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!|src=|alt=Looking_back_240|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Looking_back_240|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017d3dfe5dc4970c!Around 3 a.m. on New Year's Eve 1986, a man playing blackjack at the casino in the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, heard a loud explosion. He looked up and saw white smoke through the glass partition of the ballroom but kept playing cards until he saw light black smoke coming from the casino’s air conditioning vents. It wasn’t until a woman ran into the casino moments later yelling “Fire!,” however, that the gambler finally collected his money and began to walk toward the exit. He was not alone in reacting slowly to the fire. By the time firefighters extinguished the blaze that evening, 97 people were dead, 84 of them in the casino. It was the second-deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history. For more on the fire, read "Looking Back" online or turn to page 80 of the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.  You may also download the original NFPA investigation report .

!|src=|alt=Home Depot|style=width: 450px;|title=Home Depot|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c341b297c970b!
The Home Depot is partnering with [Kidde |] and NFPA to donate 2,500 Kidde battery-operated smoke alarms powered by 10-year Lithium Ion batteries to many fire departments throughout the country. 

The donations are part of a nationwide giveaway of $1 million worth of smoke alarms, or 50,000 units, and the “Be a Hero, Save a Hero” initiative taking place at Home Depot stores across the country that same day (see below for the full list of participating stores). Through the initiative, Kidde will make donations to two non-profit organizations when customers log on to [ |] and promise to ensure their home has enough up-to-date and working smoke alarms. The pledge also encourages families to create and practice a home fire escape plan.

Fire safety is extremely important during this time of year as there is an increased risk of fire due to holiday decorating. According to the NFPA, between 2005 and 2009, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 240 home fires that began with Christmas trees. 



By attending the free events at The Home Depot locations nationwide, parents can learn more about home safety and what products (and how many!) they need to keep their family safe.&#0160;Proper knowledge and preparation can make all the difference in the event of a fire!</p>


Full List of Stores Participating in The Home Depot Fire Safety Event on Dec. 1:



#1010&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160; &#0160; #206
3363 Century Boulevard                                        11305 SW 40th Street
Inglewood, CA 90303                                            Miami, FL 33165
310-677-1944                                                      301-552-9005


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4545 North 72nd Street                                        7400 S. Shields Boulevard
Omaha, NE 68134                                                Oklahoma City, OK 73149
402-573-6393                                                      405-631-9600


#4131&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160;&#0160; &#0160; #4705

1700-D Fruitville Pike                                           6810 S 180th Street
Lancaster, PA 17601                                            Tukwila, WA 98188
717-239-3980                                                       206-575-9200



W 12871 Interstate 10                                        575 Bank Street
San Antonio, TX 78249                                        Waterbury, CT 06708
210-558-4415                                                     203-757-7206


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1524 E Brandon Blvd                                           35050 N. North Valley Parkway
Brandon, FL 33511                                             Phoenix, AZ 85086
813-655-3871                                                    623-587-9222



Think you know all about holiday fire safety? Well NFPA has a new quiz for you to find out! The new Project Holiday fire safety quiz includes 12 questions that will test your knowledge. Be sure to let us know how you do, and share your results on Facebook and Twitter!

QuizTake the quiz now. 

Want help? Review all of our safety tips first!


Hybrids vs. Plug-ins

Posted by andrewklock Employee Nov 27, 2012

With the release of more and more hybrid and EV models, it may be difficult to understand some of their more subtle differences.  In the case of hybrids and plug-in hybrids, while there are certainly some engineering differences, from an emergency responder perspective they are handled the same.

Hybrids are self-contained units that use both electric motor(s) and an internal combustion engine (ICE) to propel the vehicle.  The high voltage battery is recharged through power taken from the ICE and through a process called regenerative braking that captures energy from the braking process.  Both of these methods ensure that the user never has to consciously make an effort to charge the battery, it’s done automatically.

Plug-in hybrids are simply an offshoot of that concept; they allow for a connection to be made to a Level I or Level II charging station for another charging source for the high voltage battery.  These vehicles also include a larger capacity battery to store that extra energy and improve the overall energy efficiency of the vehicle.  In the event that you cannot connect to a charger, the high voltage battery is recharged through the same means as a standard hybrid.  Ironically enough when hybrids first were released, there was a concern among manufacturers that people would not understood that they did not need to be plugged in.  A decade later that concept has become more acceptable to the general public and the plug-in hybrid was born.

There is essentially no difference for the first responder in how we handle these vehicles in an emergency situation.  Both types contain a high voltage power source and an internal combustion engine with a fuel source and should be treated as such.  The only real difference would occur if the plugin hybrid was attached to the charging station at the time of the incident.  In this case you would want to secure the power source supplying the charging station as a first step in mitigating the scene.

As always, be sure to use the Identify, Immobilize and Disable approach on all vehicles and assume there is a potential to be dealing with a hybrid or electric vehicle when approaching a crash or fire scene.

Stay Safe,Jason

Water_supplyOpponents of home fire sprinklers argue that these systems are water hogs burdening the public water supply. The reality is quite the opposite.

A study conducted by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) concluded that residential sprinklers can reduce water use by as much as 91 percent and reduce water pollution from fire suppression efforts. "It's time for the fire service and other home fire sprinkler advocates to help local water providers recognize that fire sprinkler systems are good for both fire safety and the environment," says Gary Keith, NFPA's vice president of Field Operations and Education, in the latest issue of NFPA Journal.

To assist with this effort, HFSC has developed the new Home Fire Sprinkler System Water Supply Guide that includes print and video material on water usage. Using this information to inform local water supplies and the public about sprinkler benefits will hopefully avoid the "failures" of housing developments built without sprinkler protection, says Keith.

For more information on the new guide, read the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.


