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Guinness and the Leary Firefighters Foundation are teaming up to support the brave men and woman of the U.S Fire Service. The goal is to raise $1 million dollars for local fire fighters and the resources they need to support their relentless hard work in the line of duty.

Some of the benefactors of the foundation include our native Boston Fire Department and over the years grants for not only a high-speed fire rescue boat but a tactical command unit. The Leary Firefighter Foundation continues to support many fire departments from New Orleans to New York.

If you would like to support this cause and earn a very nifty Guinness/Fire Fighter themed T-Shirt, go to the website and donate $20. Too rich? Why not get one and raffle it off to your department, co-workers, friends or family.

Keep up with us to see where NFPA goes. And remember, never drink and drive, call a friend, even offer them a T-Shirt. Although you must be 21 or over to consume alcohol, anyone of any age can wear a cool T-Shirt.

Guinness_Firefighter T-Shirt

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Capt. James Culbertson with the Ventnor City Fire Department in New Jersey offered a

well-written response

to an


panning a new bill that would require sprinklers in new homes.



Here's a point-counterpoint synopsis of both editorials:



Opponent argument:+ "The New Jersey Builders Association figures mandating sprinkler systems would add $6,000 to the cost of a new home."+




Culbertson's response: "The editorial states home fire sprinkler systems are a considerable cost. What would considerable cost be to the six people who perished in the recent

Ann Arundel, Maryland, fire?

How about all of the many civilians and firefighters injured and killed over the years? 



The difference between a $200,000 and $206,000 home with a 30-year mortgage at five-percent interest is approximately $1 per day. Many of us spend more than this for a cup of coffee each day."



Read Culbertson's other responses by visiting the

Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

Campus Fire Safety photo

We all know the importance of fire prevention; it's something fire safety educators and fire officials think about daily. But what about today's youth? What are their thoughts on fire safety? Are we doing enough to raise awareness of the dangers, and have we provided them with enough tools and resources to get involved and share information with their friends?

With these questions in mind, The Center for Campus Fire Safety (The Center) has announced, "Campus Fire Safety for Students," a collaborative campaign that actively works to raise fire and life safety awareness among college students nationwide. The initiative is being spearheaded by the University of New Haven's Fire Science Club, with active support from The Center and NFPA.

"We believe the "student to student" approach, combined with our existing efforts to provide training and tools to fire safety educators and campus fire officials, will help to expand The Center's programs to effectively reach the younger audience," said The Center's president, Paul D. Martin.

While the initiative is in its infancy, the group has already been working on ideas to promote fire and life safety in 2015 on campuses across the country through social media platforms and the web. The group has also been working out the details for an online event that will be launched in September to coincide with Campus Fire Safety Month

"Young adults, many of whom are living away from home for the first time, are suddenly participating in activities that pose fire risks, whether they live on- or off-campus," said Lorraine Carli, NFPA's vice president for Outreach and Advocacy. "By working with The Center and the University of New Haven's Fire Science Club, we can collaboratively encourage and empower students to actively get involved in fire safety, with the ultimate goal of reducing campus fire deaths across the country."

Campus 2NFPA is excited to be working together with the members of the Fire Science Club at the University of New Haven and The Center, and look forward to working on projects and developing materials for college students and their parents. Stay tuned over the next few months for additional information about the Campus Fire Safety for Students initiative and the event in September! 

On Friday, February 26, 1993, a violent explosion ripped through the sub-basement levels of New York's World Trade Center killing six people.  The explosion and subsequent fire caused extensive structural damage in several basement levels, caused damage that interfered with the operation of the fire protection and other emergency systems, and resulted in the evacuation of approximately 100,000 occupants of the World Trade Center complex.  Over 1,000 people were injured during the evacuation.

The World Trade Center complex includes seven high-rise buildings, a shopping mall and several levels of underground parking.  The two largest high-rise buildings are 110 stories tall and are commonly referred to as the "Twin Towers".  In addition to these high-rise buildings there is a 27-story high-rise building, a 21-story high-rise building (Vista Hotel), two nine-story high-rise buildings, and one eight-story high-rise building.  Except for the 27-story high-rise building, all of the buildings are constructed over a plaza containing a 60-store shopping mall and four, underground levels of public parking.

A van containing explosives was parked on one of the underground parking levels in an area between one of the towers and the Vista Hotel.  At 12:18 p.m., the explosives were detonated causing severe explosion-related damage on six levels of the complex.  In the immediate area of the explosion, the floor slabs for two basement levels collapsed.  The explosion also penetrated the floor for the Vista Hotel and combustion products spread immediately into the hotel lobby.  Damaged windows between the hotel and one of the center's towers allowed smoke to quickly enter the tower lobby area.  Elevators shafts that were damaged in the basement allowed smoke to spread into and fill the two towers, the Vista Hotel and another high-rise building in the complex.

NFPA members Download the full investigation report.

UPDATE - A little more than a year ago, I wrote a blog post when my youngest brother Tony was promoted to Captain of the Everett Fire Department in Everett, MA. All of what I wrote then still holds true today with one exception. This week I had the privilege of seeing him sworn in as Deputy Chief! Congratulations on moving up the “ladder” to you and your colleagues who also were sworn in to their new positions. Events such as this happen all across the country celebrating and recognizing those moving up the ranks in their respective fire departments.  The ceremonies are great reminders of the brave men and women who not only have chosen the fire service as their career but also are excelling at it.




