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On the night of November 28, 1942, fire swept through Boston's most popular night club, the Cocoanut Grove. In less than 30 minutes, the fire had traveled through the four main rooms, leaving 492 persons dead or dying.  The cause of the fire was an apparent spark which ignited the combustible decorations on the ceiling. 

The Club was a group of four buildings connected on the ground floor.  In the basement, was the Melody lounge, kitchen, and storage rooms.  Included in the main building was a basement of reinforced concrete and brick masonry construction.  The Foyer walls were covered with artificial leather over structural concrete.  Artificial palm trees with lights in them were decorations in the Melody Lounge.  The Broadway Lounge was added to Club and connected to the lounge by a passageway.  Plywood covered with artificial leather and a wood floor made up the new lounge.  Exits from the lounge included a main door and passage way to the Main Dining Room.    

Exits included a revolving door and a panic fire door in the front of the club.  Unfortunately, at the time of the fire, the panic fire door was locked to prevent non-paying customers from entering. 

Only 8 days before this tragic fire occurred, the night club was inspected by the Boston Fire Department. At that time, the decorations were match tested by the Inspector who found them to be "non-flammable".  The report concluded that the club was in "good" condition. 

Some of the most notable advances that came out of this tragedy was; in the area of exits, combustible materials, emergency lighting, and automatic sprinklers.  They also expanded the definition of public places of assembly to include places that were similar to the Cocoanut Grove.  These investigations not only revealed the technical causes of the fire and huge loss of life, but also hinted at a more deeply rooted problem: fire codes and their enforcement.   

Fore more information The Cocoanut Grove Fire


Keep this Thanksgiving a fire-safe one by using extra caution in the kitchen tomorrow. That’s the main message behind KCWY13-TV’s local news coverage on Thanksgiving safety, which reinforces the increased potential for cooking fires, along with tips and recommendations for ensuring a fire-safe holiday.

A special thanks to Justin Smith, captain of Fire-EMS in Casper, Wyoming, and chair of the Wyoming Fire Sprinkler Coalition, who was interviewed for this story and helped ensure that accurate statistics and safety recommendations were included.

Have a happy, fire-safe Thanksgiving, everyone!

Larry Iseminger Jr.
Maryland, one of two states with statewide sprinkler requirements (California is the other), has seen a 20-percent decrease in fire fatalities in 2014 over last year. That's a decline from 55 fire deaths in 2013 to 44 this year. 

"Maryland's fire service is cautiously optimistic with this year's data," said State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci in a news release. "Everyone must remain vigilant in their fire prevention efforts to continue this trend. An estimated 80 percent of all structure fires in Maryland occur in what most assume to be the safest places--our homes."

The state is apparently seeing successes from deciding to enact sprinkler requirements in all of Maryland's counties. Learn more about these successes by visiting the Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.


At approximately 11:13 a.m. on November 26, 1983, a series of explosions and subsequent fires occurred at the site of the New York Pyrotechnics Products Co. plant in the Town of Brookhaven New, York.  Two employees working on the plant site at the time of the explosions were killed. In addition, 24 persons in areas surrounding the plant site were injured.

The two critical factors in this incident were the combination of the lack of adequate building, trailer and vehicle separation coupled with their quantity loading which permitted the initial explosion/fire to initiate a series of explosions and fire which eventually involved buildings, trailers and vehicles throughout the manufacturing portion of the plant.

For the full NFPA's Fire Investigation report.  

Wildfire blogMany Firewise Communities, whose residents have banded together to take measures to protect their properties from the threat of wildfire, have the same question: what defines success? 

Lucian Deaton, who manages the Firewise Communities and Fire Adapted Communities programs in NFPA's Wildland Fire Operations Division, has been asked the question many times. Deaton shares some of his thoughts on the matter in his new column, "Measures of Success," in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal. 

While even beginning the conversation in a community constitutes some level of success, "the ultimate goal is a community that believes in the aspiration of the effort and sees itself empowered through such social change," Deaton writes. "To capture the true impact of preparedness, though, the metrics should explore what those activities have accomplished and influenced."

To read the full column, visit 

6EEFCD0637C6434BB220B8414AAC75AD.ashxLast August, people from 12 states who attended the 2014 National Electrical Code® adoption workshop were asked to list as many reasons as they could why the timely adoption of the NEC® is important and to rank their reasons in order of importance. According to Jeff Sargent, NFPA's regional electrical code specialist, this is particularly important in the areas of the United States where forces are working to delay code adoption and amend critical safety requirements. The participants came up with seven reasons, including improved safety and reduced liability.

The exercise is already paying dividends, Jeff says. One workshop participant later told him that he'd told a recent meeting of his state's construction code council what he had learned at the workshop and that the group voted to move adopt the 2014 NEC, even though it was not obligated to do so by state statute.

For more on the story, read Jeff's column "Better, Stronger, Faster" in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.


I was fortunate enough recently to be able to spend the day with members of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) to learn about the department’s amazing Risk-Based Inspection System, or RBIS. The trip was to do reporting for the feature, "In Pursuit of Smart," which you can read in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal

The backbone of the system is a computer algorithm called FireCast, which is able to analyze three years worth of building data using as many as 7,500 different fire risk factors. After complex calculation, FireCast produces a fire risk score for each of the 330,000 buildings in the city that FDNY firefighters are responsible for inspecting. Firefighters use the RBIS information to schedule their inspections so that they get into the riskiest buildings first, which they hope will help them prevent more fires and enable them to be more familiar with critical building systems if a fire were to occur. It’s a great example of how fire departments today are using smart tools and new technologies to make their communities safer.

I recently sat down with Kyle MacNaught, online editor for NFPA Journal, to discuss RBIS, how it works, what it aims to do, and how an everyday firefighter in New York uses and interacts with the system.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to reach out to me at

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.

IAF Blog
Being a firefighter in the 21st Century comes with many known risks and challenges, but also many that aren’t immediately apparent—such as preparing for the possibility of terrorist groups using fire as a weapon.

In the “In a Flash” section of the November/December issue of NFPA Journal, an article titled, “The Next Threat,” looks at this possibility and explores how fire departments can partner with law enforcement to prepare. There have already been several instances of fire being used as a weapon, from the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, in which terrorists set blaze to the Taj Mahal Hotel, to the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.

“The fire community needs to understand the threat and look at vulnerabilities of the structures where large groups gather,” said Chief Joseph Pfeifer, who works in counterterrorism at the Fire Department of New York.

In response to the threat, leaders of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, a membership section of both NFPA and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, endorsed a position paper on the topic during the annual Urban Fire Forum, held last September.

Also in the November/December “In a Flash” section of NFPA Journal, read about the latest research being done to establish testing criteria for technologies to prevent cooking fire; learn more about the new director of NFPA’s Fire Analysis & Research Division; read an interview with Anna Thompson, the longest-serving employee in NFPA history, who recently retired after 49 years; and read the summary of a new report which details the sobering links between age, race, and fire. 


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.

On Sunday, November 25, 1990, a fire occurred at a flammable liquid tank farm supporting Denver’s Stapleton International Airport.  Eight of the farm's twelve storage tanks contained jet fuel A totaling almost 4.2 million gallons.  The fire was considered as accidental in nature, and it burned for approximately 55 hours.  Seven tanks were destroyed or damaged, and over 1.6 million gallons of jet fuel was consumed.  There were no reported fire fighter or civilian injuries as a result of this incident.

