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In the early morning hours of Saturday, March 24th, a fire broke out in a home in the City of Charleston, WV, killing two adults and seven children.




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Marsha Giesler, public education officer, Downers Grove Fire Department, Downers Grove, Illinois, has been named the 2012 Fire and LIfe Safety Educator of the Year. Marsha has implemented fire safety education programs using NFPA materials for more than 20 years and has made Learn Not to Burn Preschool Program®, Risk Watch®, and Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults the cornerstone of her educational outreach.
Marsha visits 17 public and private elementary schools each month. She is also seen in her community routinely conducting evacuation drills. She is her department’s public information officer, assistant to the chief, and juvenile fire interventionist. A tireless advocate for fire safety education, she is known to work long hours. She recently wrote the more than 400 page Fire and Life Safety Educator, published by Delmar Cengage Learning. The reference book has been called a comprehensive and reader-friendly guide.
As educator of the year Marsha receives a $1,000 honorarium and travel to the award presentation at the NFPA conference in Las Vegas.  Her fire Department receives a $1,000 donation to support public education activities.

-Sharon Gamache 12

Marsha 7
The NFPA, IAFC and NVFC launched a new contest this week, asking career firefighters, volunteer firefighters or other fire department employees and fire service members to submit a video that highlights their fire company operationally demonstrating firefighter health and safety.

The Contest will utilize the theme of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) combined International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week, which will be June 17-23, 2012. This year’s theme will be “Rules You Can Live By.”

Members of the fire service can submit their company-level videos demonstrating the safe practices of any of the IAFC’s Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Survival and Incident Commanders and NVFC’s Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Health. While any of the Rules may be used as the subject of each video, the following are a focus for NFPA due to their ability to help in promoting an increased awareness of safety and health as we work to change the culture in the fire service as well as assist in our curriculum development. These rules are:


  • Determine the occupant survival profile
  • Maintain continuous awareness of your air supply, situation, location and fire conditions
  • Ensure accurate accountability of every firefighter’s location and status


  • Take steps towards meeting NFPA health standards, such as NFPA 1500
  • Set S.M.A.R.T. goals for your health action plan – specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and timely
  • Rehab after all physical activity – stay hydrated

All videos submitted, regardless of topic chosen, will be given equal weight during the judging process.

Videos (3 minutes or less) are to be submitted between March 26 and May 11. NFPA, IAFC and NVFC will choose four finalists, and the public will be permitted to vote for one video per day from May 18 – June 11. The Contest winner will be announced on June 12 during the Fire Service Section Reception at the 2012 NFPA Conference & Expo. All submissions will become the property of NFPA.

See the official rules.

The fire company that receives the most votes for their video will receive a set of the most up to date NFPA public fire protection standards. The fire company will also receive an Apple iPad and $250 iTunes gift card to be used for training purposes and access to NFPA mobile applications. In addition, representatives from NFPA will visit the winning fire department to present the prize and hold a press event garnering local media attention. 

A new article on looks at the issue of why standards development organizations (SDOs), like NFPA, charge for their codes and standards. Author Bruce Watson writes:
"Codes and standards -- the rules governing everything from fire safety in your office to your home electrical system -- occupy a twilight area between private information and public law. On the one hand, some of these rules are part of the legal system, and a failure to abide by them can result in stiff penalties. On the other, many of them were developed and updated by private organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council, the National Fire Protection Association or the Society of Automotive Engineers. Having produced these codes and standards, these nonprofit organizations are legally allowed to charge for access to them."
For the past several years, NFPA has made all of its codes and standards available for free on its website in a read-only version.
But it's more than just a question of cost. NFPA President Jim Shannon points out that if private agencies were no longer able to produce codes and standards, that gap would be likely be filled by the federal government, and we would lose the efficiency, independence, and responsiveness of the nation's standards development organizations.
Read the complete article, "The 'Secret' American Laws You Have to Pay to See", on

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