In the winter issue of the Firewise How-to Newsletter, Elaine Bush, MSU Extension educator for Manistee County, Mich., discusses how a bulletin created by the MSU Extension provides information to residents looking for ways to reduce the risk of plants igniting during a wildfire.

She explains that using fire-resistant plants can help reduce the chances of a homes igniting during a wildfire, though reminds us that all plants will burn if they become dry enough and are exposed to enough heat. 

Along with the bulletin, Michigan Firewise staff member Brad Neumann developed a document that offers sample zoning language that could be incorporated into a community's zoning ordinance to address wildfire mitigation in response to homeowners and local officials who asked what further measures could be taken to protect their communities.

Read the full article in the How-to Newsletter.

In this feature story in the How-to Newsletter, it is shown that the most effective way of reducing wildfire risk is by spreading information, knowledge, and know-how across fire-prone communities. Those people who maintain their own defensible space are more likely to have neighbors who also maintain their defensible space.

In addition to motivating those within a community, data also suggests that where individuals get wildfire-related information matters. Findings show that higher levels of mitigation are linked to residents talking about wildfire with their neighbors.

While programs and policies can be effective in getting homeowners to mitigate risk, it seems when neighbors encourage each other it can lead to more meaningful and long-lasting landscape-level changes.

Read the full article in the How-to Newsletter

People leaped from second- and third-story windows. Others cried for help. Someone had no choice but to toss a baby from a window.


These were the realities of a recent residential fire in Palmer, Massachusetts. Not everyone escaped with their life, however. A 53-year-old woman died in the blaze, caused by a candle in the woman's home, according to a news story by WWLP. Palmer's Fire Chief Alan Roy told the station that tenants had heard the smoke alarms, but didn't evacuate until the fire department arrived.


Roy also told a local ABC affiliate that the horrific scenario might have been avoided had sprinklers been in place. "We have sprinklered buildings throughout town," Roy told ABC. "Every sprinklered building we have, we've never had a loss of life...never."




Mirroring the sentiment of the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition, Roy lauds increasing sprinkler requirements in the Bay State. "It needs to happen. It really does."

CO diffusionIt has been reported recently that in laboratory conditions carbon monoxide (CO) diffuses through gypsum board at a surprisingly high rate (Hampson, et al., 2013). Because CO is poisonous and a by-product of systems typically present in residential housing, like boilers, generators, furnaces and automobile engines, this finding could have a significant impact on the life safety standards published by NFPA

This report is the result of a literature review project on CO diffusion through walls. This project report includes detailed analysis of the data from the recent experiments with a mass transfer model and confirms the validity of the findings for gypsum board. It also documents a number of actual incidents and laboratory experiments which confirmed the transport of CO and other hydrocarbon gases through other types of porous walls.

Download the full report, "Carbon Monoxide Diffusion through Porous Walls: A Critical Review of Literature and Incidents" authored by Izabella Vermesi, Francesco Restuccia, Carlos Walker-Ravena and Guillermo Rein with the Imperial College London, through the Fire Protection Research Foundation website. 

Frigid temperatures across much of the U.S. are causing all sorts of grief for home and business owners, with frozen pipes and ice dams topping the list. Unfortunately, some people have used blow torches and other open flame devices to treat them.

Frozen pipes

Clearly, no one should ever use any type of open flame to thaw pipes or melt ice dams – it presents serious risks to people and property. As obvious as this may seem, it’s been happening.

Recent news stories in The Boston Globe and The Buffalo News have highlighted incidents in which property was significantly damaged and/or firefighters were injured as a result of open flames being used to mitigate these issues.

“The potential for damage is enormous,” Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell W. Whitfield Jr. said of improperly attempting to thaw frozen pipes. “The potential for loss of life is huge.”

Ice dam

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to safely prevent and treat frozen pipes and ice dams.

The American Red Cross website provides a wealth of tips and recommendations for preventing and treating frozen pipes; This Old House magazine offers recommendations for preventing ice dams, along with some quick fixes.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, and NFPA 111, Standard on Stored Electrical Energy Emergency and Standby Power Systems, are being published for public review and comment:

Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the April 17, 2015 closing date. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.

Featured in the winter issue of the Firewise How-to Newsletter, Jim Pauley recognizes the nearly 1100 active Firewise communities in the US for their ongoing efforts in reducing wildfire risk. As of this year, there are over 1.3 million wildland/urban interface residents living in Firewise communities.

Mitigation projects have been very successful in protecting homes and properties from the damaging risk of Wildfire thanks to the actions of these people. Their commitment and dedication are what drives and inspire even more people to participate in Wildfire prevention programs.

For those who wish to renew their application for recognition this year, check out the renewal video on the Firewise site for more info.

Read the full article in the How-to Newsletter.


On Saturday, February 23, 1991, an early evening fire occurred at a 38-story high-rise building in
downtown Philadelphia resulting in the death of three fire fighters, fire extension to nine floors, and severe structural damage to the building.  During the 18 1/2-hr effort to control the blaze, fire fighting activities were hampered by the loss of electrical power (including emergency power) and inadequate fire attack hose stream pressure to suppress the fire.  As a result, the fire was able to spread from the floor of origin, the 22nd floor, to the 29th floor.  The vertical fire spread was completely stopped at the 30th floor by an automatic sprinkler system supplied by fire department pumpers through the siamese connection.  This significant high-rise fire is being documented by the NFPA with the cooperation of the Philadelphia Fire Department. 

