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On a blistery cold morning in Fall River, Massachusetts, Firefighter Paul Machado and his crew were tasked with searching for a missing woman inside a two-and-a-half story home on fire. While inside the dwelling, their efforts were exacerbated by the fast-moving blaze, which knocked Machado to the ground.

He attempted to seek safety by heading down to the first floor, but the fire was too intense. Since his radio had melted, calling in a "Mayday" was impossible. His only opportunity for escape was to fling himself from a window. He sustained numerous injuries and burns from the incident. He was sidelined for a year during a painstaking recovery effort. Home fire sprinklers, he says, would have drastically altered the outcome of the fire.


Machado is the newest member of NFPA's Faces of Fire, a component of the[ Fire Sprinkler Initiative |] that underscores the human impact of fire. NFPA has collaborated with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors to identify and showcase Machado and other Faces of Fire subjects. These personal stories are vastly important, as they showcase the devastation home fire leaves in its wake and tragedies thwarted thanks to sprinklers. They are also powerful tools that can help convince discerning code officials and legislative bodies that sprinkler requirements go beyond being a "cost issue." 


* !|src=|alt=Act-Now-small|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Act-Now-small|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a0162ff1d4766970d01bb08140871970d img-responsive!Please help spread Machado's story by:*

    • copying and pasting the YouTube URL into a Facebook post or Twitter tweet

    • embedding the video into a webpage

    • emailing the YouTube URL to your coworkers and share Paul's story with them

downloading a copy of the video from the Fire Sprinkler Initiative site and embedding it in a presentation on home fire safety/sprinklers


!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Major sprinkler victory in New Jersey highlighted in recent edition of NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter
!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!If you are looking for a succinct article underscoring the necessity of home fire sprinklers, this is it

Do you want to make a difference? NFPA’s Human Resources team is looking for an HR Generalist with a specialty in compensation. The successful candidate will have a well-rounded background in coaching and counseling both managers and employees; solid competency across most HR functions including benefits administration, recruiting and compliance; and have a working knowledge of compensation strategy, structure and analysis. Applicants should be well versed in handling confidential correspondence and consistently exercise a high degree of discretion in handling employee issues. The position requires a refined sense of relationship building, initiative, common sense, verbal & written communication, confidentiality and strong background in data analysis, reporting, development of plans and programs that link to business objectives and drives performance and results. 

This person will work out of NFPA's Quincy, MA headquarters. If you think you are a fit for this position, or know someone who is, take a look at our careers webpage for further details. You can also apply online!

Marathon blog
Aside from the sadness and anger, the one thing I remember most about living in Boston during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings was the unshakable disbelief. I can’t tell you how many times I thought, or muttered, or heard someone say to no one in particular, “I can’t believe this is happening right now.”

In seconds, Patriots Day, a long-awaited celebration of spring and community, was marred in the most evil way. In hours, media from all over the world converged on our city, and soldiers with guns popped up everywhere. Days later, a Hollywood-style shootout happened on the street, followed by a manhunt that played out on live television like a reality show being filmed right outside our windows. Everyone I know in Boston spent that entire April day in front of the television, glued to CNN. Helicopters buzzed overhead, and police cars and armored vehicles whizzed by, disrupting the surreal silence of a city under a mandatory shelter in place order.

The heroes during this strange time were the first responders, and their unflappable leaders—Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Boston Police Chief Ed Davis, and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino—who held press conferences nearly every hour to let us all know what was going on. One of those recognizable faces on television was Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz.

I recently had the honor of interviewing Schwartz for the cover story “Resilience” in the March/April issue of NFPA Journal. What he had to say was so compelling, so interesting, and so engaging that I thought it was appropriate to get rid of me altogether and just let him tell the story, in his own words, about what it was like to manage the emergency response in the aftermath of one of the most high-profile terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. You can read the full version of Schwartz’s interview 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.

NFPA Journal
recently talked to Eric Cote, a communications and policy consultancy based in Rhode Island, about Powered for Patients, an public–private organization he and colleague Cara Klein started in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy. The organization's aim is to protect hospital patients by ensuring proper backup power and expedited power restoration for critical healthcare facilities.

When asked about the most urgent issues the organization faces, Cote said that one of their greatest opportunities is to help utilities and hospitals build closer working relationships to avoid outages when possible and enable faster restoration of power.

 “We’ve spoken to generator service companies that were unable to service their hospital clients because they couldn’t get through restricted areas during Hurricane Sandy, or they couldn’t get fuel for their service trucks,” he said. “Another issue is a growing concern about what happens to at-risk citizens who are using in-home dialysis machines or relying on ventilators or oxygen concentrators in their homes. What happens when the power goes out and there is a prolonged outage?”

Cote elaborates on these and other concerns and opportunities in “Powered Up” 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.


“It’s still the same old story…”, so the song goes. In the case of working smoke alarms, the story is most often the same: smoke alarms save lives. 


!|src=|alt=Burlington ON fire pic|style=width: 360px; margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Burlington ON fire pic|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0f5ac48970c img-responsive!


In the case of a recent Burlington, ON, home fire, that life-saving story played out when the smoke alarm started sounding at about 8:30pm. Upon investigating, the family found both cars in the garage fully engulfed by fire, while flames had spread to the second floor and roof above the garage.

Damage to the home was extensive, estimated at $600,000, but no one was hurt. Without the proper warning from working smoke alarms, this injury-free incident easily could have been a deadly one.

“The residents of the home were first alerted to the fire by activated smoke alarms which allowed them time to evacuate safely, proving once again that smoke alarms do save lives,” stated the Burlington Fire Department’s news release.

Here's the “same old story” on smoke alarm installation and maintenance:

    • Make sure there’s a smoke alarm on every level of the home, in each bedroom, and outside all sleeping areas.

    • Test smoke alarms monthly

    • Change the batteries when they begin to chirp, signaling that the battery is running low.

    • Replace smoke alarms every ten years.

For more smoke alarm information and advice, visit NFPA’s Smoke Alarm Central.</li> </ul>

NFPA has issued the following errata on NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, and NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code®:

  • NFPA 70E, Errata 70E-15-1, referencing 110.2(C)(2)(c), 130.7(C)(15)(A), (B) and Table Notes, Table 130.7(C)(16), and Table H.3(b) of the 2015 edition.  Issuance date: March 10, 2015
  • NFPA 5000, Errata 5000-15-1, referencing Table 7.4.1 on the 2015 edition. Issuance date: March 26, 2015 

An errata is a correction issued to an NFPA Standard, published in NFPA News, Codes Online, and included in any further distribution of the document.


