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2CC21DCBEC4C41FFB0FFFB1A5C7FC3F6In their farewell column, Russ Sanders and Ben Klaene discuss the enormous impact NFPA standards have on firefighter safety and efficiency, addressing as they do staffing, risk management, fire apparatus, equipment, training, fire suppression systems, water supplies, and nearly every other aspect of fire department operations. It is imperative that fire officers understand tactics and strategy, but it is also important that they understand how much standards have facilitated the improvement in firefighter safety. Read what Russ and Ben have to say in their column "Not by Tactics Alone" in the Novbember/December issue of NFPA Journal.

Not everyone has the time and ability to travel to a multi-day training seminar. That's why we're so excited to announce its first 2014 National Electrical Code® (NEC®) Pay-Per-View Training Seminar.

This 1-day virtual training seminar will take place in Quincy MA, on Wednesday, December 18, as well as being broadcasted LIVE around the world. Whether you decide to attend in person, or from the comfort of your computer screen, this seminar will be completely interactive. In addition to direct access to the experts who develop, know and teach the Code, you will learn how to use the Code to locate, interpret, and apply requirements. The NEC experts will discuss changes in the 2014 NEC and much more!

Virtual as well as in-person attendees will receive .8 CEUs as well as a PDF of the NEC Handbook (a $162 value). Learn more and sign-up today for this unique pay-per-view NEC event.


On the 70th anniversary (in 2012) of the Cocoanut Grove fire, three survivors told their stories to NFPA Journal®. Ann Gallagher was a 16-year-old girl from NH who was in Boston with her family. Marshall Cole, another 16-year-old, was employed at the popular nightclub as a dancer.  He has vivid memories of escaping the fire. Dr. Saul Davis, interviewed in 2007, also gives a harrowing account of the fire that claimed the lives of so many.


Read more about the Coconut Grove fire and see a special website established to capture the history of this fire.</p>

Fire safe cigarettesPassed every five years or so, the U.S. Farm Bill governs the country's food supply. The House version of the latest bill is worrying fire safety advocates, since it includes language forbidding state or local governments from imposing a "standard or condition on the production or manufacturer of any agricultural product [produced in another state and] sold ... in interstate commerce."

What this means for cigarettes--an agricultural product, since it contains tobacco--is that if one state repeals or loosens its fire-safe cigarette laws, these cigarettes could be legally sold elsewhere. Gregory Cade, NFPA's division director of Government Affairs, outlines this potential dilemma in the new issue of NFPA Journal. He also highlights NFPA's role with the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, which aided the passage of fire-safe cigarette regulations in all 50 states. 

"NFPA has joined other fire safety organizations to express our concern ... that this bill may negatively impact fire safety," says Cade. Read the rest in the November/December issue of Journal.   

This new infographic, developed by NFPA and USFA, details many important safety tips related to winter holiday safety, as part of the joint Put a Freeze on Winter Fires initiative. Take a look and share with your friends and family to keep this holiday season safe. 

Winter Holiday fires infographic

Cocoanut Grove
Time has not dulled the pain Walter Zenkin, Jr. experiences whenever he’s reminded of the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire.

At 82, Zenkin somberly, and vividly, recalls listening to the radio on November 28, 1942, when news of a raging fire at the establishment located in Boston’s Bay Village neighborhood was first broadcast. He knew that his mother, Mary, was at the popular spot that night, and Zenkin, only 12 years old at the time, couldn’t hold back his tears as additional news reports brought further details about the tragedy. His worst fear was realized: His mother was one of the 492 people who would die as a result of the fire. He agreed, then later declined, to accompany his father, Walter Sr., to the morgue to identify his mother’s body, which was burned beyond recognition save for the wedding ring on her finger.

Read more from NFPA Journal's 2012 feature on the anniversary of the Cocoanut Grove fire, and see the website established by Boston institutions and people interested in preserving the history of the fire.


Reporting on the numbers game of wildfire strikes me as very similar to reporting on the swells and ebbs of the stock market. How many, how big, how caused - what does it all mean? A year-to-year analysis of the number of reported wildfires and their size doesn't give us a good sense of trending, but in a year like 2013, it might provide some needed perspective.

USA Today reporter Doyle Rice interviewed me last week for his retrospective on this year's season and we had a good chance to discuss just what a year like 2013 meant. Fewer fires - the fewest in over a decade according to the National Interagency Fire Center - and a much smaller acreage burnt, according to the same news. So should we be jumping for joy? Not quite.

The devastating losses of people and property in Arizona, Colorado and other areas this year is one reason for sobriety in the face of a "slow" wildfire year. The impact on water supply, public health, and local economies is another. Weather patterns made 2013 an atypical year, but development patterns dating back 20-30 years show us that even in years with fewer fires, catastrophic losses may be the new normal. 

Wildfire is a natural phenomenon and is not going away. All the more reason for communities throughout the country to find out what it takes to adapt to the reality of wildfire and embrace wildfire safety principles that make a real difference in reducing risk. 

- by NFPA's Michele Steinberg

ApprovalRunning the sprinkler service main piping under a building can be a risky design choice, one that until recently had been further complicated by some confusing points in NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems, and NFPA 24, Installation of Private Fire Service Mains and Their Appurtenances. According to NFPA's Matt Klaus, however, the 2013 edition of those standards helps clarify this issue, allowing installers and authorities having jurisdiction make informed decisions based on a clear understanding of the standards, rather than interpretations that may put a structure at risk. For more information on the subject, read Matt's column "When Under Is the Only Option" in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.

The 2014 edition of the National Electrical Code® was issued by the NFPA Standards Council on August 1, 2013.  The effective date, which is the date that it replaces the prior (2011 edition) in the NFPA family of codes and standards, was August 21, 2013. As of that date, the 2014 NEC became officially available for adoption by federal, state, county, and municipal governmental entities.

To date, 15 states have started the process to update the statute or administrative rule through which the NEC is adopted to reference the 2014 edition. In a couple of states, the update is from the 2008 to the 2014 edition.

- by NFPA's Jeff Sargent

Earlier today NFPA released the most recent "Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment" report, detailing national statistics from 2007 to 2011. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires. It is responsible for two of every five reported home fires. It is also the leading cause of home fire injuries. The top three days for cooking fires are Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

Other key findings from the report: 

  • CookingtipsOverall, cooking equipment caused 43 percent of reported home fires, 38 percent of home fire injuries, 16 percent of home fire deaths, and 12 percent of the direct property damage in reported home fires during this period.
  • Cooking is the third leading cause of home fire deaths.
  • Households that use electric ranges have a higher risk of fire and associated losses than those using gas ranges.
  • Ranges, with or without ovens, accounted for the majority of home cooking fire incidents and even larger shares of civilian deaths.