At approximately 9:22 a.m., the Stapleton control tower saw smoke in the area of the tank farm and called the airport fire department.  Both airport and structural fire suppression crews responded to the reported location.  Upon their arrival, airport fire fighters found a large pool fire in a pit containing piping and valves.  In addition, there was flaming fuel which was apparently under pressure spewing high into the air.  They were able to knock down the pool fire using Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) but were unable to extinguish the fire involving the spewing fuel.  Each time the airport fire fighters stopped agent application for replenishment of water or agent, the fire would burn back and increase in intensity.  When the structural fire fighters arrived, they discharged water through master streams and ladder pipes to protect exposures. In addition, the structural fire fighters also laid hose lines to the aircraft fire fighting vehicles to maintain uninterrupted water supplies to these vehicles.

For the full NFPA Fire Investigation report.  Download NFPA's statistical reports Fires at Outside Storage Tanks and LP-Gas Bulk Storage


!|src=|alt=Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c70ec07e970b img-responsive!Boston-based readers: Have you heard the radio commercials on home fire sprinklers now playing on some of the city's local stations? 


The Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition has sponsored two radio announcements highlighting NFPA's statistics on home fires, the effectiveness of sprinklers, and home insurance discounts. The radio spots can be heard on 97.7 and 107.3 WAAF; 93.7 WEEI; and AM 680 WRKO. Spread the word!


Whether or not you're from Beantown, you can listen to the commercials by visiting the coalition's website, which also highlights the successes of having a unified voice in support of home fire sprinklers. 


See if your state has a sprinkler coalition. If it doesn't, contact NFPA and learn how we can help you get one started.

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!The Boston Globe underscores need for home fire sprinklers

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA summit highlights state and local home fire sprinkler initiatives

Summer has come and gone, it seems we have skipped right over fall into winter conditions, and we have exciting new activity going on at the CFPS® Board.

David_WardIn the previous Chairman’s Update I reported how the work of our Testing Transition Committee would be of paramount focus this Board year.  That committee, with the invaluable support of the NFPA Staff has already been hard at work, and the picture is beginning to come more into focus as to how the future, digital Fire Protection Handbook will impact both our knowledge base and the testing process. In fact, this committee’s work is quickly coming to an end, as we are learning that testing on a digital database will not be an option for the future.  Instead, it appears the “new” Fire Protection Handbook will be available to CFPS candidates in a print format; enabling them to continue to bring their marked-up and flagged references with them to the testing centers.  We will know more on this in a few months, as we learn more about the content of the new handbook, and what additional references may be necessary to round-out the knowledge base. We will keep you informed. 

Another significant work of the Board right now is being done by the Eligibility Committee. We are looking at ways to capture a larger sample of the fire protection community as young professionals come out of FP degree programs and enter into the workforce.  A couple of different avenues are being studied for how best to achieve that while still maintaining our ANSI accreditation.  This group is still working in the information gathering stage, and will be formulating recommended actions based on those findings in the period between now and our next annual meeting in Chicago, in June.

NFPA reports completion of our 2014 Audit by ANSI, and we are in good standing there.  ANSI has developed a new standard by which they are measuring all programs, and as a natural result of that process there are new administrative hurdles to clear in order to stay in compliance.  Leon Katcharian, our Executive Secretary, and the rest of the first rate staff at NFPA are already at work formulating solutions to those hurdles. We look for those all to be cleared with no major concerns going forward.

From time-to-time we receive inquiries about the authority of a CFPS Certificate Holder to be able to approve and even “stamp” plans, much as a PE would. Our position has been, and continues to be that the CFPS is a professional credential, and not a license to practice.  It would effectively be illegal in the United States to represent oneself as qualified to stamp drawings based solely on the merits of holding a CFPS.  The NFPA legal department is currently having a look at the question, and will be issuing a policy statement. We realize the CFPS is an international credential, and this has led to some confusion by Certificants from other countries who wish to be cleared by us (the Board of Certified Fire Protection Specialists) to stamp plans. But because we are based in the US and are sworn to uphold US laws, we have no authority to allow such use of the credential in our name. 

CFPS_Color_200x200In closing this report I wish to reiterate the need we have each year for new candidates to seek a Director position on the Board. The Nominations Committee will be meeting in the coming quarter to lay out the timeline for the election process in the Spring.  This is a good time also for individuals considering running for the Board to give it further consideration, and talk the idea over with family members and employers.  Directors elected to the Board meet in person at least annually at the NFPA Conference & Expo®, and four times a year via teleconference as a full board. All Directors also serve on 2 to 3 committees, which normally also meet via teleconference from 1 to 3 times per year.

Best wishes for the upcoming holiday season. May it be a fire safe and joyous one for you and your families.

Best regards,

David W. Ward, CFPS
Chair, CFPS Board of Directors

More information:

            NFPA Certifications

            Are you a member of LinkedIn? Join the CFPS group.

            Current CFPS Board of Directors


On Wednesday, November 23, 1983, a fire occurred at the Travel Master Inn Motel located at 225 W. First Street in Dayton, Ohio.  The motel was a rectangular, four-story building, with basement, of mixed construction.  The ground floor contained a registration and lounge area, and the upper floors contained 66 guest rooms.

Earlier in the evening, on November 23, the building's fire detection and alarm system sounded throughout the building.  The hotel's desk clerk deactivated the system and went to the guest room portion of the building to determine the source of the alarm.  The clerk discovered a trash can fire on the third floor exit corridor and extinguished it with a portable fire extinguisher.  The detection system was not reactivated due to the residual smoke present in the corridor.  Approximately two and a half hours later, a third floor guest notified the desk clerk of a fire on the third floor.  The fire department was notified at 4:01 a.m.

First arriving fire fighters observed fire and heavy smoke conditions showing in the top two floors at the north end of the building.  In addition, an estimated 25 guests were located at windows on all the guest room levels awaiting rescue.  The fire ultimately resulted in one fourth-floor fatality, in over 20 persons being injured and in an estimated $700,000 property damage.

Fire investigators have listed the cause of the fire as undetermined; however, they determined that the fire originated at the north end of the third floor exit access corridor.

The following are considered to be major factors contributing to the loss of life and injury in this incident:

  • The location of the area of origin in the exit access corridor and the lack of automatic extinguishment in the incipient stage.
  • The presence of highly combustible interior finish materials in the exit access corridor.
  • The deactivation on the hotel's automatic fire detection and alarm system.
  • The lack of prompt notification of the fire department. 

For the full NFPA Fire Investigation report.

I'm really happy to announce three new children's videos from NFPA's Wildland Fire Operations Division.

The videos, “Sparky’s Wildfire Safety Home Projects for Kids and Parents,” “Sparky’s Neighborhood Wildfire Safety Tips for Families” and “Sparky and NFPA’s Wildfire Safety Checklist” feature NFPA’s spokesdog, Sparky the Fire Dog® who teaches young children the importance of wildfire safety.

Each video provides a fun and easy way parents and children can work together to help reduce the risk of wildfire damage to their homes and around their neighborhoods.


The videos complement other youth-related wildfire information including interactive games, quizzes and artwork, and teaching materials. And don't forget, you can share these videos and other great resources with family and friends! 

For more information and to watch all three videos, visit NFPA's wildfire "information for youth and families" web page.

Kathie blog
It’s every driver’s nightmare. You’re trapped in your car in a two-lane tunnel with no way out, and the tractor-trailer truck in front of you is on fire, filling the tunnel with smoke and toxic fumes. Unfortunately, it was no nightmare for people driving through in the Mont Blanc tunnel between France and Italy on March 24, 1999. It was frightening reality.

That morning, a truck carrying 12 tons of flour and nine tons of margarine entered the French side of the tunnel, the two-lane, 7.2-mile tube connecting France and Italy beneath the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps. Midway through the tunnel, the driver noticed smoke coming from his vehicle and stopped to investigate. Before he could even grab his fire extinguisher, however, the cab exploded. Behind the burning truck, 38 people were stuck in their cars with nowhere to go.