!|src=|alt=Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0f58ef2970c img-responsive!The Garden State experienced a win in its push for increased safety in homes when the state Senate recently passed a bill to sprinkler all new, one- and two-family homes. The bill heads to the governor&#39;s desk for a signature.&#0160;


Learn about the massive fire that prompted this bill by reading the latest edition of NFPA&#39;S Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter. Other news items include information on:

    • the deadly trio found in today's homes

    • NFPA's new Bringing Safety Home Grant, which gives sprinkler advocates the chance to secure $10,000 for localized advocacy efforts

    • water supply options for home fire sprinklers


Don&#39;t forget to *subscribe to the free newsletter* to receive North America&#39;s top sprinkler news delivered once a month to your inbox.&#0160;

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Secure up to $10,000 for home fire sprinkler advocacy efforts by applying for NFPA's Bringing Safety Home Grant
!|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
!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Legislator: The time for home fire sprinklers is now
!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!NFPA, Connecticut fire service, and array of safety advocates vocalize their support for new sprinkler bill at recent hearing


Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Back Bay fire that claimed the lives of two Boston firefighters, Lt. Edward Walsh and Michael Kennedy. In the above WGBH-TV interview, Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn, who was deputy chief at the time of the deadly blaze, offers insights into the past year, including lessons learned, and how the families of the two firefighters have valiantly responded to the loss of their loved ones.

A special thanks to all the firefighters who work to protect all of us from fire each and every day.

In January, NFPA launched the Certified Electrical Safety Worker program for professionals who work on electrical equipment and circuits, including construction electricians, maintenance electricians, and other electrical workers. It followed the launch in mid-2013 of the NFPA Certified Electrical Safety Compliance Professional, which targets those responsible for overseeing a workplace electrical safety program. Both of these certifications can help companies create and maintain an electrically safe workplace, says Jeff Sargent, in his column “Certified Safe” in the latest issue of NFPA Journal.

Certified electrical safety compliance professionals and certified electrical safety workers understand what it takes to make a workplace electrically safe, and they are qualified to develop, manage, and maintain a company’s electrical safety assets.

 Together, says Sargent, these two certification programs associated with NFPA 70E®, Electrical Safety in the Workplace® are the industry gold standards for certification.

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


!|border=0|src=|alt=United Kingdom|style=display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;|title=United Kingdom|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb080e4c08970d img-responsive!
The United Kingdom recently celebrated Fire Sprinkler Week 2015, an event that encourages sprinkler installation in various settings via information-sharing and other activities.&#0160;Sprinkler myth-busting&#0160;was a vital component of this event.&#0160;


While the event this year focused its messaging on the necessity of sprinklering educational and business establishments, home fire sprinklers got its fair share of attention. The devices, which have the approval of many in the U.K. fire service, made recent headlines after the English town of Oswestry decided to enact a pilot program that would install them in a two-bedroom bungalow. The head of a local fire and rescue service went a step further and called for sprinklering all new homes, citing similar, pro-sprinkler arguments used by sprinkler advocates in North America.&#0160;(The Welsh government has embraced this idea; the country will&#0160;[require sprinklers in all new homes starting in 2016. |])


&#0160;&quot;For many vulnerable people, getting out of their home and away from a fire would be difficult, perhaps impossible,&quot; said Andy Blizard, head of the Shropshire, England, Fire &amp; Rescue Service&#39;s fire safety team, in a story that appeared on its&#0160;website.&#0160;


Learn more by visiting the Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Burn survivor's harrowing experience highlighted in NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter

Shortly before midnight on April 4, 1949, a nun on staff at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Effingham, Illinois, smelled smoke and told the switchboard operator that there was a fire in the basement. The operator immediately phoned Frank Ries, the hospital engineer, then called the fire department. But by then it was already too late for 74 of the 128 people working or being cared for at St. Anthony’s.

The hospital, built in 1873, had open corridors, three unenclosed wooden staircases, and three laundry chutes, only one of which had protected openings. There was no fire alarm or sprinkler system. The building, though well-kept, was completely outdated.

Among the 74 who died were 20 staffers, including Ries, and 10 newborns. During the fire, someone heard nurse Fern Riley shout, “My babies! I’ve got to stay with my babies!” Her body was later discovered in the ruins of the nursery. The cause of the fire was never determined.

For more, read “Illinois Tragedy” 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.

Post by Cathy Prudhomme


Take a quick two-minute break from what you're doing and watch NFPA’s new whiteboard animation video - a tool for fire departments, Firewise Communities/USA program participants, forestry agencies and residents. The fast-paced animation combined with the engaging message uniquely illustrates the importance of local projects and highlights the benefits of grassroots efforts.

The video is a unique outreach tool that will encourage development of local Wildfire Community Preparedness Day activities on Saturday, May 2.

Share the fun high-energy video with stakeholders, neighbors, friends and community groups and get them motivated to participate in the campaign! 

Post the video on social media and email the link to your networks and generate projects in your community that will create awareness, education and action on May 2.

NFPA 13 blog photo

NFPA received about 4,000 calls last year from people seeking answers to questions they had about NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems, according to Matt Klaus, principal fire protection engineer at NFPA and staff liaison for NFPA 13.

Many of those questions were about sprinkler protection in concealed spaces, Klaus wrote in his new column in the March/April issue of NFPA Journal. It’s a tricky topic, Klaus says, because there are no simple answers when it comes to sprinklers in concealed spaces. Sometimes you need them, sometimes you don’t.

In his column, Klaus explains where in the code answers to these sometimes challenging questions reside.

“When looking at whether or not to provide protection in a concealed space, users of the standard should start in Section 8.1. This section states that sprinklers shall be provided throughout the building unless the standard provides a specific allowance to omit them,” Klaus writes. “Once this baseline logic has been established, the user can go into subsection to look for allowances to omit sprinklers in concealed spaces.”

To learn much more about this topic, read Klaus’s column in NFPA Journal, and 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.

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 Jacqueline Wilmot, NFPA Fire Protection Engineer, as she discusses NFPA 3 & 4: Commissioning and Integrated Testing of Fire Protection Systems. Her presentation will include:

  • JackAn overview of the concepts of Commissioning and Integrated System Testing in accordance with NFPA 3 and 4.
  • The scope and challenges associated with existing fire protection and life safety system commissioning
  • And More!

Register today! Have questions? Get the answers during this live event on March 26th!

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

The Fire Protection Research Foundation issued a new report this month on occupant load factors for ambulatory health care facilities.  During the last cycle for NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, a need was identified for supportable occupant load factors for ambulatory health care facilities. The Technical Committee on Health Care Occupancies did not feel that the factors for patient treatment areas in health care facilities were appropriate.

The Foundation undertook two separate efforts on this issue with the objective to provide data on occupant loading in ambulatory health care facilities to the Technical Committee. The first was completed in spring of 2014 by the University of Cantabria with data from Spain. This new report authored by Koffel Associates complements this study with occupant load data from the U.S.  

Brooklyn fire pic

This past Saturday, a tragic fire swept through a Brooklyn, NY, home, killing seven siblings ages five to 16. Their mother and 15-year-old sister escaped by jumping from a second-floor window; both are in critical condition after suffering burns and smoke inhalation. The fire started when a hotplate in the kitchen malfunctioned.