For more information, check out the official news release. You can also get safety tips and statistics, at

Cultural resource occupanciesThe ever-evolving world of fire safety systems has brought about various innovations in fire protection. How these innovations impact the physical environment is a hot topic for the Fire Protection Research Foundation.

In the latest issue of NFPA Journal, Foundation executive director Kathleen Almand describes new research endeavors centered on this issue. For example, the Foundation was invited by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to participate in a comprehensive test and evaluation program consisting of suppression agent applications on materials found in relic collections.

"This project is a reminder that fire protection does not exist in a vacuum, and that strategies and techniques that we use to make the world safe from fire must be appropriate for the environment where they are used," says Almand.

Read the rest of her column in the November/December issue of Journal.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, and NFPA 780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems, are being published for public review and comment:

Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the January 17, 2014 closing date. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.

Asking the Right Question WEBWhat is the purpose of your detection system? That's the all-important question you need to ask before you decide which type of detection system might provide the best protection, says Wayne Moore in "Cart Before the Horse?" in the latest issue of NFPA Journal. Installing any detection system without thinking through the end result can lead to costly failures, so having a clear sense of your goal will help you determine the right detection solution, as well as the optimal application and operation of that system. Want more information? Read Wayne's column in the November/December issue of Journal.

Tesla Model SRoadway fires involving the Tesla Model S--a high-performance, all-electric car with a base price of around $70,000--have been making headlines in recent months. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has initiated a safety investigation on the fiery incidents, which all seem to involve the car's battery compartment being compromised after hitting roadway debris.

Tesla is among the many car manufacturers that have supplied NFPA with specific instructions on how to handle electric and hybrid vehicles in an emergency. The information is a component of NFPA's Electric Vehicle Safety Training Project. NFPA Journal recently highlighted new additions to the project that are on its way, including guidance for electric and hybrid-electric trucks, buses, taxis, and fuel cell cars.

Check out all of the stories in Journal's In A Flash section, including information on a landmark study that confirms U.S. firefighters have higher rates of specific cancers than the general public. Also, when do children understand the concept of self-preservation? Get the answer here.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is alerting consumers that the threat of fires in the kitchen triples on Thanksgiving Day. From 2009 through 2011, there was an average of about 1,300 cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day, which is more than three times the average daily rate from 2009 through 2011 of about 400 cooking fires a day. 

When it comes to fires in the home, cooking fires are number one. They accounted for nearly 150,000 fires (more than 40 percent of all annual unintentional residential fires) each year from 2009 through 2011. Unattended cooking is the top cause of cooking fires.


In the event of a fire, call 911. Cover a pan with a lid to smother the flames. Never pour water or flour on a fire. That can make it worse. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

Consumers should also protect themselves by installing smoke alarms in their homes. Please take a look at our smoke alarm safety tips found at Smoke alarms provide the warning, but every family should have a fire escape plan as well. Practice the escape plan with everyone in the house so they can get out quickly. The escape plan should include two ways out of each room (as practical) and a family meeting place that is outside where everyone can meet if there is a fire in the home.

For more information, check out the official news release.


ESFI awardThe Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) has named Lorraine Carli as the 2013 recipient of the Foundation’s Outstanding Service Award in Honor of Harold Leviton. The award was presented to Carli during the ESFI Board of Directors Dinner in West Palm Beach, Florida on November 7, 2013. 

The Outstanding Service Award was formally established in 2008 as a tribute to Harold Leviton’s enduring legacy and dedication to improving electrical safety.  The award honors a member of ESFI’s Board of Directors who has gone above and beyond the call of duty in expanding the Foundation’s interests through steadfast involvement and effective leadership.   

As the Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA, Carli oversees all of the organization’s media, public affairs, public education and wildland fire activities; working closely with staff on a variety of media and advocacy issues in all areas of fire and life safety. Since her appointment to ESFI’s Board of Directors in 2009, Ms. Carli has played a vital role in helping ESFI increase its visibility through traditional and social media.

Please welcome us in congratulating Lorraine Carli! 

Cover_2_thumbThe latest issue of NFPA Journal, the official magazine of the NFPA, examines the review process currently underway for NFPA 25, Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, in the article, “Closer Look.” The story details a new NFPA effort addressing a variety of questions related to the scope and adequacy of NFPA 25 including the changes it has gone through since its first addition in 1992. The story comes in light of an upcoming symposium which will examine a range of issues related to the standard’s effectiveness.

Also featured in this issue:

  • U.S. Firefighter Injuries in 2012 - Last year there were 69,400 firefighter injuries in the United States, the lowest number since NFPA began analyzing that annual data in 1981.
  • Large Loss Fires in the U.S. in 2012 - In 2012, 10 fires resulted in more than $20 million in property damage, and two of the three costliest were wildland events.
  • 2012 Large Loss Fires by Property Type - A complete list of large-loss fires, which are listed in descending order of loss amount in each category.
  • Making the Connection - A look at proposed changes to NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, that addresses the reliability of computer networks to carry fire alarm system communications.

Read the latest digital version of the November/December 2013 NFPA Journal with hot-linked content from the print version. The NFPA Journal mobile app is available through the Apple App Store.

Cengage Learning
, a leading educational content, software and services company for the academic, professional and library markets, has partnered up with NFPA to create NEC products for Kindle and Apple devices, which are soon to be released on NOOK devices. Updated by the NFPA every three years, the NEC is the publication that sets the standard in the electrical industry and helps professionals remain code-compliant.  51UoW0QPthL._AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-31,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

NFPA has a host of products designed to offer rationale and clarifications for new and updated rules, in addition to practical, real-world advice on how to apply the codes. The NEC has been a valuable reference for those in electrical design, installation, inspection and safety careers for over 100 years.

 The following publications are available from Cengage Learning in a digital format:

  • National Electrical Code® 2008: Code and Handbook
  • National Electrical Code® 2011: Code, Handbook, Pocket Guide for Commercial & Industrial Electrical Installations, and Pocket Guide for Residential Electrical Installations
  • NFPA 70E®:  Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, 2012 Edition
  • NFPA 70E®: Handbook for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, 2012 Edition
  • National Electrical Code® 2014
  • National Electrical Code® 2014: Handbook
  • National Electrical Code® 2014: Pocket Guide for Residential Electrical Installations
  • National Electrical Code® 2014: Pocket Guide for Commercial & Industrial Electrical Installations

For more information, please visit You can also check out the whole story in the official press release.

Scott NotaryScott Notary was nearing the end of collegiate life. A Building and Construction Management major at Purdue University, the senior was just weeks away from receiving his diploma and relocating to Tennessee--most likely with his dog, Griffin, in tow--to start his career.

His dream was cut short on November 16, when Notary, 23, and his dog died in a house fire, according to a story in The Exponent. Two others were injured in the fire. The cause hasn't been confirmed.

