addresses eight documents with Certified Amending Motions from the Fall 2011 cycle: NFPA 59A, 75, 50, 275, 499, 1951, 1971, and  1991; identifies a list of 24 Consent Documents receiving no NITMAMS and, therefore, will be forwarded to the NFPA Standards Council for issuance on May 29, 2012; and includes a list of NITMAMs that were not certified.

Debbie Baio 

IStock_blog post may 2012
What does it mean to be an innovative organization? To be an innovator, do you need to have a certain product or follow a certain way of doing things? How much does innovation truly matter? And how do you know if you are doing it right?

As I walked the exhibit floor at the FDIC conference in Indy last month, these questions kept going through my head.

The Fire Department Instructors Conference attracts attendees from across the U.S. and around the world, and this year, 30,000 people attended. The crowds were huge, and the fire engines on the floor were massive. As someone new to the industry, but with years of software experience, I opted to research the fire service’s software technology. This gave me the focus I needed to understand a very different customer group than what I was used to.

What wasn’t new: as with any industry, the level of technology adoption varies greatly by department and jurisdiction. It’s not a secret that lack of funding continues to impact the ability of the fire service to take advantage of new advances. Although I knew this walking into the conference, I was still surprised at the breadth and depth of technologies being showcased.

I took a step back and took off my technology hat to help me better understand this market. Once I did, my perspective on what it means to be innovative evolved. Innovation isn’t about new products. Innovation involves making processes, technology, or equipment better, to improve productivity, efficacy, and efficiency.

There’s the fire educator that launches web-based sessions to reach a larger audience; the Fire Chief that adopts a new service for firefighters to indicate scene response; and the public educator that signs up for Sparky’s Wish List to help fund Fire Protection Week. Each of these professionals made a decision to improve how they operate. And it’s this desire to improve that’s at the very heart of what innovation aims to achieve.

Innovation isn’t the end goal. It is a process that takes us from “what we always do” to “what we should have always done.” It doesn’t matter where you start, because what you’re really after is progress.

-Lisa Frank

Join us at this year’s Conference for an educational session on the Analysis of Ambulance Crash Data presented by NFPA’s Casey Grant on Monday, June 11, 2012 from 8:00 am to 9:00 am.

Motor vehicle crashes involving ambulances used for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) pose serious risks to both the crew and the patients. Data collection for ambulance crashes is reported on a local or statewide basis, and a need exists to compile and coordinate these data on a national basis.

Information such as the number of crashes, cause and contributing factors, and injuries or fatalities of personnel and civilians can be found within local emergency service departments and at the state level, but a complete national report of public and private ambulance crashes including fatalities, injuries, and contributing causes is lacking. This Fire Protection Research Foundation project identifies available data sources, recommends optimum data collection approaches, and provides limited summary data.

Register online today or for more information take a look at all of the educational sessions we have to offer.

James ShannonFire prevention efforts save lives.

NFPA President James Shannon drives this point home in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal, citing preventative efforts across the U.S. that appear to be diminishing deadly and costly tragedies. Here's a snippet from Shannon's column, which underscores a few examples:

I had a conversation in the grocery  store with a fire chief from a city near where I  live. He told me about a great campaign that he just launched. His city  has a large immigrant community and a tight housing market, and many  people have created illegal apartments. Whole families are paying  exorbitant rents to live in basements where there are inadequate exits  and too few electrical outlets. Cooking is done on hot plates or  rigged-up appliances.

The chief told me that his firefighters are  knocking on doors all over the city, and when they find these illegal  units they make the landlords move the families out and into hotels  immediately.

The alternative is that the landlord pays for a  fire watch — at a cost of $1,500 a day — until the family is relocated.  The firefighters also make sure that there are working smoke alarms in  every home they visit. If there are none, they install them, and they  replace any batteries that have expired or been removed.

Read the full column in the latest edition of NFPA Journal.

We want to hear from you! What do you think about fire departments going door-to-door to uncover illegal and unsafe living conditions? It's easy to respond: just click on the "comments" link below, enter your name (just your first name is fine) and your e-mail address (this will NOT show in your post), and type your comments in the white box. Then select "post".

-Fred Durso, Jr.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) for NFPA 1971 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

 Firefighter fatalities

A firefighter stands in front of a burned-out truck that was destroyed by a wildfire in Texas in April 2011. A volunteer firefighter was killed when he fled the truck and was overtaken by the fire.

In 2011, 61 firefighters in the U.S. were fatally injured while on duty, marking the third consecutive year where on-duty fatalities have decreased significantly. There has been an average of 91 on-duty firefighter deaths per year in the U.S. over the past 10 years.