It was a tragic garment factory fire in New York City that spurred changes in fire and life safety in the workplace in the
U.S. to protect workers. News reports of the weekend fire in a Bangladesh
factory are citing conditions that are similar to the 1911 fire: a reminder
that the lessons learned are still relevant today around the world.


The 1911 Triangle Waist Company fire led to the call for the
National Fire Protection Association to set
requirements for fire and life safety in the workplace.  According to NFPA Journal, “Triangle
remains the deadliest accidental industrial building fire in the nation’s
history. It also helped spark profound change in American society, including
sweeping reforms that included the adoption and enforcement of a host of
workplace safety measures. The development and creation of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, can
be traced directly to the Triangle fire.”


videos and resources are available at

!|src=|alt=Buzzwords_240|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Buzzwords_240|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c33cfa425970b!Surprise! Contrary to what some people believe, the requirements for fire alarm systems appear in all 15 interrelated chapters of NFPA 72® , National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, not just in Chapter 29, Single- and Multiple-Station Alarms and Household Fire Alarm Systems.”&#0160;So says Wayne Moore in his colum[n &quot;One Code, Many Chapters&quot; |] in the latest issue of NFPA Journal . Although Chapter 29 is intended to stand alone, it also refers to the other chapters in the code for guidance. That&#39;s why&#0160;users of NFPA 72 need to review the entire code when planning and installing code-compliant fire alarm systems. For more examples of the interrelationship of NFPA 72&#39;s chapters, read Wayne&#39;s column online or turn to page 36 in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.

Cooking related fires are a leading cause of U.S. fire loss. Beginning in the mid 1980’s, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the home appliance industry undertook a comprehensive review of strategies to mitigate death, injury and property loss from cooking fires with a focus on cooking range technologies. In February of 2010, a Vision 20/20 workshop on this topic was convened in Washington D.C.  Participants recommended that an additional study be undertaken to identify the barriers to the utilization of these technologies and to develop an action plan towards improving cooking fire safety.

The Fire Protection Research Foundation was asked by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop an action plan to mitigate loss from home cooking fires by investigating safety technologies related to home cooking.  Elements of the study include an in-depth assessment of cooking fire scenarios, a review of current and emerging technologies, and development of an assessment methodology to consider the utility and effectiveness of mitigation technologies against a range of fire and use scenarios and other criteria.  

On July 14, 2011 leaders in the fire safety community met together at at workshop in Baltimore, Maryland to review the results of the Foundation study and to develop an action plan for implementation of these technologies. 

In ComplianceIf you're seeking guidance on fire alarm system operation, look no further than NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®. NFPA Journal columnist Chip Carson explains that the code works in tandem with NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, to ensure that these systems operate properly.

For instance, the Life Safety Code states that fire alarm system activation isn't required under two conditions: the evacuation of an entire facility is impractical (settings such as a high-rise structure or large shopping mall) or in places where occupants are incapable of evacuating themselves (e.g., prisons). In these circumstances the Life Safety Code permits the use of "private operating mode" as described in NFPA 72. 

Check out Carson's column in the latest edition of NFPA Journal for more details.

Research Foundation FnewsletterThe November/December issue of our Fire Protection Research Foundation newsletter is now available. In this issue:

  • Symposium on Alternative Energy Technologies and Electrical Safety Standards, coming to Atlanta on December 6.
  • Supdet 2012, our annual conference on the latest developments in research, technology, and applications for the fire protection community, is moving to Phoenix in March.
  • New reports, including "Electrical Vehicle Charging and NFPA Electrical Safety Codes and Standards", "Lithium Ion Batteries Hazard and Use Assessment", and "Analysis of Ambulance Crash Data" 
  • Our 2012 “National Trends in Delivery of Health and Long Term Care: Implications for Safety Codes and Standards” summit will be held in Baltimore in March.

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

The Foundation  has initiated a new project on this topic with collaboration and support from FM Global Research and the detection and telecom industries.  The goal of the project is the validation and application of modeling tools to predict detector actuation in these highly complex environments.  The outcome will inform the activities of the NFPA Technical Committees responsible for NFPA Standards 75 and 76.


#2 - Section, Who is performing fire door inspections?&#0160;


As Staff Liaison to the NFPA 80 Technical Committee, one of the most frequently asked questions that I respond to relates to who can perform the mandated annual inspection of fire doors.&#0160; Do they need formal training?&#0160; Do they need to be certified?&#0160; Does it need to be done by a third party inspection service?&#0160;


In past editions of NFPA 80 (2007 and 2010), the document was not very specific on who could perform these inspections.&#0160; The standard stated the following:

+"Functional testing of fire door and window assemblies shall be performed by individuals with knowledge and understanding of the operating components of the type of door being subject to testing."+

Of course, it has always been a requirement that the written records of the door inspections be signed and kept for inspection by the AHJ.  This required that the AHJ, when verifying that the inspections has been conducted, also verified the person/organization that had performed them. The standard put the determination of who can perform inspections in the hands of the AHJ.

The 2013 edition of the standard has made a small, but powerful change, related to this issue.  NFPA 80, 2013 states:

+"* Acceptance testing of fire door and window assemblies+

shall be performed by a qualified person with knowledge +and understanding of the operating components of the type +of assembly being subject to testing."

With the simple addition of the word qualified, NFPA 80 has defined the person(s) who are permitted to perform fire door inspections.  The term "qualified person" is defined in Chapter 3 as:


&quot;3.3.95 Qualified Person. A person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, professional standing, or skill, and who, by knowledge, training, and experience, has demonstrated the ability to deal with the subject matter, the work, or the project.&quot;

This change now allows for AHJs and building owners to be more aware of NFPA 80's expectations regarding who is performing fire door inspections.


For more information, please refer to Chapter 5 of the new NFPA 80, 2013 edition, which is available to view online .&#0160;


See post about change #3!


