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Within the last few days the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released the Commodity Preparedness and incident Management Reference Sheet for Petroleum Crude Oil. A summary of the report is outlined below. The complete Reference Sheet can be found at the U.S. Department of Transportation website. 

HazardTransportation and Planning Considerations

With the increased production of oil from shale reserves in states such as North Dakota and Texas, there has been a dramatic increase in the transportation of crude oil by rail. Rail shipments of crude oil from these regions are typically made using unit trains. Unit trains of crude oil are single commodity trains that generally consist of over 100 tank cars, each carrying approximately 30,000 gallons of crude oil.

Hazard Summary

Petroleum crude oil is a light to dark colored liquid hydrocarbon containing flammable gasses. It is not a uniform substance and its physical and chemical properties may vary from oilfield to oilfield or within wells located in the same oilfield. Light, sweet crude oils contain flammable gasses such as butane and propane (unless it is known that the gasses have been removed). These gasses can readily ignite if released, when they come in contact with an ignition source. These crude oils may also contain hydrogen sulfide, a toxic inhalation hazard material, in the vapor space of the tank car. Due to the characteristics of crude oil, in an accident scenario, the behavior of this product may range from that of gasoline for the lighter (sweet) crude oils to diesel fuel for the heavier (sour) crude oils.

DO NOT APPLY WATER DIRECTLY INSIDE A TANK CAR. Apply water from the sides of the tank car and from a safe distance to keep fire exposed containers cool. Use unmanned fire monitors for cooling tank cars when available. Withdraw immediately in case of rising sound from venting pressure relief devices or discoloration of tank.If available, dry chemical extinguishing agents, such as potassium bicarbonate (i.e., Purple K) may also be used in conjunction with Class B foams.

Emergency response organizations should use following framework and incident management best practices to prepare for, safely and effectively respond to and crude oil rail transportation incident:

  1. Pre-Incident Planning and Preparedness
  2. Incident Management Principles
  3. Problem Identification
  4. Hazard Assessment and Risk Evaluation
  5. Select Proper Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment
  6. Logistics and Resource Management
  7. Select and Implement Response Objectives
  8. Clean-up and Post-Emergency Operations

-Tom McGowan

by NFPA's Susan McKelvey

Domino’s® Pizza officially launched its 7th annual fire safety and pizza delivery campaign today at the Detroit Fire Department with great success. The event kicks off Domino’s continued effort to reinforce the importance of working smoke alarms during Fire Prevention Week.

About forty students from a local elementary school were invited to help kick off the event, cheering on the firefighters as they left the station to make the inaugural pizza delivery.

The first official pizza delivery was made at the home of the Puckett family, where their existing smoke alarms were working, but additional ones were needed and installed by the fire department.


Back at the station, the students got to go through a fire safety house, play with our new, interactive story book app, "The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms", and share lots of hugs and high fives with Sparky the Fire Dog®. The festivities culminated with a pizza party at the fire station.

A tremendous thanks to the Detroit Fire Department for graciously hosting and participating in the event, and to all the great students who were so enthusiastic and well behaved. Last but certainly not least, kudos to Domino's for their active support of Fire Prevention Week each year, and helping communicate the extreme importance of working smoke alarms.



Brad Phillips Allow me to introduce Brad Phillips, a media guru who knows how to convey the right messages to the right audiences. Before founding Phillips Media Relations, a media and presentation training communications firm, Phillips developed compelling stories for network and cable TV, including ABC's Nightline and CNN. 

Of particular interest to readers of this blog is that Phillips has also worked closely with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors to develop advocacy training on home fire sprinklers. His tactics make use of a survivor's voice, a powerful and poignant tool in the push for sprinkler requirements. Combining their stories with tips on crafting noteworthy presentations, effective advocacy, and media outreach, Phillips has helped develop an army of well-informed and convincing sprinkler supporters. 

The NFPA team has brought Phillips on board as the Fire Sprinkler Initiative's newest blogger in the hopes that all sprinkler advocates might benefit from his expertise.

Visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog to read his inaugural post.

The trend for use of high-strength steels continues to head in the direction of modern motor vehicles using more effective and efficient blends of high strength materials. 

Automobile manufacturers are continuing to increase the use of high-strength steels in HSS (High Strength Steel) and AHSS (Advanced High Strength Steel) technologies. The strong push for use of these improved materials is primarily rooted in the vehicle manufacturer efforts to meet the so-called “CAFE” standards, which stands for “corporate average fuel economy” regulations through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Thus, the primary motivation among vehicle manufacturers is to make motor vehicles lighter and stronger and be able to meet increasingly restrictive vehicle mileage requirements.  The following websites offer further detail:

Some of the materials that are becoming widespread in mainstream automobiles have been used previously in somewhat more exotic applications, such as race cars and rail transport.  The changes in the highway landscape are occurring because the vehicle manufacturers are modernizing their manufacturing processes to utilize advanced materials technology, making cars out of stronger steel in the process. Ron Moore, a subject matter expert with NFPA's Electric Vehicle Responder Safety Program, explains the new vehicle crash testing, why you need to know about them, and provides an excellent overview of high strength steel in the video below.


Also, check out a study done by The Fire Protection Research Foundation about the effectiveness of hydraulic extrication tools during operations involving HSS and AHSS.

Safe cutting!

DominosNFPA and Sparky the Fire Dog are teaming up with Domino’s Pizza for the 7th consecutive year, this Fire Prevention Week.

During Fire Prevention Week, October 5-11, participating markets in the U.S. will be reinforcing this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign theme, “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!”, on top of pizza boxes. 

Working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire in half. However, two-thirds of U.S. home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. The fliers on pizza boxes will include statistics on smoke alarms, installation tips and encourage customers to test their smoke alarms every month.  

In addition, customers who order from participating Domino’s stores throughout the U.S. in October may be surprised when their delivery arrives aboard a fire engine. If all the smoke alarms in the home are working, the pizza order is free. If a smoke alarm is not working, the firefighters will replace the batteries or install a fully-functioning fire safety device in the home. 

Tomorrow, a kick off event in Detroit will launch the program, featuring saefty education for kids at a local fire deparment, the first pizza delivery of the season aboard a fire truck, and of course, a pizza party. Stay tuned for photos!


Members of the International Fire Marshals Association (IFMA) board, including President Steven Peavey, recently took part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Before dumping the ice on their heads, the board challenged the presidents of the 34 chapters of IFMA.

The IFMA Board accepted the challenge from NFPA's senior staff, including President Jim Pauley, who took the Ice Bucket Challenge on September 2, 2014. Other organizations who accepted NFPA's Ice Bucket Challenge include the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and ICC.

MfcRecently, NFPA hosted the Urban Fire Forum, the annual gathering of 25 fire and emergency service leaders who are members of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs, a membership section of the NFPA and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. The Forum endorsed a position statement on Fire and Smoke as a Weapon. This six page document contains background on why those who would harm citizens around the globe consider fire and smoke as weapons. More importantly, drawing on the collective experience of the Metro Chiefs and guidance from the US Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation, provides detailed information on planning, training, and operational needs when responding to such an event.

September 11, 2001, catapulted NFPA into an era where we had to consider the intentional use of fire as a weapon to create harm and attack the structural integrity of building. We saw how this event overwhelmed the ability of any Code or Standard to protect occupants and responders from harm.

Today we see a world where some have gathered to harm others utilizing a horrific arsenal of tools, including fire. Through social media and slick magazines, their followers are instructed how to attack innocents and inflict great harm. Protecting America and those nations targeted will require more than Codes and Standards. As highlighted in Fire and Smoke as A Weapon, it will require preplanning, training, and operational deployment commensurate with the risk.

To assist Americas responders in their efforts to protect our Homeland from these threats, NFPA has created a web page with the Urban Fire Forum position paper and other resources. The Position Paper is a must read for all leaders of emergency response organizations. See the additional resources, including a DHS paper on terrorist interest in using fire as a weapon as well as the FDNY interagency response protocol, at

At approximately 2:00 a.m., on Monday September 28, 1992, Denver fire fighters responded to a fire in a two-story print shop.  During the fire suppression operations in one Denver fire fighter died.   The victim was working by himself inside the fire building when he, apparently, encountered some type of difficulty.  He was able to reach a second-story window and shine his handlight through the window alerting other fire fighters who were outside.

A partially collapsed floor and intense fire within the building prevented potential rescuers from reaching the trapped fire fighter through the interior of the building.  Other fire fighters, laddered the building and entered the room where the trapped fire fighter was located.  Over a period of approximately 55 minutes, several rescuers attempted to remove the victim through a window; however, they were unsuccessful due to the confinement of the space in which they were working.  The fatally injured fire fighter was finally removed through a hole which fire fighters cut in a wall.

This fire highlights the importance of fire fighters remaining together during fire suppression and related operations.  This fire also reveals difficulties associated with rescue in confined spaces.

For the full NFPA Fire Investigation report To learn about NFPA's Fire Analysis and Research report on Firefighter Fatalities and Injuries.

Craig cronin

It seems like lots of celebrities are helping promote the importance of smoke alarms these days.

Take country music singer Craig Morgan. Morgan will be donating 300 smoke alarms tomorrow to the Onondaga County Volunteer Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) at Paper Mill Island in Baldwinsville, where he'll be performing that afternoon.

Morgan is a former first responder; the donation represents his ongoing campaign to promote fire safety. Music to our ears!

Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletterWhen Fire Chief Robert Gorvett proposed a residential sprinkler ordinance, opponents immediately attacked the idea. Gorvett, however, never backed down, and using a series of sprinkler advocacy tools, he eventually won support for the requirement. 

Learn more about Gorvett by reading the latest issue of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter. You'll also find stories on:

  • a “flawed” report that has been slammed by Massachusetts fire officials for failing to consider the benefits of residential sprinklers
  • new sprinkler legislation in New York
  • a Paralympic gold medalist who will receive a fully sprinklered home 

Sign up today to receive the free, monthly newsletter, which is sent directly to your inbox. You'll be kept abreast of the most important sprinkler news from across North America. 

