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September 19, 2014 Previous day Next day

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.  

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