For more on the story, read "Tunnel Nightmare" in the latest 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.


A fire at the MGM Grand Hotel on November 21, 1980, resulted in the deaths of 85 guests and hotel employees.  About 600 others were injured and approximately 35 fire fighters sought medical attention during and after the fire.

The high-rise building, constructed in the early 1970s, consisted of twenty-one casino. Showrooms, convention facilities, jai alai fronton, and mercantile complex.  The hotel was partially sprinklered but major areas including the Main Casino and The Deli, the area of origin, were not sprinklered.  About 3,400 registered guests were in the hotel at the time of the fire.

As reported by the Clark County Fire Department, the most probable cause of the fire was heat produced by an electrical ground-fault within a combustible concealed space in a waitresses’ serving station of The Deli.

Following full involvement of The Deli, a flame front moved through the Casino.  Smoke spread to the high-rise tower through stairways, seismic joints, elevator hoistways and air handling systems.  The means of egress from the high-rise tower was impaired due to smoke spread into stairways, exit passageways and through corridors.

The high-rise tower evacuation alarm system apparently did not sound and most guests in the high-rise were alerted to the fire when they heard or saw fire apparatus, saw or smelled smoke, or heard people yelling or knocking on doors.  Many occupants were able to exit unassisted down stairs.  Others were turned back by smoke and sought refuge in rooms.  Many broke windows to signal rescuers or to get fresh air.  The fire department confined the fire to the Casino level in a little over an hour.  It was approximately four hours before all guests were evacuated.

Of the 85 fatalities, 61 victims were located in the high-rise tower, and 18 were on the Casino level.  Five victims were moved before their locations were documented.  The 85th victim died weeks after the fire.  Of the 61 victims found in the high-rise tower, 25 were located in rooms, 22 were in corridors, 9 in stairways and 5 were found in elevators.  One person died when she jumped or fell from the high-rise tower.

The major factors that contributed to the loss of life that occurred as a result of this fire incident are the following:

  • Rapid fire and smoke development on the Casino level due to available fuels, building arrangement, and the lack of adequate fire barriers.
  • Lack of fire extinguishment I the incipient stage of fire.
  • Unprotected vertical openings contributed to smoke spread to the high-rise tower.
  • Substandard enclosure of interior stairs, smokeproof towers and exit passageways contributed to heat and smoke spread and impaired the means of egress from the high-rise tower.

For the full NFPA Fire Investigation report. To read the January 1982 NFPA Fire Journal article


I was fortunate enough recently to be able to spend the day with members of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) to learn about the department’s amazing Risk-Based Inspection System, or RBIS. The trip was to do reporting for the feature, "In Pursuit of Smart," which you can read in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal

The backbone of the system is a computer algorithm called FireCast, which is able to analyze three years worth of building data using as many as 7,500 different fire risk factors. After complex calculation, FireCast produces a fire risk score for each of the 330,000 buildings in the city that FDNY firefighters are responsible for inspecting. Firefighters use the RBIS information to schedule their inspections so that they get into the riskiest buildings first, which they hope will help them prevent more fires and enable them to be more familiar with critical building systems if a fire were to occur. It’s a great example of how fire departments today are using smart tools and new technologies to make their communities safer.

I recently sat down with Kyle MacNaught, online editor for NFPA Journal, to discuss RBIS, how it works, what it aims to do, and how an everyday firefighter in New York uses and interacts with the system.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to reach out to me at

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.

Smoking area changesHave you noticed the number of people bundled up outside having a smoke on the front steps or porch? A September 2014 article by King, Patel and Babb in MMWR, Prevalence of Smokefree Home Rules — United States, 1992–1993 and 2010–2011,”confirms that this effort to limit second-hand smoke is part of a real shift. The authors noted that in 1992-1993, 43% of all households, and 10% of households with at least one smoker, said that no one was allowed to smoke inside the home.  In 2010-2011, 83% of all households and almost half (46%) of all households with one or more smokers banned indoor smoking.  NFPA also encourages people who smoke to smoke outside to reduce the risk of a deadly fire. 

A new NFPA fact sheet shows how the leading areas of origin in home structure fires have changed over time. Only 1% of home smoking material fires started on the exterior balcony or open porch and less than 1% started in a courtyard, terrace or patio in 1980-1984, compared to 14% and 6% in these areas, respectively, in 2007-2011.

Careful disposal of smoking materials is as important outside as inside. We are seeing too many fires that began outdoors in mulch, potted plants, landscaping, or on an outside porch.  Such a fire can easily spread into the home itself. 

Hoover blog
Perhaps no person has done more for home sprinkler adoption than California State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover. Under her watch, in 2011, California became the first state in the nation to mandate the installation of sprinkler systems in all new one- and two-family dwellings.

NFPA Journal spoke with Hoover at length for the “Perspectives” feature in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.

In the interview, Hoover discussed how her office and countless volunteers were able to build support in California for the eventual adoption of a first-in-the-nation sprinkler mandate. She also spoke of the importance of requiring sprinklers in new homes, as well as the successes and challenges in the months after the state’s sprinkler adoption. Hoover also pointed out that the work is far from over.

“One of the biggest mistakes we could make would be to think that residential sprinklers are chiseled in stone like the Ten Commandments,” she said.  

To learn more about Hoover’s efforts and California’s home sprinkler requirements, read the latest 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.

Yesterday, the Board of Directors of the ProBoard, the accrediting organization that internationally recognizes professional achievement in the fire service and related fields, met in the Quincy headquarters of NFPA. The group listened to various updates from around NFPA, including information about our International Operations, Fire Protection Research Foundation related projects, and social media efforts. 

Additionally, and very thougthfully, Jim Estepp, chair of the ProBoard, presented NFPA President, Jim Pauley, with a plaque commemorating thirty years of collaboration!


2014 Home Fire Sprinkler Summit
Showcasing a strength-in-numbers approach to sprinkler advocacy, more than 60 safety advocates from across North America met in Durham, North Carolina, last week for NFPA's Home Fire Sprinkler Summit. The event showcased a growing movement in support of home fire sprinkler requirements and gave advocates on the front lines the materials and tactics necessary to make these requirements a reality. 

Visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog for the highlights and presentation synopses. 

November201994 November201994two

On Sunday, November 20, 1994, at approximately 3:41 pm, a series of explosions occurred at a furniture manufacturing facility in Lenoir, North Carolina.  There were two fatalities and four injuries as a result of this incident.  The North Carolina Special Bureau of Investigations determined that the nature of the incident was accidental and not criminal.

The incident occurred in the particle board manufacturing portion of the plant.  Raw dust was taken in and refined into finished sheets of particle board that was used in the construction of furniture in other portions of the plant.  This manufacturing line was the sole source of particle board for the plant's furniture-making operations.

Based on NFPA's site inspection and subsequent analysis, it was determined that there were three potential sources of ignition: a stray piece of metal in a grinding machine that sparked, a leak in an overhead oil line that atomized and subsequently ignited, or a natural gas leak in the vicinity of the thermal transfer unit that was ignited explosively.

Following the initiating event, four explosions occurred throughout the facility.  These explosions were caused by dust in the facility that was placed into suspension in the air by each prior explosion.  The dust in suspension then came into contact with an ignition source and ignited explosively.  It was observed that there were large amounts of dust throughout the facility, and there were minimal efforts to control electrical ignition sources.

Two employees were killed and four were injured.  Damage to the facility covered 139,000 square feet.  Production will be interrupted for over nine months.  An estimate of the property damage is not available.  However, much of the building, as well as the production equipment, will have to be replaced.

