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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 & 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: 6.2.1.1, 6.2.2.2, 8.8.2.10.1, and 8.8.2.10.2 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. 

CPSC_turkey_fryer
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. 

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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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