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2013
Christopher Wieczorek
Christopher Wieczorek of FM Global presents findings from recent lithium-ion battery burn tests

If you own a laptop or cell phone, chances are these devices are powered by increasingly popular lithium-ion batteries, which refer to a family of battery chemistries using a flammable electrolyte. The potential fire hazards of these devices and related suppression methods led today's "high hazard challenges" track at the Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET) in Orlando.

R. Thomas Long of Exponent, an engineering consulting firm, provided details on the first phase of a Fire Protection Research Foundation project that identified and assessed the life cycle hazards of these batteries. The project's second phase included fire tests with three types of lithium-ion batteries in storage settings and suppression methods. SUPDET presenter Christopher Wieczorek of FM Global outlined some key test results, noting that similar initial fire growth rates occurred for all three commodities. Future research will need to determine the effects of large-scale tests of these batteries. The Foundation anticipates the release of the Phase II report by April.

Check out the NFPA Journal feature outlining NFPA's response to storage and safety concerns of lithium-ion batteries.

Jason Floyd
Attendees at the Suppression, Detection, and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET) in Orlando received a wealth of information on a sprinkler system's role in protecting increasingly popular cloud ceilings, or suspended ceilings covering a portion of a room or space. 

"There hasn't been much significant research on cloud ceilings," said presenter Jason Floyd with Hughes Associates. Moreover, NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems, does not provide any definitive guidance on automatic sprinkler installation for these ceilings.

Floyd noted that a project under way by the Fire Protection Research Foundation has identified research gaps and initiated fire tests to examine this issue. Results from the project, anticipated for completion later this year, will be shared with NFPA 13 committee members for them to consider when developing the standard's next edition.

For more information on cloud ceilings and how this building feature is addressed in NFPA 13, read the NFPA Journal column "Head's Up" by NFPA's sprinkler expert Matt Klaus. Also, read the Journal feature story highlighting cloud ceilings and other key components of the 2013 edition of NFPA 13.

This afternoon at the Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Application conference (SUPDET) in Orlando, attendees recieved an overview of projects at the Fire Protection Research Foundation, both recently completed detection and alarm research projects, as well as current and planned initiatives.

Completed projects

Current and planned projects

The Research Foundaion is also planning research on:

  • Applying Reliability Based Decision Making to ITM Frequency for Fire Protection Systems and Equipment
  • Development of a Quantitative Risk Assessment Methodology for Mass Notification Systems
  • Fire Detection in Warehouses, Phase 2 (See Phase I report.)

Attendees then engaged in a small group work to brainstorm to come up with a list of potential research projects. The results of the break-out group discussions will be included in the SUPDET proceedings, which will be published in about a month. 

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Carey AwardAmanda Kimball of the Fire Protection Research Foundation presents the William M. Carey Award to Rajesh Melkote.

Rajesh Melkote of United Technologies was honored this morning in Orlando for having the best presentation in the suppression portion of the Research Foundation’s 2012 symposium.

Mr. Melkote, who spoke last March on “Next Generation Fluorine-Free Firefighting Foams” during the Foundation’s SUPDET event, received the William M. Carey Award.  His paper was chosen based on a vote by symposium participants.

Mr. Carey, a former senior staff engineer at Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., participated in many Foundation fire suppression projects, including the first: The National Quick Response Sprinkler Project. Throughout his career, he was often known for being "the bridge" between research and application of new fire safety knowledge.

Hall redundancyFire protection features and systems have their backups, or "redundancies," and the reliability of both components is crucial in preventing loss of life and property.

John Hall, NFPA's division director of Fire Analysis and Research, discussed these redundancies at the Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET) in Orlando during the first series of sessions on suppression. During his presentation, Dr. Hall provided a "redundancy analysis" that uses risk-based language and criteria to evaluate the relationship of fire protection strategies.

Dr. Hall also provided a few real-world examples of fire protection redundancy, including sprinklers and passive fire protection (or, barriers to fire spread). Dr. Hall notes there is limited data on the latter, yet there exists a listing of major fires where the inadequacy or poor performance of a system feature was identified during an incident. If more data were available, argues Dr. Hall, then we could begin to quantify the interaction of passive fire protection with sprinkler systems.

Read the abstract of Dr. Hall's presentation.

During this morning’s session at the Research Foundation’s Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Symposium (SUPDET) in Orlando, three speakers presented the latest thinking on sprinkler protection technologies and challenges.

Wes Baker
Wes Baker of FM Global

Wes Baker, Senior Engineering Technical Specialist at FM Global, presented an overview of Chapter 21 in the 2013 edition of NFPA 13, Standard on the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. The intent of this chapter is to provide alternative protection options to those found in Chapters 12-20 based on sprinkler characteristics (K-Factor, orientation, RTI rating, sprinkler spacing type, and temperature rating).

Related: 13 things you need to know about the 2013 edition of NFPA 13.

Scott Futrell
Scott Futrell of Futrell Fire Consulting and Design

In his presentation on “Fire Sprinkler System Reliability: Arguments Regarding the Use of CPVC in Fire Sprinkler Systems”, Scott Futrell of Futrell Fire Consulting and Design, spoke about the risks and reliability of CPVC (Chlorinated Poly Vinyl Chloride) piping. He said NFPA 13 has allowed the use of nonmetallic piping since 1984, and maintains that handling, installation, outside influences, contractor decisions and end-user choices all have impacts on the life expectancy of CPVC pipes and fittings. Read an abstract of his presentation.

Joe Scheffey
Joseph Scheffey of Hughes Associates

Joseph Scheffey of Hughes Associates, spoke about the “Evaluation of Water Additives for Fire Control and Vapor Mitigation”. He said that various water additives are available in today’s marketplace that claim to provide advantageous performance characteristics for fire control and vapor mitigation. Of particular interest are additives that report to provide superior fire suppression capabilities through emulsification or encapsulation. Read an abstract of his presentation

Related: A Fire Protection Research Foundation project has been established to provide a comprehensive evaluation of water additives with the intent to clarify the fire protection benefit of using water with additives for fire suppression versus water without additives. This project directly relates to the requirements of NFPA 18A, Standard on Water Additive for Fire Control and Vapor Mitigation. Read the project summary.

This afternoon at the Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Application conference (SUPDET) in Orlando, attendees recieved an overview of projects at the Fire Protection Research Foundation, both recently completed detection and alarm research projects, as well as current and planned initiatives.

Completed projects

Current and planned projects

The Research Foundaion is also planning research on:

  • Applying Reliability Based Decision Making to ITM Frequency for Fire Protection Systems and Equipment
  • Development of a Quantitative Risk Assessment Methodology for Mass Notification Systems
  • Fire Detection in Warehouses, Phase 2 (See Phase I report.)

Attendees then engaged in a small group work to brainstorm to come up with a list of potential research projects. The results of the break-out group discussions will be included in the SUPDET proceedings, which will be published in about a month. 

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

A trio of sessions at this week's Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET) in Orlando focused on cooking fires, which accounts for 44 percent of reported home fires and 16 percent of home fire deaths, according to NFPA statistics.

Presenters from United Laboratories and the University of Maryland, for example, discussed their joint study on identifying predictors that could prevent flaming, stovetop fires. Oxygen and gas concentrations were analyzed during eleven scenarios--including cooking bacon and ground beef in a pan--at the stove, hood, and ceiling levels.