For the full NFPA Fire Investigation report. To read about NFPA's statistical report on Fires in U.S. Industrial and Manufacturing Facilities.

 You may remember the story from earlier this year about nine-year-old Hector Montoya, who decided to buy and donate 100 smoke alarms with the money he was saving for a PlayStation 4. He did so after learning that a seven-year-old girl and her mother from Fort Worth, Texas, died in a home fire without working smoke alarms.

Montoya's kindness, generosity and empathy received tremendous national praise and attention in the weeks that followed.

Just when you'd think the story couldn’t get more touching, here’s an update: Abigail Segoviano, the surviving daughter and twin sister, and her aunt, Gloria DeHoyos, were deeply moved by Montoya’s gesture and became determined to meet him. After several months of searching, the three finally connected and met this past Sunday.

Along with bringing several gifts to Abigail, Montoya, who lives in Grand Prairie, Texas, got the Fort Worth City Council to declare Sunday as “Princess Abigail Segoviano Day.”

“I wanted to make her a princess for the day,” said Montoya, who has continued his fire prevention efforts, helping donate 2,700 smoke alarms to local families.

“He’s like a little hero for us because he’s saving people’s lives,” said DeHoyos. I have to say, he’s a hero of mine, too.

Chapter 12 of NFPA 99 is a vital part of the standard to know for Facility Managers (FM's) and other personnel at health care facilities all over the world in regards to emergency preparedness. Natural disasters, domestic terror attacks and other life threatening situations will require you to operate your facility in a different manner. Are you prepared?  Imagine if you had the oportunity to learn from one of your peers, another FM, and a Fire Protection Engineer at NFPA who helped develop NFPA 99. 

On December 16th, NFPA will host a 2-hour live broadcast for Facility Managers and other health care personnel from 1pm - 3pm EST to help increase the ability of a code user to locate, interpret, and apply the criteria of Chapter 12 of NFPA 99, health care facilities, to assess, mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies of any nature.

WP_EM_201412FP (3)

This Pay-Per-View event is hosted by Jonathan Hart, Fire Protection Engineer at NFPA and David Dagenais, Director of Plant Operations and Security at Wentworth Douglas Hospital in Dover, NH. Viewers of this event will have the fantastic opportunity to learn from the vantage points of both an engineer who helped develop the NFPA 99 standard and an experienced health care Facility Manager who applies the code every day of the year.

As an added bonus, every registrant will receive a PDF copy of a 9-page article authored by Jonathan Hart called "Health Care Emergency Management: Preparing for All Hazards"

Find out more and register here for this great event.

Global viewIn his recent NFPA Journal column, "Global View," Don Bliss, vice-president for Field Operations at NFPA, talks about the Association's continuing efforts to make a significant investment in its mission to “reduce the worldwide burden of fire.” In particular, he notes, NFPA standards are in use around the world and have been translated into at least 12 languages, and NFPA supports participation in the its standards-development process with an online platform that can be accessed anywhere.

However, he says, more needs to be done to engage the global fire protection community in efforts to reduce deaths and property loss due to fire.

"NFPA is currently re-assessing its international strategy, with a vision of being the worldwide authority on fire, electrical, and building safety," he says. "Most importantly, we have the capability—and a moral and professional obligation—to assist developing nations in building a culture of fire safety. With more than a century of experience, NFPA is in an ideal position to share its codes and standards, research, educational resources, and experience in the adoption and enforcement of fire safety standards with nations facing high rates of fire death and property loss. In this age of an increasingly interconnected world, those are burdens we all share."

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.

NFPA codes often work in concert to provide guidance, and this is certainly true in the case of sprinkler protection, explains NFPA life safety engineer, Ron Coté.

In his new "In Compliance" column in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal, Coté explains the interplay between NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, and NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems, when it comes to providing sprinkler protection in buildings.

NFPA 101 sets the thresholds under which sprinkler protection is required, but refers the reader to the expertise provided by NFPA 13 to ensure installation compliance, Coté explains. This way, NFPA 101 can provide guidance for meshing its requirements with those of NFPA 13 and avoid any misapplication.

To learn more, read the new 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.


!|src=|alt=Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d09383b5970c img-responsive!An Oregon fire marshal has made such a convincing case for home fire sprinklers that an Oregon mayor and city council are considering requirements in new homes.   


The +Mail Tribune+ reports that the city of Medford's mayor, Gary Wheeler, received a recommendation to sprinkler all new one- and two-family homes from Fire Marshal Greg Kleinberg. Noting that competition will eventually drive down sprinker installation costs (a point highlighted in NFPA's recent sprinkler cost study report ), Kleinberg's recommendation seems to have gotten the attention of Wheeler, who told the paper, "You can't put a price on a child."

Kleinberg also noted that Medford has averaged 82 fires a year over the past five years, the majority occurring in one- and two-family dwellings. 


For more information, visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Fire officials in Florida to examine sprinkler ordinance

Nov ssThe November issue of Safety Source, NFPA's public education enewsletter, is now available for viewing. In this issue, you will find;  

  • New community toolkit on carbon monoxide safety
  • Mini lesson on CO poisoning
  • Select tip sheets can now be customized
  • Printable safety placemat for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Tips for a fire-safe Thanksgiving
  • Jim Pauley discusses effective ways to improve data collection
  • 10 tips to get ahead of the winer freeze

Don't miss an issue! Sign up now and be the first to get the latest information on happenings in the public education division, activities, fire statistics, trends, educational tips, Sparky the Fire Dog® and more.

NovThe November issue of Fire Break, NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division newsletter, is now available for viewing. Here’s what you’ll find in this month’s issue:

  • A discussion about the benefits of planning before tackling WUI fires
  • An recap on the WFOD’s recent visit to England where staff learned about Firewise efforts being undertaken across the U.K.
  • A link to the 2015 Backyards & Beyond conference “call for presentations” web page and deadline information
  • A link to our free fall Firewise “How To” newsletter
  • A cool infographic highlighting brush, grass and forest fire statistics …

...and much 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.

Journey BackGoing back to school and being with peers is a very important step in a young burn survivor's recovery. It can be one of the most stressful transitions in the aftermath of a burn injury or traumatic loss. Everyday interaction with classmates, participation in extracurricular activities, and plans for their future may also pose new challenges… and your child may be unsure of how to ask questions or where to turn for help.

The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, along with several partners, created The Journey Back, a program for parents, teachers, or any caring adult who is assisting a child with a positive return to school after a burn injury or traumatic loss. With templates, worksheets, videos and other resources, The Journey Back addresses the academic, physical, social and emotional aspects of the recovery process. It is designed for any caring adult who wants to help ensure the smoothest return possible for a child in their life.

You can learn more about the program through an online tutorial, and then can download the full educational guide, The Journey Back (also available as an ebook) for free, through the Phoenix Society's website. 

Today kicks off our “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” campaign with the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). For the fourth year, we’re teaming up to educate the public about potential home fire hazards during the winter months and ways to prevent them.

December, January and February are the leading months for home fires in the U.S. Cooking is the leading cause of home structure fires and injuries, while heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires and home fire deaths. These and other fire risks associated with the winter and holiday season, including Christmas trees and holiday decorations (particularly those involving candles), will be addressed throughout the campaign.

Fortunately, the vast majority of home fires can be avoided by following some simple safety precautions. “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” offers a wealth of tips and recommendations for doing just that during the colder months ahead.

Visit and for safety tips, videos and recommendations on staying fire-safe this winter. There’s also a wealth of resources for fire departments and safety educators working to educate their communities about these issues.


0CD0A08565D24BE495789F23B68E9D80At approximately 5 o'clock on a cold, rainy morning, a ladder company with an officer and three firefighters was dispatched to a motor vehicle crash on a nearby highway. When they arrived at the scene about five minutes later, they found a car resting on its side on the median, sticking out into both the east- and westbound high-speed lanes.