See full NFPA Fire Investigation report See NFPA's resource page on high-rise buildings for more information. Those interested in more information about firefighter fatalities in the U.S. can download NFPA's free fact sheet and full report.

A fire in a 79-story luxury apartment building in Dubai engulfed several floors and was extinguished three hours after it began with no deaths or injuries. The fire, at the Torch building, which contains 676 residential units and six retail spaces, is reported to have started on the 50th floor. reports that strong winds blew burning debris to lower floors on other sides of the building. The report says four other nearby buildings were evacuated as s precaution; the Dubai Civil Defense says the cause of the fire is under investigation.


High-rise buildings present several unique challenges not found in traditional low-rise buildings; longer egress times and distance, evacuation strategies, fire department accessibility, smoke movement and fire control. The multiple floors of a high-rise building create the cumulative effect of requiring great numbers of persons to travel great vertical distances on stairs in order to evacuate the building.


NFPA offers a free "Emergencies in High-Rise Office Buildings" guide which offers guidelines to developing actions plans for all-hazard emergencies. 


RELATED: From the July/August 2013 issue of NFPA Journal: "Diminishing Returns - Why the doing-more-with-less model doesn't work for fighting high-rise fires."




<a href="" target="_blank">There is scientific evidence to support requests for adequate staffing levels and response times for fire departments that protection high-rise buildings. (NFPA Journal, July/August 2013).&#0160;</li> </ul>

Paul Dunphy was at NFPA HQ today to go on tape on the subject of NFPA 3 and NFPA 4. Specifically, he was here to talk about our upcoming pay-per-view seminar on NFPA 3 and NFPA 4. From the moment Paul pulled up to NFPA's building #1, I realized  he is serious when it comes to these two topics. As you can see in the photo, his license plate reads "NFPA 4." " I talk the talk and I walk the walk when it comes to commissioning and integrated testing of fire protection systems because I ride down the Southeast Expressway of Massachusetts every day with that emblazoned on my car." Paul Dunphy 

Dunphy is an electrical inspector and Coordinator of Compliance at Harvard University with  over 25 years of experience in facility management. He arrived at Harvard 14 years ago with a mission in mind. He wanted to use his experience managing buildings in Downtown Boston to make Harvard's buildings and campus as safe as possible. 

"With thousands of students, faculty and visitors from all over the world on Harvard properties every day I need to make sure all of our life safety and fire protection systems are working properly and in unison together." In addition to the license plate indicating his commitment, Paul is also a principal member of the NFPA technical committee and has been a proponent of commissioning and integrated testing of fire protection systems for many years.

Paul will talk about his experience at Harvard University on March 11th and March 18th when he teams up with NFPA's Jacqueline Wilmot, Fire Protection Engineer, to discuss the importance of NFPA 3 and NFPA 4. Wilmot is the liaison to the aforementioned technical committees and the co-host for the event.

To learn more about this online event, click here

Fire hoseAs the size of today's homes continues to grow, so do the number of fire-safety risks associated with these dwellings.

Highlighted in a recent story in North Carolina's The Herald Weekly, the state's fire service has been strategizing how best to protect these large homes if catastrophe occurs. Among the common concerns--larger open floor plans and how fire reacts to lightweight construction materials, to name a few--are limited water supplies and low water pressure.

Learn about the water use of fighting fires with fire hoses vs. sprinklers by visiting the Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

Fire BReakThe February 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:

  • An update on Prep Day and the community funding awards  
  • An invitation to the Prep Day webinar on March 12
  • The latest information on our redesigned “Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone” course
  • A link to the winter Firewise “How To” newsletter

...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.

The Fire Protection Research Foundation will be holding their annual Suppression, Detection and Signaling Symposium (SupDet 2015) on March 3-6 at the Wyndham Orlando Resort in Orlando, Fla.

The event will offer over 30 presentations for attendees to choose from that will touch upon the latest developments in research, technology and applications for the fire protection community. 

In addition, free half-day workshop will be offered on March 4. This workshop is a “bridge event” between the Suppression and Detection sessions, which all registrants can attend. The workshop will address the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance (ITM) of fire protection systems and improving the effectiveness of systems.

Register online and find and hotel information through our website.

For more information on SupDet from previous years, click here.

As record cold temperatures grip much of the US and the next winter storm forecasted to hit the South, Midwest and Northeast this weekend, NFPA reminds everyone to keep winter fire safety in mind.  Winter storm Pandora_Feb 20

With more snow on its way, on top of record snowfall for many areas, it’s important to make sure that all doors are shoveled clear and can open easily. Open doorways and having two ways out of every room, are key parts of a home fire escape plan

Home heating equipment is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires and home fire deaths, with February being one of the three leading months for home heating fires. In addition, improperly used or malfunctioning heating equipment can create carbon monoxide (CO), a poisonous, potentially fatal gas in the home.   

Unattended heating equipment is the leading cause of home heating fires. NFPA recommends monitoring all heating equipment carefully, particularly space heaters. Whether portable or stationary, space heaters account for one-third of home heating fires and four out of five, home heating fire deaths on average per year.

Also, when considering potential power outages, NFPA strongly encourages having flashlights and battery-powered lighting at the ready; never use candles to light your home. 

For more information, visit “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires”, NFPA’s winter safety campaign with the U.S. Fire Administration.

Stay safe with more winter ahead!

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Hayden Sather, 6, with Grande Prairie Fire Prevention Officer Trevor Schwabe, who&#39;d taught the Learn Not to Burn program to Hayden and his Kindergarten classmates.