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 2.41.21 PM

Similarly, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar and United Laboratories India discussed their analysis on parameters that can be used to predict probable occurrences of cooking fires. They noted a similar problem with cooking fires in their country, but added that the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in kitchens is a problem catered to Indian culture. Though more research is required on this issue, the researchers noted that a "multi-level response" for kitchen fires--including an alarm and cutting off the LPG fuel supply--might help get a handle on this problem. 

Gandhinagar Kitchen Fire Safety
Akshay Jain of IIT Gandhinagar and Pravinray D. Gandhi of Underwriters Laboratories, present "Standard Cooking Fire Scenarios for Imminent Fire Detection" at SUPDET 2013. Read an abstract of their presentation.

Daniel Gottuk of Hughes Associates ended the cooking fires segment of the conference with his presentation on a study that aims to develop a standard fire test for cooking fire prevention technologies. The study is a follow-up to a Fire Protection Research Foundation project ("Home Cooking Fire Mitigation: Technology Assessment") completed in 2011 that identified and assessed these technologies. The objectives of the new study are as follows:

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 2.15.43 PM

"There are [cooking fire] technologies that are being used and researched," said Gottuk. "There needs to be a standard way to evaluate these technologies on a consistent basis."

Visit the SUPDET 2013 page for more information all of the conference's topics.

Related: Cooking is the leading cause of home structure fires and civilian home fire injuries. This is true for both fires reported to fire departments and those handled without fire department assistance. Download a free copy of NFPA's "Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment" report by Marty Ahrens. 

How will today's ever-evolving technology impact NFPA provisions related to fire alarm and signaling requirements?

NFPA Journal columnist Wayne Moore of Hughes Associates addressed this question at the Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET) in Orlando, Florida. The use of ethernet and other non-fire and non-EMS networks has not yet made its way into NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, yet the interest to possibly include relevant requirements has been expressed to the code's committee.

WayneMoore2
Wayne Moore of Hughes Associates

In response to this interest, the NFPA 72 Correlating Committee on Signaling Systems has established a task group to develop proposals around ethernet, local area networks, and wide area networks for fire alarm systems, fire evacuations, and mass notification systems for possible inclusion in the code's 2016 edition.

Another SUPDET session focused on ANSI/UL 2572, a performance standard which was released in 2011, that complements performance requirements in NFPA 72. Larry Shudak with Underwriters Laboratories discussed UL's standard and its focus on mass notification systems in various settings. The specific areas the standard addresses are system construction, product marketing, and testing related to reliability and performance per NFPA 72. (Read the extended abstract of Shudak's presentation.)

Thomas Fabian
Thomas Fabian of Underwriters Laboratories


At this week's Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference, Thomas Fabian with Underwriters Laboratories highlighted new data from recent fire tests in two-story residential structures. The majority of the research focused on the performance of ionization and photoelectric smoke detection technologies. Some of Mr. Fabian's findings include:

  • Ionization alarms activated earlier than photoelectric alarms in flaming fires
  • Photoelectric alarms activated earlier than ionization alarms in smoldering fires
  • Closing bedroom doors retarded alarm activation by 75-150 seconds for fires in adjacent rooms and less than 600 seconds for fires in remote areas.

Learn more about ionization and photoelectric alarms, as well as NFPA's smoke alarm safety tips.

John Hall
John Hall, NFPA's division director of Fire Analysis and Research, discussed NFPA's response to the growing concern of unwanted alarms at the Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET) in Orlando, Florida. NFPA's report, "Unwanted Fire Alarms," identifies this concern--in 2009, fire departments responded to 16 false alarms for every 10 fires, and 45 false alarms for every 10 structure fires.

During his presentation, Dr. Hall discussed specific outcomes of a 2011 summit that discussed potential solutions to the unwanted alarms issue. One of them was NFPA's Fire Service Guide to Reducing Unwanted Alarms. Hall gives an overview of the guide in the following video: 

 

Another outcome from the summit was a project by the Fire Protection Research Foundation to develop a tool for the fire service that would calculate response strategies for unwanted alarms. Here's Dr. Hall's take on this project:

 

Dr. Hall ended his presentation by listing a series of potential next steps, which may include asking fire departments to beta test the new tool. When asked by a SUPDET attendee if the tool would be highly utilized by the fire service, Hall responded, "If all you have is data that gives you a percentage of calls that are not fires, the tool will do everything else."

Albert Simeoni
There are various means available for detecting wildland fires, and a recent presenter at the Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference outlined an array of these technologies. Albert Simeoni of Worcester Polytechnic Institute discussed the important aspects of wildfire detection, from preventing fire spread to evaluating the intensity of fires, and what tools are available for local and global analysis.

Some of the technologies highlighted were image processing using satelliates and aircraft, infrared or ultraviolet sensors, and "acoustic" devices that allow users to track a fire through the noise it makes. Many of these tools, however, have its limitations, says Simeoni, who noted that an area's complex topography and smoke might impede the technology's performance.

A potential solution for better protection, adds Simeoni, are wireless sensor networks that are spatially distributed and can monitor a wildfire's temperature, heat flux, and smoke.

NFPA has conducted its own research on wildland fires--more specifically, the Fire Protection Research Foundation has completed a study that reviewed and assessed tools designed to address community wildfire risk, from land use regulation to adopting building codes and standards. Watch the following clip of Casey Grant, the Foundation's research director, giving an overview of this study:

Thomas Fabian
Thomas Fabian of Underwriters Laboratories


At this week's Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference, Thomas Fabian with Underwriters Laboratories highlighted new data from recent fire tests in two-story residential structures. The majority of the research focused on the performance of ionization and photoelectric smoke detection technologies. Some of Mr. Fabian's findings include:

  • Ionization alarms activated earlier than photoelectric alarms in flaming fires
  • Photoelectric alarms activated earlier than ionization alarms in smoldering fires
  • Closing bedroom doors retarded alarm activation by 75-150 seconds for fires in adjacent rooms and less than 600 seconds for fires in remote areas.

Learn more about ionization and photoelectric alarms, as well as NFPA's smoke alarm safety tips.

How will today's ever-evolving technology impact NFPA provisions related to fire alarm and signaling requirements?

NFPA Journal columnist Wayne Moore of Hughes Associates addressed this question at the Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET) in Orlando, Florida. The use of ethernet and other non-fire and non-EMS networks has not yet made its way into NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, yet the interest to possibly include relevant requirements has been expressed to the code's committee.

WayneMoore2
Wayne Moore of Hughes Associates

In response to this interest, the NFPA 72 Correlating Committee on Signaling Systems has established a task group to develop proposals around ethernet, local area networks, and wide area networks for fire alarm systems, fire evacuations, and mass notification systems for possible inclusion in the code's 2016 edition.