According to FDNY firefighters, the home did not have working smoke alarms on the first floor where the fire started just after midnight, nor the second floor where the family was sleeping. By the time the mother awoke, she was unable to get to her children.

“The mother would have had to go into the fire to get to the back bedrooms, so I think she tried, although badly burned, to get out and get help for her children”, said FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “She was very brave.”

The details of this incident are simply heart-wrenching. Like many other deadly home fires that occur in the U.S. each year, a common thread remains: the smoke alarms are missing or not working.

For all of us who work in the world of fire safety, the importance of smoke alarms is well understood. This incident underscores the fact that we still have a lot more to do in educating the public about their life-saving value.

The FDNY clearly recognized this as well, distributing pamphlets about smoke alarms, along with cooking safety tips, on Saturday afternoon in the Brooklyn neighborhood where the fire occurred. 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has assembled a research team made up of researchers from NFPA, Bentley University, Brandeis University and the U.S. Forest Service to investigate local fire department wildfire preparedness and readiness capabilities. The purpose of the study is to identify the most important elements in a wildfire protection program, including response and community risk reduction actions. In addition, the study will investigate how fire departments overcome barriers and adapt to the wildfire risk given the resources available to them.

WUI 2015
To this end NFPA is looking for local Fire Department Chiefs or senior line Officers who have experienced a major wildfire event within the last few years to participate in the study. NFPA is working closely with the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Wildland Fire Policy Committee to identify Fire Departments for the initial pilot phase of the project which should be completed within the next 3 weeks.

Albert Scott, Fire Data Assistant and active Lieutenant with the Providence, Rhode Island Fire Department, and I will be at the IAFC’s Wildland-Urban Interface Conference in Reno, Nevada (March 24-26) and are looking for volunteers to participate in interviews for the study during the course of the conference. Participation would involve an hour-long recorded interview to help us learn more about local fire department preparedness for wildfires. We’re offering eligible participants a $50 gift card as a way to say “thank you” for your time and support of our project. If you’re not able to join us at the conference, but would like to be included in the interview process, please let us know. We will be conducting phone interviews in the coming months. NFPA will be offering an incentive of $50 for those who participate in an interview at the conference and a choice of one NFPA Fire Protection Standard for folks who schedule an interview after the conference.

Please contact us at or  if you would like to schedule an interview at the conference or some time thereafter. You can also reach us by visiting booth 209 during the conference. Preliminary results from this study will be available in late summer. We look forward to seeing you in Reno! 


!|border=0|src=|alt=Dollar signs|title=Dollar signs|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb080d2ba4970d image-full img-responsive!
Looking to spread the word on the importance of home fire sprinklers in your community or state, but lack the necessary funds to create something spectacular?


Now&#39;s your chance to secure up to $10,000 through the Fire Sprinkler Initiative's Bringing Safety Home Grant Program, which&#0160; will&#0160;assist as many as 10 selected U.S. state sprinkler coalitions and other safety advocates throughout the United States and Canada by furthering activities that showcase the importance of fire sprinklers. Momentum around sprinkler advocacy continues to build as more and more residents and policy makers understand the value of installing these devices in new homes.

This grant comes at a time when fires continue to wreak havoc at home. In 2013, U.S. home fires killed nearly 2,800 people and injured more than 12,000 others. Since sprinklers can significantly reduce the risk of dying in the place where most fire deaths occur, furthering grassroots efforts is key to eliminating these tragedies and bolstering nationwide acceptance of these devices in new homes.


The grants are designed to fund local sprinkler campaigns and projects, or develop an array of educational endeavors that underscore the necessity of sprinklers. NFPA has developed a menu of options to choose from, but is also asking applicants to flex their creative muscles:

How can this grant help you spread the message in your state or region that sprinklers in new homes save lives?

Is there a new way to educate the public and decision makers about the value of home fire sprinklers?

How can you expand on a tried-and-true method of sprinkler advocacy?


The application deadline is April 20. For complete details, please visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative site.


!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Missouri summit thrusts home fire sprinklers into the spotlight
!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Burn survivor's harrowing experience highlighted in NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter

MemphisTN report

A multiple-death fire occurred on March 21, 1988 at the Oakville Heath Care Center, a nursing home 

located at 3391 Old Getwell Road in Memphis, Tennessee.  The patient involved in the ignition of the fire and two other patients in the room of origin were killed, and 18 others were injured.

The two-story, fire-resistive  building in which the incident occurred contained 27 sleeping rooms housing 73 non-ambulatory patients and 1 patient who was reported as being ambulatory.  The building had no automatic sprinkler system or automatic fire detection system, except a smoke detector used in conjunction with a pair of corridor smoke doors.  the building did have a manually activated fire alarm system which automatically transmitted alarms to the fire department.

The fire originated in a first floor room occupied by three patients.  Considerable smoke and toxic gases spread throughout the building; however, the fire was held to the room of origin as a result of staff efforts at extinguishment.  All patients, except for the three in the room of origin, were evacuated.

The significant factors contributing to the multiple deaths in this fire were:

    •     The rapid growth and development of a fire that resulted from the ignition

             of patient room furnishings and contents;

   •     The lack of suppression of the fire in the incipient stage by automatic


     •     The lack of automatic early detection and warning of the fire that could have

            resulted in earlier staff actions.  

NFPA members can download the full investigation report Nursing home, Memphis, TN Those interested in more information about nursing home fires can download Fires in Health Care Facilities  

The Fire Protection Research Foundation is currently looking for sponsors to support its upcoming project on contaminant removal from fire fighters’ personal protective equipment (PPE), but they need your help to do it.

While general cleaning procedures have been established in NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, more science is needed to support, clarify and enhance those procedures to ensure optimum contaminant removal.

Firefighters on scene

This issue is of serious concern to today’s fire service community, particularly as cancer - a leading concern for fire fighter health – is presumably linked to fireground exposures and associated PPE contamination.

Becoming a sponsor is a powerful opportunity to address this issue, and to ultimately help better protect fire fighter health and safety.

The first phase of the Foundation project focuses on gathering information and data to identify and characterize persistent contaminants in fire fighter PPE. While NFPA has pledged approximately half the required funding, at least five principal sponsors providing $10K apiece are needed for Phase I to move the initiative forward. (One sponsor has been confirmed to date, but we still need four more.)

Principal sponsors will play an integral role, receiving prominent recognition as an active supporter during all outreach efforts. They’re also granted privileged access to associated ongoing events and progress reports, with the ability to:

  • monitor research results;
  • actively provide guidance and commentary as a non-voting member of the Project Technical Panel; and 
  • help ensure that overall project goals are met.

All sponsors also will receive featured recognition in the published final report. Lastly, contributions are generally tax deductible because of the Foundation’s status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

For any groups or individuals interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Casey Grant, executive director of the Research Foundation.