Notary spent the evening with his friends and girlfriend before the couple retired for the evening at Notary's home in West Lafayette, Indiana, that he shared with others. His dog was locked in a crate at the foot of Notary's bed.

"The next thing I knew, I was standing outside," Notary's girlfriend told The Exponent. "I tried to wake up [Scott] but he wouldn't wake up. I had stopped breathing from the smoke." She was treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries. One of Notary's housemates escaped the fire by jumping from a window, according to the story.

Notary loved the outdoors in all its forms--fishing and hunting were some of his favorite activities, per his obituary. He was president of Purdue's student chapter of the Restoration Industry Association and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. "His good nature won him many friends and endeared him to all who knew him," states the obituary.

This incident serves as an unfortunate reminder that tragedies in residential settings can happen at anytime. Please make sure you have an escape plan in place and that it's practiced regularly. Review NFPA's Fire Safety Checklist for more information.

Firewatch_1113A 50-year-old man died of smoke inhalation and burns in a fire in a detached two-car garage in which he was living. The one-story, wood-frame garage had no smoke alarms or sprinklers.

The fire department received a 911 call at 2:02 a.m., and firefighters arrived two minutes later to find the garage engulfed in flames. The roof and walls collapsed three minutes later. Crews eventually found the victim's  in an escaping position under debris near the side door. An autopsy revealed elevated carbon monoxide and alcohol levels in his blood.

Investigators determined that smoking materials had ignited a couch and that the fire spread undetected until most of the garage's contents were ablaze.

For more accounts of fires around the United States, read Ken Tremblay's "Firewatch" in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.


NFPA INSIDER is a live, bi-monthly online session — an added benefit for NFPA members only — that features expanded news and content from the latest issue of NFPA Journal® and other NFPA sources.

In this month's NFPA INSIDER, on Thursday, November 21 at 2:00 pm (EST), members will hear:

  • NFPA President Jim Shannon gives his first word.
  • As a follow-up to the "Revving Up" article in the new issue of NFPA Journal®, NFPA Senior Project Manager Andrew Klock will provide an update on NFPA's latest efforts to develop safety guidelines for first responders in the event of electric vehicle fires. He will also address some of the EV safety concerns that have arisen following recent fires involving cars made by Tesla, the California EV manufacturer.
  • NFPA Codes and Standards administration discuss the latest codes and standards information and activities.

Members: register today to attend. Not a member? Learn more about the many benefits and join today!

!|src=|alt=Breezy Point fire|style=width: 450px;|title=Breezy Point fire|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0162ff1d4766970d019b0148958b970c!

In 2012, coastal flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy was blamed for a fire in the Breezy Point neighborhood in Queens, New York, that destroyed nearly 130 homes and damaged 50 others. (Photo: AP/Wide World)

Despite all of the proactive steps humans have taken to prepare for the worst, we are still "remarkably unprepared" for a cataclysmic natural event.


This warning comes from geologist Susan Kieffer, whose new book, The Dynamics of Disaster, makes a strong case for an all-hands-on-deck approach to disaster preparedness. That&#39;s where the codes and standards community may come into play, says Kieffer in the latest edition of +NFPA Journal.+

"I see the setting of standards as being very much along the lines of preparation for hazards," she says. "The more preparation we can do, the more we're going to minimize the impact these disasters have on us, and the less remediation we'll have to do."


Kieffer exemplifies her points by highlighting some of Earth&#39;s most recent natural disasters, including the Icelandic volcano eruptions in 2010 and Italy&#39;s L&#39;Aquila earthquake in 2009. Read the entire Q&amp;A in the November/December issue of +Journal.+</p>

Bob Mutch, long-time forest fire researcher and fire management expert,says the fire community and interface leaders are failing to communicate to policy-makers and interface residents about the enactment of unsustainable fire policies that are producing catastrophic outcomes. But are we making any progress at all?


Watch this video on YouTube.

Read more about Mr. Mutch's presentation at Backyards & Beyond.

Dr. Stephen Pyne from the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, specializes in environmental history and the history of fire. In his presentation at NFPA's Backyards & Beyond conference, he offered his perspective on what wildland fires over the past 100+ years have taught us, how our national approach has changed, and what lies ahead. Dr. Pyne said three approaches are at play: regressive (a revival of the suppression-centric mindset); proactive (modifying landscapes to create more fire resilient communities); and reactive (the “is what it is” mindset, just dealing with fires as they happen). Read more about Dr. Pyne's presentation at this conference.


Watch this video on YouTube.

Anyone who has ever seen a Star Trek episode knows about the transporter device. This is a device that transports you through time and space to a different location in real time. This device does not exist BUT we can "virtually" transport you to NFPA headquarters on December 18, 2013 for a 1-day NEC webcast.












This webcast is a first in NFPA training history with an 8-hour live event on location from the NFPA boardroom. The entire event will be broadcast over the internet using multiple cameras and a high speed connection. Valeria Rubini, Senior Project Manager for Training & Development at NFPA, says "this webcast will be an interactive, live event where the virtual attendees will feel like they are sitting in the room." Attendees will be able to watch the webcast from their home or office, ask questions and earn CEUs.

Usually, one has to travel some distance to attend an NFPA training session so this will be a unique experience for our instructor, Christel Hunter, and our attendees as well. There are a few "actual" seats open for this event if you would like to attend in person. You will have to drive, fly or take the train to Quincy, MA as NFPA does not have a transporter like the U.S.S. Enterprise. Our electrical engineers are working on the plans for a transporter at NFPA headquarters but the technical committee must approve the design first. :)   

Click here for more information on the "The 2014 NEC Webcast: A 1-Day Virtual Tour of the Code"

Definition of a WEBCAST

: a transmission of sound and images (as of an event) via the World Wide Web

Definition of an NFPA WEBCAST

:  a unique opportunity to learn from the experts who developed the 2014 edition of the NEC. Live, from your home or office, via your computer.

C0B21104DA674723B28E46E1587AF19ANFPA estimates that 69,400 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty in 2012, a decrease of 1 percent from the year before and the lowest it’s been since NFPA analyses began in 1981. NFPA also estimates that there were 8,150 exposures to infectious diseases last year, amounting to 0.3 exposures per 1,000 emergency medical runs by fire departments. In addition, there were 19,200 exposures to hazardous conditions, such as asbestos and chemicals, in 2012, or 18.2 exposures per 1,000 hazardous condition runs. An estimated  20.6 percent of all these injuries resulted in time out of work. For more information on firefighter injuries, read Michael Karter and Joseph Molis' article, "U.S. Firefighter Inuries of 2012," in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.

!|src=|alt=Faith Ann Heinsch|style=width: 300px; border: 1px solid #090000;|title=Faith Ann Heinsch|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef019b01180bd7970d!