Another SUPDET session focused on ANSI/UL 2572, a performance standard which was released in 2011, that complements performance requirements in NFPA 72. Larry Shudak with Underwriters Laboratories discussed UL's standard and its focus on mass notification systems in various settings. The specific areas the standard addresses are system construction, product marketing, and testing related to reliability and performance per NFPA 72. (Read the extended abstract of Shudak's presentation.)

ryan.quinn

Sparky in the Spotlight

Posted by ryan.quinn Employee Feb 26, 2013

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IMG_2777
Sparky was back in front of the camera yesterday, shooting his latest video.  To get the lowdown on the project, we spoke with NFPA senior product manager Steve Dornbusch - aka "The Dogfather."

http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017ee8bf5e65970d-popuphttp://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017d414b8a4b970c-popupIMG_2733Steve, what was yesterday’s video shoot for?
We were shooting Sparky's new video for the 2013 Fire Prevention Week - October 6 - 12.

Was there anything different about this shoot, compared to the others?
There's something different this year. Along with live action interaction, Sparky has some new puppet friends to help him teach fire safety. I hope people find them as much fun as I do.  We also have two new songs.

http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017ee8bf5f7b970d-popuphttp://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017d414b85fd970c-popuphttp://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017ee8bf6048970d-popupYou started really early and were still shooting into the night, how did it go?
Actually we're still shooting, but so far its going great.  NFPA is a great place to shoot video. We've used a few different locations in the building including the cafeteria, our studio, and some wonderful scenes in front of the atrium waterfall.

IMG_2683When and where will people be able to see the finished product?
http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017ee8c37940970d-popuphttp://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017d414fa985970c-popupThe DVD will be available June 1. 2013. However, the music videos from it will be put on Youtube and Sparky.org/TV sometime this summer, just in time for FPW.

Thanks Steve.

Rest assure dear readers than I'll be on the lookout for any other Sparky sighting within these hallowed halls.  In the meantime, if you're keen to see Sparky's skills in front of the camera (and who isn't?) head over to Sparky.org/TV or the NFPA page on Youtube.

 

A trio of sessions at this week's Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET) in Orlando focused on cooking fires, which accounts for 44 percent of reported home fires and 16 percent of home fire deaths, according to NFPA statistics.

Presenters from Underwriters Laboratories and the University of Maryland, for example, discussed their joint study on identifying predictors that could prevent flaming, stovetop fires. Oxygen and gas concentrations were analyzed during eleven scenarios--including cooking bacon and ground beef in a pan--at the stove, hood, and ceiling levels.

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 2.41.21 PM

Similarly, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar and Underwriters Laboratories India discussed their analysis on parameters that can be used to predict probable occurrences of cooking fires. They noted a similar problem with cooking fires in their country, but added that the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in kitchens is a problem catered to Indian culture. Though more research is required on this issue, the researchers noted that a "multi-level response" for kitchen fires--including an alarm and cutting off the LPG fuel supply--might help get a handle on this problem. 

Gandhinagar Kitchen Fire Safety
Akshay Jain of IIT Gandhinagar and Adnan Ansari of Underwriters Laboratories India, present "Standard Cooking Fire Scenarios for Imminent Fire Detection" at SUPDET 2013. Read an abstract of their presentation.

Daniel Gottuk of Hughes Associates ended the cooking fires segment of the conference with his presentation on a study that aims to develop a standard fire test for cooking fire prevention technologies. The study is a follow-up to a Fire Protection Research Foundation project ("Home Cooking Fire Mitigation: Technology Assessment") completed in 2011 that identified and assessed these technologies. The objectives of the new study are as follows:

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 2.15.43 PM

"There are [cooking fire] technologies that are being used and researched," said Gottuk. "There needs to be a standard way to evaluate these technologies on a consistent basis."

Visit the SUPDET 2013 page for more information all of the conference's topics.

Related: Cooking is the leading cause of home structure fires and civilian home fire injuries. This is true for both fires reported to fire departments and those handled without fire department assistance. Download a free copy of NFPA's "Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment" report by Marty Ahrens. 

SupDet attendees

The 17th annual “Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Symposium” (SupDet) kicked off this morning in Orlando. This event, organized by the Fire Protection Research Foundation, brings together more than 100 professionals in the fire alarm, suppression and emergency communication industries, to hear the latest developments fire detection research, sprinkler protection strategies, clean agent technology research, and other topical issues.

Tomorrow, a special Suppression Research Charette will feature several interactive sessions focused on solutions to protection challenges, including an examination of water mist as an equivalent protection solution to sprinklers for selected suppression scenarios.

The Foundation thanks Siemens Industry, Inc. SimplexGrinnell, and UL for their generous sponsorship and contributions to this event.

About the Foundation

The Fire Protection Research Foundation plans, manages, and communicates research on a broad range of fire safety issues in collaboration with scientists and laboratories around the world. The Foundation is an affiliate of NFPA. See a list of Foundation reports and projects.

John Bullough receives Mengel Award
John Bullough of the Lighting Research Center, RPI, receives the Ronald K. Mengel award from Amanda Kimball of the Fire Protection Research Foundation.

John Bullough of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center, was honored this morning in Orlando for having the best presentation in the detection portion of the Research Foundation’s 2012 symposium.

Mr. Bullough, who spoke last March on the “Characteristics of Light-Emitting Diode Sources: Relevance for Visual Signal Detection” during the Foundation’s SupDet event, received the Ronald K. Mengel Award.

The award, voted on by last year’s SupDet participants, was named in honor of Mr. Mengel who was a significant industry contributor to research in support of NFPA detection and signaling codes and standards.

Mr. Bullough will present another paper later today at the Research Foundation’s 17th annual Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications symposium (SupDet) here in Orlando. He will be speaking on the “Influence of Visual Signal Flash Intensity and Duration of Perception”. Mr. Bullough has been studying LEDs as emergency signaling lighting, specifically, the intensity of the light and the duration of the light bursts, and how those impact their effectiveness.

NFPA’s Fred Durso recently talked with Mr. Bullough about his research.

 

Related content: Fire Protection Research Foundation report - "Performance Objectives for Light Sources Used in Emergency Notification Appliances", J.D. Bullough, Y. Zhu, Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, May 2012

Jim Milke keynote presentation

As the keynote speaker at the Fire Protection Research Foundation symposium (SupDet) today in Orlando, Jim Milke, chair of the department of Fire Protection Engineering at the University of Maryland, delivered a talk on the comparative loss of life and injury analysis in commercial, industrial and education institution housing. Mr. Milke said that following a previous study conducted on residencies, hotels and health care facilities, a new project is evaluating the benefits of smoke detectors and sprinklers in these occupancies.

NFPA's Fred Durso recently talked to Mr. MIlke about the research project. 

StandardsDirectoryThe 2013 NFPA Standards Directory is now available for download. The directory contains standardshttp://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c371bc5fe970b-pi development information such as:http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c371bc41b970b-pi

  • An introduction to the NFPA standards development process
  • Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards,Technical Meeting Convention Rules, and other procedures
  • NFPA's members of the Board of Directors, Standards Council, management, and external relationships
  • Committee projects and scopes, revision cycle schedules for processing committee reports, and instructions on how to participate in the process.

Download a free copy of the NFPA Standards Directory (PDF, 2.7 MB), your guide to NFPA’s standards development process.

 

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I'm wondering when the state wildfire officials will begin to put two and two together: invite Steinberg to a meeting in our district and watch the red flags fly!


 

This is the 2nd time in a month that I've traveled south for Firewise and been met with high fire danger conditions on arrival. Thispretty map from ESRIshows big red arrows signifying wind speeds over 40 miles per hour. And trust me, I can hear and feel the wind from my temporary perch in Georgetown, Texas. I nearly got pushed out of the parking lot of my hotel trying to get from my vehicle to the building. Good thing I overpack: my nice heavy luggage saved me!