Wildfire blog photo

The aftermath of January's Adelaide Hills fires in Australia. 

In the United States, wildfire season hits when the weather becomes warm and dry. We don't think of January as a particularly troubling month. It's easy to forget that, no matter the time of the year, it's wildfire season somewhere, writes NFPA Firewise Communities manager Lucian Deaton in his new column in the March/April issue of NFPA Journal.

In fact, while the United States was in a deep freeze, 2015 kicked off with a a big 31,000-acre wildfire that destroyed 27 homes and damaged 130 outbuildings in Australia. 

"The Australian fires made me think of the often-raised concern over 'Americanizing' the wildfire issue, and the risk of improperly viewing international connections as simply an avenue for bringing solutions to others," Deaton writes in the column. "I believe international outreach is not a matter of what 'they' can learn from 'us,' but rather an opportunity to leverage the ability to create positive conversation, one that teaches NFPA valuable lessons that can enrich its programs, messaging, and standards."

To read more, check out the latest issue of NFPA Journal, and visit


One of the stairways in the Ozark Hotel. Seattle Times

A fire of incendiary origin occurred at the Ozark Hotel in Seattle, Washington, on March 20, 1970 and
claimed the lives of 20 occupants.  Fire investigators determined that a flammable liquid had been poured and ignited on the first-floor level of two open stairways.  The fire quickly spread throughout the building rendering the stairways and corridors useless.  As a result, 20 occupants perished, either from smoke inhalation or from injuries suffered when jumped from the upper stories. 

NFPA members can download the Fire Journal  article January 1971 Fire Journal article Those interested in more information about hotel and motel fires can download NFPA's Hotel and Motel Structure Fires report and fact sheet  More information on intentional fires NFPA's report on Intentional Fires


Snowmagedon at NFPA hq

Posted by seanryan Employee Mar 19, 2015

It's the middle of March. It's 18 degrees today. There is still snow on the ground at NFPA headquarters BUT we can now see over the snow banks. I can honestly declare that Snowmageddon is ovah! That's Boston speak for "over" by the way. It is now safe to visit us in Quincy, Massachusetts. We have training seminars coming up for different topics so check them out and visit us at NFPA headquarters:

Certified Fire Protection Specialist Primer 2-day Seminar

2013 NFPA 13: Installation of Sprinkler Systems 3-day Seminar

Just so you understand how much snow we received in this part of the world, I asked my colleagues to send me any snow pictures that would convey how bad it actually was here...............

A few things to know about the photos. The "no parking" sign is about 10 feet tall. It was the cat's idea. 

Snow---LH (2)Snow CO (2)


Snow CAF

Yesterday, at the invitation of Transport Canada's Emergency Response Task Force, an NFPA team consisting of Shayne Mintz, our Canadian Regional Representative, Ken Willette and Tom McGowan from our Public Fire Protection Division and I spent the day with 50 members of the Canadian fire service, government, and rail and oil industries to discuss how we might meet their needs for standards, guidance and training for emergency response to crude oil railcar derailments.

There have been an average of one of these incidents in North America every couple of months or so; the incident in Lac Megantic Quebec killed over 40 people 2 years ago.

The outcome of the meeting was a resounding endorsement of NFPA as the standards pathway for emergency responder competency standards. The task force also identified the need for a short term solution that pulls together current information which the Research Foundation may be able to help with.


!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Transportation ministers express concern over rail safety

NFPA Journal first responder column

NFPA is much more than a standards-development organization—we also facilitate the safe deployment of emerging technologies to the fire service, says Ken Willette, division manager for Public Fire Protection at NFPA. A case in point is the way hybrid and electric passenger vehicles (EVs) were introduced to the fire service.

Five years ago, General Motors asked NFPA to partner with them in developing and delivering awareness-level training for the fire service. With a Department of Energy grant and additional funding from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, NFPA developed a training curriculum and delivery platform to share this information with as many firefighters as possible. To date, more than 40,000 firefighters have participated in this program, which has been updated to include new vehicle models, electrically powered trucks and buses, and other topics. 

Now, NFPA is in a position to help provide responder training for energy storage systems (ESS), which are increasingly found in everything from homes and commercial buildings to power plants and war ships. Willette writes about his recent participation in a webinar hosted by the Clean Energy States Alliance addressing the Department of Energy’s “Energy Storage Safety Strategic Plan” in his column "The New New Tech" 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.

07A5191198BB4DE1A92A40401526E181.ashxLast September, House Resolution 5522 (HR-5522), also known as the “ATF Elimination Act,” was introduced in the 113th Congress to abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and redistribute its functions to other agencies. Congress did not enact the bill, but it will be reintroduced in the 114th Congress. 

The elimination of ATF would undoubtedly have a significant effect, not only on the nation’s fire service, but on NFPA, as well, says Greg Cade, in his column "Partner in Peril" in the latest issue of NFPA Journal. NFPA and ATF have had a long and productive relationship. The bureau participates in our code-development process, and an ATF employee sits on the Fire Investigations Technical Committee. ATF has also provided research assistance to the Fire Protection Research Foundation, and it teaches investigation training courses using NFPA standards

While NFPA has not taken a position on the proposed legislation, the Association will closely watch the new version of HR-5522 in the 114th Congress to evaluate its potential impact. We will also express our concerns to the House Judiciary Committee and others on the Hill.

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

  • New music video teaches - firefighters as community helpers
  • Safe battery storage for spring cleaning
  • Short fire-safety story for kids
  • Video: Add a dash of cooking safety with your favorite meal 
  • Remembering When evaluation project underway
  • Looking Back: Remembering the St. Anthony's Hospital fire

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.

Fracking blog photo
As the United States rapidly increases oil drilling and the use of new extraction methods such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, hundreds of new industrial oil wells have appeared all across the rural landscape. The situation has created a serious problem for the small, often volunteer, fire departments charged with protecting these remote areas.

“Regular firefighting and industrial firefighting are two different things, and they have really never intermingled—but now we’re forced to make that happen,” Neal Nanna, chief of the Harmony Volunteer Department in western Pennsylvania, says in the new March/April issue of NFPA Journal. “You can’t just run into these fires—you have to be trained. And there is not a lot of training available yet because it’s such a new thing.”

The challenges oil well fires and extraction facilities present to first responders is explored in-depth in the article “New Frontier” in the latest issue of Journal.

The article looks at what NFPA codes and standards have to say on the issue and what future documents and training materials might be created. Readers will also find out what fire chiefs across the country have to say about the challenges they face from industrial oil extraction, and about the new guidelines developed by the American Petroleum Institute on how drilling companies should interact with and inform communities and first responders.

To learn more, read the March/April issue of NFPA Journal and visit online 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.

Today, we celebrate Sparky the Fire Dog's birthday! Of course, Sparky likes to remind us (as shown in the video) that it is a good time to brush up on our fire safety tips, and he is correct! 