At its August 2014 meeting, the NFPA Standards Council considered the issuance of several proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs).  The following TIAs were issued by the Council on August 14, 2014:

  • NFPA 1, TIA 12-2, referencing various sections
  • NFPA 1, TIA 15-1 referencing various sections
  • NFPA 10, TIA 13-1, referencing 2.2 and 5.6.1(61)
  • NFPA 37, TIA 15-1, referencing 6.6.3
  • NFPA 70, TIA 14-4, referencing 520.45
  • NFPA 70, TIA 14-5, referencing 530.21(A)
  • NFPA 70, TIA 14-6, referencing 590.6(A)(1)
  • NFPA 70E, TIA 15-1, referencing 130.7(C)(10)(b)(1), Table H.3(a) and Table H.3(b)
  • NFPA 85, TIA 11-1, referencing 8.9.2
  • NFPA 99, TIA 15-1, referencing
  • NFPA 99, TIA 15-2, referencing through and A. through A.
  • NFPA 101, TIA 12-5, referencing various sections
  • NFPA 101, TIA 12-6, referencing various sections
  • NFPA 101, TIA 15-1, referencing various sections
  • NFPA 101, TIA 15-2, referencing various sections
  • NFPA 101, TIA 15-3, referencing 12.4.1, A.12.4.1, 13.4.1, A.13.4.1
  • NFPA 102, TIA 11-1, referencing 2.2 and 9.7
  • NFPA 400, TIA 13-2, referencing various sections
  • NFPA 402, TIA 13-1, referencing
  • NFPA 1192, TIA 15-1, referencing 6.4.9
  • NFPA 5000, TIA 12-1, referencing various sections
  • NFPA 5000, TIA 12-2, referencing 32.3.7
  • NFPA 5000, TIA 12-3, referencing, Table and Tables through (h)
  • NFPA 5000, TIA 12-4, referencing, D.7.4.3 and H.1.1
  • NFPA 5000, TIA 12-5, referencing and 27.4.6
  • NFPA 5000, TIA 15-1, referencing 16.4.1 and A.16.4.1
  • NFPA 5000, TIA 15-2, referencing various sections
  • NFPA 5000, TIA 15-3, referencing 32.3.7
  • NFPA 5000, TIA 15-4, referencing, Table, and Tables through (h)
  • NFPA 5000, TIA 15-5, referencing, d.7.4.3, and H.1.1
  • NFPA 5000, TIA 15-6, referencing and 27.4.6

Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) are amendments to an NFPA document processed in accordance with Section 5 of the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards (Regulations Governing Committee Projects).They have not gone through the entire standards development process of being published in a First Draft Report (formerly ROP) and Second Draft Report (formerly ROC) for review and comment. TIAs are effective only between editions of the document. A TIA automatically becomes a public input (formerly proposal) for the next edition of the document, as such is then subject to all of the procedures of the standards development process.  TIAs are published in NFPA News, NFCSS, and any further distribution of the document after being issued by the Standards Council.


The Brazil flag was flown today at the NFPA headquarters, in honor of Col. Roberto Fontenelle Damasceno, Director General of Technical Services (Fire Marshal) for the State of Rio de Janeiro Military Fire Brigade.  Col. Fontenelle has been participating in the NFPA State Fire Marshal Forum this week and visiting the Quincy, MA office today.  He was accompanied by Mr. Anderson Queiroz, a fire protection engineer from Rio, who served as his translator.

We have been working closely with Col. Fontenelle and his staff on the adoption of NFPA 1 Fire Code in the state of Rio de Janeiro.  Much like the U.S., the 27 states in Brazil have the authority to adopt and enforce fire codes.  Both NFPA 1 and NFPA 101 have been translated into Portuguese, and training has been provided for the Rio fire inspectors.  It is NFPA's hope that the code adoption and use efforts in Brazil will continue to expand, particularly as Brazil prepares for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

3FF062BD78B746E8843A761A5FF017BF.ashxUnderstanding how often a fire pump should be tested in accordance with NFPA 25, Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, can be tricky, says Matt Klaus, principal fire protection engineer at NFPA. Though the annual flow test ensures that a pump performs as intended when it was designed, a single test each year does not provide a high level of reliability. You must also conduct no-flow tests throughout the year. 

However, the frequency for no-flow tests has changed in each of the last three editions of the standard, so depending on which edition your jurisdiction adopts, the frequencies for conducting these tests may vary. To find out when you need to test your fire pumps, read Matt's column "What's the Frequency?" in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal.


Receive the print edition of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.

Wildfire blog
Nearly $30 million worth of property was destroyed, including 46 residential homes, in the wildfires that struck San Diego County, California, last May. As bad as it was, the destruction would have been much greater had residents not taken steps to ensure there was defensible space around their homes, said Dave Hanneman, the fire chief of Chula Vista, one of many communities impacted by the fires.

Lucian Deaton of NFPA’s Wildland Operations Division spoke to Hanneman for his recent “Wildfire Watch” column in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal. Deaton wrote about the lessons learned from the San Diego County fires and how clearing fuel loads around homes there enabled firefighters to “direct their efforts on the fire front as the fire layed down when it reached properties where the fuels had been thinned and flammable debris removed.”

NFPA’s Firewise® program teaches residents fire principles and strategies to take action to reduce the risks of wildfire destroying their house. And, as focus increases on the rising cost of fighting wildfires, adopting Firewise principles can greatly reduce the resources required to combat fire.  

Engaging a structure fire costs more than $1,000 an hour in operations cost alone, never mind the property loss involved, Hanneman said.  

“Fires can still impact homes that employ every step of mitigation, but the principles of defensible space held true in May,” Deaton wrote. “Amidst the ongoing national debate on suppression costs … we need to do a better job capturing those firsthand accounts to support residents in their ongoing efforts to prepare for wildfire.” 


Receive the print edition of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.

FPW smoke alarms banner

Fire Prevention Week (FPW) is just around the corner – October 5-11 to be exact. Here’s an overview of what’s heating up for this year’s campaign, “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!"

  • In coordination with our FPW 2014 partnersLEGOLAND®, Domino’s® Pizza, CVS Pharmacy and The Home Depot – we’ll be promoting FPW in the coming weeks through a series of fun, engaging events and initiatives. Take a look at our Partners in Safety section for details on how we’re working with each of them.
  • We’re now entering the fourth week of our online smoke alarm pledge, where families who commit to testing their smoke alarms monthly are automatically entered into a grand prize sweepstakes. One randomly selected winner will receive a trip for up to four people to either LEGOLAND® Florida Resort or LEGOLAND® California Resort. The downloadable/printable pledge form is available through October 5.
  • Our FPW website offers a wealth of resources to communicate this year’s theme, including ways to team up with the local schools to educate kids about the importance of smoke alarms. The site also offers great smoke alarm advice, tips and information for adults.
  • Last but not least, Sparky the Fire Dog's® FPW page features activities that make learning about smoke alarms and fire safety really fun for kids, while Sparky's Schoolhouse features a new, interactive storybook app, "The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms", which is one of the most downloaded apps on iTunes!

For more details on Fire Prevention Week 2014 and smoke alarms, visit

ResearchThe September-October issue of Research Foundation News is available for your viewing.  Featured items include:

  • Foundation research on prevention of cooking fires
  • New reports issued: 
    • Using crowdsourcing to develop emergency responder SOPs
    • Sprinkler Protection for Cloud Ceilings
    • Validation of the Fire Safety Evaluation System in the 2013 Edition of the NFPA 101A
    • Evaluation of Water Additives for Fire Control and Vapor Mitigation
    • Egress Modelling in Health Care Occupancies
  • Free Webinar on Fire Safety Challenges in Tall Wood Buildings
  • New project on environmental impact of fire

Thanks for having a look! This bi-monthly Research Foundation newsletter describes new projects, research planning developments, newly issued reports, upcoming symposia, and other activities of the Foundation.

Don't miss an issue! Sign up now.

Staunch supporters of home fire sprinklers recently assembled at the construction site of two homes in Hanover, Massachusetts, offering their assistance with the sprinkler installation while underscoring the life-saving aspects of these systems. 

NFPA collaborated with the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition, the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), and the South Shore Habitat for Humanity to sprinkler the three-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath homes. NFPA President Jim Pauley took part in assisting professionals with the installation, which will take no more than a couple days to complete. Also in attendance was coalition chair Mary Regan, chief of the Westfield Fire Department, and David LaFond with NFSA, which assisted in obtaining the materials and labor for the installation.  

"This type of partnership is essential to the success of our homebuilding efforts," says Martine Taylor, South Shore Habitat's executive director. "These contributions enable us to help families move out of unsafe and substandard housing and into decent, affordable homes of their own."

Visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog to view photos from the event.

B2EFB4D9C97249B387A22F48A118C58D.ashxIt is not unusual for jurisdictions to amend the safety codes that they adopt, sometimes for overstated financial reasons and sometimes as a result of anecdotal accounts of operational problems. But what happens when the amendments reduce the level of safety the code is designed to supply? The simple answer: Someone can die.

In his latest NFPA Journal column, "Cautionary Tale," Jeff Sargent tells us what happened to one young boy when a local amendment to the National Electrical Code® exempted receptacles installed in garages and on the outside of homes from the requirement that they be provided with ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection. 


Receive the print edition of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.

by Curt Floyd


On September 16 and 17, 2014, the NFPA 1730 Technical Committee on Standard on Organization and Deployment of Fire Prevention Inspection and Code Enforcement, Plan Review, Investigation, and Public Education Operations to the Public, met in Green Bay, Wisconsin for the Second Draft Meeting of the annual 2015 cycle. Also on the agenda was the drafting of a proposed new document addressing Community Risk Assessment and Plan Development. The new document will have the primary responsibility for establishing a process to develop, conduct, implement and evaluate community risk assessment and reduction programs. To view the NFPA 1730 document go to Once at the document information page click on the "next edition" tab to follow the revision progress and review actions that have been taken.


On September 16 and 17, 2014, the NFPA 1730 Technical Committee on Standard on Organization and Deployment of Fire Prevention Inspection and Code Enforcement, Plan Review, Investigation, and Public Education Operations to the Public, met in Green Bay, Wisconsin for the Second Draft Meeting of the annual 2015 cycle. Also on the agenda was the drafting of a proposed new document addressing Community Risk Assessment and Plan Development. The new document will have the primary responsibility for establishing a process to develop, conduct, implement and evaluate community risk assessment and reduction programs. To view the NFPA 1730 document go to Once at the document information page click on the "next edition" tab to follow the revision progress and review actions that have been taken.

NFPA and LEGOLAND California Resort teamed up Saturday to help honor Carlsbad firefighters and talk with hundreds of families about testing home smoke alarms. The appreciation and outreach event recognized Carlsbad firefighters’ service to the City, including fighting wildfires last May. The day highlighted NFPA’s 2014 partnership with LEGOLAND California which is spreading the word about working smoke alarms, leading up to Fire Prevention Week.   Legoland Calif logo

The Carlsbad Fire Department Appreciation Day served as a fundraiser for the Carlsbad Fire Department Foundation. LEGOLAND presented a check to the Foundation with City Council members and Sparky the Fire Dog joining to mark the occasion. Carlsbad Fire Chief Mike Davis thanked LEGOLAND and the Foundation for their support, saying “while today recognizes Carlsbad firefighters, it also helps honor all California firefighters.”

The special event was held at LEGOLAND’s longest running live show “The Big Test” an acrobatic comedy in which the Fun Town Volunteer Firefighters try to become “real” firefighters.  Following the Appreciation ceremony, Carlsbad firefighters and their families enjoyed the show. As a national sponsor of LEGOLAND Parks, NFPA is the presenting sponsor of The Big Test at LEGOLAND California and LEGOLAND Florida.

Throughout the day, hundreds of children and their families had a chance to test a smoke alarm at NFPA’s information station just outside The Big Test venue. NFPA staff talked about the importance of working smoke alarms, and testing them every month. Families also had a chance to enter the Smoke Alarm Pledge to test their smoke alarms at home, with a chance to win a grand prize trip for four to either LEGOLAND Florida or LEGOLAND California Resort.