Read the full post by NFPA's Michele Steinberg, manager of the Firewise Communities program
.

Wtc-bombing-1993
Photo: Batteryparkcity.com

On February 26, 1993, a truck bomb exploded in an underground parking garage in the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. Six people were killed and more than one thousand others were injured. 

From ABC News
Edward Smith remembers vividly the call from the morgue 20 years ago today, that his pregnant wife had died in the World Trade Center bombing hours before she was supposed to start her maternity leave. "It seems like kind of yesterday sometimes," he told ABC News, "but it seems like a long time ago, too."

Four of the six killed -- Robert Kirkpatrick, 61, Stephen A. Knapp, 47, William Macko, 57, and Monica Rodriguez Smith, 35 -- were employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owned the buildings. John DiGiovanni, 45, a dental-supply salesman visiting the World Trade Center, and Wilfredo Mercado, 37, a purchasing agent for Windows on the World restaurant, also died. Read the ABC News report.



World Trade Center evacuees share lessons learned as NFPA starts new behavior study
From NFPA JournalSeptember/October 2002 

Many veterans of the 1993 World Trade Center truck bombing weren’t going to make the same decision on September 11, 2001, that they’d made eight years before.

“Every fiber of my body said ‘I’m getting out of here,’ says Magdalena Brown, who worked for Washington Group International, an engineering firm on the 91st floor of the South Tower. In 1993, she stayed put for hours, then had to walk down 88 flights in the dark.

On the 74th floor of the North Tower, Dharam Pal, chief mechanical engineer for plumbing and fire protection for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, thought the noise he heard was only the explosion of the television antenna transformer on the roof, but he didn’t hesitate to leave immediately. In 1993, he and his coworkers had stayed because they didn’t realize the severity of the situation. Read the entire NFPA Journal article (PDF).



A Study of Human Behavior During the World Trade Center Evacuation

Rita Fahy and Guylene Proulx, PhD
, March/April 1995
This NFPA and the National Research Council of Canada conducted a human behavior study on the World Trade Center bombing that occurred on February 26, 1993. 

 

September_october_cover_110x145A Decade of Difference
NFPA Journal, September/October 2011
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, NFPA launched a widespread effort to strengthen codes and standards for first responder safety, the built environment, emergency preparedness, and more. Ten years later, those efforts continue — and they’re making America safer. Note: this article includes a sidebar on some of the 9/11-related provisions that have entered NFPA’s codes and standards

 

NFPA offers safety tips about evacuating buildingsduring an emergency, including information about how high-rise evacuations differ from other buildings.

Lego
The NFPA kicked off its partnership with LEGOLAND California Resort this past Friday at the Carlsbad theme park. Last year, it became the official fire-safety partner of LEGOLAND Florida.

In celebration of Firefighter Appreciation Day, local firefighters and their families joined NFPA and LEGOLAND staff for a presentation of “The Big Test,” a show in which an acrobatic troupe engages in comedic attempts to become firefighters, while incorporating essential fire safety messages. The kid-friendly production reminded the audience to check their smoke alarms and practice a home fire escape drill.

Mural
During the week, visitors to the park helped put together A LEGO City Mural. The final mural bricks were added by a crew of firefighters from the Carlsbad Fire Department, revealing an image of LEGO first responders. The completed mural, which included over 80,000 LEGO bricks, will be featured in the resort’s Imagination Zone.

See the rest of the photos from the event in our Facebook album.

Light-emitting diodes (LED) are quickly becoming more efficient than the familiar incandescent light bulb or florescent tube. NFPA's Fred Durso had the chance to interview John Bullough, of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Lighting Research Center, on his upcoming presentation at SUPDET 2013.

Bullough has been looking into LEDs as emergency signaling lighting. Specifically, he’s been experimenting with the intensity of the light and the duration of the light bursts, and how those impact their effectiveness. To find out how LEDs can be applied in both emergency safety and everyday operations, watch the full interview below. 

 

Civilian Fire Deaths in Homes

A new report, by NFPA's Michael J. Karter, Jr., presents an analysis of the U.S. fire experience by region between 2007 and 2011.  The report includes patterns and trends in the fire problem by each of the four major regions of the U.S., including differences in relative risk and in leading ignition causes.

Among the findings of the report:

  • Numbers of fires per thousand populations for the 2007-2011 period show that the South and Midwest with 5.4 fires per thousand people had the highest overall rates for the five year period. 
  • The Midwest with 13.0 and South with 12.8 had the highest annual average fire death rates per million people for the 2007-2011 period.  The West had the lowest death rates for all five years. 
  • Dying in a home fire is 28% higher in the Midwest and 24% higher in the South than in the whole country.
  • The Midwest with 71.8 and the Northeast with 62.3 had the highest civilian injury rates per million people for the 2007-2011 period.

Read the entire report, available for free on NFPA's website.

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Chet Schirmer


*

Chet Schirmer, Chair of NFPA's Board of Directors from 1984-1986, passed away on February 19, 2013.


Mr. Schirmer had long and distinguished service with NFPA. He served on the Research Foundation’s Board of Trustees, including as Chair. He was awarded NFPA’s Standards Medal in 1992. He also was the donor of a legacy set of sprinkler-related test data that formed the basis for the former standard NFPA 231C (now part of NFPA 13), which resides in NFPA’s Charles S. Morgan Library.


Mr. Schirmer served on many NFPA Technical Committees including: Water Extinguishing Systems Correlating Committee (predecessor if the Automatic Sprinkler Systems Correlating Committee); Building Service & Fire Protection Equipment; Building Construction; Automatic Sprinkler Systems Correlating Committee; Residential Sprinkler Systems; Sprinkler System Discharge Criteria; Sprinkler System Installation Criteria; Fire Code Committee; Rack Storage; Exposure Fire Protection; Systems Concepts for Fire Protection In Structures; and  Environmental Technical Advisory Committee.


!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c36fecc6f970b-200wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c36fecc6f970b-200wi|alt=Chet Schirmer and Rolf Jensen, circa 1993.|style=width: 200px;|title=Chet Schirmer and Rolf Jensen, circa 1993.|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c36fecc6f970b!

Chet Schirmer and former NFPA board member Rolf Jensen at an NFPA event, circa 1993.



Memorial donations may be sent to either Habitat for Humanity of the NC Sandhills or The Tin Whistles Education and Research Foundation in honor of Chester W. Schirmer.


 

Do you have memories of Mr. Schirmer that you&#39;d like to share? You are welcome to leave any comments or more information in the comments section below.</p>

Last November, Fred Durso, staff writer for NFPA Journal, and Bob Finn, NFPA's multimedia manager, visited the site of the Station nightclub fire in West Warkwick, RI, to speak with fire survivor Robert Feeney. Here are some photos of their visit to the fire site.  

Station_nightclub_fire_anniversary1a

Station_nightclub_fire_anniversary3a

Station_nightclub_fire_anniversary2a

Station_nightclub_fire_anniversary8a


"The memories are just so vivid," said Mr. Feeney. "I’m looking around and I can picture the cars, everything that was here that night." Read more in NFPA Journal.

