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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.

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