See post about change #4!


See post about change #5!</p>


Heads UpNFPA technical committees for NFPA 13, NFPA 13R, and NFPA 13D have established new requirements that mandate the use of "listed" antifreeze solutions for new system designs. The requirements, which prohibit the use of traditional solutions, are aimed at preventing solutions from igniting when discharged from a sprinkler.

However, as NFPA Senior Fire Protection Engineer Matt Klaus points out in his latest column in NFPA Journal, a number of other freeze protection options exist. "Most of them have been around for years, but they have not been explored and refined as palatable design approaches by many designers simply because antifreeze was extremely cost-effective and efficient--or so they thought," says Klaus.

A few alternatives include a dry pipe system, heaters, and insulation. Read about these and other options in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal, and learn how NFPA has addressed antifreeze solution safety through its safety alerts and Tentative Interim Amendments.

!|src=|alt=Research_240|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Research_240|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017d3def1831970c!Over the past year, four different NFPA technical committees asked the[ Fire Protection Research&#0160;Foundation |] to conduct studies that would enhance the technical basis of the inspection, testing, and maintenance requirements in their documents, according to Foundation Executive Director Kathleen Almand. She notes in her column &quot;Peak Performance&quot; in the latest issue of NFPA Journal that, although the issues are different for each document, &quot;the fundamentals of a risk/reliability-based approach to determining desirable ITM frequency are the same.&quot; As a result, the Foundation has undertaken a project with California Polytechnic State University to develop guidance that NFPA technical committees can use to determine the optimal frequency for inspecting, testing, and maintaining of a given fire protection system or equipment. For more about the study, you can read Kathleen&#39;s column online or on page 28 of the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.

Sprinkler"Sprinkler Impact on Fire Injury" is a new report from the Fire Protection Research Foundation. It was authored by John R. Hall, Jr., Marty Ahrens, and Ben Evarts of the NFPA. 

Since the widespread introduction of home fire sprinklers, a significant amount of statistical data has been collected and analyzed showing their impact in reducing rates per fire of fire deaths and property damage. However, the same fire statistics until recently did not show reductions in rates of fire injuries associated with home fire sprinklers. This project was initiated to develop better estimates of the impact of home sprinklers on fire injury costs, using a more sophisticated approach which explores the impact of sprinklers on fire size, the impact of fire size on burn and other fire related injury, and then assesses the data available on the costs associated with those injuries.

Download the full report through the Foundation website


Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times as many fires occuring on that day. With Thanksgiving less than a week away, we wanted to highlight these important statistics. 

Home cooking fires peak on major U.S. holidays that traditionally include cooking, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and Easter.

By recognizing the risks of the holidays and making simple adjustments, people can greatly reduce their chance of home cooking fires.

NFPA recommends the following safety tips:  

  1. Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  2. When simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  3. Stay alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  4. Keep anything that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains away from the stovetop.

Read more to find out what to do if you do have a cooking fire.


NFPA recently hosted two special visitors at our headquarters in Quincy, Mass., each of them impacted by devastating fires. Ann Gallagher, an 86-year-old survivor of the Cocoanut Grove Nightclub fire, shared her story of losing her boyfriend and parents in the Boston blaze that killed 492 people. She provided her testimony as part of a new NFPA effort to gather artifacts and stories about the fire. Watch the video of Gallagher and other Cocoanut Grove survivors sharing their details of the fire:

Additionally, Princella Lee Bridges spoke to NFPA staff about a house fire that nearly took her life. She's now one of NFPA's Faces of Fire, an effort promoting home fire sprinklers in one- and two-family dwellings across the U.S. Here's her story: 

NFPA President James Shannon highlights both women in his recent NFPA Journal column. "We are an organization dedicated to finding technical answers to advance safety, but the human element--the lives affected, the courage of human endurance--is never far from our minds," says Shannon. "Ann and Princella and all of the other extraordinary people we are privileged to work with remind us of the true value of those efforts."

Read the rest in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.

Karachi fire
Nearly 260 people died from the September fire at a garment factory in Karachi, Pakistan, making it the deadliest blaze ever recorded in a manufacturing or industrial facility. 

In the latest issue of NFPA Journal, a story by Journal executive editor Scott Sutherland points out that fires have plagued the worldwide garment injustry for decades. NFPA's International Operations arm has assisted in safeguarding these facilities by establishing "memorandums of understanding" that promote NFPA codes and standards as well as translated versions of key documents.

Sutherland reports that unless enforcement is taken seriously, incidents like the Karachi fire will continue to plague the international community. Read the full story in the November/December issue of Journal, and check out the other stories from the magazine's In A Flash section, including NFPA's partnership with some big-named companies for Fire Prevention Week, and Sparky's encounter with actress Betty White. (The stories follow the Karachi feature.)  

Elie van Strien2 van Strien, Chief Fire Officer of Amsterdam and Region, addressed the attendees of NFPA's 2012 EuroCon in Amsterdam this morning. The Netherlands Fire Brigade covers 415 municipalities, 16.5 million people, 41.500 km2 of area, 19% of which is water. The Chief said he was honored to have NFPA here during the 300th anniversary celebration of Jan van der Heyden (1637-1712), the founder of the Amsterdam fire brigade, inventor of fire pumps and valves used in the Netherlands, a painter and the person responsible for the installation of street lighting that lead to the city's famous night life.