Those are some of the key findings in the 2011 U.S. Firefighter Fatality Study, authored by Rita F. Fahy, Paul R. LeBlanc, and Joseph L. Molis of NFPA’s Fire Analysis and Research Division. The complete report on the 2011 fatalities will be presented at the NFPA Conference and Expo in Las Vegas in June, and will appear in the July/August NFPA Journal. Other preliminary findings include: 

  • Sudden cardiac death claimed the largest share of firefighters, or 49 percent.
  • Of the 61 firefighters killed in 2011, 35 were volunteer firefighters and 21 were career firefighters. Three were employees of state land management agencies and two were employees of federal land management agencies.
  • The largest share of deaths occurred on the fire ground, accounting for 49 percent of the on-duty deaths in 2011.

More findings from the study are available at NFPA Journal online.

-Fred Durso, Jr.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 13 and NFPA 13R 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

HarvardFour senior fire officials were awarded fellowships co-sponsored by NFPA to participate in the Harvard University Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program.

The NFPA annually partners with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), and the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) to provide fellowships to the Harvard Program.

The awardees for 2011 are:

  • Claude Beauchamp, Director of Operations, Quebec National Fire Academy, Quebec, Canada
  • Martha Ellis, Division Chief, Salt Lake City Fire Department, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Matthew James Fratus, Fire Chief, City of Rialto California Fire Department, Rialto, California
  • Bertral Washington, Fire Chief, Clark County Fire Department, Las Vegas, Nevada

The three-week program will focus on ensuring that public officials are well-equipped to be effective public leaders, through learning experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. Recipients of these fellowships will attend the program this summer at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government on Harvard University’s campus in Cambridge, Mass.

“NFPA is pleased to support the continued professional development of members of the fire service by co-sponsoring their participation in this Harvard University program,” said Chief Russ Sanders, NFPA’s central regional director, executive secretary of the Metropolitan “Metro” Chiefs Association, and NFPA’s representative on the selection committee. “As a former participant in the program, I fully understand the tremendous benefits this unique leaning experience offers to help professionals develop skills that enhance leadership abilities and ultimately influence change.”

SUPDET 2012 speaker session
The 16th annual Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications symposium (SUPDET 2012) was held March 5-8 in Phoenix, Arizona.  120 attendees heard 36 cutting edge presentations by experts on topics such as home fire alarms, mass notification for vulnerable populations, clean agents, water mist, and hazard commodity protection. NFPA’s own Marty Ahrens even delivered a keynote address on unwanted fire alarms

Now, the proceedings from the event have been published to the Fire Protection Research Foundation website. If you are interested in the keynote address or any of the speaking session presentations, please check them out here


Attendees listen to panelists; Bill Giorgis, Terry McDonnell, Ron Moore and Andrew Reardon discuss emergency responder PPE concerns. 

There is significant difference between the PPE used by the fire service for fighting fires and use by electrical professionals for handling energized electrical equipment. The use of improper PPE for a specific hazard introduces significant hazards to the user. Today's workshop looks at the use of PPE by emergency responders during emergency events involving electrically energized equipment in hybrid and electric vehicles. 

The Fire Protection Research Foundation today held a workshop to seek to develop guiding priciples and recommended action steps for minimizing the risk to emergency responders working on EVs. Interested stakeholders attended including those in the fire service, electrician and utility professions, EV and EV battery manufacturers, PPE providers, EMS, law enforcement and tow/salvage organizations. 

Attendees listened to a presentation on current emergency responder EV tactics, a panel on various emergency responder PPE concerns and risks, an overview of available EV emergency response guides, heard about PPE application criteria, fire service and electrical PPE differences, and the PPE enforcement infrastructure. They also all participated in a discussion to identify specific applicable hazards when considering PPE for EV response, analyze and prioritize the identified hazards and then develop guiding priciples and recommended action steps. 

A report of the results will be available shortly on the FPRF website

Electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in an estimated 46,500 home structure fires reported to the U.S. fire departments in 2010, accounting for 13 percent of reported home fires. These fires resulted in 420 deaths, 1,520 injuries and $1.5 billion in direct property damage, according to NFPA's Home Electrical Fires Report.

NFPA is marking National Electrical Safety Month (May) by reminding the public to be aware of the risks associated with the use of electricity and providing safety tips and information to assist individuals in taking steps to reduce the risk of home electrical fires.


According to Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Communications, “The risk of electrical fire may not always be on your mind, but it probably should be - there are actions that can be taken to eliminate electrical hazards in your household and safety guidelines that can be followed to reduce the chances of having a home electrical fire.”

    National Electrical Safety Month is the perfect reminder that it’s time to review home electrical safety and put a plan into place that can be followed all year.” 

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