Faith Ann Heinsch, research ecologist at the USDA Forest Service


Global climate change and its resulting impacts are the focus of much scientific study. Faith Ann Heinsch, PhD, a physical scientist at the USDA Forest Service, was the featured speaker at today’s opening session of the NFPA’s Backyards &amp; Beyond conference in Salt Lake City, where she reviewed the science of climate change and projected impacts on wildfires.


Does climate change cause wildland fires? The simple answer, for now, said Dr. Heinsch, is “no”. The typical causes of wildfire are the ones we’re familiar with: arson, accidents, lightning, downed power lines, etc. A better question, she said, is in what ways is climate change likely to affect wildland fire.

The greatest challenge in the coming decades, said Dr. Heinsch, will be the extremes. “We’re expecting to see hotter temperatures and drier years, and we expect that these hot, dry conditions will result in more fires, an increase in fire intensity, and fire severity,” she said.

With more frequent and severe wildland fires, how do communities prepare for and adapt to this shifting landscape?


Read the full post on NFPA's Fire Break blog.</p>

150013NFPA has issued the following errata on NFPA 1500, Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program:

  • NFPA 1500, Errata 1500-13-2 
    Reference:,,, and of the 2013 edition 
    Issuance: November 13, 2013

An errata is a correction issued to an NFPA Standard, published in NFPA News, Codes Online, and included in any further distribution of the document.

Robert Gann
Chief Robert Gann
of the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department in Colorado is the recipient of a new award established to honor organizations or individuals who help NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations division further its safety mission. The award was presented at NFPA's Backyards & Beyond conference in Salt Lake City.

Chief Gann was instrumental in the development of “Before the Smoke! Preparing Your Community for Wildfire”, a video created for volunteer fire departments located in the wildland/urban interface areas for use in training, education, and outreach efforts.

“But more importantly, while working with Chief Gann on the video, we were privileged to personally witness his deep involvement in his community and the connection he has with everyone from firefighters, to residents, and other area stakeholders,” said Dave Nuss, manager of NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations group. 

“Chief Gann takes to heart the principles of fire adapted and Firewise communities and through his efforts, has made a significant impact on educating homeowners and reducing the risks faced by his community,” said Dave.

See more coverage of the Backyards & Beyond conference on NFPA's Fire Break blog.

CPSC _Jim_Shannon
NFPA President Jim Shannon spoke today about gearing up for a fire-safe Thanksgiving holiday at an event co-hosted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the United States Fire Administration (USFA) and NFPA.  The groups urged consumers to be aware that the threat of fires in the kitchen triples on Thanksgiving Day.  Safety messages were reinforced with full-scale fire demonstrations that underscored the seriousness of cooking fires.   

From 2009 through 2011, there was an average of about 1,300 cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day, according to CPSC. This is more than three times the average daily rate from 2009 through 2011 of about 400 cooking fires a day. 

“As fire safety experts have said for years, ‘Stand by your pan!’” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, stay in the kitchen. Not following this advice can be a recipe for disaster on Thanksgiving and throughout the year.”

Since 2003, there have been more than 125 turkey fryer-related fires, burns, explosions, smoke inhalations, or laceration incidents reported to CPSC staff. 

Before and after photos of a turkey being placed into a turkey fryer

“Turkey fryer fires can be explosive and result in serious burns,” said Glenn Gaines, Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator for the United States Fire Administration (USFA). “Only use a turkey fryer outside and away from your home. Never use it in a garage or on a porch. Don’t overfill the oil or leave the turkey fryer unattended.”  

Consumers should also protect themselves by installing smoke alarms in their homes.  

“Roughly three out of five home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms,” said Jim Shannon, President of the National Fire Protection Association. “Smoke alarms save lives.  Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a fire in half.”

Change the batteries in smoke alarms at least once every year and test the alarms every month to make sure they are working.  


Kathleen journalTesting and maintenance may not represent the sexy side of the fire protection business, but the performance of systems as they age in place is a crucial element in meeting fire safety design objectives.

In her latest column for the November/December issue of NFPA Journal, Kathleen Almand discusses the requirements that many NFPA fire protection system standards contain for periodic inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM). These requirements are coming under more scrutiny as they add to the life-cycle cost of fire protection systems and, in the case of water-based systems, as the resources consumed in the process become ever more precious.

Last year, the Fire Protection Reseach Foundation conducted a study of fire pump reliability that explored the types of data from inspection records that are important for improving the basis of ITM requirements, and it proposed a framework to collect that data in a systematic way. But there are other important considerations in using a risk-based approach: What is the consequence of failure, for example, of one system component in terms of the threshold for acceptable performance of the system as a whole?

Read the full article to find out what NFPA and the Fire Protection Research Foundation have been doing over the last few months to answer these questions and tackle this issue, as well as what some of the next steps are. 

!|src=|alt=Waldo Canyon Fire|style=width: 450px;|title=Waldo Canyon Fire|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0162ff1d4766970d019b01133697970c!

An aerial view of some of the destruction caused by the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado. The fire was the costliest of 2012, resulting in $453.7 million in property damage. (Photo: AP/Wide World)

Catastrophic wildfires in Colorado and a naval submarine fire were some of the costliest incidents in 2012 that resulted in more than $1.2 billion of direct property damage.


NFPA Journal highlights the details of these and other fires in the latest issue. The costliest fire last year, for example, was Colorado's Waldo Canyon Fire, which scorched more than 18,000 acres and burned 346 structures. These figures and incidents were taken from NFPA&#39;s report, "Large-Loss Fires in the United States in 2012."


Learn more about these incidents, including some lessons learned, by reading the report summary in +Journal.+ Looking for a comprehensive list of last year&#39;s large-loss fires? Get it here.</p>

Babyface Edmondsby NFPA's Maria Figueroa

TMZ reports that legendary singer/songwriter Babyface’s Los Angeles mansion caught fire last weekend. Fire sprinklers were responsible for keeping the fire from growing and destroying the home.

As reported, the fire started in one of the mansion’s bathrooms. The fire sprinkler system quickly extinguished the flames before firefighters arrived.

A representative for the Grammy Award winner couldn’t confirm or deny if Babyface was in the house at the time of the blaze, but there were people inside the home when the fire started. The cause of fire has not been determined.

Babyface is fortunate to live in the State of California with an extended history of home fire protection. Starting with San Clemente in 1979, approximately 150 communities in the state required fire sprinklers in homes before California adopted the provision statewide in 2011.

All national model building, fire and safety codes require fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family dwelling construction.

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The Foundation's Next Five Years in Fire and Electrical Safety is underway at the District Architecture Center in Washington DC. Antony Wood, Executive Director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), provided the opening keynote on the changing urban landscape. He discussed the trends in tall buildings: buildings are getting taller, there are an increasing number of tall buildings, there is a change in location away from North America, and tall buildings are changing functions, construction materials, and design aesthetics.  He also discussed the drivers behind the trends including population growth, urbanization, and changing social demographics.

