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Amanda Kimball, research manager for The Fire Protection Research Foundation says discussions of sustainable building design and its impacts on fire safety that began at the Foundation’s strategic planning meeting several years ago is where the need for more information in this area was solidified. 

As the Foundation continued to explore the need for more discussions on this topic, it became clear that there was great value in bringing together members of the design and fire protection communities to discuss it, which eventually led to the development of the Fire Safety Design and Sustainable Buildings Symposium. The Foundation discovered that to pull together a comprehensive program, they would have to expand their network of relationships because they were limited in some industries that are central to this topic. Working in collaboration with the Chicago and Illinois chapters of the American Institute of Architects, the Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the Foundation was able to compile a compelling program aimed at prompting discussions between members of the fire safety and design communities. 

The event is taking place in Chicago, November 7-8 and will feature perspectives from architects, engineers, the sustainability community and research institutions on the challenges and opportunities of integrating fire safety and sustainable design. Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) are being offered.

MiEV 2

The Mitsubishi MiEV prior to the shoot

NFPA recently spent the day filming a training video while EV Instructor, Ron Moore, performed an extrication demonstration on a new Mitsubishi MiEV. During the video, Ron also described initial response procedures, disabling procedures, as well as showing the locations of the high voltage battery and components, 12 volt battery, fuse boxes and airbag inflators. If you wish to learn more about the new MiEV prior to the release of this informational training video, the same information can be found in our Emergency Field Guide!


The Mitsubishi MiEV after Ron was done filming!

A new report has just been published by the Fire Protection Research Foundation, titled, "Anchorage and Bracing of Equipment and Mechanical Systems - Compilation of Available Guidance." The report's author is FPRF's own Minkyu Lee. 

By way of introduction to the report, there is range of equipment and mechanical systems in buildings that are vulnerable to seismic damage. The failure of fire protection systems; the release of fire protection agents, fire protection liquids, or flammable or combustible liquids or gases; and the creation of fire hazards are all forms of property damage which can occur during an earthquake. Equipment damage mitigation strategies include the provision of restraint, for example anchors and bracing systems, or other design details such as flexible joints.

Vulnerable equipment types include sprinkler systems, combustible liquid systems, piping, electrical equipment, and mechanical equipment. Each of these types has unique requirements for installation of seismic bracing, anchors, and specific methods for protecting equipment from earthquake damage. The goal of this project was to identify and compile available guidance in the literature into a readily accessible form. Note that this is not a complete list of references; however an attempt was made to identify those readily available publications of most relevance to the topic.

Download the full report from the FPRF website


Amanda Kimball, research manager for The Fire Protection Research Foundation says discussions of sustainable building design and its impacts on fire safety that began at the Foundation’s strategic planning meeting several years ago is where the need for more information in this area was solidified. 

As the Foundation continued to explore the need for more discussions on this topic, it became clear that there was great value in bringing together members of the design and fire protection communities to discuss it, which eventually led to the development of the Fire Safety Design and Sustainable Buildings Symposium. The Foundation discovered that to pull together a comprehensive program, they would have to expand their network of relationships because they were limited in some industries that are central to this topic. Working in collaboration with the Chicago and Illinois chapters of the American Institute of Architects, the Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the Foundation was able to compile a compelling program aimed at prompting discussions between members of the fire safety and design communities. 

The event is taking place in Chicago, November 7-8 and will feature perspectives from architects, engineers, the sustainability community and research institutions on the challenges and opportunities of integrating fire safety and sustainable design. Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) are being offered.

 With Hurricane Sandy coming up the East Coast, NFPA wants to remind everyone to refresh their memories about generator safety. Portable generators are useful during power outages. However, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards.


!|src=|alt=Sandy|style=width: 280px; margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Sandy|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c32d30aca970b!Facts and figures:

    • CO deaths associated with generators have spiked in recent years as generator sales have risen.

    • In 1999, generators were associated with 6% of the total yearly estimated CO poisoning deaths associated with all consumer products compared to 24% in 2002.

    • There were at least 64 deaths in 2005 alone from CO poisoning associated with generators.

Read all of NFPA's generator safety tips and [download our free safety tip sheet |].

As a follow-up to our recent blog post on hybrid shutdown, here is a video segment that clearly demonstrates challenges with 12volt power shut down on hybrid and electric vehicles.  In this training demonstration, a Lexus CT hybrid is shown completely functional.  As the camera rolls, the 12volt battery in the rear is disconnected.  As the camera pans across the rear of the vehicle, one sees that the parking lights and turn signals are still flashing; even with the battery disconnected.  Once back inside the hybrid, it is also clear that the instrument panel and the entire vehicle remains fully energized as well.


  Video courtesy of Moditech Rescue Solutions

As the hybrid and electric vehicle market continues to grow, these new hazards and challenges are presented to responders daily. Make sure you and your colleagues are prepared to respond to incidents involving high-voltage components. To learn more about the about shutdown procedures for hybrid and electric vehicles, take NFPA's EV Safety Training online now!

Untitled-1Example of a training scenario involving a collision between a hybrid vehicle and an internal combustion engine vehicle.  Crash-damaged hybrid and electric plug-in vehicles require additional training on proper vehicle shutdown procedures.

