Lauren Backstrom

The September 11, 2001 impact on the NFPA codes & standards family

Blog Post created by Lauren Backstrom Employee on Sep 11, 2013

In recognition of today's anniversary, we wanted to share this excerpt from the report provided to the NFPA Board of Directors at their meeting in November, 2001, clarifying how the NFPA family was directly affected at that time by the events of September 11, 2001. 

September 11Apart from the normal processing activities, the Council also wishes to advise the Board of Directors as to how the tragic terrorist events of 11 September 2001 directly impacted the NFPA codes and standards writing process. Indirectly, we have all been impacted, and NFPA Technical Committees are no different, especially in terms of travel and other handicaps that we must all now live with. But the NFPA Technical Committee family has indeed been directly affected by the events of 11 September, and NFPA Codes and Standards Administration is continually updating this information as recovery efforts proceed.

First, it appears at this time that no NFPA Technical Committee members lost their lives as a result of being onboard any of the four aircraft that had crashed. With respect to the crash into the Pentagon, NFPA Technical Committees have an appreciable number of participants from the Department of Defense, and fortunately, we have not received any information of any of these individuals being lost at the Pentagon. NFPA Technical Committee members were involved with the response to the Pentagon, but as is somewhat well-known, no fatalities occurred among the emergency responders at that site.

We have not been as fortunate with the disaster at the World Trade Center. To start with, we have 6 active Technical Committee members whose offices were in the World Trade Towers, and 12 active Technical Committee members with the New York City Fire Department. Further, we have other active Technical Committee members who were at “ground zero” on 11 September, but are more difficult to track because their NFPA Technical Committee representation does not imply that they may have been on scene.

At this time, we appear to have directly lost the following three active Technical Committee members:

  • Chief John Fanning, FDNY, TC on Haz Mat Response Personnel, & TC on Haz Mat Prot Clothing & Equip
  • Salvatore Gitto, Marsh USA, Inc., TC on General Storage
  • George Howard, Nassau County Fire Academy, TC on Technical Rescue (NYNJ Port Authority Police)

Several points of information are worth highlighting. Be advised that it was George Howard’s badge (TC on Technical Rescue) that was held aloft by President Bush during the speech to Congress immediately following the event. Also, we have been informed of at least one individual who could have been at the World Trade Center that day, but was traveling on NFPA Technical Committee related business and thus spared. Finally, of the various Technical Committees that cancelled or postponed meetings due to travel difficulties immediately after the event, the TC on Technical Rescue cancelled their meeting because a significant number of committee members were unavailable due to their response to each site with their respective FEMA Urban Search and Rescue teams.

In addition, we also have Technical Committee members who have lost an immediate family member, but this has been quite difficult to track. Perhaps most noteworthy in this regard for the NFPA Board of Directors is Chris Cappers of Marsh USA, the son of recent former Board member Murray Cappers, who we regret to report is listed as “missing”.

-Casey Grant