Six-year-old Hayden Sather and his family were sitting down to lunch at his grandparents’ Alberta, Canada, home when the smoke alarms started to sound and they saw smoke at the front of the house. That’s when Hayden promptly directed his twelve-year-old sister outside, a behavior he’d learned through NFPA’s +Learn Not to Burn+ program.

“I just saw smoke coming at the front door window and I didn’t know what happened. Then I…quickly got my boots on and stayed outside with my sister,” said Hayden.

The fire department was called and Hayden’s father ran outside to try to put out the fire, which reportedly started when a cigarette was discarded in an outside garbage can; the other adults rushed to round up the two cats and the dog. Hayden, meanwhile, snapped into action.

“I put on my boots and went outside and stayed calm,” he said. After meeting up with his mom outside, he told her that she shouldn’t go back in the house.


Hayden&#39;s family was proud of him and impressed by his ability to stay cool under pressure. When they asked him how he knew what to do in a fire, he told them about Grande Prairie Fire Prevention Officer Trevor Schwabe, who’d spent a day with his Kindergarten class to teach +Learn Not to Burn+.


Each year, Grande Prairie Fire Prevention hosts the program in partnership with the local Burn Society, targeting students in Kindergarten and Grade 2, with Officer Schwabe at the helm.

“It’s exciting to know Hayden did the right things,” said Schwabe. “Hayden kept his sister calm, Hayden told his mom not to go back inside – all the things that we’re teaching.”


+Learn Not to Burn+&#0160;has served as the pillar of NFPA  educational programs for more than 40 years, reaching children with proven educational strategies that incorporate NFPA’s philosophy of teaching positive, practical fire safety messaging.</p>

New FAQ for NFPA 704 available for download.pngThe NFPA 704 “diamond” provides a tried and true method for warning emergency responders of the hazards they could encounter during a spill or fire involving a hazardous material.   Staff at NFPA often receive questions about the application of the ratings such as “How does this system differ from other labeling systems” or “Where should I post the NFPA 704 placards at my facility”?  A new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document has been developed to address some of these common questions. The FAQ document is now posted and available for download.

What else is happening with NFPA 704?   Well-those of you who are still wondering how OSHA’s HazCom 2012 hazard classification numbers may impact NFPA 704 ratings can view a comparison of the two systems on a Quick Card that is also available for download.   In addition, NFPA 704 is currently undergoing revision.  The first draft of the document that includes proposed changes is now open for public comment.  You can view the First Draft Report on the next edition tab on the document information page to view changes proposed for the 2017 edition of NFPA 704.  A few highlighted changes include the addition of the symbol for simple asphyxiant (SA), to be added for liquefied carbon dioxide vapor withdrawal systems and where large quantities of dry ice are used in confined areas,  and the addition of sample placards and explanatory language that can be used in safety publications.  The document is open for public comment through May 15, 2015. 

The NFPA 704 rating system is alive and well and continues to provide emergency responders with the information needed to safeguard the lives of both the public and emergency response personnel!


On Sunday, February 18, 1990, a natural gas explosion and subsequent fire in the Hagerstown Super 8 Motel resulted in the deaths of four guests and minor injuries to ten others.  Three of the four fatalities occurred in rooms affected by the explosion and the fourth victim was found in a corridor approximately 35 feet from the area of the explosion.

 The three-story wood frame structure was designed to meet, among other codes, the requirements of the 1985 Life Safety Code which the city had adopted and was enforcing when the building was constructed in 1987.  The building had 62 guest rooms and was provided with smoke detectors in the rooms and corridors, a local fire alarm system, sprinklers in hazardous areas, a standpipe system in each stairway, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, and operable windows.  In addition, the exit access corridors and the exit stairways were enclosed with fire-rated walls and doors.  Further, staff had been trained in firesafety (evacuation, use of extinguishers).

At approximately 5:10 a.m., two guests reported the smell of gas to the hotel desk clerk.  After confirming that there was a gas leak, the desk clerk called the gas company and attempted to stop the gas that was escaping from a damaged hot water heater valve.  Neither the clerk nor the gas company dispatcher called the fire department, and the building evacuation alarm was not activated until after the explosion.

The explosion occurred at approximately 5:30 a.m., when the build-up of gas was ignited from an unknown source.  The explosion heavily damaged several guest rooms, two utility rooms, and a laundry room.  The rooms that were damaged by the explosion were also damaged by the ensuing fire that continued to burn until the gas source was shut off (approximately one hour after the explosion), and it was suppressed by the fire department.

Three of the victims were in rooms that were damaged in the initial explosion.  Their location with respect to the explosion area appears to be a major factor leading to their deaths.  The last victim had apparently entered the corridor to escape and was overcome by heavy smoke from the ensuing fire.

Even though the building was damaged by the gas explosion and subsequent fire, the interior fire rated walls maintained tenable conditions sufficiently long to allow over 90 percent of the occupants to escape without assistance from firefighters and contained most of the fire to the immediate fire area. 

NFPA members can download the full investigation report Those interested in more information about hotel and motel fires can download NFPA's free fact sheet, and members can read a full report


!|border=0|src=|alt=Jeff Jordan|title=Jeff Jordan|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07f299b3970d image-full img-responsive!
I won't spend too much time describing the following video, since I don't want to take away from its powerful message. What I will say is that we have another important sprinkler advocate on our side.