Sparky cake bossOn a lighter note, birthdays are a great time for fun and celebration! Remember Sparky's 60th birthday four years ago when we had Carlo's Bakery (home of TLC's The Cake Boss) make an amazing cake just for his special day?! 

Our Sparky the Fire Dog party kit provides everything you need to create a special day for your own little firefighter! We have even provided photos to give you ideas on how to bring your party to life. These free DIY party plans are downloadable pdfs and include pages of tutorials and party instructions. You will find everything from the party to-do list, invitations, thank you cards, birthday banner, cupcake toppers, name tags, water bottle wrappers, games and more. 

See more fun ways we have celebrated Sparky's birthday in the past, and be sure to wish Sparky a happy birthday today on his Facebook page!

Sparky party kit

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) for NFPA 2, Hydrogen Technologies Code, is being published for public review and comment:

Anyone may submit a comment on this proposed TIA by the May 15, 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.


!|src=|alt=New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0ee6d57970c img-responsive!Certain New Jersey legislators made sure the memory of a massive fire in Edgewater that displaced 1,000 residents wouldn&#39;t be forgotten. They&#39;ve kept their word.


Following the fire that made national headlines, Assemblyman John Wisniewski was hoping to brighten the spotlight placed on his state by reintroducing the New Home Fire Safety Act. The bill calls for the sprinklering of all new, one- and two-family homes. The Assembly approved the bill in February, and it recently passed the state&#39;s Senate with a 22-13 vote, per the Burlington County Times.&#0160;


Read more about this important development by visiting the Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.



&#0160;Related articles

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Legislator: The time for home fire sprinklers is now

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Homebuilder arguments to new sprinkler bill countered by New Jersey fire service

E3C6FAC190904CD8840836C35F035194.ashxThis summer, NFPA will issue NFPA 652, Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, a new standard that provides the general requirements for managing combustible dust fire and explosion hazards. NFPA 652 also directs users to NFPA’s appropriate industry- or commodity-specific standards, such as NFPA 484, Combustible Metals, and establishes the relationship between those standards and itself in an effort to ensure that fundamental requirements are addressed consistently across industries, processes, and dust types.

Such consistency is essential because dust-related fires and explosions affect a range of industries around the globe, says Guy Colonna, manager of NFPA's Industrial and Chemical Engineering Division. In the United States alone, 50 combustible dust accidents occurred between 2008 and 2012, resulting in 29 fatalities and 161 injuries.

For a discussion of the new standard and its development, read Colonna's article "Credible Risk" 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.

101 blog photo

Students at Virginia Tech during a shooting on the campus in 2007.

The list of school shootings in the United States grows longer each year. But currently, “consensus codes or standards, like those widely used for fire safety, do not exist for use in preventing or effectively managing a school violence incident,” writes NFPA’s principal life safety engineer Ron Coté in his new column in the March/April issue of NFPA Journal. The lack of a standard has led local communities to draft emergency response plans and, in some cases, these well-intentioned plans could have a potentially negative impact on fire safety, Coté writes.

For instance, some plans call for students to be locked inside classrooms to keep a shooter out. However, NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, and the other model fire and life safety codes require that doors not be locked so as to prevent egress, Coté writes.

In December, NFPA held a two-day school security workshop to identify these problems and propose solutions. A final report should be available in May and will be widely disseminated.

To learn more about this topic, read the new issue of NFPA Journal and 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.

The NFPA Standards Council will be meeting on April 7-8, 2015 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At this meeting, some of the topics the Council will address include:

  • an appeal on a proposed TIA to NFPA 70
  • the issuance of proposed TIAs on NFPA 1, NFPA 58, NFPA 70, NFPA 72, NFPA 101A, NFPA 400, NFPA 1221, NFPA 1917, NFPA 1999
  • new projects/documents on accelerant detection canines; structural firefighting guide; aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) response to incidents/accidents at public air shows; and compentencies for responders to incidents of flammable liquids in transport-high hazard flammable trains (HHFT).
  • consideration of requests from Committees to change revision cycle schedules and committee scopes

Read the full Council agenda for further information.

The NFPA Standards Council is a 13-person committee appointed by the NFPA Board of Directors that oversees the Association's codes and standards development activities, administers the rules and regulations, and acts as an appeals body. The Council administers about 250 NFPA Technical Committees and their work on nearly 300 documents addressing topics of importance to the built environment.

The Library, first formed in 1945, holds a treasure trove for fire and life safety information enthusiasts.  Our collection reflects the interests and activities of members, NFPA committees and staff.  Resource materials in the Library are collected from national and international sources and include more than 15,000 books and reports, periodicals, and educational media such as curricula, videos, games and brochures.   

The Archive holds NFPA documents dating from the Association's founding in 1896 .  If you are looking to trace the history of a specific provision, we have editions of current and prior NFPA codes and standards, so we can trace back and identify when a change was made.  Once identified, we can look to the amending materials for more insight on why the change was made.  Whether it is in the Report on Proposals/Comments, Technical Committee Reports/Documentation, Advance Reports, or the Proceedings dating back to 1897, we can look to identify more information about the change.

FireIn addition to the technical books and papers in the library collection, we have a focused collection of rare or historic materials including books and pamphlets about fire protection, specific hazards and historic fires.  These materials can provide additional insight into why changes were made.   The photo to the right illustrates the aftermath of the 1906 Baltimore Conflagration where, "the fire was held at one point largely on account of the O'Neil Department store which was equipped with sprinklers.  A few heads in the blind attic opened and the open sprinklers on the windows were used.  All buildings on the exposed side were destroyed but the store was open for business two days after the fire."  Automatic Sprinkler Protection, Gorham Dana, 1919.

Learn more about the Library and Archives, our resources, and services.

South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition
In 2014, South Carolina had the fifth highest number of fire deaths per capita in the nation, according to a recent TV report. Moreover, there have been 300 fire deaths in the state since 2007. Outraged by these figures, fire safety advocates in South Carolina aren't taking these statistics lying down. 

The South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition recently positioned itself in front of TV cameras to promote a proven cure to their state's fire problem. First, they organized a live burn/sprinkler demonstration earlier this month, which got the attention of both the public and TV media. The demonstrations "are meant to show people the power of fire, but even a better and bigger power: the power of a residential sprinkler head," coalition member Diane Woods told a local Fox affiliate.

They didn't stop there. Find out what else the coalition has been up to by visiting the Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

Telephone2On February 27, 1975, a fire broke out in a New York City telephone switching center, temporarily knocking out service to more than 170,000 phones in the lower east side of Manhattan.  The FDNY recently commemorated of the 40th anniversary of this incident.  The loss of telephone service was not the only problem connected with this fire: the spread of the fire and the smoke given off by the cables sheathed with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) created extensive problems for the New York City Fire Department.  Many firefighters were injured, several requiring hospitalization.