Windenergy_confined
Photo: www.OSHA.gov
http://www.nfpa.orgTypically we think of climbing down into tanks, vaults or manholes for confined space entries.  Most would not think of wind turbines as having confined spaces. 

Large enough to enter and perform work, restricted means of entry or egress and not designed for continuous human occupancy…. Wind turbines clearly have components that meet the definition of a confined space AND they have potential hazards. 

With the push towards green energy, wind turbine installations are increasing rapidly.  In 2012 wind energy became the number one new energy source, with over 45,000 wind turbine installations currently in the U.S., according to AWEA (American Wind Energy Association).    

 

Windenergy_pg
Photo: www.OSHA.gov
While green technology may be good for the environment, it is not without hazards to the workers who install and maintain the technology.   As OSHA indicates on their Green Job Hazards webpage, “Green jobs are not necessarily safe jobs”.

Hazards for workers in wind turbines include falls, electrical, mechanical, fire, and confined space hazards. Both OSHA and AWEA have pointed out the need for confined space training of wind turbine workers.   Confined spaces exist during construction and after installation of the turbines.  There are four main components that may be considered confined spaces; the tower (vertical support), the nacelle (the housing that contains the electrical components) the hub (hub attaches to nacelle) and the blades (attach to hub).  During construction of the turbine workers may need to enter sections of the tower, nacelle, hub or blades to finish seams, grind, paint, etc.    When fully installed, workers need to climb up the tower to reach the narrow, restricted spaces of the nacelle, hub and blades for maintenance, inspection and repairs.  Electrical hazards have been the source of a number of fatalities and fires in wind turbines within the confined spaces.   An electrical incident or spark that occurs in the nacelle can quickly engulf a worker whose only way to exit the space is to descend a several hundred foot ladder or to climb on the roof of the nacelle. Some nacelles are made with polystyrene type foam which is extremely flammable and adds to the fire risk.  Nitrogen used in the accumulator, off-gassing of construction materials, poor ventilation and sources such as decomposing birds or rodents, can create a hazardous atmosphere.  And if something goes wrong inside a wind turbine, the challenges to rescue are significant.     

The National Fire Protection Association is developing a Best Practices Document for confined space entry. This document will address gaps in existing standards and will be more prescriptive in describing things like how to identify potentially toxic atmospheres and select the proper gas monitor for entry and how to include the evaluation of adjacent spaces into your confined space entry program.    This is a document that is looking to go beyond the minimum standards and will provide those looking to develop a “gold star” confined space entry program with the information they need to do so.  Please email me at npearce@nfpa.org for further information and/or leave a comment below for discussion.  I look forward to hearing from you!

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the deadly blaze at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island. Illegal pyrotechnics during a concert were responsible for killing 100 people and injuring more than 200.


 

In case you missed it,  check out NFPA Journal&#39;s Q&amp;A with Station survivor Robert Feeney, where he discusses his miraculous escape from the blaze and his newfound mission to promote fire sprinklers. Also, watch the video of Feeney at the site of the fire:


http://news.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/2013/02/west-warwick-ri----cradling.htmlAs we approach the 10 year anniversary of The Station nightclub fire in West Warwick, RI, that killed 100 people, NFPA takes a look at how some local media outlets are covering this somber occasion.

Solemn crowd remembers Station fire victims, looks to build memorial
from the Providence Journal, February 17, 2013

 

Providence Journal
Gina Russo, a Station fire survivor, addresses the crowd during Sunday's Station fire service in West Warwick. Journal photo / Steve Szydlowski

Cradling fresh flowers in the bitter cold, hundreds of people gathered at the site of the Station nightclub Sunday afternoon fire to mark the 10th anniversary of the tragedy by remembering the lives lost and focusing on preserving the spot as a memorial.

"This is holy ground for us," said Rick Moreau, whose 21-year-old daughter, Leigh Ann, was among the 100 people who died in the Feb. 20, 2003 blaze.

Moreau and his wife, Jean, had traveled from their Connecticut home for the memorial service where Governor Chafee acknowledged that a decade has not dimmed the grief for many survivors or families of those who perished. Read entire article.

Finding life 10 years after the Station nightclub fire
from The Boston Globe, February 16, 2013
by Mark Arsenault and Eric Moskowitz

The cake is lush and bright and perfumes the room with the scent of lemon. “Happy Birthday Nicky,” it reads in baby-blue cursive.

Nick O’Neill’s family is gathered for his 28th birthday, in late January, at the home of his mother, Joanne, and father, Dave Kane. Cornbread and chicken are warming in chafing dishes. Nick’s 3-year-old nephew, Asher, darts among the mingling grown-ups, shouting “peek-a-boo!”

Nick died 10 years ago in The Station nightclub fire in West Warwick, R.I. But his parents still give him birthday parties. They speak to him every day as though he’s in the house, coming and going and very much alive. They detect messages from him on passing license plates, and in the flickering light in the dining room. It’s Nicky checking in, they say when the bulb inexplicably lights up. Read entire article.

Deadly Station Nightclub fire remembered 10 years later

from WCVB.com, Boston

At least 100 survivors and family members of the 100 people killed in a Rhode Island nightclub fire paid tribute to their loved ones Sunday on the 10th anniversary of the disaster.

During a 1 p.m. ceremony, the names of the dead were read aloud and Gov. Lincoln Chafee and former Gov. Don Carcieri made remarks.

"Being here brings it all back," Carcieri said.

Those who attended the service braved the bitter cold and snow, bringing flowers and balloons to decorate crosses representing each of the victims. People broke into tears as they embraced each other, many so overcome they were unable to speak. Read entire article.

For some local Station nightclub fire survivors, the scars won’t heal
From The Easton Journal, February 17, 2013

The scars on John Fairbairn’s body have faded during the 10 years since he suffered severe burns in the Station nightclub fire in West Warwick, R.I. But the emotional scars are still raw.

“It was ugly,” the 41-year said from the kitchen of his Brockton home. “You just felt that heat and you heard those screams.”

One hundred people died in the fire on Feb. 20, 2003, including nine with local ties. The club was packed that night for a show by the rock band Great White. Seconds into the show, on-stage fireworks ignited the walls and the club was engulfed in flames.

Fairbairn and his wife Andrea were among those who got out, but just barely. They were among the last people to be pulled from the pileup of bodies at the front door of the club as it burned to the ground. The couple has since separated. Read entire article.

Fire investigators say Station nightclub blaze turned deadly in seconds
from The Taunton Daily Gazette
February 16, 2013

People began to die within minutes after a fire started inside The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., on the night of Feb. 20, 2003.

The National Fire Protection Association of Quincy and the federal National Institute of Standards and Technology studied the fire that killed 100 and injured 200.

All the studies agree that the fire went from minor to deadly 2 minutes after it started. Five minutes after the start of the fire, it was a tragedy.

To establish a timeline, investigators relied on video recorded by a photographer from Channel 12 in Providence, who was doing a story with Jeff Derderian, one of the bar owners who was then a reporter at Channel 12. Derderian was at the bar to do a story on safety at nightclubs, officials say. Read entire article.

Photo Exhibit Highlights Nightclub Fire Tattoo Tributes
from Boston CBSLocal

A special photo exhibit is on display in Pawtucket, Rhode Island this weekend in honor of the 100 people who died in the Station Nightclub fire.