Antony then covered the shortfalls in current tall building design and some design principles for new paradigms in tall building design.  These principles include representing the city’s culture and history in the design and accounting for the environmental characteristics of the location.

The CTBUH is currently in the news because the Height Committee just affirmed the height of One World Trade Center at 1,776 feet making it the tallest building in the United States. 

For more information about the conference including the conference presentations, please visit the Foundation’s website.

by NFPA's LisaMarie Sinatra

A kick-off to the Backyards & Beyond conference here in Salt Lake City, NFPA's 2-day HIZ workshop began this morning with over 65 people in attendance from such industries as forestry, insurance, fire service and others.

Instructors Pat Durland of Stone Creek Fire, LLC and Jack Cohen, physical research scientist, USDA Forest Service, led today's discussion and workshop modules that highlighted major issues contributing to WUI fire losses, how wildfires ignite and approaches that can be used to reduce home loss from wildfire exposure. Tomorrow, the class will visit a few neighborhoods to see first hand how wildfire mitigation is working in Utah communities.

During the next few days, stay tuned to our Fire Break blog as we cover the conference. You'll get all the latest coverage regarding session highlights, exhibits and special presentations. You can also check out photos, videos and daily commentary!

AB326F9D49AD4D338087872993205E3CLast June, the Yarnell Hill wildland fire in Arizona killed 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Over the past century, we have come to see events such as the Yarnell Hill fire as infrequent but inevitable, says NFPA President Jim Shannon in "First Word" in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal. We treat the wildfire problem as though it is some sort of fluke, when it is a problem that will grow steadily worse over the next generation, inflicting death on the scale of Yarnell Hill again and possibly much sooner than in the past.

The federal government's response has been uneven, pulling resources away from the most basic needs of communities threatened by wildfire. While the government supports excellent programs to help communities adopt policies to make them safer, such as the Firewise and Fire Adapted Communities, programs, those efforts are not enough. To prevent another Yarnell Hill, we need a better coordinated national effort to deal with fundamental changes in the nature, scope, and consequences of wildfires. Firefighter injuries
by NFPA's Maria Figueroa

NFPA released the latest edition of its Firefighter Injuries in the United States report, highlighting statistics on line-of-duty firefighter injuries in 2012 from NFPA’s survey of fire departments – including non-incident-related injuries, trends, and brief narratives on selected incidents.

NFPA estimates that 69,400 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty in 2012. An estimated 31,490 (45.4%) of all the firefighter injuries occurred during fireground operations.

Based on 2006-2010 structure fires reported to U.S. municipal fire departments, when compared to structure fires in homes with no automatic extinguishing equipment present, analysis of home structure fires with wet-pipe sprinklers present showed a 65% reduction in firefighter injuries at the fireground per 1,000 home structure fires.

Download the 2012 firefighter injury report

by NFPA's Ken Willette

Ever wonder what it actually costs to fight a fire?If you had to pay for fire and emergency services like you do for electricity, pay for actual use/consumption, how much would it cost?

There are some American Fire Departments that operate that way, they offer you a pre payment plan,(a subscription), that guarantees a specified level of service and response. There are also departments that will bill you for services if you live in an area with no organized fire department,(often called unincorporated areas). They will bill you for actual services rendered, and often, are not the closest fire department, but one that has the ability to respond.

Watch this news report and see what one Arizona homeowner found was the cost to fight a fire at his home in an unincorporated area:

Mayer and Sheryl Fistal are the latest to advocate for the use of home fire sprinklers in new homes as part of NFPA’s Faces of Fire Series. The campaign is part of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative: Bringing Safety Home campaign

While the Fistals, their guests, and their dog escaped serious injury when their brand new home caught fire in 2006, Sheryl suffered smoke inhalation and the house was a total loss. They were left with only their vehicle and the clothes they were wearing.


The devastating loss suffered by the Fistals was just one of the more than 360,000 home fires that occur every year in the US, causing billions in direct damage and thousands of deaths. However, when sprinklers are present, the risk of death decreases by about 80 percent and the average property loss decreases by about 70 percent per fire. Installing home sprinklers can, and has, saved lives throughout the country, and will continue to do so as we all do our part to promote fire safety.

For more information along with tools and field resources to help advocates talk with local elected officials and others about the life-saving impact of sprinklers visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative website. To read more about the Fistal’s story check out the Faces of Fire Series.

The NFPA Standards Council considered appeals at its October 22-23, 2013 meeting.

These NFPA Standards Council final decisions have been issued as follows:

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.

by Casey Grant, Fire Protection Research Foundation

The fire service and other emergency first responders are currently benefiting from enhanced-existing and newly-developed electronic technologies.  Fire fighters are now operating in an ever increasing sensor rich environment that is creating vast amounts of potentially useful data.  The “smart” fire fighter of tomorrow is envisioned as being able to fully exploit select data to perform work tasks in a highly effective and efficient manner.

Behind the advances of the new sensor and tool enhanced fire fighter of tomorrow are profound questions of what to do with this deluge of valuable information that comes with much of this equipment.  The enormous amount of available data in our ever increasing sensor rich environment is changing our way of life.  A popular descriptive phrase used in today’s common lexicon is “big data”, and it is indicative of the systematic use of the information being leveraged in ways that were unimaginable a short time ago.  This is an area that is informed by the field of “cyber-physical systems”.

This project is focused on developing the research roadmap to clarify the research needed to most GRAPHIC SMART FFeffectively use the immense quantity of available data, the computational power to compute and communicate that data, the knowledge base and algorithms to most effectively process the data, convert it into significant knowledge/beneficial decision tools, and effectively communicate the information to those who need it --- on the fire ground and elsewhere.  This project is funded by NIST, and the research program will be conducted under the auspices of the Fire Protection Research Foundation in a collaborative agreement with NIST.  The scheduled completion date for this project is the Fall of 2014.

See the project summary. home fireby NFPA's Maria Figueroa

When we discuss the problems with modern methods of construction, mainly lightweight/engineered wood components, we usually think about the site-built homes. In a Fire Engineering article Chief Kevin Gallagher of the Acushnet (MA) Fire & EMS Department considers the problems of modular homes, which are factory-built and then towed in sections to be installed at a permanent location, and range from “simple capes to multibox McMansions.”