James Lathrop, NFPA Fire Analysis Specialist, traveled to New York to investigate the fire, and took the photos shown here.  The investigation was a cooperative effort between NFPA Fire Analysis department  and National Bureau of Standards.  The Preliminary Report and subsequent Fire Journal article discuss the building and the fire.


Telephone3This incident is of note, not only with respect to fire conditions and safety issues but also for the efforts to restore phone service.  Emergency phone banks and mobile communication phone vans were set up in strategic locations to provide emergency phone service and provide information to residents and businesses.  The photo to the left displays temporary phone services in use.  The AT&T video Miracle on 2nd Avenue documents the efforts to restore service after the fire. Read more about resiliency in the March/April issue of NFPA Journal.

Resilience photo blog

According to Stephen Flynn, the founding director of the Center for Resilience Studies at Northeastern University, “It will be the most resilient communities, companies, and countries that will prosper in the 21st century—those that are not resilient, that are fragile and brittle, will end up isolated and will fail in the current global environment.”

In other words, it’s simply not enough to be able to recover from a disaster. Those people, buildings, communities, businesses, and systems that truly thrive must recover fast and with minimal disruption. This concept of resiliency—the ability to withstand a disruption, blunt the impact, recover quickly, and adapt to emerge stronger and better prepared than before—has been a key focus of the Obama administration in preparing for the challenges of climate change, as well as for natural and man-made disasters. It is also a key concept at NFPA, which has begun the process of exploring how it can imbed more resilience concepts into its codes and standards.

The article “Resilience” in the March/April issue of NFPA Journal takes an in-depth look at this buzz word, what it means and what it looks like in practice in the real world. Through a series of case studies—wildfire mitigation in Prescott, Arizona; recovery and innovation in New York City after Superstorm Sandy; leadership and precision in the harrowing aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing; preparation for ever-bigger storms and flooding at Boston’s Logan Airport; and emergency planning using NFPA 1600 at a Fortune 500 company—NFPA Journal reveals the many facets of resiliency and how it has become such a critical concept for emergency planners in both business and government.

See videos, listen to lectures, read reports, and learn more by reading the latest issue of NFPA Journal and going to

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.

Working smoke alarms ultimately saved the lives a Charlottesville, NC, woman and her two daughters, but a delayed response to the alarms contributed to a dramatic escape. Here’s a brief overview of what happened: Kitchen towel

A kitchen towel was accidentally ignited by a candle in the kitchen, triggering the smoke alarm to sound. After believing the towel was extinguished, the mother went upstairs with her two daughters, one of whom was an infant. When the smoke alarm began to sound again, she assumed that the residual smoke had set it off. By the time she investigated further, the fire had spread to piles of laundry in the kitchen and smoke conditions had banked down to the floor.

StairsIn an effort to escape their home, the mother returned upstairs, took her two daughters into a front bedroom, and closed the door behind them. Using a window over the front porch to escape, the infant daughter was lowered to neighbors with a bed sheet. When the fire department arrived, the older girl was in the process of being lowered to neighbors. The mother was brought down by the department’s ground ladder.

We so often focus on the importance of having working smoke alarms in the home, which, of course, is vital to fire safety. But when a smoke alarm sounds, it needs to be taken seriously and responded to with a sense of urgency. That’s another message we need to keep communicating publicly. Fortunately in this case, when the mom realized there was a fire in her home, she took appropriate steps to protect herself and her daughters.

Screen Shot androidsThe new March/April 2015 NFPA Journal is out, and along with it a new app that lets readers experience the magazine on all Android-based phones and tablets.

The new app joins our existing Apple iOS app for iPad and iPhone, which recently underwent a series of improvements to further enhance the reader experience. The arrival of our Android app means that Journal is now available to all on-the-go readers on any mobile device. And both apps are free.

There's plenty to enjoy in the March/April issue of the magazine, whether you're looking at it in print, online, or via the apps. Our cover story, "Resilience," is a deep dive into the hot-button concept of resiliency and how it is reshaping the way governments, businesses, and communities think about emergency management and preparedness, as well as the critical role of NFPA in shaping the important tools used to achieve resilience.

This issue also looks at concerns related to industrial and storage occupancies, and includes "New Frontier," a feature on the rapid rise of new gas and oil extraction methods that are causing potentially big problems for rural fire departments charged with responding to drilling and fuel storage fires and other incidents.

A second industrial hazards feature story, "Credible Risk," written by NFPA's Guy Colonna, division manager of industrial and chemical engineering, introduces readers to a new dust standard, NFPA 652, Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, designed to provide the general requirements for management of combustible dust fire and explosion hazards across a range of industries and commodities. 

As always, our columns and departments deliver timely information on a range of fire, electrical, and life safety topics. Check out the new issue now.

Holyoke burn demonstration
Old Man Winter kept his firm grip on New England last week by dipping temperatures into the single digits during a legislative breakfast hosted by the Western Massachusetts Fire Chiefs Association in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Piercing the bitter chill, albeit briefly, was a fiery display that did what it was intended to do: get the attention of key politicians. 

Within minutes, the side-by-side burn demonstration--one structure equipped with sprinklers, one without--showcased to an array of state and local legislators that fire shows no mercy. (The temperature in the unsprinklered structure rapidly reached 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.) What they also saw firsthand was the immense speed at which home fire sprinklers can react to fire's fury. 

Read more by visiting the Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog. 

The Fire Protection Research Foundation invites you to take advantage of its free webinars. In 2015, six webinars will be offered to all those interested at no cost.

The first webinar of the year, to be scheduled shortly, is entitled Assessment of Hazardous Voltage/Current in Marinas, Boatyards and Floating Buildings. Delivered by John Adey, President of American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), the webinar will present the results of the recently completed Foundation report. The goal of this project was 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.

The next webinar, Wildland Fire Ignition Pathways with Dr. Michael Gollner from University of Maryland, is scheduled for April 21, 12:30-2 pm.

Other webinars:

  • June – Smoke Alarm Nuisance Source Characterization
  • August – PV Update - Insurers Perspective
  • October – TBA
  • December – ESFRs and Obstructions

All of the above webinars are sponsored by the Fire Protection Research Foundation with support from: Eaton Corporation; Globe Fire Sprinkler Corporation; IKEA; National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); Proctor & Gamble; Property Insurance Research Group (PIRG); SimplexGrinnell; Tyco Fire Protection Products; Viking Sprinkler Corporation; Zurich Insurance

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

In this issue:

  • Proposed TIAs seeking public comments on NFPA 13 and NFPA 111
  • First Draft Reports and submit public comments for Annual 2016
  • Fall 2015 Consent Standards issued
  • NFPA 704 Frequently Asked Questions
  • Errata issued on NFPA 102
  • 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.