"The scene was nothing unusual" the Captain explained.  "The hybrid crashed into the side of the other vehicle.  Most of the damage to the Prius was on the front left corner" he said. "My ambulance crew made patient contact with both drivers and determined that there were no injuries. They were busy filling out the patient refusal forms."

What happened next was unusual for this experienced fire/rescue officer; an interesting twist that this real world incident from Pennsylvania took.  As the Captain was conducting his walk-around scene survey, he came close to the passenger side of the hybrid and suddenly stopped.  Puzzled by a sound
he heard coming from the engine compartment area, he shouted across the car to the driver, “I thought you said you turned the ignition off?”  The reply from the vehicle’s owner, ‘I did!’ was not what he expected.  Puzzled by a sound that resembled “a cooling fan hitting something“, he walked around the rear of the hybrid.  Just as he came around the car, the wiper on the rear hatchback glass operated back and forth one cycle. “This thing is still hot” he thought.

With the driver’s door open, he could clearly see that the dash-mounted POWER button was in the OFF condition; the small LED light was out.  The driver had pushed it once to shutdown the ignition as she stated.  As he glanced across the instrument panel however, he noticed all the gauges and dials were still lit and functioning.  Even the large screen in the center of the dash had a display on it.  Just at that time, the rear wiper made another pass across the hatchback glass.

“I applied the emergency brake and ordered the engine crew to work from the side to see if they could open the hood.”  At that time, realizing that an energized hybrid can unexpectedly move forward, he also had the engine company driver grab two wheel chocks and place them on the front drive wheels to prevent any movement.  The Captain went on to say “I told the firefighters to plan on shutting down the electric system.   I wanted this thing to go dark once and for all!”

What makes this case study so intriguing is that when additional units arrived, it was easy for them to access the hatchback area and uncover the 12volt battery.  Through training on electric and hybrid
vehicles, the Captain knew that the battery they were looking for would either be in the front engine compartment area or in the trunk.  Since this was a crash-damaged Toyota Prius, the Captain directed the second crew to attack the rear of the hybrid.

With relief that the 12volt battery was so quickly located in the rear wheelwell, the Captain felt that shutting this car down was just two cuts away.  To his disbelief, when the firefighter double cut the black ground cable to the 12volt battery and then even removed the positive cable, the noise in the front continued as well as the wiper kept up its regular pace of wiping across the hatchback glass.  Sure enough, his glance in through the driver’s door confirmed that even the instrument panel and all interior dash lights were still illuminated.  “How could that be?” he thought.  “The battery is completely disconnected.”

Perplexed, but not giving up, the Captain remembered that in training and in some of the hybrid and electric emergency response guides he had looked at, there was mention of some sort of fuses that could be used in an extreme situation. The challenge of shutting down this hybrid clearly was one of those ‘extreme’ situations to this crew and officer.  Frustration was mounting and the risk to everyone on scene was clearly evident.

Working from the side, the hood hinges were cut and the hood opened forward.  No one had to stand in front of the energized hybrid even though the front drive wheels were chocked and the parking brake set ‘ON’.  No sense of increasing the risk to his crew, he thought to himself.

The fuses in the engine compartment of this 2nd generation Prius are clearly
visible once the plastic fuse panel cover is removed.

With the engine compartment components now visible, the Captain started to pull, “all the relays and fuses I could see!” To his relief, once all the large fuses in the engine compartment were removed, the noise stopped and the vehicle did shut down. 

In NFPA’s Electric Vehicle Safety Training project, information about shutting down a crash-damaged hybrid or electric plug-in vehicle is presented.  The training, which is now available online as well as in-person through state fire academies, provides every emergency response guide produced by the car manufacturers and explains steps for turning off the ignition and shutting down the 12volt electric power by disconnection or cutting 12volt battery cables. This detail is also included in the latest version of NFPA’s EV Emergency Field Guide. In a situation such as this case study, where doing the right thing still did not give the desired results, knowing about pulling fuses was critical.  Pulling fuses on hybrids or electric plug-ins is not something that a responder would normally think of. 

We don’t pull fuses at our routine crash incidents involving conventional vehicles so we do not think about this special procedure.  With a crash incident involving a hybrid or electric plug-in however, knowing about this alternative; one of our newest back-up plans for hybrid and electric vehicle power shutdown, may be a life saver. 

The fuse panel of this crash-damaged hybrid is exposed.  Although not normally necessary, responders should be trained and prepared to remove fuses as one means of shutting down an energized hybrid or electric plug-in vehicle

Visit to review training materials provided by automakers, participate in the online electric vehicle training, sign up for an online EV Safety blog, and access additional training resources from the NFPA.

Ron Moore, NFPA Fire Service Training Consultant


Green + Fire = ?