Jeff Jordan is the newest member of Common Voices, an advocate&#39;s coalition determined to create a fire-safe America. A crucial component of the group&#39;s advocacy work is underscoring home fire sprinklers. (Pam Elliott, another Common Voices member, spoke at NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit last year.)&#0160;Jeff has turned his tragedy into a moving call to action. Please share his story.&#0160;




!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!A frank conversation with Fire Marshal Joseph Thomas, chair of America's newest sprinkler coalition

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Introducing Audrey Goldstein, the Fire Sprinkler Initiative's newest blogger

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 Bob Benedetti, Principal Engineer at NFPA, as he discusses NFPA 30: Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code. His presentation will include:

  • Office hours 2Revisions based on the U. S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board recommendations.
  • Improvements to the fire protection design criteria for warehouse storage of containers.
  • Amendments relating to the use of weak roof-to-shell seam design for factory-built vertical. storage tanks
  • And More!

Register today! Have questions? Get the answers during this live event on February 19th!

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


!|src=|alt=Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c74ca075970b img-responsive!We&#39;ve recently reported that New Jersey legislators have been busy filing fire safety bills, including one that would require home fire sprinklers, after a devastating fire displaced more than 1,000 people.&#0160;


Pro-sprinkler sentiment appears to be spreading beyond New Jersey&#39;s borders, as Connecticut politicians recently filed their own bill requiring sprinklers in new, one- and two-family homes. A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for February 19.&#0160;


For more information on sprinkler action in Connecticut, visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.


!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Massive New Jersey fire places home fire sprinkler bill on fast track

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New and improved Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter makes its debut

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Sprinklers kept fire in check at Washington State apartment complex

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

  • The launch of Learn Not to Burn Kindergarten
  • Downton Abbey episode includes cautionary tale on fire safety
  • Jim Pauley takes a look at the year past and priorities for the year ahead
  • Tip sheet on portable generators
  • Sparky makes a Love Mug for Valentine's Day
  • Educator of the Year deadline February 20

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.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a pile of snow, you’ve surely heard about the many challenges the city of Boston has been tackling in response to the recent blizzards. In today's Boston Globe, an important fire issue was covered: the ongoing effort to keep fire hydrants accessible after being repeatedly buried by snow plows.

Fire hydrantAccording to the article, there are “more than 13,000 fire hydrants in the city of Boston that Boston firefighters have dug out before and will dig out again. And again. And again.” And for good reason, noted Ken Willette, NFPA’s division manager of public fire protection. The recommended response times for fighting fires are based on having a hose line in place to apply water to a fire within 3 to 4 minutes, with the goal of keeping flashover conditions from developing. If a fire hydrant isn’t accessible, adding seconds onto that hose line deployment can increase the risk to occupants and firefighters.

The Boston Fire Department said that there are 263 firefighters on duty in Boston on a normal day, but that each truck gets an extra person during major snow storms, for a total of 57 additional firefighters. Willette agreed that adding extra staff makes sense. In fact, NFPA 1710, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments, recognizes those needs during periods like snow events and blizzards.

“The Boston Fire Department should be commended for taking the lead in the city and demonstrating the importance of clearing hydrants,” said Willette. “Their presence on the street is a powerful reminder to all of how important this is.”


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The New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council is considering the adoption of the 2015 +International Residential Code (IRC), +including the provision to sprinkler new, one- and two-family homes. In advance of their vote, the New York State Builders Association sent out an email to its membership, which included the following: 

"Homebuilders will always support stringent fire safety code changes when they make sense, such as hard-wired, battery operated, smoke alarms. However, as a society, we cannot afford to deny needed housing for the sake of new requirements without proven benefits. While they should remain an option for homeowners who choose them, fire sprinklers in single-family homes are expensive to install, can be difficult to maintain, and do not represent a cost-effective safety improvement over smoke alarm systems."


Setting the record straight about sprinklers, the Build Safe New York Alliance, a group consisting of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York, and others are urging the Code Council to adopt the 2015 IRC in its entirety, including the sprinkler requirement. The alliance has set up an online call to action for emergency responders and other fire safety advocates to show their support for the sprinkler requirement.


Visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog for more information. 

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!"Homes are burning so darn fast:" Fire chiefs make convincing argument for home fire sprinklers

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New and improved Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter makes its debut

The Research Foundation is embarking on two new projects designed to provide information for NFPA Technical Committees developing fire suppression guidance.

The first project is directed toward NFPA 13's provisions on fire sprinkler installation in sloped ceiling configurations in storage facilities.  The project is beginning with a collaboration between the Foundation and FM Global Research designed to identify common sloped ceiling configurations and model sprinkler actuation.


The second project is directed toward NFPA 75 and 76 and its focus is gaseous suppression effectiveness in data centers and telecommunications facilities.  This first phase project is a literature review of available information for the Technical Committee.


Both projects will be complete in 2015.

NFPA’s research team completed a two-day fire data summit yesterday to collaboratively develop plans and strategies for enhancing the upcoming “Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service” survey.

Stakeholders who attended the summit and are actively participating in this initiative include:

The next edition of the survey is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2016, and represents the fourth edition of the document. The first was released in 2001 with great success, and was published by the U.S. Congress’ Joint Council on Foreign Relations.

Fire engine

The “Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service” survey is distributed to all U.S. fire departments, and works to capture a wealth of data. Widespread participation from the fire service helps accurately identify the needs and gaps of departments nationwide, and ultimately serves as a benchmark for making essential changes and improvements.