Several minutes later, a pickup truck traveling eastbound lost control on the slick road and slammed into the disabled car, turning onto its passenger side and coming to rest in the high-speed lane next to the original crash site. The company officer left the median to check on the driver of the truck and was standing behind the vehicle when a third car lost control and slammed into the pickup.

The force of the collision pushed the pickup truck into the officer, tossing him backwards several yards onto the median. The officer, who was wearing his structural firefighting gear, including his helmet, sustained multiple fractures, abrasions, and contusions, and was treated at the scene before he was transported to the nearest Level 1 trauma facility.

He was just one of 65,880 firefighters injured in the line of duty last year. Of these injuries, 29,760, or 45.2 percent, occurred during fire ground operations. Another 11,800 occurred during other on-duty activities; 4,015 occurred while responding to, or returning from an incident; 7,770 occurred during training; and 12,535 occurred at non-fire emergencies.

The major types of injuries received during fire ground operations were strains, sprains, muscular pain, wounds, cuts, bleeding, bruising, burns, and smoke or gas inhalation. The leading causes of fire ground injuries were overexertion, strain, falls, slips, and jumps. Strains, sprains, and muscular pain accounted for more than half of all non-fire ground injuries.

For more information on firefighter injuries, read “Firefighter Injuries in the United States, 2013” by Michael Karter and Joseph Molis in the November/December 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.

BoatsThe Fire Protection Research Foundation recently published the "Assessment of Hazardous Voltage/Current in Marinas, Boatyards and Floating Buildings" authored by John Adey of ABYC Foundation Inc. and Bill Daley, P.E. and Ryan Kelly with CED Technologies, Inc.

The safety of electrical equipment installed and used in the vicinity of marinas, boatyards and floating buildings is a challenge. This typically requires designing, installing, operating and maintaining electrical equipment that balances inherently safe levels of equipment operation against nuisance interruptions of the applicable electrical infrastructure.

This electrical equipment is typically subjected to harsh environmental conditions that can result in deterioration and other long term maintenance concerns. Reports in the mainstream media of drowning in the vicinity of marinas, boatyards and floating buildings has raised question on possible shock hazards from nearby electrical equipment, and thus credible data is needed that clarifies the problem and provides guidance towards the most appropriate mitigation measures.

The goal of this project is to identify and summarize available information that clarifies the problem of hazardous voltage/current in marinas, boatyards and floating buildings, and to develop a mitigation strategy to address identified hazards.

Download the complete report through the Foundation website

Office Hours
Office Hours
 is a live, interactive, streaming video presentation for NFPA Members featuring NFPA technical staff discussing NFPA codes and standards. In this month's event, join NFPA's Christopher Coache, as he discusses NFPA 70: National Electrical Code, Section 700.10, Emergency Circuit CoacheProtection. His presentation will include; 

  • Circuit protection for emergency circuits includes fire protection.
  • Sprinkler protection for a room differs from sprinkler protection for an emergency feeder
  • Where does the emergency circuit start?
  • And More!

Register today! Have questions? Get the answers during this live event on November 21st!

Use or Tweet to #OfficeHours during the presentation. Get involved! Join the conversation! Not a member but want to participate? Become an NFPA member today

At its October 2014 meeting, the NFPA Standards Council considered the issuance of several proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs).  The following TIAs on NFPA 70, NFPA 1951, and NFPA 1971 were issued by the Council on October 28, 2014:

  • NFPA 70, TIA 14-7, referencing 517.41(E)
  • NFPA 1951, TIA 13-3, referencing 5.2.4(8)(New),, and A.
  • NFPA 1971, TIA 13-4, referencing 5.4.4(8)(New), and A.

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.

On November 15, 1984,
the Phoenix, Arizona Fire Department responded to a rescue call at a small petroleum bulk plant.  A worker, involved in a toluene tank cleaning operation, was overcome in the tank.  During rescue operations, that utilized a gasoline engine driven power saw, an explosion occurred resulting in the death of one fire fighter and injury to 16 other fire fighters.  The worker died of asphyxiation and inhalation of toluene vapors.

This incident emphasizes the need for recognition of both the flammability and toxic properties of hazardous materials at fire and rescue scenes and the application of appropriate procedures.

For the full NFPA Fire Investigation report  To learn about NFPA's statistical data on Fires Starting with Flammable Gas or Flammable or Combustible Liquid

Hilbert,%20Mark%20PhotoMark Hilbert is one of our senior instructors who travels the world teaching seminars on the National Electrical Code and other electrical topics. If you've been lucky enough to attend one of Mark's seminars, you know that he is a unique instructor with a wealth of code knowledge and a lifetime of applying the NEC. Mark has trained people all over the Middle East, the Caribbean and in almost every state in the union. In October, Mark actually pulled off one of his most amazing electrical seminars yet. In one day, he taught in 24 different states, 3 different provinces in Canada and Dubai. So either Mark Hilbert is a magician, owns a teleportation device or has another way of travelling around the globe in one day. 

The answer to the first two assumptions is no but the answer to the 3rd assumption is that NFPA hosted a live web broadcast where Mark taught hundreds of people from all over the world.  

Mark will host a new seminar on December 9th and 10th via the Internet and the  session will review the major points of grounding and bonding in the 2014 edition of the National Electrical Code. This is your chance to earn CEUs without having to leave your office or your home.

This 8-hour event split over 2 days is designed for the busy installers, contractors, supervisors, engineers and other electrical staff who don't have the time or budget to travel for training.

In addition to the presentation this interactive session will include the following exercises:

  • Determine minimum sizes for and other requirements for grounding electrode conductors and bonding jumpers for grounding electrode systems.
  • Determine minimum sizes for and other requirements for grounded service conductors.
  • Identify separately derived systems and determine sizes of system bonding jumpers and grounding electrode conductors for separately derived systems.
  • Identify elements of a service installation by their defined names.
  • Determine minimum sizes for equipment grounding conductors and bonding jumpers. Differentiate between supply-side and load-side bonding requirements

Invite Mark Hilbert into your office or your living room on December 9th and 10th and join hundreds of students from all over the world to learn about the NEC. Click here to register

Fire loss blog
There were 21 fires in the United States last year that resulted in at least $10 million in property losses, according to the recent NFPA report, “Large Loss Fires in the United States, 2013.”

The November/December issue of NFPA Journal takes an in-depth look at the report and explores some of the causes and resulting damages from last year’s costliest fires.

The largest fire in the country in 2013 in terms of property loss was the Black Forest Fire in Colorado, which caused $420.5 million in destruction. The fire began in June outside of Colorado Springs and burned more than 14,000 acres, destroyed 489 homes, one commercial property, and 188 outbuildings. The fire also damaged an additional 31 homes and five outbuildings. Two people were killed.

The next costliest fire occurred in West, Texas, where an explosion at a fertilizer plant caused about $100 million in losses.

In total, the 21 large-loss fires—defined as fires resulting in at least $10 million in property loss—caused a total of almost $845 million in direct property losses in the U.S. last year, according to the NFPA report. These 21 fires also killed nine firefighters and eight civilians, and injured another 18 firefighters and 278 civilians.

To read the full report, visit:

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.

NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations is now accepting public inputs (proposals) to the next edition.  Deadline for submissions is January 5, 2015.  To submit public inputs go to

79A289E03E3F4A9D8B03EFFE5D867A03.ashxThe National Professional Qualifications System, or Pro Board, was founded in 1972 to establish a system to accredit firefighter training agencies and develop a registry of individuals trained to use standards formulated by those agencies. Until that time, says Ken Willette, division manager of Public Fire Protection at NFPA, there was no national standard for training firefighters and firefighting practices were limited to a specific city or region. That made it difficult for departments to help one another and raised questions about the fire service’s professionalism.