Posted by tracyvecchiarelli Employee Oct 23, 2012

How is the fire protection industry addressing green construction and technology? Sign up to attend the Fire Protection Research Foundation's Fire Safety and Sustainabile Building Design Symposium and learn about some of the issues and solutions identified throughout the industry. The 2 day event will be held in Chicago on November 7th-8th at the Courtyard Chicago Downtown . We have some really great speakers lined up from RJA, UL, FM Global, ARUP, NIST, WPI, BRE and many more. Check out a few of the presentation topics:

  • NIST Metrics and Tools for Sustainable Building Speaker: Barbara Lippiatt, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • The Integral Role of Fire Protection in Sustainability Speaker: Lou Gritzo, Vice President and Manager of Research, FM Global
  • Safety Challenges of Green Buildings Speaker: Brian Meacham, Associate Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
  • Is "performance-based" fire protection the best way to work towards sustainable building goals? Speaker: Ray Grill, Principal, Arup
  • What are the developers of automatic sprinkler systems doing to support sustainability needs of building? Speaker: Russ Fleming, President, National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA)

Learn more about the symposium and schedule HERE. You can earn 1.0 CEUs (10 hours). Hope to see you there!

        Jason Emery, NFPA EV Subject Matter Expert, presents at the 3rd Annual EV Summit

Last Thursday, for the third consecutive year, the NFPA and SAE partnered to bring representatives from government, the auto industry, and emergency services together to discuss Electric Vehicle Safety initiatives. 

One of the key presentations affecting first responders was given by Todd Macintosh, a GM Technical Specialist for their Global Vehicle Electrification program.  Todd spoke as Chair of the J2990 Task Force - Hybrid and EV Recommendations for First and Second Responders and gave an update the groups’ work. I served with Todd on this group and see it as a significant step in addressing the concerns of emergency responder personnel with the OEMs. This document should be published soon and will act as a guiding document for OEMs on items such as identification, systems shutdown features, etc. 

Other presentations such as Ken Willette’s overview of the NFPA’s analysis on OEM electrical PPE requirements and Casey Grant’s synopsis of the research that the Fire Protection Research Foundation will be conducting on the burning of high voltage batteries gave important insight on the work being done on behalf of first responders.  Additionally, Ron Moore, discussed high frequency, low severity emergencies for the NFPA EV Safety Program, and I spoke about the types of obstacles we must overcome at extrication operations, HEV and EV specific concerns, and on feedback from emergency personnel as to what we would like to see included in vehicle designs. Both of these presentations were geared towards educating the OEMs on operations at the emergency scene and how vehicle designs impact those operations.

I am looking forward to next year’s summit as a way to continue building awareness of HEVs and EVs in the first responder community.  The summit also serves as a way to have our concerns heard so that we can have a positive impact on future vehicle designs.



NFPA started a nationwide training tour last summer and has already trained thousands of first responders in the classroom. Now the same content is available on your computer. This dynamic online training course includes all the same topics covered in the classroom:

  • Introduction to hybrid and electric vehicles
  • Basic electrical concepts
  • Vehicle systems and charging stations
  • Identification methods
  • Immobilization process
  • Disabling procedures
  • Extrication operations
  • Fires
  • Submersions
  • Incidents involving charging stations
  • High voltage battery damage

The online, self-paced program is designed to provide first responders with the tools and information they need to safely handle emergency situations involving EVs, PHEVs, and charging stations. Be prepared to respond!

How do you demonstrate hazardous atmospheres to trainees?  A training video can only go so far to demonstrate this principle.   I once read an article that contained a “recipe” for setting up an excellent training prop that I have now used in training for many years.  It provides a very visual example of how an apparently benign looking enclosure such as a water tank or valve vault can actually be deadly.

Take a large office water cooler size empty water bottle.  How bad could a water bottle be after all?   Add a handful of leaves, tiny bit of dirt or some mulch, along with a couple of iron nails or springs or rebar.  Add a bit of water to wet everything and then cap the bottle.  Let it sit for several months, preferably in a warm location.   Looks fairly innocuous right?   Looks like a typical meter pit or vault.   Other than a tiny bit of decaying material in the bottom of the tank, the container looks safe but it may not be.  

Use a calibrated four gas meter to test this bottle after a few months.  You will likely find that the atmosphere is oxygen deficient and the LEL meter will indicate that there is a potentially explosive environment, most likely due to the methane formation.  You can recap this bottle and continue using it for future demonstrations. You may need to “recharge” the bottle periodically with more materials and water and cap it for a couple months between trainings.  

Many confined spaces contain all the same ingredients shown in the demonstration-metal ladders and equipment, dirt or debris and water.  I have found this demonstration to be an effective means to show training classes why they need to monitor all confined spaces, even if they did not previously contain chemicals. 

Do you have demonstrations or training ideas that you would be willing to share?  NFPA is working on development of a Best Practices Guide to Confined Spaces.   If you have any training ideas or other information that you would like to see included in the new document please let us know!    

Air FlowA Request for Proposals has been issued for a Validation of Modeling Tools for Detection Design in High Air Flow Environments – Phase 2 research project. Proposals should be submitted to Amanda Kimball  by November 6, 2012, 5:00 PM EST.

The goal of this project is to validate a CFD model that can be used for providing reliable analysis of detection performance in IT/telecom facilities with high air flows as well as provide guidance to the Technical Committees for new requirements and guidance by using the validated model to run various scenarios. During phase 1 of this project, several tasks were identified that will help lead to the successful completion of the project goal - and these tasks will be accomplished through phase 2. 

For more information on the project or about how to submit your proposal, please review the project details on the website. 