Thanks goes to the LEGOLAND California team for hosting a great day for fire safety outreach.  And thanks to Pat Mieszala, NFPA lead and southwest region public education advisor, for helping reach so many children and families about smoke alarm testing. 


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Mark Stevens, CFPS

Mark Stevens is a Fire Inspector/Plans Examiner with the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office. He lives in Oakland, a town of about 6,500 people located in the Belgrade Lakes Region of Maine.


Staff of 15 covers the state of Maine


Currently, Mark works in the field of fire prevention with an emphasis on code enforcement.  His major responsibilities are conducting fire and life safety inspections in all state licensed facilities ranging from hospitals and detention/correctional facilities to single family dwellings. As supervisor of the plans review section of the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office, he also oversees the review of construction, renovation, and change-of-use plans for public buildings located in Maine. Complaints for fire and life safety code violations for any type of occupancy in the State of Maine are also reviewed by the Fire Marshal’s Office. A staff of only fifteen people perform all of these functions (over an area of 35,000 square miles) so efficiency and professional competency are very important to the team. As a supervisor, he continues to recognize the important role that NFPA certification plays in the professional development of his staff.


He’s earned the following: Fire Inspector I, Fire Inspector II, Fire Plans Examiner, and Fire Protection Specialist


“My last certification exam was in 2009 at the University of Maine at Farmington online testing center. It was at UMF that I took the Certified Fire Protection Specialist Exam. NFPA certification has played a very important role in my professional development. Online testing at a local test site was the major reason for taking the exam at the University of Maine. I believe that the level of accessibility to NFPA certification programs is a very positive aspect and offers the flexibility needed to pursue certification. State partnership agencies also help to expand access to NFPA certification programs. As the State partnership agency for the State of Maine we are striving to reinforce the importance of NFPA certification programs for fire service organizations within the state. Fire departments that employ trained fire inspectors are able to provide a greater degree of safety to the citizens that they serve through proactive methods of fire protection.”


“NFPA certification has provided a credible and recognized measure of job related competency for me. Earning the NFPA Certified Fire Inspector I, Fire Inspector II, Fire Plan Examiner, and Fire Protection Specialist has definitely been a positive part of my career advancement. The fire service has been trending towards standards-based training for quite some time and NFPA certification provides a means of demonstrating professional competency for fire inspectors, code enforcement officials, and other fire protection related professions. NFPA certification plays an important role in the professional development of many fire prevention and code enforcement organizations. This role is likely to increase as more organizations seek tangible evidence that their personnel are competent in understanding and enforcing adopted codes and standards.”


Learn more about NFPA Certification Programs&#0160;and the new NFPA Certified Electrical Safety Compliance Professional (CESCP) program.&#0160;</p>

Data room
Data is more critical and more abundant now than at any other time in human history. Huge facilities are being built around the world to house the millions of servers needed to store it all. In protecting these facilities, billions of dollars are at stake, not to mention the contents of your email inbox.

The “In a Flash” section of the September/October issue of NFPA Journal looks at the new research just conducted by the Fire Protection Research Foundation, Hughes Associates and FM Global to determine the best locations to place smoke detectors to protect these critical data centers. The high-airflows inside the centers help cool the machines, but make the task of detecting smoke especially challenging. The finished report, “Validation of Modeling Tools for Detection Design in High Airflow Environments,” will help technical committee members for NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code; NFPA 75, Fire Protection of Informational Technology Equipment; and NFPA 76, Fire Protection of Telecommunications Facilities, with guidance as they consider revisions for the next editions.

“In a Flash” also contains an article on the newly announced DiNenno Prize, named after the late Philip J. DiNenno, the former CEO of Hughes Associates and a longtime NFPA Standards Council leader. The award, described by some as “The Nobel Prize of Fire Protection,” comes with a cash prize of about $50,000. The first DiNenno Prize will be awarded at the 2015 NFPA Conference & Expo in Chicago.

In addition, the Firewise Community of Chiliwist, Washington was recently at the center of the worst wildfire in the history of Washington state. Hear from local Firewise champion Peggy Noble about the community’s experience with fire and its resilience. 


Receive the print edition of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.

A fire in the Brunswick Mall on September 20, 1983, destroyed two-thirds of the shopping center.  Smoke, heat, and water damaged the remaining stores.  The loss was estimated to be $11 million.  There were minor injuries to fire fighters, but no loss of life resulting from the fire.

The 195,000 square foot facility had a mall area of heavy timber construction.  The construction classification of the tenant or store areas was unprotected noncombustible.  There were no fire protection systems of construction design features designed to limit the spread of fire.  A fire department connection was provided, but was not connected to standpipe or sprinkler systems.

The fire occurred about 2:30 a.m.. when the shopping center was not occupied.  The fire had spread throughout much of the west end of the facility before the fire was reported.  The majority of stores were destroyed, except for the large Belk Hudson Department Store.

The Brunswick Mall was in violation of the State Building Code from the time it was built in 1968-69, until the fire on September 20, 1983.  The building was never awarded a certificate of occupancy.

Based on NFPA's investigative study, the following are considered to be major contributing factors to this large property loss fire:

   •     Construction features designed to limit the spread of fire were not provided,

            nor were there fire detection or fire alarm systems to provide prompt

            notification of a fire to the fire department.

  •     Approved automatic sprinkler protection was not provided in the shopping center.

  •     Readily accessible hydrant protection was not provided around the perimeter

            of the shopping center. 

To read the full NFPA Fire Investigation report. To learn about NFPA's Fire Analysis and Research stastical report Stores and Other Mercantile Properties

Terminology ChallengeThere’s a new twist on the “swear jar” this week at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Fire officials and fire and life safety educators participating in the Urban Fire and Life Safety–Issues and Solutions class aren’t putting money in a jar every time they swear, they’re putting money in a tray every time they use the term “smoke detector” when they mean “smoke alarm.”

Lieutenant Derrick Ready of the Baltimore Fire Department led the charge in requiring that proper terminology be used when referring to smoke alarms. The exercise is a great reminder that the term “smoke detector” is generally used to describe an interconnected system sometimes monitored remotely that is commonly found in hotels, hospitals, and other commercial or industrial settings.

Lt. Ready’s 27 classmates, including NFPA Senior Project Manager Karen Berard-Reed, members of NFPA’s Urban Fire and Life Safety Task Force, and instructor Sharon Gamache, formerly of NFPA, all agreed to the challenge.

The penalty for each verbal slip was 25 cents the first day. The fine was increased to 50 cents the second day. By day three, $7.25 had been collected. The money will go toward the purchase of a brick on The Walk of Honor® of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

By NFPA's Lisa Braxton

6A05646EE3FA4428B33BE20C30C5F7F9Last May, Robert Sallee, a retired paper industry production manager from Spokane, Washington, died at the age of 82. He was the last survivor of the smoke jumping crew decimated by the 1949 Mann Gulch fire, one of the worst loss-of-life fires in fire service history. Sallee was just 17 when he became a smoke jumper for the U.S. Forest Service and one of 15 jumpers who parachuted in to fight the wildland fire in Mann Gulch, a steep canyon in the Helena National Forest in western Montana.

For more information on the Mann Gulch fire, which killed 12 smoke jumpers and a national forest ranger, and had a significant impact on wildland firefighter training nationwide, read "Looking Back" in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal.

On September 19, 1990 an early morning fire in a board and care occupancy in Bessemer, Alabama resulted in four fatalities.  Fortunately, eleven residents were evacuated by the prompt actions of a 16-year-old occupant.  An inadequate water supply for an installed residential sprinkler system resulted in the system not operating properly illustrating important code enforcement lessons.  Had the system been properly installed and adequate water been supplied, it's likely that no loss of life would have occurred.  

For the full NFPA Fire Investigation report. To learn more about NFPA's Fire Analysis and Research statistical report Structure Fires in Residential Board and Care Facilities.

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Ellen Tauscher, Alliance Board Chair , and Jim Pauley, NFPA President


Just yesterday, The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and NFPA formalized a collaboration through a Memorandum of Understanding. This MOU will empower Alliance Members, factories, workers and other stakeholders with information, guidance and access to training resources that will help protect the health and safety of workers in ready-made garment (RMG) factories in Bangladesh.

“For too many years, the RMG industry has not taken enough measures to protect employees and prevent tragedies caused by unsafe working conditions or poor building construction,” said Ellen Tauscher, Alliance Board Chair and former U.S. Congresswoman. “Our partnership with NFPA will ensure our Member factories will be guided by best practices used around the world and the most up to date standards for building and fire safety.”

Key components of the four-year partnership include:

    • Raising awareness of NFPA codes, standards and resources in the Bangladesh RMG sector;

    • Expanding training and education through effective fire and electrical system safety programs for workers and management representatives; and

    • Disseminating vital information to help workers recognize and prevent workplace hazards at Alliance Member factories.

Moving forward, an implementation team of representatives from each organization will develop a plan of action, determine working procedures and identify participants’ roles and responsibilities. Members from the Alliance and NFPA will meet at least once per year to share progress made toward the partnership’s goals. The results will be shared publically via the Alliance and NFPA websites.  

NFPA launched a3 course self-guided online series&#0160;for NFPA 654. NFPA 654 is the standard that deals with the prevention of fire and dust explosions from the manufacturing, processing, and handling of combustible particulate solids.



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Each course is 1-hour long and can be accessed from your home or office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Online students receive .3 CEUs if they complete the entire series. Guy Colonna, Division Manager, Industrial and Chemical Engineering for NFPA was instrumental in the creation of these courses and believes that awareness of facets of NFPA 654 is vital to managing the safety of employees and property.  "If you are managing a facility where this standard applies, it is essential that you understand the elements of NFPA 654 and that your workers are aware as well. Awareness at all levels can only help in protecting your facility from a combustible dust incident."  


Three modules are included in the series:<br />

[Find out more |]about this self-guided online course series by watching a video. 

Jim Crawford

Jim Crawford serves as master of ceremonies at the Northwest Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit.

A "who's who" of local and national sprinkler experts were on tap this morning at the Northwest Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit in Vancouver, WA. The event, sponsored in part by the Washington and Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalitions, was kicked off with remarks from long-time home fire sprinkler advocate Jim Crawford, retired fire marshal in Vancouver, and current chair of Vision 20/20.

Next up was Jeff LaFlam, Fire Marshal of the Northshore Fire Department, and chair of the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition. Jeff provided an overview of Washington's fire sprinkler efforts, experiences, and successes. The Coalition remains active addressing issues from the Residential Fire Sprinkler Technical Advisory Group (TAG) report for HB 2575-2008, participating in the State Building Code Council, coordinating activities for sprinkler initiatives, and providing outreach to others about home fire sprinklers.

Jeff LaFlam
Also see:
At NFPA's 2012 Fire Sprinkler Summit in Chicago, Jeff LaFlam spoke about the steps taken to adopt a residential fire sprinkler ordinance in Kenmore, WA. See his steps to success.