Ahead of the 10th anniversary of the February 20, 2003 fire, the Pawtucket Armory has been transformed into a memorial.

It features a photo exhibit of tribute tattoos that many victims’ family members had inked.

There are also 100 white butterflies hanging from the ceiling; each contains the name of one of the victims. Read entire article.

Four writers on the tragedy that disfigured Rhode Island
from The Boston Phoenix, February 13, 2013

It's been 10 years since fire tore through a roadhouse in West Warwick — killing 100, injuring 200 more, and singeing thousands of New Englanders whose mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and friends died inside The Station or never quite figured out how to live outside of it.

There are so many individual stories to tell — stories of heroism and suffering and failure. But the Phoenix decided to pull together four Rhode Islanders who could offer up a global view.

John Barylick, Gina Russo, Paul Lonardo, and Marilyn Bellemore all wrote books about The Station fire. And together, their work begins to answer some of the larger questions surrounding the club and the tragedy. Read entire article.

LNTBLevel1CoverOur Learn Not to Burn (LNTB) program has gotten another update, this time for teaching first grade students about fire safety basics.

While the preschool program remains, this slightly older-oriented version incorporates video in place of songs and includes six lesson plans. They address identifying and avoiding emergency situations, as well as how to react if they do occur.

LNTB Level 1 can be taught as an individual, short course, or combined with an existing language arts course. Teacher information, teaching points, objectives, materials and step-by-step plans for each lesson are built into the program. Since the lesson plans for each topic are written by certified classroom teachers, and meet many common core standards for language arts, they fit easily into the curriculum.

The multimedia component sparks the same enthusiasm for elementary school students that the music does for preschoolers, and kids tend to bring that energy home with them.

Like the original LNTB program, the update is meant to continue on into and benefit the students’ households. A letter with safety information, and a fire safety family activity, connects the home with what was learned in the classroom.

All six lessons are available for free at NFPA’s website. For more information about LNTB and other public safety initiatives, visit www.nfpa.org/education.

I used to (naively) believe that training was the only way to prevent workplace injuries and fatalities.  If I did a great job training workers on the hazards of a particular task and demonstrating and explaining how they could eliminate the risk of injury or fatality, I believed they would follow my advice.

However, after more than 25 years experience, I now understand that while training is important, it is not the complete panacea I was hoping for.   I could provide a great training session and get lots of positive feedback from those participating, only to observe unsafe procedures and unsafe work practices by these same employees several weeks or months later.  So more recently, I have been rethinking the chemistry/engineering aspect of worker safety and have been thinking that if I really wanted to impact worker health and safety, that perhaps  I should go back to school for a behavioral psychology degree!  I have come to realize that technical information and training alone does not prevent workers from taking risks. 

So imagine my excitement when I read an article recently on breaking the chain of fatalities and near misses in the “would-be rescuers” in confined space entry.   The article addresses the psychology behind those who rush in to confined spaces to rescue victims even after being trained not to do so.   The article is written by another confined space trainer who is apparently equally interested in figuring out the psychology behind the phenomenon of such risk takers.   The article in the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) journal the Synergistprovides references to several fascinating articles written by psychologists on how humans may be "hard wired" to be altruistic.  The articles indicate that humans derive pleasure from "heroic" acts that they perceive show compassion and empathy.   

So what do we do with this information?  The author recommends that as trainers we may need to point out and discuss the human behavior aspect to our students, explaining that this “impulse” may occur at the time of an emergency.  The student will have to remember that they are fighting a natural human response when the urge to rush in and save the individual who is down in the confined space kicks in.   The author also recommends reminding the student that the act of rushing in not only could make him/her the next victim, but it also may rob the current victim of an opportunity for a viable rescue.   

I encourage you to read the article!   If you have any other thoughts on how to prevent the “would-be rescuer” from jumping into a confined space I would love to hear your suggestions!  

The National Fire Protection Association is developing a Best Practices Document http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNum=350for confined space entry. This document will address gaps in existing standards and will be more prescriptive in describing things like how to identify potentially toxic atmospheres and select the proper gas monitor for entry and how to include the evaluation of adjacent spaces into your confined space entry program.    This is a document that is looking to go beyond the minimum standards and will provide those looking to develop a “gold star” confined space entry program with the information they need to do so.  Please email me at npearce@nfpa.org for further information and/or leave a comment below for discussion.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Many combustible materials are used today in commercial wall assemblies to improve energy performance, reduce water and air infiltration, and allow for aesthetic design flexibility. These assemblies include Exterior Insulation Finish Systems (EIFS), metal composite claddings, high-pressure laminates, and weather-resistive barriers (WRB). The combustibility of the assembly components directly impacts the fire hazard.  There have been a number of documented fire incidents involving combustible exterior walls, but a better understanding is needed of the specific scenarios leading to these incidents to inform current test methods and potential mitigating strategies. 

The Foundation has initiated a project with a goal to develop the technical basis for fire mitigation strategies for exterior fires exposing exterior combustible wall systems.  An RFP has been issued for the first phase of the work, which includes a review of incidents involving combustible exterior wall systems, compilation of relevant test methods and listing criteria, and development of fire scenarios and a testing approach for a Phase 2 evaluation.

Hydrant
Hingham firefighters said they wasted precious seconds digging out a hydrant at the scene of a raging fire that destroyed an East Street home yesterday morning. The hydrant closest to the burning home was still buried from the weekend’s blizzard when firefighters arrived, Fire Chief Mark Duff told the Boston Herald.

“It’s extremely critical this time of year, with the amount of snow on the ground, to get your hydrant shoveled out,” he said, “It would have helped us if we could have got to it a little quicker.”

The perilous delay drew the frustration of state Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan, who repeatedly has asked the public to dig out fire hydrants near their homes in the days after the blizzard.

Luckily, everyone was safe and this fire was able to be controlled, but this story serves as a great reminder to everyone to dig out all hydrants near your home!

The NFPA Standards Council will be meeting on March 6-7, 2013 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At this meeting, some of the topics the Council will address include:

Read the full Council agenda for further information.

The NFPA Standards Council is a 13-person committee appointed by the NFPA Board of Directors that oversees the Association's codes and standards development activities, administers the rules and regulations, and acts as an appeals body. The Council administers about 250 NFPA Technical Committees and their work on nearly 300 documents addressing topics of importance to the built environment.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) for NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code, is being published for public review and comment:

Anyone may submit a comment on this proposed TIA by the April 1, 2013 closing date. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.

Jobs
Do you want to make a difference? We have an ideal opportunity for a Project Coordinator to join our International Operations team at NFPA headquarters in Quincy, MA! The candidate will perform department project management activities and provide specialized administrative support requiring thorough knowledge of association policies and procedures. They will also interface with senior management and external constituents. 

Principle responsibilities include; serving as the administrative liaison to the international offices, spearheading regular communication to support program needs, and working in conjunction with the Manager of Global Communications to collect, create and maintain content for NFPA's international sites, among other duties. 

For the full list of responsibilities and job requirements, and to apply, please visit NFPA's careers website. 