“I’m incredibly excited about the direction the needs assessment survey is taking,” said Lori Moore-Merrell, IAFF’s assistant to the general president. “We’re working toward a real transformation from what the data offers right now, and expanding it to be a powerful tool that more robustly and actively supports the fire service, along with related NFPA standards.”

As part of this week’s summit, the stakeholders discussed methods for improving survey distribution methods and response rates; capturing more data from fire departments; and generating sub-reports at the state and local level that fire departments can use to further their community goals and efforts.

Recent media reports on drownings at or near marinas, boatyards and floating buildings have raised important questions about possible shock hazards from nearby electrical equipment.

The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) will be hosting a webinar next Tuesday, February 10, at 12:30pm, to address this issue, with the ultimate goal of increased safety around electrical equipment installed and used in these vicinities.

Harbor pic

FPRF worked with the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) Foundation Inc. and CED Technologies, Inc. to develop “Assessment of Hazardous Voltage/Current in Marinas, Boatyards and Floating Buildings”, a report released last November, which works to clarify the problem through credible data, and to provide guidance towards the most appropriate mitigation measures. The webinar will review the report's findings and work to identify next steps in addressing this issue.

Because this topic has potential bearing on NFPA 70, National Electrical Code®; NFPA 302, Fire Protection Standard for Pleasure and Commercial Motor Craft; and NFPA 303, Fire Protection Standard for Marinas and Boatyards, anyone with a vested interest in these particular codes and standards is encouraged to attend.

To participate in the webinar, click here.


Fire fighters from four engines and two truck companies were committed to suppression operations on the third floor and a medical sector had been established outside the building.  While suppression operations were in progress, the fire suddenly increased in magnitude and spread into several areas beyond the room of origin.  Two of these fire fighters were killed, and four fire fighters were injured with two sustaining critical injuries.  A subsequent search of the building revealed that one patron had also died in the fire.  This person was found in a stairway between the sixth and seventh stories, and he had died of smoke inhalation.  Four civilians were also injured.

Indianapolis Fire Department investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature.  The fire occurred when an electrical problem caused the ignition of wood paneling in a third-story bar.  The investigators also determined that the sudden increase in the fire magnitude, which killed and injured the fire fighters, occurred when combustion gases that were trapped in a concealed space entered the room and caused a flashover in the room where the fire fighters were working.  The fire rapidly spread to other areas on the third and fourth stories, and smoke spread throughout the building.

The following factors contributed significantly to the loss of life at the Indianapolis Athletic Club:

    •      Lack of an approved automatic sprinkler system in the room of fire origin,

    •      Lack of automatic fire of smoke detection system in room of fire origin,

    •      Combustible interior finish,

    •      Unprotected penetrations in wall and ceiling assemblies,

     •      The existence of concealed spaces which were not readily observed by

               fire fighters during suppression operations.

NFPA members download the NFPA full Fire Investigation report

Pauley Presentation 1
Jim Pauley presents at Fire Asia 2015

President Jim Pauley attended Fire Asia 2015 in Hong Kong. For more than 20 years, Fire Asia 2015 has served as a forum for fire safety practitioners, fire engineers, paramedics and emergency services to come together, exchange ideas and discuss industry trends. Approximately 300 fire professionals from 13 countries and regions attended the event, which is organized by the Institution of Fire Engineers (Hong Kong branch); several divisions within the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers; and China’s Hong Kong Fire Protection Association.

Recognizing that today’s prevailing firefighting challenges will require collaboration among multiple disciplines throughout the industry, the theme for Fire Asia 2015 was “Team Up for the Future”. The conference focused on the following issues:

  • firefighting and disaster recovery operation techniques
  • the latest fire engineering research
  • paramedics operations
  • showcase studies for landmark projects

Jim attended the conference with Yuanjing Liu, our representative in China, who played an integral role in connecting Jim with high level delegations and leaders from multiple countries.

QA at the Fire Asia 2015
J. Pauley participating in panel Q&A with the following (left to right): Denis Onieal, superintendent of the National Fire Academy; Peter Holland, chief fire and rescue advisor for the Department of Communities and Local Government, UK, and NFPA board member; Lin Chin-hung, former director of disaster management, division of National Fire Agency, Taiwan.
President Pauley withe the Fire Department of MPS Major General Zhang  Director Liang and Director Wang at the Fire Asia 2015
J. Pauley with Major General Zhang, Director Liang, and Director Wang from the Fire Department of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS).

By Faith Berry

Wildfire image

National Geographic produced a very short video that is featured on line as part of their adventure series about wildland firefighters.  Videographer Mark Thiessen in Fighting Wildfires presents some interesting video that gives you an up close glimpse of what it takes to be a wildland firefighter.  His videos give you somewhat of an idea minus the heat and smoke of the conditions that these brave men and women work in.  He also shows a short glimpse of fire behavior as it changes from early morning to midday.  It is an interesting view into this occupation and the dedication of the men and women who serve in this capacity.

We all have a part to play to make communities safer in the event of a wildfire and at the same time create safer conditions for these brave wildland firefighters to be able to do their job by implementing Firewise principles.

The wildfire image above is from the National Geographic video.


Last year's NEC Challenge champion, Derek 'The Code Crusher' Vigstol, chatted with NFPA's Dan Whiting about Friday's upcoming battle. While holding his 2014 victory Championship Belt, Derek says that the final round is all about the buzzer, and hopes this year's finalists have what to it takes to handle the pressure. 