Following Jeff's presentation, attendees heard from Shawn Olson, Fire Inspector, Clackamas (OR) Fire District #1, and chair of the Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition. The Coalition actively works to educate stakeholder groups on residential fire sprinklers and collaborates with key state fire service organizations to address and overcome barriers to residential fire sprinkler requirements.

Shawn Olsen
Shawn Olson, Jeff LaFlam, and Jim Crawford spoke at today's fire sprinkler summit in Vancouver, WA.

John Corso
John Corso of the National Fire Sprinkler Association provided a brief history of fire sprinklers and the current state of home fire sprinkler protection.

Special thanks to Nanette Tatom for providing photos from the summit.

Read more coverage from this event on NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

SeptThe September issue of Fire Break, NFPA’s wildland fire newsletter, is now available for viewing. In this issue, you’ll find:

  • Information about FEMA’s National Preparedness Month (September) and how you can participate in wildfire preparedness activities at your home or in your community
  • An inside look at last week’s Congressional briefing sponsored by NFPA that focused on wildfire issues in the U.S.
  • A link to the Firewise state plant list
  • Wildfire teaching tools and resources for your next meeting 

… And lots more! We want to continue to share all of this great information with you so don’t miss an issue! So subscribe today. It’s free! Just click here to add your e-mail address to our newsletter list.

Lack of working smoke alarms delays detection of fatal fire, Illinois

A fire of undetermined origin that began in the first-floor living room of a single-family house killed a 38-year-old woman, her 9-year-old daughter, and her 7-year-old son.

Although the father was overcome by smoke, he survived.

The two-story, wood-frame house, which was 50 feet (15 meters) long and 25 feet (8 meters) wide, had a single battery-operated smoke alarm with no battery and no sprinklers.

A neighbor called 911 at 2:22 a.m., and firefighters arriving four minutes later found heavy fire and smoke coming from the first floor of the house. After entering with a hose line, they rescued the father near the front door and found his son several minutes later near the back door. Crews then extinguished the remaining fire and found the woman and her daughter on the first floor.

Investigators determined the fire started on a sofa bed in the living room where the woman and her daughter were sleeping. The father and son, who were asleep on the second floor, awoke and came downstairs, where they were overcome by the smoke and heat.

 Investigators could not determine the fire’s heat source.

The house, valued at $100,000, sustained $40,000 in structural damage. Its contents, which had an estimated value of $10,000, were a total loss.

Kenneth J. Tremblay, 2014," Firewatch", NFPA Journal, January/February 30-31.

For more Firewatch incidents NFPA Journal.  To learn about NFPA’s Fire Analysis and Research statistical reports on Home Fires that Began with Mattresses and Bedding and Home Fires That began with Upholstered Furniture. and Smoke Alarms n U.S. Home Fires

On Monday, September 17, 1984, at approximately 4:00 p.m., an explosion occurred in a cold storage warehouse building near Shreveport, Louisiana. The explosion occurred while two members of the Shreveport Fire Department's Hazardous Material Unit were attempting to isolate an anhydrous ammonia leak in a section of the building's refrigeration system.  Employees had earlier detected the leak and workers had begun repairs earlier in the day, but were unable to complete the repair due to the effects of the ammonia.

The force of the explosion raised the building's roof/ceiling assembly in the immediate area of the leak approximately one foot and severely damaged interior wall assemblies.  The initial explosion also resulted in a severe fire from the ignition of ordinary combustibles in the adjacent areas of the building.  The two fire fighters within the room of origin were severely burned when their protective clothing became ignited.  One fire fighter died within 36 hours of the explosion; the other fire fighter was admitted to a hospital in critical condition.

Based on the investigative study, the following are considered to be major contributing factors to the loss of life in this incident:

     •     The ignition of a flammable mixture of anhydrous ammonia gas during the

             emergency scene operation,

    •     The lack of proper precautions by workers to reduce the possibility of a hazardous

             accumulation of  ammonia gas, and

    •     The lack of awareness by fire fighters that the conditions for a hazardous accumulation of

             flammable anhydrous ammonia gas were present.

For Full NFPA Fire Investigation report.  To learn more about NFPA's Fire Analysis and Research report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States

NFPA launched a 6 course self-guided online series for the 2015 edition of NFPA 70E. Each course is 1-hour long and can be accessed from your home or office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Online students receive .6 CEUs if they complete the entire series. Bill Burke, Division Manager for Electrical Engineering for NFPA is excited about this new offering. "With the addition of these courses to our library, electricians, supervisors, contractors, engineers, safety professionals and others can learn about the important facets of NFPA 70E from their home or office and on their own time. You can take these courses before or after work so you don't miss any time away from your projects."  

2015 70E Onlie Series Image

The Six courses that are included in the series are:

To try a FREE demo of one of our NFPA 70E self-guided online courses.

8D5AAD4FDDE74097987092E4C457C3D4According to the latest NFPA “Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Incidents” report, U.S. fire departments responded to more than 80,000 non-fire carbon monoxide (CO) incidents in 2010, for an average of almost seven calls per hour. During that same year, says a Consumer Product Safety Commission report, an estimated 161 people died as a result of unintentional CO poisoning associated with consumer products.

These numbers hit home with NFPA's Lisa Braxton, whose parents experienced a gas leak last winter in their home, which was also found to contain a high CO level.

"If they had remained in the house for 15 more minutes," she wrote in her latest column "Close Call," they would have gone to sleep and never awakened because of the CO. If either of them had turned on the light in the laundry room, the house could have exploded from the natural gas."

For more information on this incident and on the importance of of CO alarms and having a qualified professional install and maintain heating equipment, read Lisa's column in the September/October 2014 issue of NFPA Journal.


Receive the print edition of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.

SparkySmokeAlarmAppSparky the Fire Dog and his friends set out to solve a mystery in The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms, a new free app that teaches kids fire-safety skills in a way that’s both educational and fun. With a compelling new story, standards-aligned materials for math and English Language Arts, loads of tappable animations and even a high-flying game, this app will bring laughter and learning to your classroom or home.

The app has even reached the #2 spot in the iTunes App Store! You can download your download your free app for your Apple or Android device through Sparky's School House website

London embassyWith about 275 missions in 190 countries, more than 34 million square-feet of owned and 35 million square-feet of leased property, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has an enormous task. The bureau handles nearly all aspects of design, construction, acquisition and maintenance of the vast majority of the United States’ overseas property, including consulates, embassies, residences, office complexes, support facilities and much more.

In the “Perspectives” feature in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal, OBO project architect Andrew Scott, and fire protection engineer Robert Diggs discuss their jobs and the challenges they face in ensuring the nation’s foreign buildings are safe, secure and functional.

The work takes them from arid deserts to tropical rainforests, from modern urban centers to far flung corners of the earth. Because of the huge range in situations, both political and environmental, engineers and designers at OBO have to maintain high standards for their buildings, while also maintaining a level of flexibility for unique circumstances, Diggs and Scott explain.

Read more in the latest issue of NFPA Journal.


Receive the print issue of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.


On September 12, the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) accepted NFPA's Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease).

Led by President Russ Fleming, the NFSA put its own unique spin on the challenge — getting drenched by ice cold water pumped through a single overhead sprinkler. The NFSA also challenged several other organizations and individuals to take the plunge. 

Also see: NFPA senior staff takes the Ice Bucket Challenge on September 2, 2014.

First responder imageBuyer’s remorse is a terrible feeling. Spending thousands of dollars on firefighting equipment that doesn’t work as intended is more than terrible—it’s dangerous.

In his “First Responder” column in the new September/October issue of NFPA Journal, NFPA Division Manager Ken Willette writes about how NFPA codes can assist with the purchase of fire equipment.

There are more than a dozen NFPA standards to help fire-service buyers make smart choices. The standards recommend practices for the design, testing and certification of personal protective equipment (PPE) and electronic safety equipment (ESE). The standards also recommend that each piece of compliant equipment “have a permanent label affixed that explicitly states it meets the requirements of the relevant standard,” Willette writes.

“When evaluating PPE or ESE, look for the label—it’s your confirmation that the equipment is NFPA-compliant and can serve as a benchmark as you evaluate comparable, labeled products,” Willette writes. 


Receive the print edition of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.

I’m working in NFPA’s exhibit booth at a conference for local government administrators in Charlotte, NC, helping city managers and other attendees better understand the value of home fire sprinklers.

Just after 12:30 pm, as attendees were strolling through the exhibit hall - networking and enjoying their lunches - the facility’s fire alarm began blaring - loudly. A looped recorded message told us that an emergency had been reported in the building and instructed us to walk, not run, to the closest exit.

I grabbed my laptop and backpack, and started toward the exit door, located at the end of the next aisle over. I was joined by only a handful of others, but I could see down to the other end of the expo hall, where hundreds of people were backed up in long lines — barely moving - at the escalators that would take them one flight up to street level.

My exit took me up a long staircase and dumped me on the sidewalk near the convention center’s main entrance. Several fire trucks were already outside — and after a few minutes, we were given the “all clear” message and were allowed to re-enter the building.

I’ve been in buildings that had to be evacuated a few times in my life — but never where thousands of people were gathered for a conference. And I’m struck by the fact that the majority of people in the exhibit hall automatically re-traced their steps and waited in long lines to exit the doors they had entered through rather than use the other clearly-marked exits located in the hall.

In a real emergency, I would hate to think what might have happened as hordes of people pushed to escape through a single point of egress.

It’s a good reminder about situational awareness — and not being a creature of habit when it comes to fire safety. Here’s the information you need to know about escape planning in any situation.

248250DF5AF044E0BBBDEEE372F45E2EDoors in exterior walls allow people to enter and leave a building, but they also introduce security challenges, says Ron Cote, NFPA's principal engineer for life safety. Building operators try to provide systems and procedures to limit admission to those who legitimately belong in the building without unreasonably inconveniencing them.

To do this, they may introduce systems that control entry, such as turnstiles. However, these systems must not adversely affect the safe egress of building occupants, as required by NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, which regulates egress in significant ways but does not require ingress. According to Cote, the 2015 edition of NFPA 101, available this fall, will now include provisions for security access turnstiles positioned in  building lobbies to prevent unauthorized access.

For more information, read Cote's  column "Two-Way Traffic" in the September/October 2014 issue of NFPA Journal.


Receive the print issue of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.

by NFPA's Michele Steinberg

In the current issue of NFPA Journal, NFPA President Jim Pauley shares some numbers and stats on wildfire and gives his assessment: we still have work to do. 

Read or listen to what Jim has to say about the growing threat of wildfire and where we need to take action. Learn about NFPA's successes in promoting Firewise and Fire Adapted community approaches, including the launch of a national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. Jim calls out USAA Insurance for its leadership with its new initiative in Firewise communities in California as a great example of innovative thinking and action.


Singapore Conference Pauley Bliss simulator

Jim Pauley and Don Bliss pose in front of the fire operations simulator at the Civil Defence Fire Academy in Singapore.

