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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

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