As you can tell from the video above, The Code Crusher doubts any of this year's finalists can beat his scores from last year, but we wish good luck to Steve, Paul and Jim anyway. 

Tune in to and register to view the crowning of our next NEC Challenge Champion this Friday, February 6th at 12:00 p.m. EST. 


NFPA is hiring! We have an open position within our Public Fire Protection division, for a grant writer. The person hired will work out of the Quincy, MA headquarters. Principal responsibilities include: 

  1. Coordinates and oversees training projects and product development (Requests for Proposals, project schedules, resource allocations, SME curricula, public relations campaign).
  2. Identifies, prioritizes, writes and submits grant proposals to apply for government, private, or other related funding opportunities.
  3. Responsible for the quality and timely coordination of outreach initiatives, meetings, delivery and dissemination of all training materials and products. 
  4. Oversees communications activities with outside SMEs, OEMs, vendors and agencies related to managed projects.
  5. Maintains liaisons with the appropriate technical divisions to assure technical and safety accuracy of all developed products.
  6. Responsible for monitoring the project budget and deliverables against program requirements.

Requirements for this position include a Bachelor's degree with 3+ years of experience in one of more related fields preferred (technical writing, project management, training development, grant writing, education). We're looking for a self-starter with technical savvy and interest in NFPA’s mission.

If you are interested in this position, please apply online

Walker PhotoOur third finalist in the 2015 NEC Challenge Competition is Jim Walker, our NFPA C&E winner from Sonoma County, Calif. During his time at C&E in Las Vegas this past June, he took a gamble and took on the NEC Challenge at our first stop of 2014, making his way to the top of the leaderboard. He proved that it wasn’t just luck that got him there, however, as he earned a spot in the Championship in the play-in round in December.

After spending almost 29 years in the industry, keeping up with the ever-changing code has built Jim’s career to better serve his customers in a dynamic field. Walker uses the code everyday as an electric technician at the Sonoma County Water Agency where he serves portable water and other services to more than 600,000 customers. Knowing the code has become a life or death situation in his career.

“Reinforcing the importance of the code is primarily for protecting the people. It makes sure that the people working on or around the code are safe,” said Walker. “We want to make sure that everybody comes home at night.”

When Jim isn’t out feeding his competitive spirit and knowledge of the NEC, he enjoys spending time with his 12 grandchildren, rocking out to Madison Rising and teaching firearms safety at his local Rod and Gun Club.

So what will this grandpa of 12 do if he takes home the NEC Challenge Champion belt and the $5,000 grand prize? He will treat his lovely wife to a celebratory trip to Scotland.

Want to see if Jim will be by packing his bagpipes, haggis and kilts? Visit to find out how you can register to view the crowning of our next NEC Challenge Champion this Friday, February 6th at 12:00 p.m. EST. 

A - Sam hoffman fin #394919 (2)by NFPA's Lisa Braxton

The public education division of NFPA is accepting applications for the Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award, which includes a $1,000 honorarium for the recipient, travel to the NFPA annual conference for an award presentation, and a $1,000 donation to the local fire department to support public education activities.

I talked with our current Educator of the Year, Samantha Hoffmann, public fire and life safety officer for Barrie Fire and Emergency Service, Barrie Ontario, about what the award has meant to her.

LB: What has happened for you since winning the award?

SH: Being named Educator of the Year has definitely elevated my profile in both my department and community. Receiving this award helped to build my credibility. I have been contacted by numerous departments and companies across Canada and have been asked to join different boards, panels and organizations, which has allowed me to share my experiences and knowledge and promote educational messaging. 

LB: What has the award done for your fire department?

SH: Aside from the bonus of the $1000 donation to support public education activities, the broader benefit to the department is that we have been give more freedom corporately.  It has given us positive public relations, heightened exposure in the community, and helped strengthen our public messaging. 

LB: How did it feel to walk across the stage at the NFPA conference to receive the award?

SH: I found it humbling. Since I have been in the fire service and fire safety field for so many years, I am well aware of the number of excellent fire safety educators we have in Canada, let alone North America. 

LB: Why is this award important?

SH: It  helps to reinforce program direction, recognizes the talent and hard work of the entire department, motivates educators to look at their programs and compare them to best practices, and provides public relations opportunities and value.

The application deadline for the NFPA Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award is February 20, 2015.

Holum Photo 1We are just 3 days from crowning the next NEC Challenge Champion, and it’s time to meet our next finalist, Paul Holum from Elk River, Minn. Paul, who spends most of his time promoting the importance of the NEC as an electrical instructor, earned his spot at the highly competitive NJATC NTI show back in July, beating out dozens of professionals who make their living from knowing and enforcing the code.

In fact, Paul came to NTI with redemption on his mind, only just missing out on a championship spot when he played the NEC Challenge there in 2013.

Paul has 32 years of experience in the industry, attributes his passion for the code in his belief that it will help you succeed in all facets of the industry.

“This is a dangerous, evolving industry. We have to find new ways, and exciting ways to reach the people out there to keep them interested in staying up-to-date with the NEC, and that’s where this challenge comes in,” said Holum. “Knowledge opens doors, providing endless opportunity.”

When Paul is not out engaging his students in the classroom about the NEC, he enjoys traveling, photography and supporting his wife as a Green Bay Packer fan as he silently cheers for the underdogs.

This instructor plans to take a summer vacation away from the classroom in hopes of winning the NEC Challenge Champion belt and the $5,000 grand prize.