“Fire Safety & Emergency Management, The Way Forward” was the theme of this week's Fire Safety Asia Conference in Singapore. This event, held every three years, hosts building industry practitioners and disaster managers from around the world to network and share ideas, experiences and best practices. The conference is hosted by the National Fire and Civil Emergency Preparedness Council (NFEC) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

Attending this year's conference were NFPA President Jim Pauley, who presented the day 2 keynote address on the current and future challenges of fire protection, and Don Bliss, NFPA vice president of field operations, who led a discussion on the challenges faced by first responders during Hurricane Sandy.

"We had the opportunity to meet with fire service leaders from throughout the Pacific-Asia region, including Singapore, Malaysia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan, Bangladesh as well as Israel," reports Don. "Jim also visited the Singapore Civil Defence Force (fire service) headquarters, and we both toured the Civil Defence Fire Academy. Of particular interest was a demonstration of their incident command/fire operations virtual simulator."

Singapore Conference Pauley-Cotton

Jim Pauley with Danielle Cotton, Assistant Commissioner with the London Fire Brigade, who was also a keynote speaker, representing Commissioner Ron Dobson.

Singapore Conference Pauley Tan

Christopher Tan, Assistant Commissioner of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Director of the Fire Safety & Shelter Department, poses with Jim Pauley.

Singapore Conference Pauley Rogers-Mullins

From left: Rob Rogers, Deputy Commissioner of the New South Wales (Australia) Rural Fire Service, Greg Mullins, Commissioner of New South Wales Fire & Rescue, and NFPA President Jim Pauley.

Singapore conference hallway discussion
Jim Pauley with with Eric Yipp (center), from the Singapore Civil Defence Force, as well as the Minister of State for the region covered by SCDF.

Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler CoalitionFire service officials in Massachusetts made pointed comments this week to the state's Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS), which is considering rolling back key safety requirements following an analysis on sprinkler systems that many are calling "flawed."

Issued by BBRS, the draft white paper, "The Cost and Effectiveness for Health, Safety, and Security of Fire Alarm Systems and Fire Sprinkler Systems in 3 to 6 Unit Residential Buildings," examines these fire protection measures and the notion of lessening sprinkler requirements, an idea that drew ire from the number of fire officials attending the BBRS meeting, including NFPA and other members of the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition. Its members believe that fire and life safety requirements for new construction should not be reduced.

"The BBRS is playing with fire," says Mary Regan, the coalition's chair and chief of the Westfield Fire Department. 

For more on this story, visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.


The NFPA was recently awarded a FEMA “Assistance to Fire Fighters – Fire Prevention and Safety” grant to further develop NFPA’s Alternate Fuel Vehicle Safety Training Program

NFPA’s Alternate Fuel Vehicle Safety Training (AFV) is an online program, which provides free training to the U.S fire service on safe handling of electric, hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and liquefied petroleum gas at a vehicular accident scene.

The FEMA grant will help broaden the scope on NFPA’s already implemented electrical vehicle (EV) training programs. So far, the EV training has only addressed hybrid and electrical vehicle safety, but the new funding will allow exploring and enhancing a much wider range of alternative fuel vehicles.

The grant will also help NFPA:

  • Develop “stranded energy” practices for working with high-voltage vehicle batteries and create an online safety source addressing gaseous fuels
  • Develop online training programs for Apple, Windows and Android platforms
  • Update the existing Emergency Field Guide with alternative fuel vehicle training.

To maximize participation from the fire service, the alternative fuel safety training programs will be provided free of charge for the next year.

So far, NFPA has trained only 38,000 out of 1.2 million volunteer and full-time firefighters, to handle EV incidents. With the grant, we are hoping to reach all of them.

FEMA’s grants are given out to fire departments, national, regional, state and local organizations to recognize their expertise in fire prevention and safety programs.

For more information about NFPA’s current electric and hybrid vehicle program, visit our Electric Vehicle Safety Training section or read our online press release


After explaining that I am not really what you’d call “on-air talent”—I’m a writer, after all—NFPA media guru Kyle MacNaught persuaded me to film an interview about the time I spent touring St. Patrick’s Cathedral’s new water mist fire suppression system. Thanks to him, I think the video offers some nice additional insight for readers about this New York City landmark, and the lengths engineers went through to design and install a fire suppression system to ensure that the cathedral will be around for centuries to come.

There was so much going on in the cathedral—$177 million worth of restorations and 135 years of history—it was hard to squeeze it all into the feature story about the new system, published this month in NFPA Journal.

Aside from the cavernous attic and its new mist system, the magnificent building in midtown Manhattan has many stories to tell. From the crypt below the alter where past Archbishops of New York are buried, to the priest “locker rooms” where Fathers get ready to perform mass, to the myriad stairwells, stone passageways and stained-glass windows hidden from public view. It was a privilege to see the landing halfway up the cathedral’s north tower where firefighters have gathered for generations to train. Many had traced their names and the dates on the dusty windowpanes. Some names dated back to the late 19th century; four of the names belonged to firefighters who died during the 9/11 terrorists attacks.

Many thanks to Kate Monaghan, Tom Newbold and Ron Pennella for showing me around the cathedral that day. And, many thanks to Kyle and his editing skills.  


Receive the print edition of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.

Photo 2
Héctor Chávez, Fire Chief, Luis Guillermo Campos, Presidente, CFIA, Luis Hernández Berton, Presidente, COPIMERA, Lorraine Carli,NFPA Vice PresidentofOutreach and Advocacy, Carolina Vásquez S., Vice Minister, Ministry of Science and Technology, and Ing. Luis Fernando Andrés Jácome cut the ribbon to open the expo.

More than 250 people interested in fire, life and electrical safety gathered in San Jose, Costa Rica this week for Congreso de Protección Integral de la Vida y las Edificaciones – VIED –2014. The third event of its kind was hosted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the School of Electrical Engineers, Mechanical and Industrial, (CIEMI). CIEMI is one of five schools that make up the Association of Engineers and Architects of Costa Rica.

NFPA has been working with CIEMI for ten years. Costa Rica is an excellent example of how NFPA works with people and organizations from all over the world to spread the fire, life and electrical safety message. The collaboration over the last decade has resulted in the adoption of NPFA 70, National Electrical Code and increasing use and interest in a number of additional NFPA codes and standards to better protect people and property in Costa Rica.

During the Third Congress there were more than 20 sessions on the topics relevant to some of the most pressing issues in Costa Rica addressed by our codes and standards. The sessions were conducted by speakers from Argentina, Colombia, Dominican Republic, México, Peru, Venezuela and the United States.


NFPA's Gaby Mazal and CIEME"s Luis Fernando Andrés Jacome were interviewed by Radio Columbia.
Photo 2[1]
Attendees listen to a presentation on NFPA 72 and Emergency Management


Photo 3[1]
Attendees were able to vist many exhibitors at the expo.

Catastrophic blog
Of the 1.24 million fires in the United States in 2013, 20 fires were categorized as catastrophic multiple-death fires, according to a report by the NFPA Fire Analysis and Research Division. A detailed summary of the group’s report on these fires, “Catastrophic Multiple-Death Fires in 2013,” is published in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal.

In the report, a catastrophic fire is defined as “a fire or explosion in homes or apartments that result in five or more fire-related deaths, or fires or explosions in all other structures and outside of structures, such as wildfires and vehicle fires, that claim three or more lives.”

The 20 fires that meet this definition killed a total of 122 people, 28 of whom were children under the age of six. The report offers statistics on the various types of catastrophic fire events, as well as short case studies of each event, including information, if available, about each fire’s cause.

The Yarnell Hill wildfire in Arizona and the ammonium nitrate fire and explosion in West, Texas, were the deadliest fire events of 2013, according to the report.   


Receive the print edition of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.

!|border=0|src=|alt=2014 Bringing Safety Home Award|title=2014 Bringing Safety Home Award|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c6dd9dfd970b image-full img-responsive!

Presenting the award to Fire Chief Chuck Walker (center) was (from left) Tim Travers, NFPA; Vickie Pritchett, National Fire Sprinkler Association; Peg Paul, HFSC; and Jeff Hudson, NFPA.


A tip of the hat to Fire Chief Chuck Walker with the Ashland City Fire Department in Tennessee for proving that residential sprinkler advocacy yields results. Walker was selected as the 2014 recipient of theBringing Safety Home Award, which recognizes the efforts of fire chiefs who use resources from NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) to ensure decision-makers consider sprinkler installation. The International Association of Fire Chiefs has also teamed up with NFPA and HFSC to honor Walker.


Walker was instrumental in passing a home fire sprinkler ordinance in Ashland City in 2001 via "lunch and learn" meetings and through the use of live burn/sprinkler demonstrations. "Being a growing community, we were easily convinced that in order to protect this growth and prevent fires, especially with a combination volunteer/paid fire department, residential sprinklers were the way to go."


Learn more about Walkerand previous award recipientsby visiting the Fire Sprinkler Initiative website.</p>

Today marks the 13 year anniversary of the attacks that took place on September 11, 2001.  Ceremonies are being held in New York, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, and across the nation to remember the lives of those who were murdered during the attacks.  Six moments of silence were observed throughout the morning:

- 8:46 a.m. eastern time: Hijackers crash Flight 11 into the north tower.

- 9:03 a.m.: Hijackers crash United Airlines Flight 175 into the south tower.

- 9:37 a.m.: Hijackers crash American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

- 9:59 a.m.: The south tower collapses.

- 10:03 a.m.: Passengers launch a counterattack on hijackers aboard United Airlines Flight 93. The hijackers crash the plane into an empty field near Shanksville, Pa.

- 10:28 a.m.: The north tower collapses.

The Washington Post has published a small article with details and photos of the ceremonies.  The article also makes mention of the opening of One World Trade Center, the newly constructed highrise that towers over ground zero and is expected to open in the near future.  Standing at 1,776 feet tall, One World Trade Center is a magnificent site, and powerful symbol of our nation’s resolve. 



On September 8, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) accepted NFPA's Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease).

IAFC department directors and executive staff, including Mark Light, IAFC's CEO and executive director, accepted that challenge and collected donations from the IAFC staff, who bid their own money for a chance to dump ice water on their bosses.

“The IAFC staff accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from our friends at NFPA,” declared Light in front of IAFC headquarters in Fairfax, Va. “This is a most worthy cause and we are delighted to participate and help raise money and awareness about this terrible disease, which affects as many as 30,000 Americans at any given time.”

NFPA's senior staff, including President Jim Pauley, took the Ice Bucket Challenge on September 2.

IAFC challenged the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), Fire Apparatus Manufacturers' Association (FAMA), Fire and Emergency Manufacturers and Services Association (FEMSA) and International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to take the Ice Bucket Challenge.

A8B33111A1A74A51ADE17A11A6AF9755In 2013, U.S fire departments responded to 1,240,000 reported fires, or 9.8 percent fewer than they did in 2012. This is the fewest reported fires since 1977, when NFPA began using its current survey methodology.

Of these fires, an estimated 487,500 were structure fires, 387,000 of which were residential fires, an increase of 1.6 percent from the year before. There were also 100,500 nonresidential structure fires in 2013, or 1 percent more than the previous year. In addition, there were 564,500 outside fires, an estimated 164,000 highway vehicle fires, and 24,000 fires in other vehicles.