!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017ee85500ec970d-800wi|border=0|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017ee85500ec970d-800wi|alt=GeneratorSafety(1)|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=GeneratorSafety(1)|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017ee85500ec970d!A big snowstorm is barrelling down on the East Coast...downed utility lines, power company blackouts, and heavy snow can all lead to power outages. Many people turn to a portable generator for a temporary solution without knowing the risks.&#0160;
    • Generators should be operated in well ventilated locations outdoors away from all doors, windows and vent openings.

    • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.

    • Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building.

    • Make sure to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for correct placement and mounting height.

    • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is running.

    • Store fuel for the generator in a container that is intended for the purpose and is correctly labeled as such. Store the containers outside of living areas.


[Learn more, download NFPA's free safety tip sheet on using generators safely | http://www.nfpa.org/categoryList.asp?categoryID=1383&URL=Safety%20Information/For%20consumers/Causes/Portable%20generators].

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017d40d23d48970c-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017d40d23d48970c-320wi|alt=Heating tips|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Heating tips|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017d40d23d48970c!On my way home from NFPA&#39;s offices yesterday, I nearly dropped my smart phone while reading an email from my landlord, titled &quot;fire safety&quot;:


+Almost every day I see a house fire on the news due to improper use of
extension cords and/or space heaters. Most of these homes did not have
working smoke & fire detectors.
+


+Please be careful
with space heaters and fireplaces, and do not overload electrical
circuits. Also, check your smoke detectors to make sure they are
working, if not, let me know.

Thanks and please be safe,<br />David+

<br />

To say I was floored by David&#39;s email is an understatement. I&#39;ve had many landlords in my time, but David is the only one who has gone out of his way to express concern for my safety (hence the reason for my astonishment, and nearly destroying my phone). Due to my line of work, I might be aware of the safety precautions David mentions, but I know others aren&#39;t. Spreading the fire safety message doesn&#39;t have to be a complex task. In David&#39;s case, a simple email is all it took to remind me of simple steps I can take to prevent a tragedy from occurring. Don&#39;t forget to utilize NFPA&#39;s safety information  on all of the topics David mentions, including space heater safety , electrical safety,  and
smoke alarm tidbits.<br />


Kudos, David, for spreading the fire safety message (and for that new dishwasher you just installed).

 

Jobs

Do you want to make a difference? NFPA has an ideal opportunity for an Emergency Services Specialist to provide staff liaison support to technical committees and provide technical support and advisory services on subjects related to the emergency services and emergency management, including fire protection, fire investigation, emergency responders safety and occupations health, emergency medical services, and fire science education.

In addition, the person in this position would participate in research and analysis projects related to fire investigation and fire service occupational health and safety. This position is based at NFPA headquarters in Quincy, MA. 

Principal responsibilities and job requirements can be found on the NFPA careers website

Interested? Apply today!

Raymond O'Brocki, former fire marshal of the Baltimore Fire Department, was recently interviewed on National Public Radio's (NPR) "Talk of the Nation" about the recent Brazil nightclub fire and how conditions at this venue  eerily matched safety shortfalls that contributed to some of the  deadliest blazes in U.S. history.

Happy Land Social Club
The Happy Land Social Club, pictured after a deadly blaze killed 87 people in 1990. New York City officials said the club was operating illegally and had no sprinklers, fire exits, emergency lights, or exit signs.

"The Coconut  Grove, Happy Land Social Club, The Station...and even the Iroquois Theater fire back in Chicago in 1903," he says.  "There are such recurring themes over and over and over again with these  fires; lack of egress, overcrowding, combustible wall coverings, a lack  of a notification, a crowd that doesn't know where the exits are, exits  that are locked and blocked. Codes aren't the problem--code enforcement is the problem." 

What has worked in O'Brocki's jurisdiction are spot checks at venues on nights and weekends, "bolstering up forces" on days bars and clubs are notoriously crowded, and developing business allies that pinpoint irresponsible club owners. During the program, O'Brocki even fields a call from the mother of a Station nightclub victim.

Listen to the segment, and review NFPA's extensive safety information on nightclubs and assembly occupancies.

Total evacuation systemsEnrico Ronchi and Daniel Nilsson of Lund University in Sweden recently authored a new report now available on the Fire Protection Research Foundation website. The report is titled, "Total Evacuation Systems for Tall Buildings."

Building evacuation strategies are a critical element in high rise building fire safety. Research to date has focused on elevators and exit stairs; however, there is a need to apply this research to relocation and evacuation systems which may include combinations of these two exit strategies as well as new egress components such as sky bridges for tall buildings. Accordingly, the Fire Protection Research Foundation initiated this project with the objective to study possible improvements to life safety of tall buildings through an investigation of occupant relocation and evacuation strategies involving the use of exit stairs, elevators, sky bridges and combinations thereof. The study consists of a review and compilation of existing information on this topic as well as the conduct of case study simulations of a multi component exit strategy.

This review provides the architectural design, regulatory, and research communities with a more thorough understanding of the current and emerging evacuation procedures and possible future options.

A literature review from this research project is also available. 

The Annual 2013 Report on Comments (ROC) for 20 NFPA documents are now available. Some of the proposed NFPA documents addressed in the Report on Comments include:

  • NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems
  • NFPA 56(PS), Standard for Fire and Explosion Prevention During Cleaning and Purging of Flammable Gas Piping Systems
  • NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code
  • NFPA 96, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations
  • NFPA 130, Standard for Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems
  • NFPA 306, Standard for the Control of Gas Hazards on Vessels 
  • NFPA 412, Standard for Evaluating Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Foam Equipment
  • NFPA 610, Guide for Emergency and Safety Operations at Motorsports Venues
  • NFPA 1002, Standard for Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1123, Code for Fireworks Display
  • NFPA 1143, Standard for Wildland Fire Management

See the full list of NFPA documents in the 2013 annual revision cycle.

The deadline to submit a notice of intent to make a motion on any of these documents is April 5, 2013. Download a NITMAM form (doc, 34 KB).

Gas monitoring with proper equipment is probably the number one most important step you can take to protect against confined space fatalities. But selecting the right gas monitor for entry is not without its challenges.   Gas monitoring for confined space entry can be straightforward or it can be complicated, depending on the type of space being entered and the work that will be performed.  All gas monitoring for confined space entry must include tests for both oxygen (%) and flammables (% LEL).   Beyond these two tests, it is up to the employer to determine what other toxic gas monitoring needs be done.    A typical four gas meter will include carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide as the additional toxic gases.  But confined space entry is not a “one size fits all” type of operation.  If you simply use the “standard” four gas meter, and do not carefully consider the need for monitoring other potentially toxic gases that may be present, you may not obtain the results you need to determine if the space is safe for entry.  The error could lead to catastrophic results.

All toxic gases that are likely to be in the space should be identified prior to entry.  But determining what these toxic gases may be requires some detective work.  Not only do you need to know what was in the space previously, but you also need to know what toxic gases may be of concern as a result of the work that will be done in the space.   Reactions between materials and byproducts further complicates the identification. If there is decaying material in the bottom of the tank, you may need to evaluate byproducts of the decay such as hydrogen sulfide.  If there were chemicals previously stored in the tank, the vapors may not be released initially, however residual vapor pockets in the bottom of the tank may release trapped vapors when stirred up during entry or cleaning.   Work such as welding on stainless steel can lead to exposures to hexavalent chromium and nickel, both carcinogenic agents.  All potential sources of atmospheric hazards must be considered and then evaluated using a careful selected monitoring device.   