Standards were needed to promote common fire service training and skills, and the Pro Board asked NFPA to develop those standards. The result was NFPA 1001, Firefighter Professional Qualifications, says Willette in his column “Common Goals” in the latest issue of NFPA Journal.

Since the publication of NFPA 1001, NFPA has developed 18 more standards addressing the professional qualifications for a variety of fire service positions, including fire officer, fire investigator, fire service instructor, and emergency vehicle operator. This is just one more example of how NFPA standards are with the fire service every day and on every call.

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.


On November 13, 1997, at approximately 6:00 a.m., a fire occurred in an occupied, four-story apartment complex in Bremerton, Washington. Four residents died in this fire, and twelve were injured.

The complex was comprised of 142 units, of which approximately 130 units were occupied at the time of the fire. The main portion of the complex was a U-shaped building. The ground floor, which contained storage areas, laundries, parking areas, and utility rooms, was made of noncombustible construction. The upper three floors contained the apartment units and were constructed of wood studs covered with fire-rated gypsum wallboard on each side. However, the exterior face of the walls was covered with 5/8-in. thick plywood that was not fire-rated. A two-story building occupied the open portion of the U and was built in a similar style as the main portion of the complex.

  • Lack of automatic fire sprinklers
  • Combustible exterior wall construction
  • The door to the apartment of fire origin being left open after the fire was discovered
  • Inadequately protected means of egress
  • Lack of proper fire separations in the combustible void space
  • Lack of a complex wide fire alarm system incorporating automatic detection

To read the NFPA full Investigation Download this Bremerton, WA report 

FSI Summit dinner
Protecting lives and saving property from fire through the installation of sprinklers in new homes is the topic at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative summit in Raleigh, NC. About 60 attendees, representing the fire service, local government, public safety and other organizations, have gathered for a one-day meeting to network, brainstorm, share best practices, and discuss challenges associated with local and state efforts to bring about sprinkler requirements for new one- and two-family homes. 

Mary Regan and Ruth Balser

Chief Mary Regan of the Westfield, MA, Fire Department, and Chair of the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition, and Massachusetts State Representative Ruth Balser.

John Caufield and Jerry DeLuca

NFPA Regional Director John Caufield and Jerry DeLuca, Executive Director/CEO of the New York Associaition of Fire Chiefs.

See more photos, coverage of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit in Raleigh.

Last year, fires killed over 3,000 people, injured more than 15,000 and caused an estimated $11.5 billion in damage, Over a five-year period, the cause of ignition in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) was unknown in almost three out of every five home fire deaths, according to the United States Fire Administration and NFPA. Recognizing the reporting gap in NFIRS, the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) has launched a free, online training program for the fire service, “Understanding Your Role in Fire Incident Data,” available at NASFM’s training portal Thumbnail-appreciating-data 

The new training program is the result of a project by NASFM’s Fire Education Research Foundation, funded by a FEMA Fire Prevention and Safety Grant, to determine the root causes contributing to the reporting gap and develop a training solution to help fire departments across the nation with stronger reporting practices. 

“The new training program addresses such an important gap in our national fire incident data,” said Butch Browning, NASFM President and Louisiana State Fire Marshal.  “If we don’t know what is causing these fires, we really can’t work effectively to prevent them with solutions that specifically address the root problems.  By explaining to fire fighters and chief officers the critical importance of accurately reporting the cause of fires, big and small, in their communities, we can go a long ways towards closing this gap.”

Research conducted for this project identified four areas that contributed to this data gap that are addressed in the training program:

  • Closing the loop. So often, there is a disconnect within fire departments between those who make the initial fire report entry, such as the line officer, and the fire investigator who later determines the cause of the fire, and the initial report is not updated with the new information.
  • Clearing the litigation cloud.  Fire departments are often reluctant to enter the cause of the fire unless they are 100% sure because of the potential for being called to task later during any court proceedings.
  • Black Hole. A number of people interviewed for the project had an inaccurate impression that the information went into a “black hole” and didn’t really make any difference, either locally or nationally.
  • Complexity. The current NFIRS systems is perceived as being overly complex and not user-friendly, which discourages those using it from taking the time to accurately enter the information.

The online course takes about one hour and a certificate of completion is available that can be used for continuing education requirements. In addition, since this training program is self-guided, it can be easily incorporated into recruit training at a fire academy or station level and used by full-time, call and volunteer fire departments. 

A couple and their one-year-old safely escaped a home fire this past weekend when they awoke to the sound of a smoke alarm shortly before 4 a.m. Upon exiting the home, Patrick Parker said he and his wife saw flames near a space heater. While the family escaped without injury, the home was destroyed.

A working smoke alarm enabled a family of three to escape an early morning fire without injury, while the home was destroyed.

“This is a classic case of a smoke alarm doing what it’s supposed to do,” said Fire Chief Andy Riley of the Dandridge, Tennessee, Fire Department. “Now is a good time to check your own smoke alarms and make sure they are in good working order.”

Smoke alarms should be tested monthly. For smoke alarms that include a 10-year, non-replaceable battery, replace the entire smoke alarm if it begins to “chirp”, indicating that the battery is running low. For smoke alarms that use regular batteries, you can replace the batteries once a year, or before then if they begin to chirp.

Also, as temperatures begin to drop, it’s important to make sure your home heating equipment is functioning and used properly. Check out our home heating section, which offers tips and recommendations for ensuring a warm, fire-safe season in the months ahead.


On the morning of November 12, 1992, an accidental fire destroyed most of the Dole Fresh Vegetables plant in Yuma, Arizona, and resulted in a loss estimated at $16 million.  The building was a noncombustible structure with light-gauge metal exterior walls and roof components.  Polyurethane foam insulation was sprayed over the interior surfaces of the exterior walls and roof.  In addition, wood-frame walls were constructed throughout the building in front of the foam insulation to permit washing of interior surfaces.  Automatic sprinklers were installed and provided protection in the occupiable spaces throughout the facility.

On the day of the fire, the construction of an addition to the facility was near completion.  It appears that welders, who were installing process equipment, may have accidentally ignited combustible materials including the sprayed-on foam insulation inside a wall assembly.  The fire spread in a combustible concealed space between the wood-framed interior walls and the metal exterior walls.  Sprinklers had not been installed in the combustible concealed space.  As a result, the sprinkler systems that operated were not able to control the fire spreading within the walls. 

Early in the incident, the fire appears to have also spread into the occupiable areas of the addition still under construction.  The sprinkler systems in this area were not operational.  As a result, the fire rapidly grew in the addition, and fire spreading from this area into the salad plant helped to overwhelm the operational sprinkler systems in the salad plant. 

Based on the NFPA's investigation and analysis, the following significant factors contributed to the loss of property at the Dole Fresh Vegetables plant:

  •  The presence of concealed combustible spaces in which the fire could readily spread.
  •  The ignition of combustible materials within a concealed space.
  •  The lack of sprinkler protection in the concealed combustible spaces.
  •  Sprinkler systems that were not operational due to ongoing construction activities.

To see the full report Download this Yuma, AZ report  For more information on NFPA Large-Loss Fires in the United States.

Sprinkler blog photo
An incredible push is now underway throughout the country for the adoption of codes that require the installation of home fire sprinklers. With the help of NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative, grassroots campaigns have sprung up from New Jersey to California—more than 20 states now have formalized coalitions with the aim of making home fire sprinklers a requirement.

