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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.

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