On October 16, 1986, a tractor trailer veered off a road and struck the piping for two stationary LP-gas storage tanks about ½ mile outside of Woodruff, Utah.  One tank had a capacity of 18,000 gallons and the other of 30,000 gallons.  Immediately following the crash, fire involving fuel from the truck and LP-gas from the tanks erupted.

The Woodruff Fire Department responded and prepared to attack the fire, but a loud noise erupted and firefighters withdrew to a position about 800 feet from the area.  About ½ hour later, the 18,000-gallon tank BLEVE’d.  One piece of the tank struck a building and eventually came to rest about 2,600 feet from its mountings.  Following the BLEVE, firefighters stayed back, evacuated the town, and allowed the tank to continue to burn until the intensity of the burning decreased, and the fire eventually burnt itself out.

NFPA members can read the full investigation report for free. 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has named Aron Anderson planner of its Fire Adapted Communities (FAC) initiative. Anderson will assist NFPA in providing technical support of web content, conducting research, and developing and providing technical training to FAC coalition member organizations. AronAnderson Picture 1

“Aron’s broad experience as an emergency management professional and his skills in web development and design, research, planning and training is a valuable asset to FAC and will complement our outreach efforts,” says NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division manager Dave Nuss. “As a key member of the Division, Aron’s knowledge and expertise will help us greatly in furthering our wildfire safety mission.”

Aron will join Dave, Molly and Cathy in NFPA’s Denver, Colorado field office.

Welcome, Aron to NFPA!

GreenThe Fire Protection Research Foundation, in collaboration with the Chicago and Illinois chapters of the American Institute of Architects, the Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat will present Fire Safety Design and Sustainable Buildings: Challenges and Opportunities, November 7 and 8, 2012 at the Courtyard Marriott Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile. 

As part of the program, architects, engineers, the sustainability community and research institutions will provide perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of integrating fire safety and sustainable design.

Siemens’ Building Technologies, a division of Siemens, serves as Platinum Sponsor of the symposium. With business activities in energy, healthcare, industry and infrastructure, Siemens is one of the world’s largest providers of green technologies. Its Building Technologies Division provides building automation, energy efficiency, fire safety, security, total building solutions and market-specific solutions in buildings and public places.  

The deadline for online registration is November 6. On-site registration will be available during the event. For more information and to register, visit the Foundation’s website

GritzoDr. Louis Gritzo, VP of research at FM Global, will be presenting on 'The Integral Role of Fire Protection in Sustainability' at the upcoming Fire Safety Design and Sustainable Buildings Symposium on November 7-8th. 

Achieving environmental, economic and social sustainability requires an assessment of designs, materials and equipment over the entire building lifecycle to ensure that benefits achieved in one lens of sustainability are not inadvertently alleviated by reductions in another lens. A lifecycle based approach also allows factors other than normal operation, such as risk factors which can have unintended consequences that reduce overall sustainability, to be addressed by including these consequences at their appropriate frequencies of occurrence.

Dr. Gritzo is VP of Research at FM Global, a mutual-owned, research- and engineering-based industrial and commercial property insurance company.  The research division includes scientists with expertise in fire, explosions, natural hazards and risk and reliability as well as FM Global’s $125-million, 1,600 acre, unique Research Campus for property loss prevention and risk mitigation research.

His past experience includes Manager of Fire Science and Technology and a member of the Advanced Concepts Group “think tank” at Sandia National Laboratories. He received his Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering, with a Minor in Applied Mathematics, from Texas Tech University. He currently serves on the Governing Board of the Global Earthquake Model, as the Chair of the Research Leadership Team of the Industrial Research Institute, and on Advisory Committees for the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the University of Maryland, and Texas Tech University. He has recently served as chair of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Heat Transfer Division Executive Committee and on the Research Advisory Committee for the National Fire Protection Association.

Learn more about the symposium and register today! 

A Call for Papers has been issued for the Fire Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET 2013), scheduled for February 26 – March 1, 2013 in Orlando, Florida. SUPDET 2013 will address the latest developments in research, technology, and applications for the fire protection community.

Interested presenters are asked to submit a one page abstract by e-mail no later than October 19, 2012 to


Cooking SafetyAccording to a new report released by NFPA, cooking remains top cause of home structure fires.  U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 371,700 home structure fires annually between 2006 and 2010. These fires caused an estimated average of 2,590 civilian deaths and $7.2 billion in direct property damage yearly.

Based on research by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the report also cited that cooking was the number one cause of home structure fires.  CPSC found that in 2004-2005, for every household cooking fire reported to the fire department, U.S. households experienced 50 cooking equipment fires that they did not report.

Forty-two percent of reported home fires started in the kitchen or cooking area. These fires were the third leading cause of home fire deaths (15 percent) and leading cause of home fire injuries (37 percent).

Other notable findings from the report include:

  • Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.
  • Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths followed by heating equipment and then cooking equipment.
  • 25 percent of all home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom; another 24 percent resulted from fires originating in the living room, family room, or den.
  • Home fires accounted for 73 percent of all reported structure fires between 2006 and 2010.
  • Between 2006 and 2010, on average one of every 310 households per year had a reported home fire.
  • Home structure fires peaked around the dinner hours between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.

Stay safe in your home with more fire safety tips from NFPA.

Betty approach
Betty White makes her way to the end of the red carpet, where Sparky the Fire Dog anxiously awaits to meet her.