The chief recounts a fire in a two-story, prefabricated/modular residence in 2008 and says; “Despite our department’s best efforts, the structure was a complete loss…we never had a chance to save it. Fox Boston covered the fire incident in a previous report. He tells us that research to learn about the methods of construction used by the modular industry has been the subject of several other Fire Engineering articles. He says very serious concerns were discovered; mainly:”large void spaces between levels of habitation, the use of flammable adhesives as the sole means of attaching gypsum to wood ceiling joists, and the presence of holes used to assist in lifting modular boxes onto the foundation, which can create an easy pathway for fire spread.” He adds; “Our goal has been two-fold. First, we identify the flaws with the construction methods used. Second, we fight for change through the code development process. Third, we spread the word to any and all fire service members of these hazards and the tactical changes the hazards require.”

The problem was documented in a Fox Boston report.

Chief Gallagher concludes; “Do we have a problem? My answer, since the moment I pulled up on a fire in a modular structure, is an emphatic YES! My sense is that those firefighters who have dealt with fires in these types of buildings would agree.” He says he will “dig deeper, share valuable information and, hopefully, provide you with an awareness and appreciation for the hazards within modular construction” in the following months.

Although Chief Gallagher does not talk about fire sprinklers as a way to offset the problem in this particular issue, it should be a major consideration for home fire sprinkler advocates.

Get a free copy of the dangers of lightweight construction presentation.

The Technical Committee on Fire Department Apparatus has been working hard over the years to develop requirements for NFPA 1901,Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, to address the issue of safe transport of fire fighting personnel.  These requirements have included such items as seated and belted riding positions for all personnel, fully enclosed crew cabs, colored seat belts to assist the officer with recognizing when a seat belt is in use, and most recently, a requirement for the installation of seat belt warning systems on all new fire apparatus.  The requirements for seat belt warning systems, which were incorporated into the 2009 edition of the standard, include the use of an audible warning that can be heard from all seating positions and a visual warning device that can be seen by the driver or the officer. 

It has become abundantly clear that fire fighters, just like occupants in passenger vehicles, are much more likely to be injured and/or ejected in the event of crash when they are not properly seated and belted.  This has prompted many departments across the country to implement SOP’s and SOG’s that direct fire fighting personnel on the mandatory use of seat belts while the apparatus is in motion.  The seat belt warning systems increase safety by providing another tool for the driver or officer to indicate that every occupant is seated and belted prior to putting the apparatus in motion, regardless of if the apparatus is responding to a call or just out on routine traffic.  However, it is the responsibility of each and every fire fighter, in addition to the officer and driver, to ensure that the seat belts are being used. 

Unfortunately, even the best policies and seat belt warning systems on the market cannot dictate human behavior.   Take this situation in Tulsa, OK, where Tulsa FD personnel were involved in a multiple apparatus accident.  Upon investigation, it was determined that none of the fire fighters were wearing their seat belts and both apparatus had disabled seat belt warning systems.  BOTH APPARATUS!!!  These devices were overcome with paper towel products, tape, and foam ear plugs. Luckily, none of the occupants sustained any life threatening injuries during the crash.  Disciplinary actions have been handed down to those involved, and the incident prompted the department to inspect other apparatus for evidence of tampering.  Policies and seat belt warning systems are nothing more than tools that can assist in keeping fire fighting personnel safe.  However, human behavior is a hard nut to crack, and we can often be our own worst enemies.  Let this situation act as a warning to you and your department.  Even though I should not have to say it, seat belt warning systems should be checked on a regular basis as part of your departments inspection, testing, and maintenance program to ensure that the systems are working as intended. 

Stay safe,

Ryan Depew


!|src=|alt=Ethernet|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Ethernet|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef019b00d34a9c970b!Using Ethernet and other computer networks in conjunction with fire alarm systems has become a popular option in a number of occupancies. But are these networks reliable enough to provide the appropriate alarm signals during emergency situations?


This question has been on the minds of NFPA 72®, +National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code,+ committee members for quite some time. Resolving these concerns once and for all, a task group was formed to develop code language for the 2016 edition of NFPA 72 that addresses these networks. <br />


“We had a number of meetings where people had to get comfortable with the technology,”&#0160; Wayne Moore, vice president with Hughes Associates and task group chair, told+ NFPA Journal. +“Once they were comfortable, we said, ‘How can we allow it in the code?&#39;&quot;


Read the full story in +Journal,+ and watch the video of Moore discussing the work completed by the task group:


!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!SUPDET 2013 presenters discuss the evolution, utilization of NFPA 72

According to a report in the New York Times, New York City violated the rights of about 900,000 of its residents with disabilities by failing to accommodate their needs during emergencies. 

In a court ruling, Judge Jesse M. Furman of Federal District Court in Manhattan, said the city, through "benign neglect", was in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. According to the report, the ruling arose from a lawsuit filed in 2011 after Tropical Storm Irene, but came into sharper focus after Hurricane Sandy, when many New Yorkers with disabilities were stranded for days. 


Allan Fraser
NFPA's Allan Fraser
The identity of the group of Americans with disabilities is constantly changing — at any moment, anyone could become part of this group, for maybe a short time or maybe for a long time. For many years, NFPA has long been involved with developing strategies and fire safety educational materials for people with disabilities. Download our free onlinee resources, including our 'Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities".


At this week's "Backyards & Beyond" wildland fire education conference" in Salt Lake City, Allan Fraser, NFPA's Senior Building & Code Specialist, will be speaking on "Are You Ignoring 20% of Your Population When Planning for Wildland Fires?". 

The Foundation has initiated a Phase 1 project on Smoke Alarm Nuisance Source Characterization.  The overall objective of the project is to characterize common nuisance sources for the development of new smoke alarm test protocols in order to meet the requirements for nuisance resistance in the 2013 edition of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.  The scope of the Phase 1 project is a literature review, gap analysis, and development of a test plan to fill the knowledge gaps.  For more information, please see the project summary.

6506BC6A5F0B4EEA887EA2624664B665Since its publication in 1992, NFPA 25, Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, has become the main document governing sprinkler systems and related systems. Recently, however, some have begun to question whether NFPA 25 is adequate to ensure the successful operation of automatic sprinkler systems. To evaluate the standard, a symposium will be convened this December in Chicago to address a number of issues and identify a range of opinions and perspectives that will  be included as part of the overall public input on the standard as it enters the 2017 revision cycle. For more information on the issues at stake, read William Koffel's article "Closer Look" in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.

The fire service and other emergency first responders are currently benefiting from enhanced-existing and newly-developed electronic technologies.  Fire fighters are now operating in an ever increasing sensor rich environment that is creating vast amounts of potentially useful data.  The “smart” fire fighter of tomorrow is envisioned as being able to fully exploit select data to perform work tasks in a highly effective and efficient manner.

Behind the advances of the new sensor and tool enhanced fire fighter of tomorrow are profound questions of what to do with this deluge of valuable information that comes with much of this equipment.  The enormous amount of available data in our ever increasing sensor rich environment is changing our way of life.  A popular descriptive phrase used in today’s common lexicon is “big data”, and it is indicative of the systematic use of the information being leveraged in ways that were unimaginable a short time ago.  This is an area that is informed by the field of “cyber-physical systems”.