All these fires resulted in an estimated 3,240 civilian deaths, an increase of 13.5 percent from the year before. Three hundred twenty-five people died in apartment fires, and another 2,430 died in one- and two- family homes. There were also an estimated 15,925 civilian fire injuries in 2013.

For more information on the fires of 2013 and the destruction they caused, read Michael Karter's article "Fire Loss in the United States During 2013" in the September/October 2014 issue of NFPA Journal or check out the complete report online.


Receive the print edition of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.

First responder imageBuyer’s remorse is a terrible feeling. Spending thousands of dollars on firefighting equipment that doesn’t work as intended is more than terrible—it’s dangerous.

In his “First Responder” column in the new September/October issue of NFPA Journal, NFPA Division Manager Ken Willette writes about how NFPA codes can assist with the purchase of fire equipment.

There are more than a dozen NFPA standards to help fire-service buyers make smart choices. The standards recommend practices for the design, testing and certification of personal protective equipment (PPE) and electronic safety equipment (ESE). The standards also recommend that each piece of compliant equipment “have a permanent label affixed that explicitly states it meets the requirements of the relevant standard,” Willette writes.

“When evaluating PPE or ESE, look for the label—it’s your confirmation that the equipment is NFPA-compliant and can serve as a benchmark as you evaluate comparable, labeled products,” Willette writes. 


Receive the print edition of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.


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REMINDER - NFPA is accepting proposals for educational presentations&#0160;at&#0160;its&#0160;2015 Conference &amp; Expo. Share your knowledge with your peers as a presenter in Chicago, June 22-25. Submit your session ideas by <span style="color: #ff0000;">Monday, September 15, 2014.</span>

The 2015 NFPA Conference & Expo will be held June 22-25 at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois. The NFPA Conference & Expo is widely regarded as the most comprehensive event in the industry. With approximately 5,000 attendees, it is the year's largest and most important event for the fire protection, life safety, and electrical industries.

If you'd like to share your knowledge and best practices, we invite you to send us your session proposals in any of the following topic areas:

Electrical, Fire Protection Engineering, Fire and Emergency Services, Emergency Preparedness/Business Continuity, Building and Life Safety, Health Care, Loss Control/Prevention, Detection and Notification, Fire Suppression, Codes and Standards, Public Education, Sustainability and Research

<span style="color: #111111;">Deadline:</span> Monday, September 15

All proposals must be submitted online: Submit Proposal

This is a great opportunity to:

    • Share your knowledge and expertise

    • Increase your exposure and visibility in your industry

    • Add to your resume and your list of achievements

    • Meet valuable contacts and resources for your professional network

    • Receive a complimentary registration to the 3-day conference

For assistance or questions regarding:

Content&#0160;or format of your proposed presentation, please contact Stacey Moriarty

The&#0160;Call for Presentations process, please contact Andrea White</li> </ul>

Data Center Foundation report coverTo address critical gaps in knowledge about data center fire prevention, the Fire Protection Research Foundation released a new report, "Validation of Modeling Tools for Detection Design in High Air Flow Environment," as the result of a project in partnership with Hughes Associates and FM Global. The report validates a model that provides reliable analysis of smoke detection in data centers and guidance to the technical committees for NFPA 75, Fire Protection of Information Technology Equipment, and NFPA 76, Fire Protection of Telecommunications Facilities.

Fire prevention and detection is critical to safeguarding data centers which hold critical business and organizational information around the world. Globally, spending on these facilities will be an estimated $149 billion this year, according to Gartner Group.

In the past few years, the equipment in data centers has changed significantly, which has placed increased demands on HVAC systems. As a result, airflow containment solutions are being introduced to increase energy efficiency. From a fire safety design perspective, the use of airflow containment creates a high airflow environment that dilutes smoke, which poses challenges for adequate smoke detection, and affects the dispersion of fire suppression agents.

“While data centers have become increasingly important in housing digital information, sufficient smoke detection is a challenge with data center cooling systems,” says Amanda Kimball, a research project manager for the Foundation. “This research included a series of simulations with various smoke detector spacing, types of fires, and air flows which gave us important guidance on smoke detection placement and installation.”

Fire escapeIn 1911, dozens of garment workers were killed when a shoddy fire escape collapsed during a fire at the Triangle Waist Co. building in Lower Manhattan.

The fire, in part, prompted NFPA to organize the Committee on Safety to Life, which made recommendations for the improvement of building exit safety. The committee’s 1914 report included numerous criticisms of fire escapes but noted that, despite the inherent dangers, “the outside fire escape is the commonest special provision for escape, [and] that it is written into the Statute books of the states, will long remain with us.” 

One hundred years later, safety officials are still dealing with these conundrums. Because, for all the deaths associated with fire escapes—and there are many—many lives have also been saved.

In a special report in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal, Chicago-based fire protection engineer Carl Baldassarra looks at the mixed history of fire escapes, the benefits, dangers, and what can be done to help prevent future fire escape tragedies. 

NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, “has favored protected interior stairwells for new construction since its inception in 1927, provisions that remain in the code to this day,” Baldassarra writes. “However, exterior fire escapes can be added to existing buildings of most uses—educational occupancies being a notable exception.”

As ubiquitous as they are in the urban landscape, it is agreed that fire escapes are not going away anytime soon. Therefore, “it is critically important that they be properly inspected and maintained, and that our codes and standards remain vigilant in providing owners and the enforcement community with the criteria to do so,” Baldassarra writes. 


Receive the print edition of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.

2A4BA309454549E6B457F3BF3AB47060Everyone knows how to test a manual fire alarm: you just pull down the handle. Right? Right. But some people whose job it is to test fire alarm systems do not, in fact, always do this, instead using a key without actually pulling down the handle. This does not constitute a test that complies with the National Electrical Code, says Wayne Moore in his column "All About the Pull" in the latest issue of NFPA Journal.

The argument that it is too difficult or expensive to test some types of fire alarm boxes, such as those with break-glass fronts, in this manner does not negate the code's requirements to test the alarm manually. Why do you have to test a manual fire alarm box by operating the way a user would to report an actual fire? Read Wayne's column in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal to find out.


Receive the print edition of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.

Firefighter's at Detroit FD have been coming up with some creative ways to hear their alarm notifications in the station.  Many fire departments are equipped with systems that sound an alarm, turn on the lights, and are followed up with voice notification, but a lack of fire department funding has left firefighters to rely on fax notifications.  In today’s day and age this technology is as obsolete as the childhood telephone game that uses two soup cans with a string tied in between them.  However, all hope is not lost.  The city is planning to invest approximately $1.4 billion into public services, approximately $42 million of which is slotted for the fire department.  Check out the video of the soda pop can warning system and the rest of the full story from the Detroit Free Press

Fire chiefs from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom participated in the NFPA Urban Fire Forum (UFF) September 4-7th. USFA Chief Ernest Mitchell, IAFC CEO and Executive Director Mark Light, United Kingdom Chief Fire & Rescue Advisor Peter Holland and Chief Fire Officers Association of the United Kingdom incoming President Peter Dartford were also in attendance.

The group endorsed the following three important documents as official UFF-Metro Chief position papers:

  • Fire and Smoke as a Weapon
  • Fire Behavior and Tactical Considerations
  • Fire-Based Community Healthcare Provider Programs

“The fire service today faces greater challenges than ever before and responds to a broader range of emergency and catastrophic events,” said NFPA Metro Chiefs Executive Secretary Russ Sanders who coordinates the event. “These position papers are critical resources for departments to use to apply the latest fire research and implement best practices for usual and extraordinary circumstances.”

Metro chiefsAccording to Sanders, the Urban Fire Forum brings together the fire chiefs who are responsible for protecting some of the largest urban centers in the world. The program objectives are to provide the chiefs an opportunity to learn from their peers and expert speakers, and for NFPA to stay abreast of current trends and needs in the fire service. The core group of the Urban Fire Forum is the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association (Metro) Executive Board. These chiefs are joined by a select group of at-large Metro Chiefs.

The Metropolitan Fire Chiefs (Metro) Association brings together fire chiefs from large metropolitan fire departments to share information and focus on major issues effecting policy changes in the U.S. and abroad. Its members belong to the IAFC and NFPA and are the fire chiefs of jurisdictions with minimum staffing of 350 fully paid career fire fighters. For more information, contact Metro Executive Secretary, Russ Sanders.

The following are details about an opportunity the NFPA marketing team is offering for a paid, virtual project-based, internship. 

InternshipsPosition: Paid Project Based Internship

Compensation: $550 stipend per intern for a completed project, Maximum of 3 interns per project

Expected Hours to Complete Project: 30-45

Expected Date of Completion: 9-30-14 – 11-30-14

Contact E-mail for Applicants:

Phone: 617-984-7175

Description: This is a paid, project-based internship for marketing/journalism/communications/business students to provide content marketing deliverables for a campaign that will deploy in the fall of 2014.  A maximum team size of 3 students will work collaboratively based on an established marketing persona kit and story arc plan, provided by NFPA. Interns will interview up to 3 NFPA training attendees in person or via SKYPE to gather information and build a story. Interns will receive guidance with an initial conference kickoff call and weekly “check-in” calls until the project is completed.

In order to tell the story, an intern or a team of interns must have a combination of skills including: Video production, web design, strong writing/editing for both print and online, ability to meet deadlines, ability to work independently, and a strong attention to detail. Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply. It is highly recommended that potential intern candidates find, create and apply for this internship in teams of 2 or 3 people who, collectively, can complete this project in 40-45 days.

Here is a list of deliverables expected to complete this project:

  1. (1) 2-3 minute produced video
  2. (3) 30-second video vignettes
  3. (1) feature article that may appear in our print magazine-–NFPA Journal
  4. (3) blog posts to appear in our e-mail newsletter---NFPA Today
  5. (3) digital banner ads promoting the story
  6. (3) print ready ads to promote the story

This is a great opportunity to gain real world experience while getting paid. Interns will also receive guidance and practical advice from the NFPA marketing team. To apply for this internship send an e-mail to and include a resume (or resumes if applying as a team), a writing sample and three sentences in the body of the e-mail explaining why you’d like to be considered for this internship. If you have a sample of a video you’ve produced, please send a link to that video as well. Good luck!

On September 9, 1989, the Seattle Fire Department responded to the report of a fire in a lumber warehouse.  On arrival, fire fighters found a large building with visible flames involving a 75 ft X 75 ft shed attached at the building's southwest corner.  The fire quickly became a multiple alarm fire.  A fire officer and a fire fighter who were in a smoky section of the main building became disoriented while looking for an area from which to attack the fire.  Several circumstances caused the fire fighters to separate as they attempted to leave the area.  The fire fighter was found and rescued by a fire fighter from another engine company, the officer was not able to escape; he died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The building, which was scheduled for demolition, was a heavy timber structure approximately 295 ft X 180 ft and had been abandoned for about two years.  The primary fuel was the structure; however, small amounts of combustible trash were scattered throughout the building.  The piping for several dry sprinkler systems was still in place.  Before this incident occurred, the main control valve for the water supply to all sprinkler systems had been shut off because one of the systems had been damaged.