The issue of fire safety got a little dose of Hollywood glamour over the weekend at the American Humane Association's annual "Hero Dog Award" ceremonies in Los Angeles. Sparky the Fire Dog® was asked to be the "official spokesdog" of the event, and in that role, he got to walk the red carpet, chat with the throng of national media in attendance, and hobnob with some celebrities, including Betty White.

Betty White and Sparky2

Betty White and Sparky
Betty White was on hand to receive the American Humane Association's "Legacy Award" for her lifelong commitment to protecting the welfare of animals. She poses here with Sparky and Lorraine Carli, NFPA's Vice President of Communications.

Sparky chewed up the red carpet (well, not literally) and said hello to his many admirers. He also took the opportunity to remind them that it's Fire Prevention Week -- and that this year's theme focuses on the importance of home escape planning. "Always have two ways out," he advised.

Greet 1

Greet 2

Sparky and Steve Dornbusch
Sparky and Steve Dornbusch, NFPA Senior Project Manager.

Sparky media

Naomi judd and sparky2
Sparky and singer/songwriter Naomi Judd.

Mike Hazell and Naomi Judd
Mike Hazell, NFPA's Web Publisher, also snagged a photo opportunity with Naomi Judd.

Sparky and Pauley Perrette
Sparky with Pauley Perrette, of TV's "NCIS" and her cousin, a firefighter from Tennessee, who was very familiar with Sparky's fire safety education efforts.

PR and Sparky
Sparky with Mark Stubis, head of public relations for the American Humane Association.

Sparky the Edie McClurg
Actress Edie McClurg strikes a pose with Sparky.

Sparky with Robin Ganzert
Sparky sandwiches in between NFPA's Lorraine Carli and Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of the American Humane Assocaition. “Sparky has been a hero to children, adults, and firefighters for more than 60 years,” said Dr. Ganzert. “He is a natural choice to help us celebrate the amazing things dogs do to help us every day that warrant recognition.”

4_FirewiseLogoColor_NFPA_process_CS3.8-10NFPA's Firewise Communities Program today reached huge a milestone - the 800th community earned recognition as a Firewise Communities/USA® site. Vansant Mobile Home Park #2 in Cullman County, Alabama, is the latest neighborhood to take action to improve residents’ safety from threats posed by brush, grass and forest fires. And it’s the first to showcase the efforts of a state forestry staffer whose commitment included her own investment in mitigation work on her property.

Coleen Vansant, Alabama’s liaison to the national Firewise program and a public information manager with the Alabama Forestry Commission, inherited the mobile home park from her father. This small residential community in north-central Alabama abuts timber company land, and vegetation had begun to encroach on its boundaries. Vansant recalled the creative solution she found to getting the mitigation work done – and helping a resident stay in his home.

“I had a resident who was behind on his rent,” said Vansant. “He wanted to work off his debt, and I knew we had a potential fire problem if the area around these properties was allowed to accumulate more fuel in the form of vegetation. He did a great job of clearing out the dead material and trimming back live plants so that they wouldn’t pose a hazard to homes in the park.”

In addition to Vansant Mobile Home Park #2, more than 65 new Firewise communities have been added in the past year nationwide. You can find a complete list of Firewise recognized communities and their success stories on our website.

Interested in getting your community involved? Learn how you can do that by visiting

Sparky the Fire Dog greets the media lining the red carpet at the Beverly Hilton.

At the second annual “Hero Dog Awards” ceremony awards ceremony in Beverly Hills last Saturday night, eight of America’s most courageous canines were honored by the American Humane Association. These dogs have transformed people’s lives with their unconditional love, devotion, and intuition. They all took center stage at this wonderful event, following their walk down the red carpet at the Beverly Hilton.

Austin Weishel (right), a volunteer firefighter from Loveland, CO, is the creator of a 17 foot high, 450 pound bronze statue of a firefighter with his arson dog. The artwork, called “Ashes to Answers”, is on permanent display at Fire Station #3 in downtown Washington, DC, and honors the teamwork between firefighters and their canine companions in solving arson crimes.

The " Ashes to Answers" sculpture was commissioned by Jerry Means, an arson investigation agent with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations. His dog, Sadie, received national attention last year as the winner of the 2011 American Human Association “Hero Dog Awards” and was the model for the sculpture. 

Edie McClurg has performed in countless films and TV shows, most notably "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "Planes, Trains and Automobiles", and "7th Heaven". She also worked with Paul Reubens in his original stage production of "The Pee Wee Herman Show".

Kristin Chenowith, host of the “Hero Dog Awards”, arrived on the red carpet carrying her Maltese, Maddie. Ms. Chenoweth played the original “Glinda”, the good witch, in Broadway’s “Wicked”. She’s also been on many TV shows, including two seasons on “The West Wing”, “Pushing Daisies”, “The Good Wife”, and in the Emmy-nominated role of April Rhodes on “Glee”.

Megyn Price from the TV series “Rules of Engagement” and “Grounded for Life”. 

Jake Pavelka, best known from the reality TV show “The Bachelor”.

Candy Spelling serves on several charitable boards, including "L.A.'s Best", a reading program for city schoolchildren.

Pauley Perrette from the TV series NCIS.