This project is focused on developing the research roadmap to clarify the research needed to most GRAPHIC SMART FFeffectively use the immense quantity of available data, the computational power to compute and communicate that data, the knowledge base and algorithms to most effectively process the data, convert it into significant knowledge/beneficial decision tools, and effectively communicate the information to those who need it --- on the fire ground and elsewhere.  This project is funded by NIST, and the research program will be conducted under the auspices of the Fire Protection Research Foundation in a collaborative agreement with NIST.  The scheduled completion date for this project is the Fall of 2014.

See the project summary.

ISOBelieve it or not, NFPA can’t do it all.  While we have the world’s best installation, operation and maintenance standards, we need other standards (like product standards) to complement ours. We rely on groups like ASTM International, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for most standards related to calculation methods. And that is how Rita Fahy and I came to be active in ISO TC92, particularly SC4 on Fire Safety Engineering, which is why Rita, acting through ANSI, invited SC4 and SC3 to have their semi-annual meeting at NFPA. 

The meetings during October 21-25 went great. Our international friends from 15 countries enjoyed the NFPA facilities, and several standards took large forward strides, including the standards on human behavior and fire, developed by SC4 WG11, chaired by Rita. Other advances involved balloting of examples of calculations for fire impact on structures, publication of examples on model validation and verification, and progress on design fire scenarios and design fires.

- By NFPA’s Dr. John Hall, Jr. 

FF injuries
NFPA released the latest edition of its U.S. Firefighter Injury Report, highlighting data on injuries sustained by firefighters on duty that was collected from fire departments responding to the 2012 National Fire Experience Survey.

Firefighter injuries have declined over the past three decades, hovering around roughly 100,000 from the early 1980’s through early 1990’s. In 2012, 69,400 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty.

  • Of those injuries, 31,490 (45.4 percent) occurred during fireground operations, with the leading causes reported as overexertion, straining (27.5 percent) and falling, slipping, and jumping (23.2 percent).
  • The Northeast also reported a higher number of fireground injuries per 100 fires than other regions of the country.

The major types of injuries received during fireground operations were:

  • strains, sprains, and muscular pain (55.2 percent)
  • followed by wounds, cuts, bleeding, and bruising (12.2 percent)
  • thermal stress (5.8 percent)
  • and burns (5.7 percent)

An estimated 13,820 occurred during other on-duty activities, including:

  • 4,190 while responding to or returning from an incident
  • 7,140 during training activities
  • and 12,760 occurring at non-fire emergency incidents
  • Strains, sprains, and muscular pain accounted for 58.5 percent of all non-fireground injuries

In addition to injuries, there were 8,150 exposures to infectious diseases, and 19,200 exposures to hazardous conditions. Read the latest NFPA Journal article on this newly released report for more information. 

Based on comments and to further support our committee members in their work, we are pleased to announce that we have added new features to the My Profile page on Once a committee member signs in and goes directly to the My Profile page, in the left navigation, a new page is available called “My Committees”. This newly created My Committees page provides committee members one central location to view all of their current committee member information.

What is available to a committee member on the My Committees Page?

  • a list of committee member’s current committee(s)
  • office status on the committee
  • date of appointment to the committee(s)
  • access to direct links to the Technical Committee tab of the Document Information Pages for the specific committee(s). The Technical Committee tab contains private committee lists (with phone and email addresses) along with the committee member’s committee documents in PDF format.
  • links to additional committee member resources such as the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards, Guide for the Conduct of Participants in the NFPA Standards Development Process, NFPA Standards Directory, and the committee member discount for NFPA’s Conference & Expo.
  • for newly appointed committee members (starting October 2013), the ability to print their own certificates is available.

In addition to this new feature, other codes and standards related pages are available that you may find useful:

  • My Committee Applications – view, edit, and reuse committee applications
  • My Public Input/Comments – contains submitted and unsubmitted public inputs, comments, and NITMAMs on NFPA codes and standards.

We hope that this change will make the use of NFPA’s online resources simple and more efficient. Any comments or questions regarding this new feature should be forwarded to the Codes and Standards Administration Department.

Tom Chapin of Underwriters Laboratories presented at the Fire Safety Design and Building Sustainability Symposium on the impact of new 'sustainable' materials on the fire load of buildings. In his remarks, he shared information on the implications of population growth on sustainability which was a hot topic at a recent international conference he attended.  Watch this video interview with Tom to find out why he says sustainability is the key to prosperity and well-being and how the Fire Protection Research Foundation event taking place in Chicago this week has bearing on this topic.    


View other videos of Tom Chapin discussing his conference presentation.

The NFPA Standards Council is seeking public opinion on a proposed reorganization of the Technical Committee on Forest and Rural Fire Protection (FRU-AAA).  The committee submitted a request to the Standards Council at its October 2013 meeting to reorganize into two new technical committees with more well-defined scopes.  The newly proposed committees would separate the current document workload, increase the number of wildland fire protection experts involved, and increase the capacity for taking on new projects.  In addition to the proposed reorganization, FRU-AAA has revised its current scope and, in conjunction with the Technical Committee on Water Additives for Fire Control and Vapor Mitigation (WAB-AAA), passed responsibility of NFPA 1150, Standard on Foam Chemicals for Fires in Class A Fuels, to WAB-AAA.    

The proposed reorganization of FRU-AAA would result in the following two new committees and corresponding document assignments:

Technical Committee on Wildland and Rural Fire Protection

Scope:  This committee shall have the primary responsibility for documents on fire protection in wildland, rural, and suburban areas.


•  NFPA 1141, Standard for Fire Protection Infrastructure for Land Development in Wildland, Rural, and Suburban Areas

•  NFPA 1142, Standard for Water Supplies for Suburban and Rural Firefighting

•  NFPA 1144, Standard for Reducing Structure Ignition Hazards from Wildland Fire

Technical Committee on Wildland Fire Management

Scope:  This committee shall have the primary responsibility for documents on wildland fire


•  NFPA 1143, Standard for Wildland Fire Management

•  NFPA 1145, Guide for the Use of Class A Foams in Manual Structural Fire Fighting 

The Standards Council will make a final ruling on the proposed reorganization at its March 2014 meeting, once Public Comments have been reviewed. Anyone interested in commenting on the reorganization is invited to do so in writing. E-mail or mail your comments to: Codes and Standards Administration, NFPA, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169-7471 by January 20, 2014. In the
meantime, NFPA is looking for individuals who are interested in serving on these proposed committees. If you wish to participate on one of these Committees if the reorganization is approved, please go to WRP-AAA for the proposed Wildland and Rural Fire Protection Committee and WFM-AAA for the proposed Wildland Fire Management Committee and fill out the online application. Please note: You will be asked to sign-in or create a free online account with NFPA before using this application system.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) recently announced that we, the NFPA, exceeded its recommended actions following the February 7, 2010, deadly natural gas explosion at the Kleen Energy electric plant – then under construction in Middletown, Connecticut.  The blast, which killed six workers and injured at least 50, resulted during an operation known as a “gas blow”—whereby large quantities of natural gas are forced through piping at high pressure to remove debris.  The gas accumulated and was ignited by an undetermined source.

