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Free reference card compares NFPA 704.jpgWhen OSHA announced last year that it was updating its Hazard Communication Standard to include the adoption of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, many companies and emergency responders asked “How will this impact NFPA 704”?  NFPA 704, Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response, uses a combination of color coding and numbers to describe a hazard’s severity, and provides a simple, readily recognized, and easily understood label to assist those who are responding to an emergency such as a fire or spill. OSHA’s revised Standard, known as Hazard Communication 2012 or HC2012, is a workplace chemical information system established primarily to provide information and safe work practices for those working with chemicals on a routine basis through the use of labels, Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and training. 


The concern is that the HC2012 standard incorporates a numerical rating system that appears to be similar to NFPA 704 rating system, however the severity rating on the two standards are inverted.   NFPA 704 uses a numerical of 0-4 with 4 indicating themost severe hazard.   Hazard Communication 2012 uses a numerical rating system for classification of chemicals between 1-4 with a 4 rating indicating the least severehazard.  The inverse numerical rating between the two systems is primarily what creates the concern.


To address this concern, NFPA has been working with OSHA over the past year to promote awareness of the differences between the two systems. It should be noted that OSHA does not necessarily see a conflict between HCS and NFPA 704.  OSHA has indicated that the GHS numbers are not relative ratings of hazards but are used for the purpose of classifying hazards into categories for proper labeling and training information. The numbers for GHS will be placed on the SDS but are not required to be on labels. 


Recently OSHA and NFPA worked together to develop a “Quick Card” showing the differences between the two systems. The Quick card can be found on the NFPA Document information page for NFPA 704  at the bottom of the page under “Additional Information”. Or you may go directly to the Quick Card.   The card can be downloaded and laminated as a two sided document that can be used for easy field reference.    


The NFPA Technical Committee on Classification will continue to assess the impact of GHS incorporation into OSHA’s HC2012 standard.  In the meantime, there is no immediate plan to change the existing NFPA 704 system.   The Committee recognizes that the NFPA 704 consensus standard has been protecting emergency responders, employees, and the public for over 50 years and any changes would need to be carefully considered.   For updates on NFPA 704 it is recommended that you sign up for email alerts on the top of the document information page for NFPA 704.

We welcome your comments on the Quick Card!    


The marketplace offers an array of technologies designed to mitigate cooking fires, considered the leading cause of home structure fires and associated injuries in the U.S., per an NFPA report. Despite the options, a number of factors have prevented widespread implementation of these devices in U.S. households.


Placing this issue on the figurative front burner, researchers have begun a series of analyses seen as the first step in bolstering the use of these technologies. The Fire Protection Research Foundation, for example, is overseeing testing aimed at eventually producing standardized fire scenarios and performance test methods for cooking-fire mitigation technologies. Underwriters Laboratories, Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are conducting similar research.


"Important parts of the fire world are focusing on cooking fires in order to limit them," EKU researcher Corey Hanks told +NFPA Journal+ in a recent feature story highlighting the new research. "Finally, we're seeing more of a push."


Get the full story in the July/August issue of +Journal,+ and watch the following video of Dan Gottuck from Hughes Associates talking about the Research Foundation study:

A_BubblesMaking bubbles is one of the more simple and fun ways to spend a warm sunny afternoon. They work well on a grassy lawn, outside on the steps, under the shade of a tree, and even in the kitchen.

When it comes to kids, bubbles have everything going for them; they fascinate, they float, have rainbow colors, and require some skill to blow a good bubble. They can be treated as a scientific experiment or as a past time. Best of all, they are inexpensive to make.  Bubbles are, indeed, the perfect boredom buster for a summer day. 

Alone or with a group of friends, they are sure to entertain. Don’t underestimate the power of a little liquid soap to occupy your kids. Even dogs, like Sparky, like to chase after the bubbles: tremendous fun for everyone!

By NFPA's April Briggs


!|src=|alt=Jon Hart|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Jon Hart|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01901e4e984b970b!Thank you to all NFPA members who registered and participated in the June NFPA Office
, featuring Jonathan Hart , NFPA Fire Protection Engineer, and Rich
Bielen, NFPA Division Manager, Fire Protection Systems, where they presented a
recap of the NFPA 99 Health Care Facilities session from the recent NFPA
Conference & Expo. 

As an
additional membership benefit, Jonathan Hart will be on Reddit: "Ask
Me Anything"
on July 18th from 3:00-3:45 PM EST to answer any
questions you may not have had the chance to ask during the original June 28th
Office Hours.

If you have questions on the NFPA 99 code or
if you are you confused on how to utilize a risk based approach to determine if
your operating room is a wet procedure location please join Jon on Reddit.

Please create a Reddit

account prior to the Q&A. Hope to see you on Reddit!

F1_280x180x.ashxHow do you protect a Formula One racetrack in the event of an emergency? That was the question facing Hershel Lee, fire marshal of Travis County, Texas, when the new Circuit of the Americas, began construction outside Austin in 2011. In his article "Loud and Clear" in the most recent issue of NFPA Journal, Scott Sutherland describes how a mass notification system that can a communicate with as many as 150,000 people across a sprawling racetrack complex became part of the United States' first purpose-built Formula One track. To find out how it was done, turn to page 42 of the July/August issus of NFPA Journal or read the article online.

What do we really mean when we talk about the wildland/urban interface (WUI)? That’s the question Molly Mowery poses in her latest Wildfire Watch column in the July/August 2013 issue of NFPA Journal. Turns out, not only can the “definition” of a wildland/urban interface area vary broadly across the country, but WUI conditions can vary greatly as well.

Read Molly’s column to learn how NFPA actually defines the WUI, and what these different WUI communities across the U.S. are doing to address their wildfire risk.

by NFPA's LisaMarie Sinatra

EV Fire Suppression
A new report has just been published by the Fire Protection Research Foundation titled, “Best Practices for Emergency Response to Incidents Involving Electric Vehicles Battery Hazards: A Report on Full-Scale Testing Results.” This report was authored by R. Thomas Long Jr., Andrew F. Blum, Thomas J. Bress, and Benjamin R.T. Cotts with Exponent, Inc.

Fires involving cars, trucks and other highway vehicles are a common concern for emergency responders. Fire Service personnel are accustomed to responding to conventional vehicle fires, and generally receive training on the hazards associated with vehicle subsystems (e.g., air bag initiators, seat belt pre-tensioners, etc). For vehicle fires, and in particular fires involving electric drive vehicles, a key question for emergency responders is: “what is different with electric drive vehicles and what tactical adjustments are required?”

The overall goal of this project was to conduct a research program to develop the technical basis for best practices for emergency response procedures for electric drive vehicle battery incidents, with consideration for certain details including: suppression methods and agents; personal protective equipment (PPE); and clean-up/overhaul operations. A key component of this project goal was to conduct full-scale testing of large format Li-ion batteries used in these vehicles. This report summarizes these tests, and includes discussion on the key findings relating to best practices for emergency response procedures for electric drive vehicle battery incidents.

This report, like all Foundation reports, is free to download in full. 

By NFPA's Lauren Backstrom

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