Lisa Vanderpump from the reality TV series “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” arrived at the event carrying her dog.

Mark Steines, longtime co-host of TV’s “Entertainment Tonight”.

Betty White makes her way down the red carpet. She was 
on hand to receive the American Humane Association’s “Legacy Award” for her tireless efforts to protect the welfare of animals.

Sparky and "Team NFPA" catch Betty White's attention at the end of the red carpet.We wanted to say "hi", remind her about Fire Prevention Week, and our dog's efforts to bring fire safety messages to schools across North America. Will she stop and say hello?

NFPA News The October issue of NFPA News, our codes and standards newsletter, is now available.

In this issue:

  • New document and committee approved on the use of respiratory protective equipment for emergency response operations (not involving structural firefighting). 
  • Standards Council minutes available
  • Errata issued on NFPA 654 and NFPA 1127
  • NFPA News in Brief
  • Committees seeking members
  • Committees soliciting public input
  • Committee meetings calendar

NFPA News is a free newsletter, and includes special announcements, notification of public input and comment closing dates, requests for comments, notices on the availability of Standards Council minutes, and other important news about NFPA’s standards development process.

Free subscription
Sign-in on NFPA’s web site and then select “NFPA News” from your e-mail options.

Fire safety meets Hollywood glamour, as Sparky the Fire Dog took to the red carpet at the American Humane Association's "Hero Dog Awards" gala on Saturday, October 6, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. 

Having Sparky walk the red carpet at the "Hero Dog Awards" ceremony was a perfect and high-profile way to kick-off Fire Prevention Week campaign (October 7-13), which this year, focuses on the importance of planning and practicing 2 ways out of every room in your home. If a fire strikes in your home, it could be engulfed in smoke and flames in just a few minutes. That's why having 2 ways out is such a key part of your plan. 

Sparky, escorted down the carpet by puppeteer Tim LaGasse, spoke to several reporters about his excitement about being asked to be the "Official Spokesdog" for this second annual awards ceremony, and shared fire safety tips along the way. 

The American Humane Association has a longstanding commitment to child and animal welfare and Sparky was thrilled to work with them to put a spotlight on this important work.

The Hero Dog Awards recognize America’s most courageous canines – ordinary dogs who do astonishing things: saving lives on the battlefield, lending sight, hearing, or medical assistance to their human companions, unselfishly aiding law enforcement, arson investigators, and search and rescue workers, or providing uncompromising love and compassion as therapy dogs.

My colleagues and I were posted to strategic posts along the red carpet to catch all of the action. My assigned spot was near the end of the carpet, and there was a big concrete pillar to my left, so I couldn’t see who was approaching until they got pretty close. But I could hear the shouts and the whirring camera clicks from the big media representatives stationed near the front door. It was all really exciting, not knowing who was coming around the corner. And when the march down the carpet began, it all happened fast and furious. 

John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of the Paul Mitchell hair empire, and owner/operator of many other businesses, including The House of Blues.

Lois Pope, of the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, a longtime supporter of the American Humane Association. 

Jake Austin from Disney’s “Wizards of Waverly Place”.

Swimmer Ricky Berens, who together with Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer, and Michael Phelps, won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London in the men's 4x200 freestyle relay.

Bailee Madison, the young star of the film “Just Go With It”.

Michael Vartan from the television series "Alias" and “Hawthorne”.

Lou Wegner from the films “Doughboy” and “Trouble with the Curve”.

The (very nice) singer/songwriter Naomi Judd, who along with her daughter, Wynona, sold more than 20 million country music records.

COMING UP: As part of a series of special posts during Fire Prevention Week, we'll be sharing more photos from the red carpet and talk about our up-close and personal moment with Betty White.

I’ve been to Los Angeles a couple of times before, but never to a star-studded Hollywood event. But there I was Saturday night, standing along the red carpet, jostling for space with other photographers and camera crews vying to capture the attention of the dozens of celebrities who attended theAmerican Humane Association’s “Hero Dog Awards” event.

Held at the Beverly Hilton (home of the annual Golden Globe awards), the second annual awards ceremony was created to recognize America’s most courageous canines – often ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things - saving lives on the battlefield, lending sight, hearing, or medical assistance to  human companions, unselfishly aiding law enforcement, arson investigators, and search and rescue workers, or providing uncompromising love and compassion as therapy dogs. 


Media gathers along the red carpet, awaiting the start of the American Humane Association event.

NFPA crew
The NFPA crew gathers in the lobby of the Beverly Hilton before the red carpet event. From left: Steve Dornbusch, NFPA Senior Project Manager, Lorraine Carli, NFPA Vice President of Communications, Tim LaGasse, puppet designer and the puppeteer who brings Sparky the Fire Dog® to life, and Mike Hazell, NFPA Web Publisher. 

Held at the Beverly Hilton (home of the annual Golden Globe awards), the second annual awards ceremony was created to recognize America’s most courageous canines – often ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things - saving lives on the battlefield, lending sight, hearing, or medical assistance to  human companions, unselfishly aiding law enforcement, arson investigators, and search and rescue workers, or providing uncompromising love and compassion as therapy dogs.

Earlier this year, a call for “hero dogs” was issued by the American Humane Association, and dogs competed in eight categories. After more than 3 million online votes, the winner of each category were flown to California with their human friends in hopes of being named the 2012 American Hero Dog.