NFPA 56The CSB issued an urgent recommendation in June 2010 calling on the NFPA to revise its National Fuel Gas Code (also known as NFPA 54) to prohibit this inherently unsafe pipe cleaning methodology. In response, we proposed and developed a comprehensive new gas process safety standard, NFPA 56, “Standard for Fire and Explosion Prevention During Cleaning and Purging of Flammable Gas Piping Systems” using an expedited standards development process.

CSB Chairperson Dr. Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “We heartily commend the NFPA for acting promptly and decisively in adopting the CSB recommendation in record time. NFPA issued a provisional standard in 24 weeks, which was less than 18 months after the accident. NFPA moved it through the document’s revision cycle smoothly, formally publishing the NFPA 56 2014 edition last August. Our board recently voted unanimously to close this recommendation as “Exceeds recommended action” – our highest level of approval.”

Dr. Moure-Eraso noted that the NFPA’s action now means that 14 of the 18 recommendations issued by the CSB following the Kleen Energy accident are now closed.

Safety videos on these accidents, the investigation reports and list of CSB safety recommendations may be found on

Last year, we blogged about Austin Weishel who created the "Ashes to Answers" sculpture, a 17 foot high, 450 pound bronze statue of a firefighter with his arson dog. The National Fire Dog Monument went on a cross-country tour, going on display in eight cities since then. 


This year, on October 23rd, State Farm, the Washington D.C. Fire Department, Austin Weishel and Colorado Bureau of Investigation Arson Investigator Jerry Means moved the National Fire Dog Monument to its permanent home at DC Fire Station 2. This location is close to the White House and will have approximately 1,500 visitors walk by the monument every day. 

There are only 81 arson dog teams in the United States and Canada. (Washington’s fire department has two.) State Farm sponsors the program that trains them. After a fire has been extinguished, the dogs visit the scene with their handlers. With their super-sensitive noses, the K-9s can detect various kinds of accelerants. When they find a smell they’ve been trained to recognize, they give a signal: sitting and pointing with their nose to where the scent is strongest. A sample is collected and examined in the lab.

Jerry Means was the prime force pushing for the monument. His first arson dog was Erin, who retired in 2007, and passed away in 2010. Jerry commented that he was so inspired by her, he thought there had to be a way to honor these dogs and validate them.  We think this has succeeded in that goal!

Gas pumpsAuthorities recently arrested a Georgia man who unintentionally set his wife on fire after flcking a lighter at a gas station.

According to a story on, fire officials allege that the man, who has been charged with reckless conduct, ignited a cigarette lighter while filling his pickup truck with gas last month. A fuel vapor explosion occurred, resulting in second- and third-degree injuries on his wife's legs, arms, back, and head. The man suffered minor injuries to his hand, according to the story. 

NFPA urges drivers to exercise caution while filling their tanks. For instance, don't smoke, light matches, or use lighters while refueling. Also, don't get in and out of your car while refueling, as this action could cause static electricity and spark a fire.

Read all of NFPA's service station safety tips.

The Finnish flag flew over NFPA offices in Quincy, Mass. recently to honor a delegation visiting from Finland, organized by The Finnish National Rescue Association (SPEK). The delegation brought together 13 high-ranking officials from government and private fire and safety organizations located in various regions in Finland, including the capital, Helsinki. Guests were welcomed by NFPA President Jim Shannon and attended presentations given by NFPA staffers, Don Bliss, Olga Caledonia, Guy Colonna, and Orlando Hernandez.  Casey Grant of the Fire Protection Research Foundation, an affiliate of NFPA, also presented to the group. 

Finland visitorsThe Finnish National Rescue Association (SPEK) is a member 
of the Confederation of Fire Protection Associations- International (CFPA-I®).  CFPA-I, is a body of leading fire protection organizations from around the world that have joined forces to collectively direct their resources at reducing the global fire problem and increasing life safety.   NFPA serves as the Secretariat for this 25 member group of international fire protection associations. NFPA’s Vice President of Field Operations Don Bliss serves as one of its four directors and Christine Ellis, also of NFPA, serves at the administrator for the Secretariat.

While in the United States, the Finnish Delegation is planning to study harsh and extreme conditions and situations from the point of view of cooperative possibilities. The group will also look at preventive work of officers and other operators working on safety and security, preparedness, and rescue.  

When people are not in direct view of signal lights they often become aware of emergency situations by noticing their reflection on other surfaces. How visible are these lights when not in direct view?


In this video, John Bullough, Ph.D. of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) explores this issue and discusses the project, "Parameters for Indirect Viewing of Visual Signals Used in Emergency Notification" that the Lighting Research Center conducted for the Fire Protection Research Foundation.

One viewer of the NFPA video on YouTube posted the following question: "What's the reason of candela and how do you know what candela to use?"

We ran the question by NFPA staff expert Lee Richardson. Here's what he had to say: 

"The question “What’s the reason of candela and how do you know what candela to use?” is answered in section 18.5 of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. Candela (cd) is the effective intensity of a strobe. As indicated in A., it is “the conventional method of equating the brightness of a flashing light to that of a steady-burning light as seen by the human observer.”  The code provides two methods of determining the candela to use for indirect signaling. Table or Table provide the required candela ratings for given room sizes. Subsection provides a performance-based alternative to the use of the tables."

Review NFPA 72 online for free.

Superstorm SandyThe impact from Superstorm Sandy was as widespread as the storm itself, which wreaked havoc along most of the U.S. eastern seaboard. A year later, communities are still trying to bounce back, and firefighters on the scene have attempted--somewhat unsuccessfully--to put the the past behind them.

Despite these dire outcomes, there have been some bright spots. Following the incident last year, NFPA Journal took a look at emergency procedures at hospitals impacted by the storm and discovered some surprising finds, including a concerted push for preparedness at these facilities. Moreover, the latest edition of NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities, has reinforced provisions that help identify hazard vulnerabilities and organize an emergency operations plan.

“Some of the encouraging things I’ve seen [in  hospitals affected by Sandy] is that in some situations where a facility  lost power, they didn’t have to evacuate because they had plans in  place for that event,” Chad Beebe, director of codes and standards  for the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) and a member  of NFPA's Health Care Facilities Committee, told NFPA Journal.

Get the full story here.

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