Admittedly embarrassed that his country's regulations do not require sprinklers, except in cases where there is no other option for protection by engineering design or construction (early thought was that stone construction was sufficient protection), Chief van Strien sees many pressures that are driving change toward the installation both commercial and residential sprinklers:

  1. Artificial/manufactured building materials leading to shorter flashover times.
  2. Insufficient fire protection systems for buildings with changing occupancies.
  3. Reliance on staff for evacuation of people from healthcare facilities, prisons and elder care facilities that have too few people to be effective.
  4. 40 deaths last year in residences, 60% of which were the elderly who were unable to evacuate.
  5. The dispelling of common sprinkler myths of expense, currently a domestic installation is approximately €2500 EU or approximately $3250, but the Fire Brigade is working with research groups to develop low pressure sprinkler heads that would eliminate the need for pumps lowering the average cost by 60%. (In the United States, the cost of installing sprinkler systems to the home builder averages $1.61 per sprinklered square foot.)
  6. The real impact of the Fire Brigade working with housing companies to retrofit some dormitories and other public housing facilities, which has already saved several lives.

Carol Ann FaberAll of these factors combined have lead Chief Van Strien and his team to adopt a new philosophy of "Think sprinklers!"

Carol Ann Faber
Director, NFPA Membership & Continuity Products

One of the highlights of the first annual NFPA Eurocon conference in Amsterdam was the interaction between the attendees and the instructors. Whether it was during a coffee break, an Ask the Expert session, or the networking event, the attendees had constant access to the NFPA instructor staff (Kristin Bigda, Guy Colonna and Ron Cote) and NFPA technical committee members and technical committee chairs (Robert Caputo and  William Koffel). This interaction was of benefit both to the attendee, who got to ask technical questions about NFPA codes and standards to the people who develop them, but also for the instructors to get a better understanding of how codes and standards are used in Europe. These discussions often focused on technical issues and design concerns that are common in Amsterdam and other European cities. Some of the topics presented by the attendees at Tuesday's Ask the Expert session included antifreeze usage, sprinkler obstruction design approaches, high expansion foam system applications, corrosion trends for water-based systems and the NFPA code development process.

As successful as the individual educational sesions were, the communication time between sessions was "extremely valuable" to the attendees. The catalyst for this interaction and communication was Tom De Nooij of Marsh Risk Consultants who was instrumental in not only putting the event together, but also providing and promoting an atmosphere at the event that allowed all of the parties involved to communicate openly and comfortably.

It is generally recognized that lack of oxygen is the leading cause of death in confined spaces.&#0160; You cannot see or smell a oxygen deficiency therefore the hazard is not readily apparent to someone entering an oxygen deficient environment.&#0160; The only way to determine if a confined space has sufficient oxygen is to test the atmosphere with a calibrated gas monitor.

The air we breathe contains
approximately 20.9 % oxygen.   Most of
the remaining 79% is made up of nitrogen with smaller quantities other gases
such as argon and carbon dioxide.   Interestingly,
contrary to what most people think, the percentage of oxygen in the air remains
the same even at higher elevations.   
However because the air at higher elevations is less “dense”, there are fewer
molecules of everything present, including oxygen.  Less oxygen molecules means it is it
potentially harder to breathe despite the fact that a gas monitor will still
read 20.9%.

Low levels of oxygen can lead to impaired judgment, lack of
coordination, behavior changes, dizziness, fatigue and ultimately collapse and
death.   Sometimes workers think they can
“hold their breath” for a second to enter a space quickly without testing or
ventilation.  But even one breath of
oxygen deficient air could prevent your muscles from responding so that you
cannot have the strength to escape the space even if conscious.  Those with coronary, pulmonary, or
circulatory disease may feel symptoms before others.   I once investigated a confined space
incident in which only one of three workers was dizzy and passed out.  The atmosphere was later tested and found to
have a slightly lower oxygen level of approximately 18-19.5 %.  The only worker affected was the one who had
a pre-existing cardiac condition.  

Low oxygen levels occur from chemical or biological processes
or reactions that either consume or displace oxygen from the confined
space.  Common causes of oxygen
deficiency include:

    • Rusting-(rusting is an oxidation process that consumes

    • Combustion-(all sources of combustion such as propane
      heaters, welding, consume oxygen).

    • Displacement by other gases- (such as Nitrogen purging,
      inerting, welding gases)

    • Decomposition of Organic Matter (Micro-organisms
      consume oxygen and produce flammable methane gas that can also displace oxygen

 While most gas
monitors will not alarm until 19.5% (OSHA allowable lower limit for entry), it
is recommended that you establish a policy to require 20.9 % oxygen prior to
entry.   If you test the atmosphere in a confined space
and it is anything OTHER THAN 20.9% you should investigate the source of this
oxygen deficiency and ventilate the space prior to entry, retesting until the
oxygen level is maintained at 20.9%.  With
so many variables and potential hazards in confined spaces, you should strive
to maintain the atmosphere as close to “normal” as possible.  


NFPA is in the process of developing a Best Practices Document for Confined Space Entry.&#0160; One item that we will likely include as a best practice is to prohibit entry into confined spaces where oxygen levels are less than 20.9% and to ventilate the space until the levels reach 20.9%.&#0160;&#0160; You may wish to sign up for the alerts for the document that is being developed by going to and clicking on the SIGN UP FOR EMAIL ALERTS link above the tabs. An email will be sent notifying you of any meetings or additions to the document information page related to the confined space document. 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!&#0160; Task groups to develop draft chapters of the document are now being formed.&#0160; If you have an interest or special expertise in a particular area let us know how to contact you!


Green Building Safety
A new report, "Fire Safety Challenges of Green Buildings" was recently published by the Fire Protection Research Foundation. The report was authored by Brian Meacham, Brandon Poole, Juan Echeverria and Raymond Cheng, from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Many new commercial facilities are being designed and constructed with an objective of achieving a “green building” certification. There are many sustainable building features and products that singly or together may have an impact on fire safety unless there is a design approach which mitigates those effects. The Foundation commissioned this study to develop a baseline of information on the intersection of “green building” design and fire safety and to identify gaps and specific research needs associated with understanding and addressing fire risk and hazards with green building design.

