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Five women were tragically killed Saturday evening in a limousine fire that happened on a bridge above the San Francisco Bay, according to news reports.  The limo passengers were a bride-to-be and her friends out for a bachelorette party to celebrate an upcoming wedding. We have had many people reach out to us today for information on automobile fires. Does this incident leave you wondering about how often automobile fires happen and how many people die because of them?  


NFPA’s Fire Analysis & Research Division tracks vehicle fire statistics and estimates that on average, 17 automobile fires were reported per hour and these fires killed an average of four people every week in 2006-2010.  During the same period, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 152,300 automobile fires per year in 2006-2010. These fires caused an average of 209 civilian deaths, 764 civilian injuries, and $536 million in direct property damage. The top causal factor in automobile fires was “mechanical failure or malfunction” at 45 percent and leading the list for automobile fire deaths was “collision or overturn” at 60 percent.

Do you know what steps you can take to prevent a car fire or what to do if your car is on fire?  Visit to check out our tip sheet and find out.  

Have you experienced a car fire? 

Smoke AlarmFrom 1980 to 2009, the number of fire department emergency responses more than doubled, from 10.8 million to 26.5 million, primarily driven by the more than tripling of medical aid calls, from 5.0 million in 1980 to 17.1 million in 2009. Fire department budgets have not kept pace with this rising volume of workload, and particularly in recent years, there has been increased concern about the cost of unnecessary responses. From 1980 to 2009, the number of emergency responses to fires fell by more than half, from 3.0 million to 1.3 million, and the number of emergency responses for fires or mutual aid fell by about one-fifth, but emergency responses to “false” alarms more than doubled, from 0.9 million to 2.2 million. The unwanted alarm issue changed over the past third of a century from a problem of malicious false alarms to an issue of non-fire activations of automatic detection and alarm systems.

From the point of view of the fire department, a response to a condition that does not need fire department action in order to avoid loss is both a waste of resources and a needless risk of injury during the response. Response to unwanted alarms is an issue that is receiving increasing attention at the community level. 

This project was initiated by the Fire Protection Research Foundation to develop and implement a tool that can be used at the community level to assess risk, sand cost/benefit of strategies to reduce these risks, including appropriate emergency response protocols, enforcement of inspection and maintenance requirements, community education, etc. The goal of this project was to develop a practical, model-based tool that can be used by local fire departments with local data (to the extent possible) when deciding among courses of action to deal with unwanted alarms. The tool uses a generic model, combined with local data when available and national data when necessary, to estimate costs, fire losses and other impacts of strategies. 

Three reports were produced for this project. The first is a literature review, Development of a Risk-Based Decision Support Tool to Assist Fire Departments in Managing Unwanted Alarms, the second, Development of a Risk-Based Decision Support Tool to Assist Fire Departments in Managing Unwanted Alarms, is a report that describes the tool and the underlying model that estimates costs, losses and other impacts for alternative strategies. It includes national data needed for calculating fire losses under alternate strategies. A third report, Development of a Risk-Based Decision Support Tool to Assist Fire Departments in Managing Unwanted Alarms, details a local data form that was also developed to collect data for use in the tool.

If you are interested in exploring the application of this methodology in your community, please contact the Foundation for more information. 


National EMS Weekkicks off on Sunday, May 19. This week honors the men and women who deliver pre-hospital 9-1-1 emergency medical care throughout the United States. The role of pre-hospital care falls to these fire department-based emergency responders, among them those who serve the dual positions of firefighter/EMTs and firefighter/paramedics.

The Fire Service-Based EMS Advocates coalition- Congressional Fire Services Institute, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Fighters, National Fire Protection Association, and National Volunteer Fire Council- recognizes the week as a time to pause and say “thank you” to the entire EMS Community, our nation’s ‘all hazards’ response professionals.


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The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) chose “Reducing Residential Arson,” as the theme for the 2013 Arson Awareness Week (AAW) which got kicked off yesterday, May 5th.  

USFA and its partners will use the week of May 5-11 to focus public attention on residential arson and provide communities with tools to reduce the incidence of this crime. The goal for this year’s Arson Awareness Week is to provide all residents with strategies to combat arson in their neighborhoods.


The topic of arson if a very timely and important one. As detailed in a recent Fire Service Today blog post, recent research showed that April of 2013 saw a spike in the number of arson fires. 

Here are some of the resources and information provided by USFA to help you learn more:

NFPA also has several research reports, stats and even a free presentation, “[Preventing Arson Together |]” available as resources on this important subject. 

As NFPA continues to move forward with implementation of the Standards Development Process, many of the new benefits of online submission process continue to take hold.  When Public Input/Comments are submitted online the proposed changes are integrated in-line on the draft document.  Once the closing date has passed online submissions allow the Committee Members to see all of the proposed changes integrated into one complete document virtually immediately, maximize the amount of time each Committee Member has to review all of the proposed changes and prepare for any upcoming committee meeting.  However, while we want to provide as much extra time as possible to our Committee Members, we also want to consider the needs of those who still want to submit their Public Input/Comments on the “paper forms” via e-mail, fax or mail.  Beginning with the Fall 2014 submittals of Public Comments, we have implemented an earlier closing date for “paper submissions” of Public Input/Comments.  The earlier closing date will allow the necessary time to key and proof any proposed change to ensure the changes are presented for Committee consideration at the same time as the changes submitted online. 

Paper Submission Closing Dates.  The closing date for paper submissions, (this includes forms sent via e-mail, fax or mail), for the Fall 2014 comments will be October 11, 2013 and the closing date for the electronic submission system will be  November 15, 2013.  All revised schedules can be located on the respective document information page or

Please be advised, that it is anticipated that in the future, “paper submissions” will not be accepted so please take this opportunity to try out the new system – we think you’ll really like it!  As always we are here to help you participate in the NFPA process.  If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at 617-984-7240 or via email at .

For additional information on NFPA Standards Development Process, please visit NFPA’s website at

Recent events, such as the Carbide Industries explosion in Louisville, Kentucky in March of 2011, have raised questions regarding the technical basis for the separation distances between hazardous storage/processes and occupied areas in NFPA standards, many of which have an historical basis. Guidance which may inform a sound technical basis for adjusting these distances has been requested by NFPA Technical Committees and the Foundation has initiated a project to develop this guidance.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) for NFPA 2112, Standard on Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire, is being published for public review and comment:

Anyone may submit a comment on this proposed TIA by the June 14, 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.


NFPA's Association Technical Meeting will begin at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, June 12 and will continue on Thursday, June 13. Only NFPA members of record as of December 14, 2012 who are currently in good standing are eligible to vote, and must have either a full conference registration or an Association Technical Meeting registration.

Wednesday, June 12
Starting at 2:00 PM

Thursday, June 13
Starting at 8:00 AM

Read more about the Association Technical Meeting in Chicago, including the Fall 2013 and Annual 2013 Motions Committee Reports, which includes the list of Consent Documents in these cycles that received no "Notice of Intent to Make a Motion" (NITMAM) or were forwarded directly to the Standards Council for issuance.

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