In this effort, several individuals stand out as especially effective and passionate advocates for home sprinklers. The November/December issue of NFPA Journal includes profiles on four of these personalities as well as an overview of their accomplishments and what makes each such an effective advocate. The feature, “Movers, Shakers, Advocates,” looks at how these four leaders have worked to dispel the negative myths about home sprinklers and to educate communities in their states about how sprinklers save lives.

The individuals featured in NFPA Journal include:

° Jeff LaFlam, of the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition, who has effectively overseen a coalition of more than 300 people and brought awareness of the ability of sprinklers to save lives to the state’s building board;

° Pam Elliot of the North Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition, who is a member of Common Voices, a coalition of burn survivors, and has written op-ed pieces pushing for sprinkler requirements;

° Stephen Coan, the Massachusetts fire marshal and a member of the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition, who has used his position of leadership to advocate loudly for sprinkler requirements;

° Tom Lia, a member of the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition, and a driving force behind widespread local adoption in Illinois towns of NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes.

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.


On November 11, 1979, 14 people died in a fire at the Coats Rooming House in Pioneer, Ohio.  A three-year-old child playing with a cigarette lighter was responsible for a rapidly spreading fire that killed 13 residents and one of the owners of the home.   The fire started in a sofa in one of the two apartment units located on the first floor of the structure.  

The boarding home provided room and board for eleven elderly private residents and eight mentally retarded residents who had been referred to the boarding home after being released from a state mental health care facility.  Two rented apartment units in the building had an additional five occupants.  The home was operated by the owners, who also resided in the building.

Combustible interior finish, heavy fuel loading, lack of compartmentation, a single means of egress from the second floor, and the apparent lack of response of some of the residents to the fire conditions contributed to the 14 fatalities.  

To see the full NFPA Fire Investigation  Download this Pioneer, OH report For NFPA's statistical information Playing with Fire

A lot can go wrong for a contractor who doesn’t follow NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, during an installation, explains Wayne Moore, vice president at Hughes Associates.

“The reaction of contractors still surprises me when I’m at a new construction site and discover a non-compliant installation,” Moore writes in his “In Compliance” column in the new November/December issue of NFPA Journal. More often than not, the contractor admits he hasn’t read the code and doesn’t know which edition a particular jurisdiction enforces.

Of course, it’s an easily avoidable mistake, Moore writes. Following the code helps ensure the minimum level of operational reliability for installed fire alarm systems. NFPA also publishes a free read-only version of the complete code online, allowing users to refer to it on their smartphones. 

“Those of us more familiar with the code can help make sure contractors and authorities having jurisdiction know the importance of this free-access online version of NFPA 72, available at,” Moore 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.

One of the most tragic residential fires to hit Maine in the last few decades occurred earlier this month, when six people died from a blaze in an off-campus residence near the University of Portland. All of the victims were in their 20s, reports the Associated Press.

Aware that Canada isn't immune to these tragedies, Maine's northern neighbors are using social-media-savvy college students to further education on fire and home fire sprinklers. In September, the Fredericton, New Brunswick, Fire Department took part in Dorm Burn 2014, an event that included a live burn and sprinkler demonstration on the University of New Brunswick campus. While the rooms constructed by the fire department were intended to mimic dorm rooms, the message of the importance of sprinklers in all residential settings was not lost on the young attendees. 

Watch video from the event by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

Data driven blog photoWe are surrounded today by data-gathering devices, which can do everything from track how well you sleep to the energy consumption of your house. Increasingly, the fire service is beginning to harness the vast amount of data and gadgets now available to help it save lives, protect firefighters, and reduce property loss.

The November/December issue ofNFPA Journal explores the idea of smart firefighting and what the era of big data and bold technology could mean for preventing and fighting fires.

The November/December cover story, "In Pursuit of Smart," looks at the innovative way the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) is using data for fire prevention. The department has developed a complex computer algorithm called FireCast, which uses data collected from 17 city agencies and the 311 non-emergency call center, to predict which buildings in the city are most likely to experience a fire event. The algorithm analyzes recent fire history and up to 7,500 weighted building risk factors to assign a fire risk score to each of the 330,000 buildings FDNY inspects. The program has allowed firefighters to prioritize the inspection of trouble buildings, which has led to greater fire prevention and better awareness for first responders.

Data and technology is also being used in other parts of the country: high-tech cameras are being used in Texas to monitor the woods for forest fires; firefighters in North Carolina are using wearable computers to help them in the field; and in Texas, one fire department has deployed sensors and cameras in and around schools to provide real-time data during a fire response.

To aid the effort, NFPA has been staying ahead of the curve. NFPA 950Data Development and Exchange for the Fire Service, will make its print debut this November, and its companion, NFPA 951Guide to Building and Utilizing Digital Information, is slated for release in November 2015.

In addition, the Fire Protection Research Foundation, along with the National Institute of Standards and Technology have teamed up on a complex project, titled “Smart Firefighting: Where Big Data and Fire Service Unite,” aimed at bringing about the future of smart firefighting. A research roadmap is expected to be produced by early next year, which will outline the next steps and projects to help the fire service gain even more from the huge increase in new devices, sensors and data.

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 story posted to EMS1 recently has gotten a lot of attention, so we wanted to share the news about an AED-carrying drone that could improve EMS with our readers. One of the most important considerations in emergency medical treatment is response time. Alec Momont, an engineering graduate at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, has created a rapid response drone prototype. It is able to fly at speeds of up to 60 mph while carrying a defibrillator and equipped with features that could reduce the time before a heart attack victim receives first aid, greatly increasing the chances of recovery.

"It is essential that the right medical care is provided within the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest," Momont said. 'If we can get to an emergency scene faster, we can save many lives and facilitate the recovery of many patients. This especially applies to emergencies such as heart failure, drownings, traumas and respiratory problems, and it has become possible because life-saving technologies, such as a defibrillator, can now be designed small enough to be transported by a drone."

The prototype drone is designed to be deployed when emergency services receive a cardiac arrest call. Unconstrained by traffic and roads, the drone, in theory, could arrive at the scene faster than an ambulance. Because it cannot, however, carry EMTs, it is equipped with the next best thing: livestream audio and video connection that will allow medical professionals to deliver instructions to people at the site, viewing the situation through the webcam and talking the responder through the treatment -- including how to use the defibrillator.

Watch the video above, and let us know how much you think this could impact EMS.

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

In this issue:

  • Proposed TIA seeking public comment on NFPA 70
  • Fall 2014 Motions Committee Report
  • Glossary of Terms 2014 edition available
  • Public comment closing date for Fall 2015 documents
  • 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.

Cover screen shot

Smart firefighting, home fire sprinkler advocates, fire as a weapon—those are just a few of the topics covered in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.

In our cover story, "Data Driven," staff writer Jesse Roman travels to New York City, where the FDNY gives him an up-close look at a new risk-based building inspection system that represents the cutting edge of “smart firefighting”—the fire service’s use of data to help it save lives, reduce property loss, and protect firefighters. The story also looks at an ambitious project, undertaken by the Fire Protection Research Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, to chart a course for the further development of smart firefighting, a concept that could have a dramatic impact on the fire service.

This issue also takes a closer look at the world of home fire sprinklers, including a feature by Fred Durso, Jr., communications manager for NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative, which profiles four movers and shakers around the country who are working to make home fire sprinkler requirements a reality. In our “Perspectives” conversation, we talk with Tonya Hoover, California’s state fire marshal, about the challenges associated with getting statewide home fire sprinkler requirements on the books—and keeping them there.

Our “In A Flash” section leads with a fascinating update on the concept of fire as a weapon, which the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association addressed at the recent Urban Fire Forum. A number of recent terrorist actions have included fire as a means to kill, destroy property, and gain media attention, and first responders and law enforcement are exploring ways to work together to combat this emerging threat.