Download the full report to get all the details

Cheryl GreenWelcome to the world of taking responsibility! Day 2 of NFPA's Eurocon 2012 in Amsterdam started with a presentation on human failure and decision risk by Peter Paul Leutscher of Red Zebra Group. Did you know that 88% of all losses are caused by human behavior? Mr. Leutscher stresses that we are headed for a systemic crisis and we need a new consciousness because everything is under scrutiny. We need to stop the blame game, he says, become the change you want to see, and transform responsibility and accountability. The key take-away is that we need to integrate technical, moral and social safety.

Cheryl Green-Pozner
Director of Training, NFPA

Cheryl GreenAttendees of the Eurocon came from all over the world.  Whether they traveled from locations in Europe, Mideast, Africa, North America or right here in Amsterdam,they are all getting their fill of important content on fire and life safety, property protection, and property risk management. Attendees from Germany and Poland both echoed that even though they have local standards they are not sufficient and they need to follow uniform international standards. The attendees indicate that they are starved of the international connection and value the consensus-based codes developed by NFPA.

Cheryl Green-Pozner
Director of Training, NFPA

Eurocon group
Gathering at EuroCon 2012 in Amsterdam are (from left): Russell Swart, Marsh Risk Consulting; Guy Colonna, NFPA; Tom DeNooij, Marsh Risk Consulting; Sultan Javeri, NFPA; and Focko Dorhout Mees, Marsh Risk Consulting.

As I listened to Marsh Risk Consulting CEO Focko Dorhout Mees speak at the opening session of EuroCon today in a talk titled 'combing visions' I thought back to how our partnership started with Marsh and the vision of this event started 4 years ago, the week I started my career at NFPA.

I was five days on the job when I met Tom Denooij from Marsh Risk Consulting. At that time, I had only a very vague vision of how NFPA was viewed in the US. Even now, I have what the engineering staff would probably call a 'highly dangerous' knowledge about the codes and standards we produce. Having spent my earlier career in sales in a completely different industry this knowledge is not expected nor is it necessary in my daily activities. However, this does not stop most people who realize I am from NFPA to immediately ask me about in a code or standard of which I barely know the title.

Fortunately for me, right about the time they are about to get frustrated by my lack of knowledge on the subject, I direct them to a member of the aforementioned engineering staff and they are immediately satisfied with the discussion if not the answer.

Anyway, when Tom came to our office in Quincy, MA I was immediately struck by the passion Tom had for what NFPA was all about. I thought to myself, if someone who does not work for the NFPA is this passionate about the work we do, I must have decided to work for the right organization. Tom spoke about the need for NFPA training in the Netherlands and in Europe and over the four years we have worked together, we have held many training events that have been highly successful. 

Shortly after we started these events, Tom came to us with his next vision - an NFPA conference in the Netherlands. It took almost two years from concept to delivery but with Marsh's support, we have the first of what we hope are many conferences serving the European market. my 4 years, I have found what all of you that are reading this blog already knew: there are many, many folks around the world that share Tom's passion for the great work that our organization does.  Fortunately, we have found a great partner in Marsh Risk Consulting that can help us share NFPA's vision of a safer Bill Melloworld.

Bill Mello
NFPA Director of Sales

Metal dust explosions are amongst the most complex phenomena addressed by NFPA codes and standards.  The goal of this project is a compilation of recent combustible metal explosion incidents in a format that will aid in the understanding of the factors influencing the initiation and control of explosion and/or fire events. Read about the Research Foundation's new project "Combustible Metal Fires and Explosions – Case Studies".

Fire fighters and other emergency responders are routinely exposed to IDLH conditions (Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health) that contain harmful gases and particulates and require the use of specially designed personal protective equipment. Protecting fire fighters and other emergency responders from these harmful atmospheres is a challenging problem. The goal of this two-year project, conducted collaboratively with WPI and funded through a DHS/FEMA grant, is to develop a sensor to provide uninterrupted real-time information on hazardous conditions to better inform decision making around the use of PPE.

Firefighter Injuries
The number of firefighter injuries last year was the fewest since NFPA data analyses began more than 30 years ago. 

This information is one of the key findings from the new NFPA report "U.S. Firefighter Injuries in 2011" highlighted in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal. Nearly 70,100 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty last year, a 2.5 decrease from 2010, and the lowest this figure has been since NFPA started analyzing data in 1981. 

The report also notes that nearly 44 percent of all firefighter injuries occurred during fireground operations, with the rest occurring during other on-duty activities, nonfire emergencies, or incident responses.

"Firefighters work in varied and complex environments that increase their risk of on-the-job death and injury," say Michael J. Karter, Jr., and Joseph L. Molis, the report's authors. "A better understanding of how these facilities, nonfatal injuries, and illnesses occur can help identify corrective actions that could help minimize the inherent risks."

Check out the full report, or a condensed version in NFPA Journal.

The first session in the property protection track at EuroCon 2012 was "Occupancy and Commodity Classification for Fire Protection", presented by Bill Koffel, NFPA technical committee member and President of Koffel Associates.

In his presentation, Mr. Koffel stressed the importance of understanding occupancies, knowing how space will be used within the occupancy as well as making adjustments when an occupancies usage has been changed. He reinforced that fundamental to using NFPA 13 is the importance of understanding occupancy classifications.  

Cheryl GreenOne example Mr. Koffel gave for changing commodity classifications is a change in packaging of products. However, there are many other scenarios that indicate a need to evaluate classifications.  The ultimate responsibility for evaluation of the occupancy and commodity classification sits with the owner. 