The First Draft Reports for NFPA documents in the Annual 2016 revision cycle are now available.  Review the First Draft Reports for use as background in the submission of public comments. The deadline to submit a public comment through the online system on any of these documents is May 15, 2015. Some of the proposed NFPA documents with First Draft Reports in the Annual 2016 revision cycle are as follows:

  • NFPA 15, Standard for Water Spray Fixed Systems for Fire Protection
  • NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems
  • NFPA 56, Standard for Fire and Explosion Prevention During Cleaning and Purging of Flammable Gas Piping Systems;
  • NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code;
  • NFPA 80A, Recommended Practice for Protection of Buildings from Exterior Fire Exposures;
  • NFPA 130, Standard for Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems
  • NFPA 414, Standard for Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Vehicles; NFPA 450, Guide for Emergency Medical Services and Systems
  • NFPA 704, Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response;
  • NFPA 780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems;
  • NFPA 1124, Code for the Manufacture, Transportation, Storage, and Retail Sales of Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles;
  • NFPA 2112, Standard on Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire

See the full list of documents in the Annual 2016 revision cycle.

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

It’s been nearly a year since the fire in Boston’s Back Bay tragically claimed the lives of two firefighters. Because their deaths were attributed to an uncharged fire hose that burned through, the incident has since prompted many important questions about the flammability and limits of fire hoses.

In response to those questions and concerns, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have each launched comprehensive research initiatives to investigate how fire hoses operate under specific fire conditions, and to determine what changes may be needed to minimize potential risks to firefighters.

NFPA’s Technical Committee on NFPA 1961, Standard on Fire Hose, is actively participating in these efforts by connecting with the WPI and ATF research activity in preparation for the next revision of the Standard.

The fire service is now being called upon to play an active role in this issue as well. As part of its research, WPI sent out a survey this week to fire departments nationwide to identify fire hose burn-through issues they may have experienced. We encourage all departments to fill it out. The more information WPI receives, the better equipped they’ll be to adequately address this issue.

Meanwhile, take a look at this video message from Ken Willette, NFPA’s division manager of public fire protection, to learn about other ways you can participate in NFPA’s standard on fire hoses. Every voice matters – let yours help make a difference.


Overall conference shot

The 2015 Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications (SUPDET) Conference concluded today in Orlando, Florida.

Over the course of the four-day conference more than 100 attendees and 30 presenters met to discuss the latest research, developments and emerging issues in the fire detection and suppression world. Attendees were treated to presentations as diverse as smoke detection aboard the International Space Station, to recycling center fires in the UK, issues with suppressing fire in electric vehicles and much, much more.

The conference, hosted by the Fire Protection Research Foundation and held March 3-6 at the Wyndham Orlando Resort in Orlando, Florida, was split into two parts. The detection portion of the program was held March 3 and 4, and the suppression presentations took place March 5 and 6.

Each of the conference’s presentations are now available to view as a PDF here, as well as by clicking on the links below. 




Evolving Fire Safety Towards Holistic Safety – A Discussion (PDF, 19 MB) Paper (PDF, 54 KB)
Lance Ruetimann, Siemens Switzerland Ltd.

Session I: Detection of Cooking Fires

Developing Test Methods for Cooktop Range Pre-Ignition Detection (PDF, 1.9 MB)
Daniel Gottuk, Ph.D. and Joshua Dinaburg, Jensen Hughes

Measurement of Pre-ignition Fire Cues from Cooking (PDF, 1.8 MB)
George Hunter, Adam Barowy, and Bob Backstrom, Underwriters Laboratories

Session II: Carbon Monoxide Detection

Carbon Monoxide Diffusion through Walls: A Critical Review of Literature and Incidents (PDF, 1 MB)
Izabella Vermesi, Francesco Restuccia, Carlos Walker-Ravena, and Guillermo Rein, Ph.D., Imperial College London
Richard Roberts, Honeywell Fire Safety

New Research on Diffusion of Carbon Monoxide through Gypsum Wallboard (PDF, 163 KB)
Thomas Cleary, Ph.D. and Jiann Yang, Ph.D., National Institute of Standards and Technology

Second Hand Smoke - Investigation into the effects of canned smoke aerosol testers on carbon monoxide sensors used in combination alarms (PDF, 1 MB)
Arthur Lee and Einstein Miller, US Consumer Product Safety Commission

Session III: Notification Topics

Fire Alarms and At Risk Populations: Information from Literature and One-on-One Interviews (PDF, 140 KB)
Bryan L. Hoskins, Ph.D. and Duane Helmberger, Oklahoma State University

Occupant Evacuation Operation of Elevators – An Outline of Benefits, Requirements, and Suggested Implementation Strategies (PDF, 1 MB)
Eric M. Camiel, Jensen Hughes

Design Considerations of LED Based Visible Notification Appliances (PDF, 1 MB) paper (PDF, 2 MB)
W. H. Leung, Light Engine Limited

Session IV: Nuisance Alarms

Characterization of Dust and Water Steam Aerosols in False Alarm Scenarios - Design of a Test Methods for Fire Detectors in Dusty and in Highly Foggy Environments (PDF, 5 MB) extended abstract (PDF, 108 KB)
Ingolf Willms, Ph.D., Thorsten Schultze, Ph.D., Wolfgang Krüll, and Robert Tobera, University of Duisburg-Essen

Characterizing Common Nuisance Sources for Smoke Alarms: Results from New Experiments (PDF, 3.3 MB)
Daniel Gottuk, Ph.D. and Joshua Dinaburg, Jensen Hughes

Session V: Standard Updates

Updates to the 10th Edition of the Standard for Fire Alarm Control Units and Accessories, ANSI/UL 864 (PDF, 202 KB)
Larry Shudak, Underwriters Laboratories 

Session VI: Detection Research

The Effect of Ceiling Fans on Smoke Alarm Performance (PDF, 2 MB)
Elyse D. Gottuk and Daniel T. Gottuk, Ph.D., Jensen Hughes

Smoke Detection in Low Gravity – Results from the Smoke Aerosol Measurement Experiments (SAME) Conducted on the International Space Station (PDF, 3 MB) extended abstract (PDF, 368 KB)
David Urban, Gary Ruff, Marit Meyer, Paul Greenberg, and David Fischer, NASA Glenn Research Center
Thomas Cleary, Jiann Yang, and George Mulholland, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Zeng-guang Yuan and Victoria Bryg, National Center for Space Exploration Research

Session VII: Applications

Very Early Warning Fire Detection of Incipient Sources in Nuclear Power Plants
Gabriel Taylor, P.E., U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (PDF, 1 MB)
Thomas Cleary, Ph.D., National Institute of Standards and Technology

Considerations and Challenges when Integrating Systems to Achieve Smart(er) Buildings (PDF, 1 MB)
Lance Ruetimann, Siemens Switzerland Ltd.