Find these stories and many more in the new NFPA Journal, in print and online. And if you haven't already, be sure to check out the free NFPA Journal mobile app.

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.

New Jersey sprinkler trailer

Since 2005, the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NJFSAB) has actively engaged and educated both the New Jersey public and the state’s legislators about proactive fire safety through a series of live demonstrations as part of its burn trailer program. The burn trailer events allow those in attendance to see firsthand the life- and property-saving benefits of fire sprinklers in real time.   

In 2014, the burn trailer, which has steadily gained momentum since its inception, hit a record reach of more than 7,600 people during 36 separate events. For more information on this trailer and how it's educating a sea of New Jersey residents, visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

The Foundation has initiated a program to develop a tool that can be used for providing reliable analysis of the impact of obstructions on ESFR sprinklers to develop the technical basis for new requirements and guidance for NFPA 13.  The new requirements and guidance could reduce field installation uncertainties, increase flexibility of layout options, and in general enhance sprinkler protection.  We are seeking additional support for this major program; if you are interested in participating, please contact

Rolf Jensen Dollar GraphicDo you have a great idea for a community-wide fire and life safety campaign or program but need funding to get the project launched? If so, you’ll want to consider applying for the Rolf H. Jensen Memorial Public Education Grant. Funded by the RJA Group, the $5,000 grant is open to any fire department–career or volunteer–located in the United States or Canada.

In addition to the $5,000, the winning department will receive a commemorative plaque and the department's name inscribed on the winners’ plaque displayed at NFPA headquarters. Many recipients find that the grant helps to generate positive media coverage for the fire department and raises the profile of the department in the community.

The application is available on the NFPA website. You have until February 6, 2015, to apply.

Maureen BrodoffMaureen Brodoff, former NFPA vice president and general counsel, has received the George S. Wham Leadership Medal from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The award, which honors Ms. Brodoff for her outstanding contributions to the voluntary standardization community, was presented during a ceremony held in conjunction with World Standards Day in Washington, DC, on October 22, 2014.

Ms. Brodoff joined the NFPA staff in 1991 as associate general counsel. In 2002, she was promoted to vice president and assumed responsibility for overall legal affairs of the Association.She also served as counsel to NFPA's Standards Council, the body overseeing NFPA's codes- and standards-making process.

The Wham award is named in honor of Dr. George S. Wham, technical director at Good Housekeeping magazine, who has served as a past chairman of ANSI’s Board of Directors and who was a member of the Board for more than a decade. It was Dr. Wham’s leadership and vision that initiated the establishment of ANSI’s long-range strategic planning process, which enabled ANSI to respond to increasing challenges of the global standards community.

Twelve hotel guests died November 5, 1978, when a fire attributed to arson raced through the 120-year-old Allen Motor Inn in which a large-loss-of-life fire could have been predicted.  The three-story hotel, labeled a "fire trap" by a county official, had open wooden stairs, no fire protection features except for portable fire extinguishers, and no fire alarm system.  Despite recent attempts by officials to enforce safety codes, the hotel owner had been granted three separate time extensions to make repairs, and the hotel had continued in use with major fire safety violations until the November 5 fire took the lives of more than half of its occupants. 

To see the full report Download this March 1979 Fire Journal article.  To read NFPA's statistical information on arson fires  Download Intentional Fires report

fireMarshalls.jpgNFPA attended the 66th Annual Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association Conference in Ft Myers this week.  Attendees heard about the new NFPA 1730, Standard on Organization and Deployment of Fire Prevention Inspection and Code Enforcement, Plan Review, Investigation, and Public Education Operations to the Public. They also received updates on NFPA 1, Fire Code and NFPA 101, Life Safety Code.

The Associated Press reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is recalling Pierce Arrow fire trucks from the 2010 and 2011 model years. The trucks have TAK-4 front suspensions and were built from Nov. 18, 2009, through May 11, 2011.  According to the report, a suspension part can fail and cause a wheel to fall off.

ESFRESFR sprinklers are often installed in warehouses to avoid installation of in-rack sprinklers. However, since the discharge pattern of ESFR sprinklers is different from standard-spray sprinklers, obstructions near the sprinkler heads can greatly affect the distribution of water. NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, generally allows the following obstructions in Sections,, and 

  • Sprinklers installed per the allowable distances from near or at ceiling obstructions in Table
  • Isolated obstructions less than 2 feet wide and 1 foot or greater horizontally from sprinkler
  • Isolated and continuous obstructions less than 2 inches wide and 2 feet or greater below deflector or 1 foot or greater horizontally from sprinkler
  • Continuous obstructions 1 foot or less in width and located 1 foot horizontally from sprinkler
  • Continuous obstructions 2 feet of less in width and located 2 feet horizontally from sprinkler
  • Bottom chords of bar joists or open trusses located 1 foot or greater horizontally from sprinkler (upright sprinklers can be installed over the bottom chords of bar joists or open trusses that are up to 4 inches wide) 

Two methods are available in NFPA 13 to resolve obstructions that do not fall into the categories above: eliminating the obstruction or adding sprinklers underneath the obstruction. However, there have been some successful tests that have been conducted with obstructions that are not allowable by NFPA 13 without taking these measures. The information from these tests as well as information gathered from further testing could help inform revisions to the NFPA 13 requirements. 

The Fire Protection Research Foundation initiated this project to ultimately develop a tool that can be used for providing reliable analysis of the impact of obstructions on ESFR sprinklers based on existing test data and develop technical basis to the NFPA 13 Technical Committees for new requirements and guidance. The goal of this first phase project was to gather available test data, analyze the knowledge gaps, and develop a research plan for future testing.

The complete report, "Obstruction and ESFR Sprinklers - Phase 1" authored by Garner A. Palenske, P.E. and William N. Fletcher of Aon Fire Protection Engineering Corporation can be downloaded for free from the Foundation site. 

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A firefighter on-scene at last month's fatal fire in Lawrence, MA.


John Grant, president of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts and chief of the Milton Fire Department , wrote “Mounting fire death toll underscores need for sprinklers”, an op-ed that was published in today’s +Boston Globe+.

In light of two recent fires that took the lives of two young boys and a disabled woman, repsectively, he reinforces the importance of mandating the installation of fire sprinkler systems in newly constructed multi-family homes, a requirement that’s now being challenged by some groups and individuals.


“They reason that, while fire sprinklers would save lives, there are not enough fire deaths in Massachusetts to justify the cost. The question I pose to theBoard of Building Regulations and Standards is: How many lives need to be lost to justify fire sprinklers in multi-family homes?”

It would be reassuring to think the answer for all of us would be: “Just one.”


John Grant is also a member of the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition.</p>

Washington Fire Sprinkler CoalitionThe outside-the-box thinkers with the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition have developed a new challenge that looks to ramp up education on home fire sprinklers, and it's effective (and simple) enough to replicate in other states. 

The Residential Fire Sprinkler Education Challenge tasks fire departments in the Evergreen State with increasing the promotion of a fire sprinkler's life-saving benefits. Get all the details by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

NFPA off campus fire safety tipsIt’s being called the worst fire in Maine in 30 years. Five young adults are dead and one person suffered serious burn injuries following a fire at an apartment building near the University of Southern Maine in Portland. The fire was reported early Saturday morning in the two-family apartment house, according to a report in the Press Herald

State police tell WMTW-TV that none of the victims were students from the University of Southern Maine, although the school confirms that some students did live in the two-unit building. 

NFPA offers a free fire safety checklist for students who live in off-campus housing. The checklist includes tips on the installation of smoke alarms, escape planning, as well as cooking and and candle safety.

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