Joining the eight nominated dogs on the red carpet was Sparky the Fire Dog®, who served as “Official Spokesdog” for the event. “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.”

Sparky was created for NFPA in 1951 and has been the official mascot of NFPA ever since. He is widely recognized as a fire and life safety icon that is beloved by children and adults alike. Millions have learned about fire safety through educational lessons or materials featuring his image. 

Sparky was escorted down the red carpet by Tim LaGasse, a Los Angeles-based puppeteer who created a special Sparky puppet for this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign. 

P1080175COMING UP: As part of a series of special posts during Fire Prevention Week, we'll be showcasing lots more photos and write-ups from the American Humane Association's "Hero Dog Award" ceremony in Los Angeles. We'll detail our very special encounter with Betty White, meeting lots of celebrities on the red carpet, and reminding everyone to have a home fire escape plan that prepares your family to think fast and get out quickly when the smoke alarm sounds. Remember: Have 2 Ways Out.

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Eli Ifrah from New Jersey was the winnter of a Sparky the Foire Dog gift package and

LEGO City fire set at the FPW event at LEGOLAND FLorida.

As the temperature climbed into the 90’s in the hot Florida
sun, a crowd filled the Lego City Stage to see yesterday’s first showing of The
Big Test, a zany, acrobatic show that imparts important safety messages as part
of a 20 minute comedic extravaganza. 
The audience of kids and adults alike were not only treated to a few
laughs and some splashes of water, they were on hand to help NFPA kick-off Fire
Prevention Week
and announce the winner of its video contest.


[NFPA |] and LEGOLAND Florida asked the public to give their

best rendition of “Put the Hot Stuff on the Wet Stuff”, the catchy tune from

The Big Test. After two weeks of voting and more than 10,000 votes, Kathleen

Marler of Florida was the winner. Her and her family received a trip to

LEGOLAND Florida as their prize.

 The winning video

The announcement was part of a full day of activities.
Firefighters from Polk County and the Florida State Fire Marshal’s office
conducted a series of learning stations, teaching children and parents how to
test smoke alarms and create a home fire escape plan.

Continuing through the month of October, LEGOLAND Florida
will feature Firefighter Fridays, where local firefighters are on hand to show
guests their gear and answer questions about fire safety.

NFPA is the official fire safety partner for LEGOLAND
Florida and sponsor of The Big Test show.


For more information on NFPA’s partnership with LEGOLAND

Florida, visit .</p>


Our lovable mascot Sparky the Fire Dog, has been named the official spokesdog for the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards this year! Sparky will make a debut at the awards show in California this weekend, and a recorded version of the show will air on the Hallmark Channel in November.

Eight hero dog finalists need your vote to be crowned the winner in Saturday's awards ceremony. Please vote by October 5th at

Confined spaces can visually look completely safe but as we know, often they are not.  Historically, atmospheric hazards have been the leading cause of deaths in confined spaces.  In order to assess atmospheric hazards, both visual inspections and atmospheric testing of confined spaces must be done.   There is often more than meets the eye!

When you look at a confined space, you must ASSUME that it could have a hazardous atmosphere until you verify that it is safe with a properly selected and calibrated gas monitor.  But while it may be quite clear that there is a need to test a tank that contained chemicals previously, it may NOT be so clear that you need to test a space that looks fairly innocuous such as a valve or meter pit that never contained a chemical.  Yet these spaces have the potential for hazardous atmospheres from numerous sources. Contaminants can enter confined spaces located below grade through walls and floors from leaking underground gas and fuel lines even a mile away.  Decaying vegetation and debris in vaults and pits can create flammable methane and toxic hydrogen sulfide. 

And what if the tank only contained water previously?  How bad could it be? Water tanks may be rusty.  The rusting process uses up oxygen and that may lead to an oxygen deficient environment.  What about a brand new concrete vault?  Concrete can use up oxygen as it cures and can in some situations may create an oxygen deficient environment.   So even a brand new concrete vault may contain a hazardous environment.  Is nothing safe??

You may now be convinced of the importance of testing the atmosphere regardless of how benign the confined space.  But wait, there is more…. 

Testing the atmosphere is only one step in assessing atmospheric hazards.   Visual inspections are important because small pools of liquids or debris lying stagnant in the bottom of a tank may not necessarily be vaporizing at a level to register on a gas monitor.  However after the space is opened and heat, ventilation or a worker walking around in or cleaning up the liquid changes the atmosphere, this liquid may to begin to vaporize and create a hazardous atmosphere.  It does not take a lot of liquid that is vaporizing in the bottom of a tank to reach dangerous atmospheric levels.  Decaying debris in the bottom of a confined space may contain pockets of gases that are released when workers stir up the debris when inside the tank to perform work or cleaning. So the gas monitor reading is critical but may provide a false sense of security unless visual inspection is also part of the assessment. 

NFPA is in the process of developing a Best Practices document for confined space entry.  If you have ideas for what should be included in this document or would like to be involved in document development please let us know!  Task groups to develop draft chapters of the document are now being formed.  If you have an interest or special expertise in a particular area and would like to work with a task group let us know how to contact you!