If available, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs or SDSs) on products previously stored in a confined space can provide useful information on toxicity, flammability, reactivity and decomposition products.   Material Safety Data Sheets can also be reviewed for all materials that will be brought INTO the space such as cleaning chemicals or welding gases. Chemical ingredients that are listed on the MSDS and have OSHA or other recognized exposure limits must be tested and compared to these limits.  Direct reading sensors that can be incorporated into the gas monitor may not be commercially available for all contaminants that you need to evaluate.   Other test methods such as photoionization detectors or colorimetric detector tubes may be needed to screen for the presence of these toxic materials.   Photoionization detectors can provide generic information on the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) however they can only be used as a sort of screening tool for the presence of VOCs unless you know exactly what contaminant you are measuring.    Detector tubes that change color in proportion to the air contaminant concentration can also be used.  Detector tubes are not particularly accurate (+/-25 % error is typical) but can provide some initial screening for the presence of a particular toxic material and an estimate of the amount present. 

A comprehensive identification of the toxic materials expected to be present in a confined space, and then selection of the proper gas monitor by a qualified individual, is necessary to insure that the proper atmospheric tests have been done prior to and during entry.  However, there are some contaminants that cannot be easily evaluated by gas monitoring of any type.   Properly placed continuous ventilation can provide dilution of all contaminants within a confined space.  It is critical that entrants are always attached to non-entry rescue equipment and are wearing breathing air while entering a confined space where there may be unknown or “unmeasured” toxic atmospheres.  

The National Fire Protection Association is developing aBest Practices document for confined space entry. This document will address gaps in existing standards and will be more prescriptive in describing things like how to identify potentially toxic atmospheres and select the proper gas monitor for entry.    This is a document that is looking to go beyond the minimum standards and will provide those looking to develop a “gold star” confined space entry program with the information they need to do so.  If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in this type of document related to gas monitoring or other issues you think should be included in a best practices document,  please email me at npearce@nfpa.org and/or leave a comment below for discussion.  I look forward to hearing from you!

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017744b45d15970d-450wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017744b45d15970d-450wi|alt=NFPA_Fire_Sprinkler_Initiative_Northbridge|style=width: 450px; margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;|title=NFPA_Fire_Sprinkler_Initiative_Northbridge|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017744b45d15970d!Amy and Christopher Murray of Northbridge, Mass. hosted an open house in* *conjunction with the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) and the Northbridge Fire Department to give tours of their new home and point out one of its most important and necessary safety features – home fire sprinklers. More than 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in homes.


According to Amy Murray, the addition of home fire sprinklers gives her much needed peace of mind because their nine-year-old sons live with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy which would make it difficult for them and their family to escape a home fire.  



Amy and Christopher Murray spoke to a group of community members, fire service, contractors and others gathered outside of their home for the event to highlight the significance of what having fire sprinklers installed means to them and thank everyone for making it possible. [Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan | http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dfs/], a strong advocate for changing the Massachusetts state building code to require home fire sprinklers in newly constructed homes throughout the state spoke, as did Northbridge Fire Chief Gary Nestor, the National Fire Protection Association’s Tim Travers who also spoke on behalf of HFSC, and others.


Students from the Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School helped build the home. Home fire sprinklers were donated by Viking Supply Net., Vixen Fire Protection Service and Scott Henderson, FPE donated the design, and Sprinklerfitters UA Local 669 and 550 installed the system. 


 

Read the Milford Daily News coverage of this event.


 

A new Fire Protection Research Foundation report has been published, titled "Total Evacuation Systems For Tall Buildings: Literature Review." The report was authored by Enrico Ronchi and Daniel Nilsson of Lund University in Sweden.

Sky bridgeBuilding evacuation strategies are a critical element in high rise building fire safety. Research to date has focused on elevators and exit stairs; however, there is a need to apply this research to relocation and evacuation systems which may include combinations of these two exit strategies as well as new egress components such as sky bridges for tall buildings.

Accordingly, the Fire Protection Research Foundation initiated this project with the objective to study possible improvements to life safety of tall buildings through an investigation of occupant relocation and evacuation strategies involving the use of exit stairs, elevators, sky bridges and combinations thereof. The study consists of a review and compilation of existing information on this topic as well as the conduct of case study simulations of a multi component exit strategy. This review provides the architectural design, regulatory, and research communities with a more thorough understanding of the current and emerging evacuation procedures and possible future options. This report documents the literature review that was undertaken for the project.

Every year at NFPA's Conference and Expo, there are plenty of opportunities to learn more about what's going on within the NFPA sprinkler project. The 2013 C&E in Chicago will be no different. There will be apre-conference seminar on NFPA 13 as well as NFPA 25, for those who would like to have a step-by-step walk-through of the respective standards. There will also be a post-conference Seminar on NFPA 25. These pre-and post-con seminars are also a great way to get the latest and greatest information in those standards if you have not had a refresher on the information that is in the standards lately. In addition to the full day seminars, there will also be many educational educational sessions provided midweek as part of the conference. Sessions will include the NFPA 25 2014 edition update, NFPA 13 sprinkler omission rules explained, test late recent test information unexposed expanded group a plastics and a review of the changes made to NFPA 13 RMD in the 2013 addition.

This is a great opportunity for four members of the sprinkler industry to hone in on their craft, whether a sprinkler designer, insurance representative or HJ, all of these Ed sessions and seminars will provide important information to help you get the job done.… And I hear the deep dish pizza in Chicago is pretty good too.

Reflecting on the tragic nightclub fire in Brazil earlier this week that claimed the lives of more than 230 individuals when a flare ignited soundproofing on the ceiling, NFPA President Jim Shannon talked about the need  to have sprinklers in all public assembly occupancies. Shannon called the Brazil scenario heartbreaking saying that what makes it heartbreaking is that it can be avoided with adherence to codes including the use of sprinklers.

 

Shannon also talked about the ways patrons can play a role in their own safety by being aware of their surroundings -- knowing where the exits are, checking for sprinklers and smoke alarms.

 

Learn more about fire safety and staying safe at nightclubs on our website:  http://www.nfpa.org/nightclub

NFPA 13, The Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, along with the other sprinkler installation standards, NFPA 13R, NFPA 13 D, NFPA 24, and NFPA 291 are currently open for public input. Public input is the term now used at NFPA to address a code change proposal to a technical document.

Submitting public input can be done in three easy steps.

1)Log in to the document information page of the standar NFPA13-13 Code Cover Frontd you would like to submit public input too. (for NFPA 13 use www.nfpa.org/13).

2)Find the code section you would like to modify and enter your changes in the text editor.

3)Provide a substantiation for your proposed change to the standard and click submit.

Once you have completed those three steps your proposed change will be sent to the  technical committee responsible for the section of the standard you would like to change. Your public input will be reviewed and acted upon at the First Draft meeting this summer.

It is important to remember that NFPA 13 and its associated  documents have a modified public input closing date of May 31. That means that all changes proposed changes to NFPA 13 and the other sprinkler design and installation standards must be submitted online through the new online submission process by that date.

We look forward to reviewing your proposed changes and look forward to another exciting cycle for the NFPA 13 committees.

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