Cheryl Green-Pozner
Director of Training, NFPA 

!|border=0|src=|alt=Perspectives_240|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Perspectives_240|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c3343ef86970b!In his &quot;[Perspectives |]" column in the latest issue of NFPA Journal , Scott Somers, the vice-mayor of Mesa, Arizona, and a 17-year veteran of the Phoenix Fire Department, tells us that he has&#0160;&quot;found that sprinklers can be a strategic tool to spur job growth and economic opportunity.&quot; When voters overturned&#0160;a[&#0160;residential sprinkler |] ordinance&#0160;in 1999 adopted by Mesa’s city council&#0160;in 1999,&#0160;the City of Mesa decided to take an innovative approach to sprinkler advocacy. Using federal grants, Mesa has installed home fire sprinklers in low- and moderate-income homes, and created a city-run grant program to retrofit sprinklers in historic downtown businesses. To see how it was done, read Scott&#39;s column online or turn to page 14 of the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.

Atlanta Marriott, Atlanta, GA       9:00 AM – 4:30 PM, December 6, 2011

This event offers a dynamic forum for the discussion of the safety aspects of alternative energy technologies and how they relate to the National Electrical Code® and related standards. Dont' miss this opportuntiy to join other leaders in the electrical safety field.  Register now.

Screen shot 2012-11-08 at 2.39.58 PM
The latest issue of NFPA Journal,featuring our stories on fire safety issues in “green” buildings and the formation of the new Cocoanut Grove Coalition, is available as a digital reader and in app form—two great ways to enjoy Journal anytime, anywhere.

The digital reader is a Web-based version of Journal that shows you the magazine exactly as it appears in print—except that all Web links and emails, in both stories and ads, are live and clickable. The digital reader also includes versions optimized for iPad, iPhone, and Android.

The NFPA Journal app, available through Apple's app store, lets you download the magazine and create your own library of Journals that you can read whenever you want, even if you're offline. If you're using it with a Web connection, you have all the flexibility that you do with the digital reader: watch embedded slideshows and videos, link to products and services, share stories with colleagues, and much more. The app is designed for iPad and iPhone.

Our cover story, “A Night to Remember,” looks at the 70thanniversary of the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire, which killed 492 people in Boston on November 28, 1942, and remains the nation’s deadliest nightclub fire. To commemorate the event, Journalstaff writer Fred Durso, Jr. takes a closer look at the new NFPA-led Cocoanut Grove Coalition and its mission to collect and archive the stories, artifacts, and other materials related to this historic fire.

Elsewhere in the issue, Fred provides an update on green buildings and fire safety, and we also have the 2011 Large-Loss Fires and Firefighter Injuries reports. The “In A Flash” section includes “Karachi Nightmare,” an article I wrote based on my blog post from September on the deadly garment factory fire in Karachi, Pakistan, that reportedly killed 258 people and has become, according to NFPA data, the deadliest fire ever recorded in a manufacturing or industrial facility. The Karachi fire has its roots in the 1911 Triangle Waist Co. fire that I wrote about last year for Journal, and the problem of garment factory fires worldwide shows no indication of abating anytime soon. 

We hope you enjoy this issue of NFPA Journal.

At the Foundation's conference on fire safety and sustainable building design yesterday, several practical solutions to fire safety in green design were presented.  Dan O'Connor, Aon Fire Protection Engineering, presented the results of recent research designed to more effectively utilize fire protection detection systems.  Paul Turnbull, with Siemens, demonstrated how integrating building fire and other control systems can result in sustainability gains.  Russ Fleming, National Fire Sprinkler Association, reviewed the enhancements in fire sprinkler system design that have led to significant water and material usage savings. Look for the symposium presentations on the Foundation's website as well as a planned compilation of best practices and emerging issues.

During the Foundation’s Fire Safety Design and Sustainable Buildings Symposium, Sean DeCrane, of the Cleveland Fire Department, gave his perspective on the hazards of sustainable buildings. Mr. DeCrane discussed the importance of training for the fire service because of the new developments in the construction industry. Traditional stick built houses with heavy upholstered furniture is a thing of the past. Today fire fighters are faced with engineered, lightweight lumber, expanded foam materials, and photovoltaic panels on roofs. Many of these sustainable materials contribute to faster burning fires and buildings that fail much quicker. Not only are fire fighters facing new hazards inside of buildings, but they are facing challenges getting to the building itself. Green rating systems give credits for reducing paved surfaces, increasing landscaping and reducing traffic. This makes for beautiful cities that save energy, however, it creates literal road blocks for fire fighter vehicles. Every extra minute it takes the fire service to navigate around narrow roadways and traffic calming devices is another minute the fire has to grow and another minute someone might be waiting for rescue inside that building. Mr. DeCrane argued that sprinklers and training are two of the best things we can do for our fire service. Check out this video that Mr.DeCrane shared from UL. It compares a fire in a legacy room (think grandma’s upholstered furniture and heavy fabric curtains) to a modern room (one that was purchased right off the shelf at one of today’s furniture stores).


Dr. Louis Gritzo of FM Global highlights the three big takeaways from his talk regarding the integral role of fire protection on sustainability, given at the Fire Safety and Sustainable Building Design Symposium. 


View more videos of Dr. Gritzo on this topic.

NFPA 20How the 2013 edition of NFPA 20, Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection, should address the issue of series fire pumps apparently created some waves during the standard's revision process.

Chad Duffy, NFPA staff liaison for NFPA 20, discussed the debate over this provision and others in the latest issue of NFPA Journal. According to Duffy's feature, NFPA's voting members at this year's Association Technical Meeting opted in favor of a Certified Amending Motion that dismissed certain changes related to series fire pumps originally approved by the committee. 

"While everyone involved in the discussion wants the standard to require systems that are as reliable as possible, not everyone agrees on how that should happen, and series fire pumps are at the center of that debate," says Duffy.