Princella Lee Bridges and Jim Shannon
Princella Lee Bridges of Greenville, SC, and NFPA President Jim Shannon spoke about the value of home fire sprinklers at a recent presentation at NFPA headquarters.

On what began as a normal evening in March of 1992, a quick turn of events and the blur of maternal instinct and panic changed Princella Lee Bridge’s life forever. Princella was busy with the evening’s chores of making dinner and helping her daughter with homework when her son ran into the room to tell her the home’s heating unit was on fire. Princella went for the fire extinguisher, but quickly realized that it was time to get her family out of the burning house. Using their escape plan, the family sought safety outside.

“My son and my dad went out, and so did I. And I just assumed that my daughter went with us,” Princella says. “That’s not what happened.”

When Princella, an operating room nurse and Desert Storm veteran, didn’t see her daughter outside, she was frantic. She shouted to nearby firefighters that her daughter was still inside, then ran back into the burning home to rescue her on her own. In the meantime, firefighters had found her daughter and had begun treating her for smoke inhalation. The injuries that Princella suffered were much more serious. With burns on 49 percent of her body, Princella remained in a coma for two months.

In this video clip, Princella talks about how her life changed after being burned.


Princella has become a strong advocate for home fire sprinklers, and is featured as one of NFPA's "Faces of Fire", a campaign designed to showcase real people telling personal stories to demonstrate the need for sprinklers. Learn more about the "Faces of Fire" campaign and NFPA's efforts to promote the installation of sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes.

Earlier this week, NFPA attended IACP 2012 to announce the development and release of Electric Vehicle Safety Training for Law Enforcement! On October 23rd, NFPA Instructor, Jason Emery, will be heading to New York to deliver EV Safety Training at the New York State Police Academy! 


During this EV train-the-trainer session, we will be teaching New York State Police trainers on how to instruct the 14,000 troopers, recruits and veterans that are serviced by their Academy each year. In addition to training State Police personnel, the Academy also provides instruction in areas of criminal investigation, forensics and other topical issues to members of other police departments and outside agencies who routinely look to the State Police for assistance.

This is the first of two sessions currently planned at the Academy. This all-day training, specifically designed and adapted for law enforcement personnel involved in emergency response and post-crash investigations, will consist of both a classroom portion and a hands-on component - much like our Fire Service version of the training! Stay tuned for updates to learn more about our other law enforcement EV training products, scheduled for release later this year.

Although the popularity of carbon monoxide (CO) alarms has been growing in recent years, we can&#39;t&#0160;assume that everyone is familiar with the hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.

Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.


Ben Evarts, Research Analyst at NFPA, discusses key points from NFPA&#39;s report &quot;Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Incidents&quot; and explains the dangers of carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide incidents are most common between the months of November and February, so now's the time to start thinking about how you'll keep your family safe from CO this coming winter.


NFPA resources

Report: &quot;Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Incidents&quot;

[NFPA 720 |]: Standard for the Installation of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detection and Warning Equipment, 2012 Edition. Preview NFPA 720 online .</li> </ul>

NIST_Facebook_logoCooking equipment-related fires are the leading cause of U.S. fire loss. During the five-year-period of 2006-2010, cooking equipment was involved in an average of 157,300 reported home structure fires, with associated losses of 380 civilian deaths, 4,920 civilian injuries and $794 million in direct property damage per year.

The Fire Protection Research Foundation, with a grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is addressing this concern. Through the remainder of 2012 and throughout 2013, the Foundation will support a research project, Development of Standard Cooking Fire Scenarios and Candidate Test Methods for Evaluating Cooking Fire Mitigation Technologies, to examine three main areas of cooking-related fires, and develop an action plan towards improving overall cooking fire safety. The project will focus on the development of the means for implementing prevention technologies that are suitable for use on or with home cooking appliances. The three categories of cooking-related fires to be studied are:  fires starting in a pot or pan on a burner; fires due to food spillage onto a burner; and products such as utensils, oven mitts and other items that catch fire on or near a burner.

Since the 1980s, NIST, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the home appliance industry have undertaken a series of comprehensive strategy reviews to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and property losses from cooking fires. In February 2010, a Vision 20/20 workshop was held on this topic, which resulted in a Foundation study, Home Cooking Fire Mitigation: Technology Assessment. The study, also supported by NIST, was aimed at developing an initial action plan to assess the performance of home-cooking safety technologies.

The latest grant-funded research project report is slated for completion by the end of 2013, and will be made available through the Foundation’s website.

RFnews091012The new issue of Research Foundation News includes a feature on the upcoming one-and-a-half day symposium, "Fire Safety Design and Sustainable Buildings: Challenges and Opportunities", November 7-8, in Chicago. The event will feature perspectives from architects, engineers, the sustainability community, and research institutions on the challenges and opportunities of integrating fire safety and sustainable design

  • a new project on evaluating cooking fire mitigation technologies
  • a new project on lithium ion batteries in storage
  • a new project on sprinkler protection for cloud ceilings
  • several new reports, including emergency and non-emergency events, modeling tools for detection design in high air flow environments, and operating rooms as wet/dry locations

Subscribe today to automatically receive our bi-monthly Fire Protection Research Foundation newsletter. It's free, informative, and will keep you up to date on new projects and reports, planning developments, upcoming activities

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