Tune in this Friday, February 6th at 12:00 p.m. EST. to see if Paul takes home the grand prize. Visit to find out how you can register to view the crowning of our next NEC Challenge Champion.


!|src=|alt=Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07e87334970d img-responsive!The Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition will host its first Missouri Sprinkler Summit on March 10 in Columbia, Missouri. The daylong program will be beneficial to anyone having a stake in the issue of fire sprinklers in Missouri, and will be especially beneficial at educating fire service personnel on the subject.

Summit highlights include:

    • overview of the Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition

overview of sprinkler standards, including NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes

    1. the homebuilders' perspective on home fire sprinklers

    2. building partnerships and coalitions to promote sprinklers

    3. education and advocacy

    4. firefighter tactics, firefighter safety, and home fire sprinklers

    5. side-by-side live burn/sprinkler demonstration


Early registration for the summit is $40 (plus applicable processing fees) if purchased online before March 6. Registration will be $50 on the day of the event for those not registered in advance. To register, visit the coalition's website.

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Introducing Audrey Goldstein, the Fire Sprinkler Initiative's newest blogger
!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!New and improved Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter makes its debut

NFPA documents in the Annual 2017 revision cycle are now accepting public input through NFPA's online submission system.

To submit public input using the online submission system, select the document from the list of NFPA codes and standards or search for documents available for public input using the search feature. Once on the document information page of a specific document, select "The next edition of this standard is now open for Public Input (formerly proposals)" to begin the process. The system automatically pulls in text and shows any changes. You can submit input or start and save your work before the closing date. Review further instructions on how to use the online submission system

If you have any questions when using the online submission system, feel free to contact us by email.

Some of the Annual 2017 revision cycle documents:

  • NFPA 3, Recommended Practice for Commissioning of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems
  • NFPA 4, Standard for Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing
  • NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code
  • NFPA 54, National Fuel Gas Code
  • NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code
  • NFPA 101, Life Safety Code®
  • NFPA 301, Code for Safety to Life from Fire on Merchant Vessels
  • NFPA 402, Guide for Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Operations
  • NFPA 484, Standard for Combustible Metals
  • NFPA 720, Standard for the Installation of Carbon Monoxide(CO) Detection and Warning Equipment
  • NFPA 1500, Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program
  • NFPA 1801, Standard on Thermal Imagers for the Fire Service
  • NFPA 1936, Standard on Powered Rescue Tools
  • NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code®

The closing date for online submissions of public input for Annual 2017 documents is July 6, 2015.

Public input is a suggested revision to a proposed new or existing NFPA Standard submitted during the Input stage in accordance with Section 4.3 of the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards.

Carter PhotoFirst, meet Steve Carter, our winner from Phoenix, Ariz., a self-proclaimed code lover. Steve used his love and knowledge of the NEC to climb to the top of the online leaderboard, where he held the highest score throughout 2014. After spending 21 years in the electrical field, he is putting his expertise to the test for a chance to win $5,000!

Carter is currently an Electrical Inspector for the City of Phoenix, responsible for verifying and ensuring compliance of electrical installations with the most current adopted electrical standards. He agrees that his life and career depend on his knowledge of the code. You can say that he is somewhat a master guru of the NEC and is up for the challenge!

After viewing last year’s championship, Carter saw a great opportunity to participate in a challenge that pertained to his career and the importance of the NEC.

“There are not many opportunities for people to entertain in this type of venue,” said Carter in his interview after he competed in the first play-in round to earn his spot in the championship. “This is a fantastic opportunity for anybody to get involved, open up the code book and get motivated to study it.”

When Steve isn’t brushing up on his code knowledge in preparation for the championship, you can find him rocking out to Bob Seger, hiking, fishing or spending time with his family and friends.

So what will this lover of the code do if he takes home the NEC Challenge Champion belt and the $5,000 grand prize? He’ll treat his first love, his wife, by packing their bags and leis to head to Hawaii for a winning celebration.

Want to see if Steve takes home the grand prize? Visit to find out how you can register to view the crowning of our next NEC Challenge Champion this Friday, February 6th at 12:00 p.m. EST.

Shutterstock_146559977_for web
While photovoltaic systems have numerous benefits for energy generation, they have always presented a unique challenge for first responders, because the systems cannot be turned off quickly or easily.

Jeffrey Sargent, NFPA regional electrical code specialist, writes in his column in the January/February issue of NFPA Journal about a new requirement in the 2014 National Electrical Code® that will help solve this problem.

The 2014 NEC requires “rapid shutdown,” a device that can quickly reduce the power output of a PV system.

“Within 10 seconds of activation, the rapid-shutdown system reduces the voltage level to not more than 30 volts, and the overall power in the system to not greater than 240 volt-amperes, levels that mitigate shock and electrical burn hazards,” Sargent writes.

To learn more about this requirement, 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.


On the evening of February 1, 1991 a US Air, Boeing 737-300 collided with a Skywest, Fairchild Metroliner at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).  The B-737 that was involved was configured to carry 128 people including both passengers and crew; however, only 89 people were aboard at the time of the accident.  Twenty-two people on the B-737 died, and all 12 people aboard the Fairchild Metroliner were killed by the collision and subsequent fire.

The NFPA dispatched a staff member to participate in the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigation of the accident.  The NFPA’s focus was on the aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) for the purpose of providing lessons learned from this accident to the NFPA Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Committee, the Aviation Membership Section of the NFPA, and the fire community.

NFPA members download the full NFPA Fire Investigation report.

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