Get all the specifics about the new edition of NFPA 20 in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

Gordon_GillThe Foundation’s Fire Safety Design and Sustainable Buildings Symposium kicked off this morning with a keynote presentation by Gordon Gill, Partner of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.  Mr. Gill presented numerous case studies of both buildings and design studies that feature new and innovative sustainable design elements and concepts that provoked thought amongst attendees about how these elements could integrate with fire safety.

These design elements included a high rise building in China where the wind is directed through fuselages at three different levels in the building to run wind turbines to help power the building.  Another building included the incorporation of “wind cones” that span the height of the building and use passive ventilation so that the environment in the cone is 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature without air conditioning while providing courtyard green space in the building.

Mr. Gill also talked about a study that his firm has undertaken called the “Decarbonization Plan of Chicago”, which focuses on reducing the energy consumption of existing buildings instead of continuing to try to find alternative energy means to provide the current energy needs of these buildings.  The plan is available on the firm’s website.

Green_240According to Fred Durso in his article "Its Green. Its Sustainable. It Helps Reduce Your Carbon Footprint. But Do You Know How It Behaves When Subjected to Fire?", the green building movement may have led to some unexpected fire safety problems. He quotes Brian Meacham, an associate professor of fire protection engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, as saying "It seems like the move to the greening of buildings happened without in-depth investigation of potential unintended safety consequences." While isolated research has looked at some of these issues, he says, “there does not appear to have been any coordinated or comprehensive research into the breadth and depth of potential hazards, level of risk, and mitigation strategies.” Durso notes that additional research is needed to understanding these types of hazards and determine how to mitigate them. For more about the problem, read the article online or on page 50 in the January/February issue of NFPA Journal.

The skies have cleared up over the Mid-Atlantic and much of the flooding has subsided from areas following Hurricane Sandy. So, it’s ok to return home and begin the cleanup and get lives back to normal, right?

Not so fast. According to the National Fire Protection Association experts on Electrical Codes and Life Safety Codes, which are accepted into law by jurisdictions nationwide, many dangers still exist after such a storm despite not being obvious. Here are a few tips to keep yourself and your family safe as you return to your homes.

Avoid using candles – Despite being available avoid the temptation to use candles throughout the home when being without electricity to avoid risk of fire. This is especially relevant in hardest hit areas which may have a risk of natural gas leaks. Use flashlights instead.

Beware of downed power lines – Just because they aren’t sparking doesn’t mean there isn’t electricity there. Treat all downed wires as if they were live and alert the authorities. Run generators outside – In the event that electricity may not be available to your home yet, generators are a viable option to power some of your small appliances. However, they also pose a fire hazard and risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Always run your generators away from your home and open windows. And even if you keep your garage door open, it is not safe to run the generator inside the garage. Unplug all appliances before power is restored – Chances are, you didn’t turn off appliances in your home when the electricity went out and flood waters forced an evacuation. When electricity is restored, these appliances will want to run again and the demand for power will trip circuit breakers right away. If your home still has flood water, you will also risk the danger of electrocution. Unplug all appliances before restoring power and plug only necessary items in one at a time. If you have any doubts regarding safety, call a professional electrician. Avoid using outlets if they were submerged – Even if the water subsides and your home is dry, avoid using any outlets and switches that were submerged in water. Due to the contaminants in flood water during a storm, these items could be corroded and unsafe for use. If the electrical panel was submerged avoid turning electricity on in the home. Call a professional electrician to inspect your home. Use caution with temporary heating units – When using kerosene or propane heaters ensure there is plenty of ventilation and do not refuel the units inside the house. Do not use a kitchen stove for heating – This is dangerous and could produce a fire hazard and carbon monoxide hazard. If your home lacks heat during these cold days, it is best to vacate the building and stay elsewhere. Listen to authorities – They have the latest information on safety conditions in the affected area and are privy to information well before the public does. For additional safety tips from the experts at NFPA, visit


!|src=|alt=Cocoanut Grove|style=width: 450px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;|title=Cocoanut Grove|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c332a9954970b!
Seventy years have passed since the night when the Cocoanut Grove, one of Boston's premier hotspots, succumbed to a devastating fire that claimed the lives of 492 people. It remains the deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history.


Even more intriguing than the mystery surrounding the blazea cause was never officially determinedare the mountains of materials about the fire still in existence. Commemorating the anniversary of this historical event, NFPA has organized a seven-member coalition that will help populate a new NFPA website with stories, materials, survivor interviews, and photos related to the fire.


“We need to document and preserve what&#39;s out there,&quot; says NFPA librarian Sue Marsh, who spearheaded this endeavor, in thelatest edition of +NFPA Journal+. &quot;Our goal is to capture, in one place, all that we

can so that items don’t go missing or get destroyed.&quot;


Read about all the specifics of the new Cocoanut Grove Coalition in the new issue of +NFPA Journal.+ Also, hear the harrowing accounts of three Cocoanut Grove patrons who survived the blaze:

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

In this issue:

  • Motions Committee Report available for Fall 2012 documents
  • Public involvement in NFPA's standards development process
  • TIA issued on NFPA 1124
  • Errata issued on NFPA 731
  • Committees seeking members
  • Committees soliciting public input
  • Committee meetings calendar

NFPA News is a free newsletter, and includes special announcements, notification of public input 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.

The Report of the Motions Committee addresses three Fall 2012 documents with Certified Amending Motions for consideration at the Association Technical Meeting in Chicago, IL on June 10-13, 2013:

  • NFPA 801, Standard for Fire Protection for Facilities Handling Radioactive Materials
  • NFPA 1061, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Public Safety Telecommunicator
  • NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting

This Report also identifies a list of 44 Consent Documents receiving no NITMAMS and, therefore, will be forwarded to the NFPA Standards Council for issuance on November 27, 2012.