The following factors appear to have contributed directly to the death of the fire officer:

    •     The inability of fire ground officers to account at all times for the location

            of all personnel;

    •     The actions of fire fighters that failed to conform to safe fire ground

            practices as recommended by the National Fire Protection Association and

            the International Fire Service Training Association, and as required by the

            Seattle Fire Department;

   •     The inadvertent use of the wrong radio channel by two disoriented fire

          fighters while attempting to let others on the scene know that they were in

          need of help.

For Full NFPA Fire Investigation report  To learn more about NFPA's Fire Analysis and Research report on  Firefighter Fatalities in the United States

Fire during the night, caused by a 1/4-inch separation in a furnace chimney connector, destroyed the 30-room, three-story, wood-frame Sedgwick Hotel in Bath Maine, on September 9, 1973. Three men and a woman lost their lives; 18 others were injured, some seriously. Four of those with minor injuries were fire fighters. The 100-year-old hotel had no fire detection or alarm system and no sprinklers. The fire burned in concealed spaces an estimated 1 1/2 to 2 hours before breaking out into the lobby, where it was discovered by an occupant. The occupant saw a lobby couch on fire and, assuming that only the couch was burning, tried to smother the fire with his coat. Failing to put the fire out, he ran to a phone booth across the street and called the Fire Department at 4:13 a.m.

The fire occurred when carbonized wood in the tongue-and-groove wood ceiling for a boiler room ignited. The fire burned through the ceiling and entered the area between the wood joists. It then spread horizontally through joist channels and vertically through the hollow spaces of the non-firestopped walls. The fire burned into the lobby where it ignited the couch and was discovered.


Download this March 1974 Fire Journal article.  To learn more about Fire Analysis and Research statiscal report on Hotel and Motel Structure Fires

Mist head close up
Volunteer firefighter and full-time engineer Tom Newbold described the attic of New York City’s iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral as “a box of tinder.” With one spark, the entire 33,000 square-foot space above the cathedral’s arching ceiling — comprised mainly of tiny pieces of wooden frame and plaster — could quickly burn, leveling one of the city’s best-known landmarks. Nobody wanted to see that tragedy.

However, Cathedral officials and New York City firefighters are breathing easier these days after the addition last year of a $1.1 million water mist fire suppression system in the cathedral’s attic. The system was installed using NFPA 750, Water Mist Fire Protection Systems.

Newbold, along with other members of the design, engineering and construction teams that worked on the project, took an NFPA Journal writer 115 feet above the bustling Manhattan streets for a close-up look at the new mist system. A feature story in the new September/October issue of NFPA Journal explores the new system’s capabilities as well as the unique challenges engineers faced in retrofitting the 135-year old church attic with hundreds of feet of stainless steel piping and more than 250 high-pressure mist nozzles.

The article also details the history and evolution of mist technology and how it has expanded from being used almost exclusively in maritime applications to protecting dozens of historical and cultural landmarks on land today. There is also a photo slide show of the new system and the cathedral's comprehensive $177 million restoration project; current statistical information on church fires from the recent NFPA report, “U.S. Structure Fires in Religious and Funeral Properties”; and a brief introduction to NFPA's cultural codes, NFPA 909, Protection of Cultural Resource Properties—Museums, Libraries, and Places of Worship, and NFPA 914, Fire Protection of Historic Structures.


 Receive the print edition of NFPA Journal and browse online member-only archives as part of your NFPA membership. Learn more about the many benefits and join today.

This Thursday, 9/11/14, is Patriot Day.  A day for remembering the lives of those that were murdered during the attacks on September 11, 2001.  A day for remembering the lives of those who have succumbed to the illnesses resulting from their time at ground zero.  Never forget those who responded, the families who's lives were forever changed, and those who continue to struggle with the emotional and physical pain resulting from the attacks.  Never forget....  


This is an older video, but just as relevant this week...


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A sprinkler installer safeguards the new home of veteran Joshua Sweeney.

While on his second tour in Afghanistan, Joshua Sweeney was sent airborne after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED). His legs badly injured, he waited two hours for rescue vehicles, which were delayed since they, too, initiated IED explosions en route. The marine sergeant miraculously survived the ordeal, even receiving a Purple Heart for his bravery during war, but lost both of his legs in the aftermath.

Sweeney's loss, though traumatic, wasn't a game-ender. In fact, the sportsman represented Team USA's sled hockey team in Sochi, Russia, this year, where he and his comrades snagged the gold medal during the Paralympic Games.


His Hillsboro, Oregon, community is now honoring his international efforts by building him a new home, which will be fully equipped with a sprinkler system. For more information on this build, visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog. 

At approximately 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 8, 1990, a fire occurred at the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity house at the University of California, Berkeley.  The fire killed three students and resulted in the injury to two others.  In addition, the building was heavily damaged.

The 33-year-old, wood-frame, multistory fraternity house was "L"-shaped with a large living room forming the smallest part, and the sleeping room area forming the largest part.  All interior wall surfaces, including the exit stairways, were covered with wood paneling.  Except for two, the sleeping rooms had hollow core wood doors.  The two exceptions had solid-core wood doors.  The doors separating the sleeping area from the assembly area were normally kept open.  In addition, closing devices on some exit stairway doors had been removed.

Fire protection equipment included fire extinguishers, fire hose cabinets, local fire alarm with bells and manual pull stations, and single-station, battery-operated smoke detectors in a few sleeping rooms.

Local fire investigators have determined that the fire started when a couch in the assembly room was ignited with a butane lighter.  The burning couch, in turn, ignited the room's combustible interior finish, and the fire quickly spread to other areas of the building.  First arriving fire fighters found the assembly room, an adjacent lobby area, and the two top stories in the sleeping room area fully involved with fire.

The following factors significantly contributed to the loss of life and property:

    •     Open stairways,

    •     Combustible interior finishes throughout the building,

    •     Lack of compartmentation and occupancy separation with fire-rated construction,

    •     The lack of firesafety training and fire exit drills.

For the full Fire Investigation report.  To learn more about the Fire Analysis and Research statistical report Dormitories, Fraternities, Sororities, and Barracks

A fire in a ninth-floor room of this 11-story high-rise hotel on September 8, 1974 destroyed the room and eventually involved the nearby elevator lobby on that floor.  A motel employee who attempted to extinguish the fire was killed.  Of significance in this fire was the delayed alarm and the failure of certain fire protection devices.  The equipment that did not perform properly were doors for the exit stairway, doors to guest rooms, standpipe system, and dampers in bathroom exhaust ducts.

For more information on this hotel fire download this January 1975 Fire Journal article To read Fire Analysis and Research statistical information on High-Rise Building Fires

The First Draft Reports for NFPA documents in the Fall 2015 revision cycle are now available.  Review the First Draft Reports for use as background in the submission of public comments. The deadline to submit a public comment on any of these documents is November 14, 2014. Some of the proposed NFPA documents with First Draft Reports in the Fall 2015 revision cycle are as follows:

  • NFPA 14, Standard for the Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems
  • NFPA 31, Standard for the Installation of Oil-Burning Equipment 
  • NFPA 35, Standard for the Manufacture of Organic Coatings
  • NFPA 52, Vehicular Gaseous Fuel Systems Code
  • NFPA 53, Recommended Practice on Materials, Equipment, and Systems Used in Oxygen-Enriched Atmospheres
  • NFPA 59A, Standard for the Production, Storage, and Handling of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
  • NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance
  • NFPA 75, Standard for the Fire Protection of Information Technology Equipment
  • NFPA 102, Standard for Grandstands, Folding and Telescopic Seating, Tents, and Membrane Structures
  • NFPA 115, Standard for Laser Fire Protection
  • NFPA 211, Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel-Burning Appliances
  • NFPA 350, Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work
  • NFPA 901, Standard Classifications for Incident Reporting and Fire Protection Data
  • NFPA 951, Guide to Building and Utilizing Digital Information
  • NFPA 1051, Standard for Wildland Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1405, Guide for Land-Based Fire Departments that Respond to Marine Vessel Fires
  • NFPA 1600, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs
  • NFPA 1912, Standard for Fire Apparatus Refurbishing
  • NFPA 1977, Standard on Protective Clothing and Equipment for Wildland Fire Fighting
  • NFPA 1991, Standard on Vapor-Protective Ensembles for Hazardous Materials Emergencies

See the full list of documents in the Fall 2015 revision cycle.

The First Draft Report serves as documentation of the Input Stage and is published for public review and comment. The First Draft Report contains a compilation of the First Draft of the NFPA Standard, First Revisions, Public Input, Committee Input, Committee Statements, and Ballot Results and Statements. Where applicable, the First Draft Report also contains First Correlating Revisions, Correlating Notes, and Correlating Input.

NFPA News The September issue of NFPA News, our codes and standards newsletter, is now available.

In this issue:

  • Comments sought on proposed TIA to NFPA 1851
  • Standards Council issues decisions on Annual 2014 documents
  • Fall 2015 First Draft Reports available and open for comment
  • View public input submissions on Annual 2016 documents
  • NFPA 70, National Electrical Code, public input closing dates
  • Committee on Finishing Processes seeking enforcers
  • TIAs issued and not issued from August Standards Council meeting
  • Errata issued on NFPA 4
  • News in brief
  • Committees soliciting public input
  • Committees seeking members
  • Committee meetings calendar

Subscribe today! NFPA News is a free newsletter, and includes special announcements, notification of public input and comment closing dates, requests for comments, notices on the availability of Standards Council minutes, and other important news about NFPA’s standards development process.

Northwest Residential Fire Sprinkler Summit
If you haven't done so already, mark your calendar for a learning and network opportunity that focuses solely on home fire sprinklers.

Sponsored in part by the Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition, the Northwest Residential Sprinkler Summit connects sprinkler advocates across the Pacific Northwest with information on code requirements, political realities, and water usage. Summit organizers have lined up some nationally recognized speakers, including California State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover and Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (and NFPA blogger). A "vendor connections" event will showcase resources as well as the latest products and technology. 

Visit the summit website for registration information.

185114The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) for NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, is being published for public review and comment:

  • Proposed TIA No. 1160, Reference: through, 5.1.2, A.5.1.1, A. through A., and A.5.1.2(1) of the 2014 edition

Anyone may submit a comment on this proposed TIA by the October 14, 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.

FSES reportA new report, "Validation of the Fire Safety Evaluation System (FSES) in the 2013 Edition of the NFPA 101A" has just been published by the Fire Protection Research Foundation. The report's authors include, Michael Crowley and Dick Bukowski with Rolf Jensen & Associates as well as Carl Baldasarra. 

NFPA 101A, Guide on Alternative Approaches to Life Safety, Section 4.1.2 describes the fire safety evaluation system as follows: “The fire safety evaluation system (FSES) is a measuring system. It compares the level of safety provided by an arrangement of safeguards that differ from those specified inNFPA 101, Life Safety Code, to the level of safety provided in a building that conforms exactly with the details of the Code.”

