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insider.jpgNFPA 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. Yesterday, the June episode aired, and featured NFPA President Jim Shannon, Koffel Associates Vice President Jim Lathrop and NFPA's Division Manager of Codes & Standards, Dawn Bellis.


Jim Shannon gave his last 'First Word' and reviewed some important milestones of his tenure as President. He left members with this advice; get involved with the code making process, because the more people that do from a variety of backgrounds and industries, the better the codes are. Additionally, it is important to tell others about the value of our code making process as the copyright lawsuits that we face will most likely play out through public debate.


Jim Lathrop was this month's Journal Live segment guest, speaking about his upcoming article in the new issue of NFPA Journal regarding emerging issues of interior finishes. Historically, interior finishes have contributed to some large fires, including the Station and KISS nightclub fires. Combined with modern products that can be an issue, NFPA 286 now requires full scale room corner tests to be carried out and passed before materials can be used. The risk with some of these materials, like polypropylene for example, is that they can become the equivalent of a flammable liquid when on fire if untreated and untested. Read more about the risks of interior finishes and the full scale testing being used on them in Jim's article.


Dawn Bellis finished up the INSIDER segment by giving an overview of the results of the Association Technical Meeting at Conference & Expo.


Members, watch the full INSIDER episode for more information. Not a member? Learn more about the many benefits and join today!

If you’ve been reading our blogs over the past couple of weeks, you already know NFPA takes a strong stand against consumer fireworks, as they’re simply too dangerous and unpredictable to be used safely. Ban on fireworks image

A brief story in this morning’s edition of reinforced hat message, featuring an image that literally demonstrates the impact of consumer fireworks in the hands of amateurs. (Be forewarned, the image is graphic.)

Robert Scalese, staff writer for, wrote, “The fireworks ban in Massachusetts is nothing new, and New Hampshire is still right there, so if you want to risk a fine and your hand, feel free to do so. But it’s not entirely unjustified to have the ban in place.”

Visit NFPA’s fireworks page for a wealth of information, tips and resources on fireworks safety.

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A plaque commemorates the 15 people who lost their lives from the Elliott Chambers Rooming House fire in 1984. (Photo: Elliott Chambers Memorial Foundation Facebook page)

Usually a time for celebrating, the July 4th holiday began with a tragedy 30 years ago. Around 4 a.m. that morning in 1984, a fire started at the Elliott Chambers Rooming House in Beverly, Mass., and spread up the stairway to living quarters on the second and third floor. Escape was nearly impossible as people were trapped in their rooms. (Back then, rooming houses were known as "death traps" due to the high number of fatalities at these settings.) The incident killed 15 people, including a person who leaped to their death, and injured nine others.


For additional information on this event and its impact on sprinkler mandates, read the post on NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.</p>

On the afternoon of July 2, 1994, lightning struck Storm King Mountain near Glenwood Springs,
Colorado, igniting a fire that claimed the lives of 14 fire fighters and burned for 8 days.  Named the “South Canyon Fire,” this incident is the most deadly wildland fire in the United States since the 1953 Rattlesnake Fire on the Mendocino National Forest which claimed the lives of 15 fire fighters.

The fire burned for several days, and during that period, suppression resources were gradually committed to the fire.  On afternoon of July 6, there were 49 fire fighters on the mountain.  These fire fighters included hotshot*, smoke jumper and helitack** crews.  Late that afternoon, a passing weather front caused wind speeds to increase and cause high wind gusts.  Shortly after 4:00 p.m., the fire “blew out”.  Flame heights were over 100 feet, and the flame front was moving at more than ten feet per second (7+ mph). July 2

Nine of the smoke jumpers apparently deployed their fire shelters in a previously burned area and survived.  Nine hotshots and three smoke jumpers who were working the fireline attempted to reach their safe area when the blow out occurred.  The rapidly spreading fire quickly overran them, killing all twelve fire fighters.  Fire fighters who were on the ridge saw the fire spread across the mountain’s southwest face towards their position.  The rapidly spreading flame front was only seconds away from them when they retreated down the ravine on the east side of the ridge.  All of these fire fighters were able to escape to a highway below the mountain.  Two helitack fire fighters also saw the approaching flame front.  Rather than retreating down the ravine, these fire fighters ran the ridge in a northeasterly direction.  They were trapped in a small ravine where they died.

For more information on this report NFPA Fire Investigation. To learn more about firefighter fatalities in the U.S. NFPA Fire Analysis and Research. Visit the Firewise Communities for more infomation on wildfire preparedness.

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