Louis Gritzo, Ph.D., FM Global’s vice president of research recently told us about some key areas that he will be addressing during his presentation on "The Integral Role of Fire Protection in Sustainability” at the Fire Protection Research Foundation's Fire Safety and Sustainable Building Design Symposium (Nov. 7-8).

“Fire protection is part of good risk management throughout the entire life cycle of a building,” according to Gritzo. 



Gritzo highlights how good fire protection can benefit the environment.


 For more information on the agenda or to register, visit

Duracell programYou've set those clocks back an hour this weekend (and hopefully enjoyed an extra hour of sleep), but did you also replace the batteries in your smoke alarms?

Duracell is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery Campaign, which offers fire departments tips and tools for encouraging communities to swap out the old batteries for new ones. The program includes an array of downloadable materials, including public service announcements and fire statistics developed by NFPA. Energizer is also donating a limited number of batteries to departments in high-risk areas.

Don't forget to also check out NFPA's extensive information on smoke alarms, including various reports and fact sheets.

J. Thomas Chapin, Ph.D. of Underwriters Laboratories recently shared some thoughts related to his upcoming presentation at the Fire Protection Research Foundation's Fire Safety and Sustainable Building Design Symposium (Nov. 7-8) titled "Do we understand the impact of new 'sustainable' materials on the fire load of buildings?"

How does sustainability impact the new design of buildings?  Chapin says it is an issue that involves a multidisciplinary focus because many professionals need to address it including, scientists, engineers, product designers, architects and the architectural community, the insurance industry, and first responders.


Can we have a sustainable building that is still safe?  According to Chapin, the real challenge is having a building that meets the codes and standards requirements for safety as well as achieve new goals of sustainability.


Chapin says this conference is about "bringing people with widely different backgrounds together to discuss the issues so that we can create a safer environment."

For more information on the agenda or to register, visit our latest “Firewise Around The Home” online quiz to find out! Brush up on your safety tips and learn how to reduce your home’s risk of wildfire damage. When you finish, let us know how you did!

And check out our new Firewise toolkit, which provides a great checklist of simple wildfire mitigation activities you can start on right now.

For more information about Firewise, check out our website at


#3 - Record keeping for annual fire door inspections.

One of the biggest changes to the 2013 edition of NFPA 80 is a reorganization and update to Chapter 5 for inspection, testing, and maintenance provisions.  I will talk more about Chapter 5 as a whole in one of my next posts (I would say it's worthy of the #1 spot) but for now I wanted to highlight one of the new sections that was added to Chapter 5 regarding maintaining records of fire door inspections.

With the requirements for the annual inspections of fire doors only 3 editions old, the committee is still working on developing the specifics regarding the process.  One of those areas that was further developed for this edition of NFPA 80 is maintaining records of the inspections.

Since the addition of the annual inspection requirement in NFPA 80 in 2007, the standard has always required records of the inspections to be kept and available for the Authority Having Jursdiction so they can verify that the inspections have taken place.   The new requirements in Chapter 5 now quantify how long records should be retained as well as what information should be contained in those records. 

In summary, look for these provisions in Section 5.2.2 when you are reading your new edition of NFPA 80:

  • Period of record retention: records shall be retained for a period of at least 3 years.
  • Types of records: the records shall be on a medium that will survive the retention period. Paper or electronic media shall be permitted.
  • Information collected: A shall include information such as the following: date of inspection, name of facility, address of facility, name of person(s) performing inspections and testing, company name and address of inspecting company, signature of inspector, type and description of each fire door inspected, and more!

See post about change #4!

See post about change #5!

J. Thomas Chapin, Ph.D. of Underwriters Laboratories recently shared some thoughts related to his upcoming presentation at the Fire Protection Research Foundation's Fire Safety and Sustainable Building Design Symposium (Nov. 7-8) titled "Do we understand the impact of new 'sustainable' materials on the fire load of buildings?"

How does sustainability impact the new design of buildings?  Chapin says it is an issue that involves a multidisciplinary focus because many professionals need to address it including, scientists, engineers, product designers, architects and the architectural community, the insurance industry, and first responders.


Can we have a sustainable building that is still safe?  According to Chapin, the real challenge is having a building that meets the codes and standards requirements for safety as well as achieve new goals of sustainability.


Chapin says this conference is about "bringing people with widely different backgrounds together to discuss the issues so that we can create a safer environment."

For more information on the agenda or to register, visit

Bob V - ANSI

Jim Pauley, Robert Vondrasek, Chris Dubay. Image provided by ANSI, Kristoffer Tripplaar

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) honored leaders of the U.S. and global voluntary standards-setting and conformity assessment community recently at the 2012 ANSI Awards Banquet and Ceremony. Held annually, the leadership and service awards program is a long-standing tradition that recognizes and honors creativity, dedication, and vision in the field of standards and conformity assessment.

Held at the Newseum Knight Conference Center in Washington, DC, the awards dinner was one of many ANSI-sponsored events held in conjunction with the celebration of World Standards Week 2012.

NFPA's own Robert Vondrasek, vice president  (retired) of technical projects, was one of six individuals who received the Meritorious Service Award in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the U.S. voluntary standardization system. Each has demonstrated outstanding service in enabling ANSI to attain the objectives for which it was founded. 

Congratulations to Robert and the rest of this year's honorees!

Did you know that NFPA has recently joined Pinterest? We have! For those of you who have not heard about the new social media site, Pinterest can best be described as a virtual pinboard. It lets you organize and share images and videos from all over the web in one place. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people or organizations. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

Take a look at NFPA's Pinterest profile today and become a follower of our pins! Share any images you like of ours, and be sure to share with us, any photos you have that we may like. Photos with Sparky are always a favorite! 

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