There have been many significant changes in the Life Safety Code since 1981. A validation is needed to ensure the values stated in the FSES still provide a valid correlation to the requirements contained in theLife Safety Code. The FSES for health care (Chapter 4 in NFPA 101A) is the oldest and most widely used FSES, so this project was undertaken to determine if the healthcare FSES accurately measures equivalency with NFPA 101.

To read the complete report and its findings, download it from the FPRF website for free

415NFPA has issued the following errata on NFPA 4, Standard for Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing:

  • NFPA 4, Errata 4-15-1, referencing 5.1.3(4), issuance date: August 15, 2014

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.

NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC®), is now accepting Public Input for its Annual 2016 revision cycle.

To submit any proposed revision on NFPA 70 using paper submission, the deadline is October 3, 2014. Note: Paper submissions are any forms/submissions via email, fax, or mail that are not through the online submission system.  The deadline for submissions of public input using the online submission system is November 7, 2014

To submit public input on NFPA 70 via the online submission system, select NFPA 70 from the list of NFPA codes and standards. Once on the NFPA 70 document information page, select "The next edition of this standard is now open for Public Input (formerly proposals)" to begin the process. The system automatically pulls in text and shows any changes in “track changes”.  You can submit input or start and save your work in progress before the closing date.

Review further instructions on how to use the e-PI system

If you have any questions when using the online submission system, you may contact Carolyn Cronin at (617) 984-7240 or by email.

NBC news had a good piece on distracted drivers and emergency responders. Below is the first episode.

Sprinkler coalition map
Take a look at the map embedded into this post and you'll notice something spectacular: residential sprinkler advocates are joining forces and contributing to an effective grassroots effort that's spreading across the U.S. These coast-to-coast sprinkler coalitions (states with one are highlighted in blue) are promoting sprinkler education and, in some cases, convincing legislators and code-making bodies that sprinkler requirements are a necessary, life-saving measure.

An eclectic mix of fire service officials, burn survivors, water purveyors, and others, these groups have made a concerted effort to fight the strong resistance of sprinkler opponents. They strategize on how to counter the numerous myths, showcase just how deadly and prevelant home fires are in the U.S., and prevent yet another home fire death that could have been avoided.

Learn more about these coalitions by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

PhoenixA severe burn can be one of the most complex injuries that a family can experience both physically and emotionally. With improved medical care provided by burn centers over the last 20 or 30 years, people suffering from burns can now survive.  They can now also find a growing support community to help with the emotional recovery.   

From October 22-25, 2014, more than 900 burn survivors, their families, burn care professionals and firefighters will attend the Phoenix World Burn Congress held at the Hilton Anaheim to share experiences with other survivors, increase their knowledge about recovery, and learn about support networks.

During the four-day conference, sessions will cover topics ranging from social challenges such as dealing with anxiety and psychological pain after hospital discharge, a young adult program to help survivors ages 18-25 build confidence, fostering personal growth and enhancing communication skills. A special youth and family program for children from 7 to 17 years old will help family members learn how a burn injury impacts the overall family structure. Burn survivors can also attend a private creative cosmetics and color analysis consultation. In addition, survivors can gain knowledge about advocacy roles they can play to raise awareness about burn prevention programs. A special Walk of Remembrance is also planned during the conference to pay tribute to the lives lost to burn injury.

For more information about attending the Phoenix World Burn Congress or if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities or supporting the attendee scholarship fund, contact the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors at 800-888-2876 or email us at

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. Recently, the August episode aired and featured NFPA President Jim Pauley, Dawn Bellis and Linda Fuller of NFPA in the Up to Code Segment all about committee membership as well as Carl Baldassarra on fire escapes.

JIm Pauley gave the First Word, which this month centered on wildfire. More than $453 million and $113 million are property losses from two largest wildfires in 2012. More than 67,000 wildfire burned more than 9.3 million acres in that year as well. Our changing environment and living conditions provide challenges that we need to address for fire safety. More action before the fires arrive are what Jim says is needed.  Firewise and Fire Adapted Community education programs are helpful in this cause.

This month's NFPA Journal segment highlighted Carl Baldassarra's September/October issue article on fire escapes, and the issue of maintenance and inspection. Carl is the President of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and discusses how before WW2, many fire escapes were built as external, outdoor stair cases, and now these fire escapes need to be inside the buildings. some fire escapes are unusable or in very bad shape and the need for regular inspection and maintenance needs to be in the forefront. Throughout the segment, Carl details some of the current issues and problems with fire escapes that makes this an important fire safety initiative to look at.

Dawn Bellis and Linda Fuller discuss the importance of technical committees, how to become a member, the benefits and importance to you and more.

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

Have you been involved in inspecting spray booths, spray areas, dip tanks or printing operations?  Looking to join an active NFPA technical committee? If so, the Technical Committee on Finishing Processes responsible for NFPA 33, Spray Application of Flammable and Combustible Materials, and NFPA 34, Dipping, Coating and Printing Processes Using Flammable or Combustible Liquids, is looking for you!   This very active Committee has just completed a significant revision of their documents that amongst other changes included a new chapter on membrane enclosures for temporary spraying of large work-pieces that cannot be sprayed in traditional spray booths and the addition of new scrubber and filtration technologies within NFPA 33.  The two documents are on a three-year revision cycle and the Committee is forming task groups and plans to have a pre-cycle meeting next year with a first draft meeting taking place in 2016.   If you are interested and able to serve, please apply online at either or .  

NFPA offers the Enforcer Funding Program which will reimburse qualified enforcers 80% of their lodging and travel.  For more information on the enforcer funding program and other committees seeking enforcers please visit the website at

Any questions regarding the Technical Committee on Finishing Processes, please email Nancy Pearce, NFPA Staff Liaison. 


On Tuesday, September 3, 1991, at approximately 8:15 a.m., a fire occurred at the Imperial Foods Processing Plant in Hamlet, North Carolina resulting in 25 fatalities and 54 injuries. The intense fire quickly spread products of combustion throughout the plant causing employees to search for available exits. Although many of the estimated 90 occupants escaped without incident, others found exterior doors unavailable and sought alternative means of escape. Not all of those who remained were able to be rescued, and many perished.

The National Fire Protection Association is cooperating with the Hamlet Fire Department and the North Carolina Department of Insurance - Fire and Rescue Services Division in documenting this incident. The purpose of this life safety evaluation was to determine significant factors and lessons learned that will assist the fire service, building and fire code officials, and other concerned parties in reducing the potential for such tragic losses of life.

For more information on this fire NFPA Fire Investigations. To learn more about Fire Analysis and Research statistical data on Fire in U.S. Industrial and Manufacturing Facilities

fireEscapes.pngLearn about the complicated history of fire escapes; take a tour of the unique new mist suppression system in St. Patrick’s Cathedral; read the 2013 U.S. fire loss and catastrophic multiple-death fire reports, and much more in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal®, due out this week.


The cover story looks at the problem with exterior fire escapes and how this Victorian-era technology persists despite its reputation for being as much a safety hazard as a safety feature. Journal also explores New York’s iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the new water mist fire protection system installed there last year to protect the building’s 30,000 square-foot attic space.


In “Perspectives,” Andrew Scott and Robert Diggs of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Building Operations talk about the challenges of designing life and fire safety features for U.S. embassies abroad.

In “First Word,” NFPA President James Pauley writes about NFPA’s initiatives to fight wildfires before they start. And, as always, the new NFPA Journal also contains numerous columns from NFPA experts to keep you up to date on the latest code, fire and life-safety news and issues.


Read the September/October NFPA Journal starting later this week in print and online at

Smoke Alarm Pledge image
NFPA, LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND California Resort launch the 2014 Smoke Alarm Pledge today. Between September 2nd and October 5th, anyone who fills in the submission form (found on or NFPA's Facebook page) agrees to take the “Smoke Alarm Pledge.” This pledge states that you will test each of your home’s smoke alarms each month to ensure they are working. Working smoke alarms save lives making this an important initiative, as well as the theme for this year's Fire Prevention Week.

This downloadable and printable Smoke Alarm Pledge is a helpful reminder for you and your family members.  

By taking the Pledge, you will be entered into the NFPA, LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND California Resort Sweepstakes. One randomly selected grand prize winner will win a trip for four to either LEGOLAND Florida or LEGOLAND California Resort (winner’s choice), including admission tickets, airfare and hotel accommodations. Ten randomly selected runners up will win four admission tickets to their choice of park. Please see official rules for details.

Thank you and good luck! 

Watch NFPA's version of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!


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NFPA President Jim Pauley and other members of the senior staff took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this morning at NFPA headquarters in Quincy, MA -- and challenged other organizations to take the plunge!

Members of NFPA's senior staff, including President Jim Pauley, this morning took part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a fundraising effort for the ALS Asociation, which is leading the fight to treat and cure ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease). Before the icy water was dumped over their heads, the senior staff threw down the guantlet to 10 other organizations to participate in the fundraiser.

International Fire Marshals Association (IFMA)


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Jim Pauley addresses the crowd before the buckets are filled with water and bags of ice.


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NFPA's Don Bliss and Bruce Mullen strategize ways to stay dry during the Ice Bucket Challenge.


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NFPA's Sally Everett and Lorraine Carli prepare for the ice water bath.


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NFPA's Kathleen Almand urged the Society of Fire Protection Engineers to take the Ice Bucket Challenges.


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+NFPA's Josh Grossetti and Jim Pauley challenged ASME and ASTM International.


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NFPA's Chris Dubay challenged both the American Fire Sprinkler Association and the National Fire Sprinkler Association.


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NFPA's Sally Everett challenged the International Code Council.+


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Here comes the ice!


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So which of the organizations challenged today will brave the Ice Bucket Challenge? 

Senior staff
Sparky the Fire Dog® poses with the senior management team at NFPA, moments before they were doused with buckets of ice water, as part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. NFPA staff members were invited to make a donation to the ALS Asociation, which is leading the fight to treat and cure ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease). Names were then drawn at random and staff could choose the senior manager on whom they wanted to dump the bucket of ice water. Senior staff also challenged other organizations to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Details, more photos, and video coming soon!

As we continue to enhance our standards development site, NFPA looks for ways to make it easier for the public to get involved and participate in our standards development process. A recent feature added in the standard development site is the capability for the public to “View Public Inputs” and “View Public Comments” after all submissions have been completed.

For documents in the Annual 2016 revision cycle that received public inputs, links are now available to “View Public Inputs” on each Next edition tab of the document information pages under the category “First Draft”. You will be asked to sign-in or create a free online account with NFPA before using this system. Please note that NFPA 70 has a public input closing date of November 7, 2014 and, therefore, will have a link available for viewing at a later date. To view a complete list of the Annual 2016 documents, go to the document information pages and use the search feature in the upper right gray box to search by cycle.

Please be advised, that it is anticipated that in the future, paper submissions for public input and public comment will not be accepted so please take this opportunity to try out the system – we think you’ll really like it! As always we are here to help you participate in the NFPA process.

If you have any questions or need help with any feature of the Standards Development site, please feel free to contact us.

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