Detection of Fires in Heavy Duty (HD) Vehicles (PDF, 2.2 MB) paper (PDF, 670 KB)
Joey Peoples, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden


Session I: Storage

Protection of Rack Stored Exposed Expanded Group A Plastics with ESFR Sprinklers and Vertical Barriers (PDF, 4 MB)
Dan Steppan, Underwriters Laboratories

The Effect of Obstructions on Early Suppression Fast Response Sprinkler Performance extended abstract (PDF, 97 KB)
Garner Palenske, P.E., Aon Fire Protection Engineering

Session II: Dry Systems

Corrosion Inhibition of Dry and Preaction Fire Suppression Systems Using Nitrogen Gas (PDF, 1.7 MB) paper (PDF, 283 KB)
Josh Tihen, Potter Electric Signal Company, LLC

Impact of Supervisory Gas Pressure on Dry Pipe Sprinkler System Fill Time (PDF, 652 KB)
Steven Wolin, P.E. and Tom Multer, Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., Inc.

Session III: Water Mist

Water Mist Fire Protection for 35 Megawatt Steam Turbine Generator (PDF, 3 MB)
Lee Kaiser, ORR Protection Systems

Session IV: Emerging Hazards

Panel Discussion on Emerging Hazards and the Gaps in the Codes and Standards
Emerging Hazards in Recycling Facilities (PDF, 2 MB) - Stuart Lloyd, Zurich Insurance
Emergence of Energy Storage Systems (PDF, 1 MB) – Casey Grant, Fire Protection Research Foundation
Road Map for Mobile Food Truck Regulation (PDF, 2. 5 MB) abstract (PDF, 89 KB) – Jacqueline Wilmot, NFPA

Session V: Environment

Fire Testing of Experimental Siloxane-Based AFFF: Results from New Experiments (PDF, 3.8 MB) paper (PDF, 340 KB)
Ralf Helmut Hetzer and Felix Kummerlen, Bundeswehr Research Institute for Protective Technologies and NBC-Protection
Dirk Blunk, University of Cologne 

Session VI: Special Applications

Application of Fire Protection in Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Design: Hazard Definition and Review of Current Practices (PDF, 1 MB)
Daniel Gorham, NFPA

Evaluation of Water Additives for Fire Control and Vapor Mitigation – Two and Three Dimensional Class B Fire Tests (PDF, 1.3 MB) extended abstract (PDF, 348 KB)
Joseph L. Scheffey, P.E. and Mathew Benfer, Jensen Hughes

Active Fire Protection for Motorcoach Fire Safety: Development of Test Apparatuses and Procedures (PDF, 3 MB)
Jason Huczek, Southwest Research Institute

Session VII: Lithium Ion Protection

Suppressing Lithium-ion Electric Drive Vehicle Battery Fires with Water
R. Thomas Long, Jr., P.E. and Andrew Blum, P.E., Exponent, Inc.

Session VIII: Hybrid Systems

Effervescent Water Mist Fire Suppression Nozzle (PDF, 1 MB)
May Corn, Jeffrey Cohen, Joshua Sheffel, Guido Poncia, and Michael Carey, United Technologies Research Center

Evaluating Hybrid Fire Suppression Systems for the Protection of Aero-derivative Gas Turbines (PDF, 5.9 MB) abstract (PDF, 7 KB)
Bob Ballard, Victaulic 

Session IX: Gaseous and Clean Agents

Defining HF Exposure Limits for Sensitive Materials in Museums and Archives Protected by Halocarbon Clean Extinguishing Agents (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Paul Rivers, P.E. and William Meyring, P.E., 3M

Wildfire blog

NFPA associate engineer Daniel Gorham kicked-off the last day of the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s 2015 Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications (SUPDET) in Orlando, Florida, on Friday morning.

In his presentation, “Application of Fire Protection in Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Design: Hazard Definition and Review of Current Practices,” Gorham outlined the growing problem of wildfire and why trained fire protection engineers have to be part of the solution.

Dan Gorham

“The knowledge gap is huge,” he said, speaking of what is currently known about wildfire behavior. “We are starting to understand that FPEs need to have a role here. FPEs have the tools and skill sets to contribute and we are starting to close that (knowledge) gap and gain momentum.”

Attendees also heard presentations this morning on effervescent water mist fire suppression nozzles, hybrid fire suppression systems for the protection of gas turbines, and a project looking at protecting sensitive materials in museums and archives





    Daniel Gorham presenting at the 2015 SUBDET Conference in Orlando, Florida.

In 2008, the Foundation published its 5 year research agenda, a seven point plan that has guided our work on the emerging issues facing fire and electrical safety. In January of this year we surveyed our stakeholders and NFPA technical staff to identify new issues and the areas where we need to refocus our efforts. The results have pointed us toward some new directions as well as toward someunfinished business. 

Mark your calendars for November 13, 14 in Washington DC as we engage leaders in our industry and beyond in furthering the discussion on the next five years in fire and electrical safety.

Rubbish fire

“I’d like to talk to you about rubbish,” said Stuart Lloyd of Zurich Insurance as he stepped up to the podium this afternoon to present at the 2015 Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications (SUPDET) Conference in Orlando, Florida.

The United Kingdom, where Lloyd is based, has a big problem with fire at recycling centers. Last year, the UK averaged one recycling center fire per week, many of them large events that took weeks to extinguish. One of those fires stretched for 7-acres and shut down a freeway and airspace around the facility, Lloyd said.

Despite the problem, efforts to regulate the industry have been met with resistance from recycling center owners, who choose to close rather than comply. That leaves cities to handle trash collection, which is not the outcome most municipalities are happy with. Protection efforts are also stymied in part by the perception that these facilities have little economic value, Lloyd said.

As a result, “there is no control on this industry and there is no legislation in the United Kingdom about the necessity to have sprinkler system inside of these buildings,” he said. “There is also a huge variation in management of the premises, which causes problems. We haven’t seen this issue tail off.”

Lloyd photo

Stuart Lloyd of Zurich Insurance presenting at the 2015 SUPDET Conference in Orlando, Florida.


During his presentation, “Emerging Hazards in Recycling Facilities,” Lloyd showed slides of some well-maintained and orderly centers, where waste was compacted into neat, tidy blocks. But photos of other recycling centers showed thousands of tons debris sitting in huge piles strewn haphazardly about the facility.

“These places are ticking time bombs,” Lloyd said.

Neither the fire service nor the centers themselves know what’s in these huge unsorted piles, but it can include anything from highly flammable plastics to lithium ion batteries, and any number of other potentially hazardous materials. Piles often give off methane gas, and spontaneous combustions are not uncommon, Lloyd said.

The Fire Protection Research Foundation, which is hosts the SUPDET Conference, has initiated preliminary research on burn characteristics at these facilities, but it will likely take years before more knowledge and better regulation is in place Lloyd said.

The 2015 SUPDET Conference, held from March 3-6 at the Wyndham Orland Resort, features more than 30 presentations on the latest developments in research, technology, and applications of fire suppression and detection from some of the world’s leading experts. The conference concludes tomorrow with presentations on water mist systems, suppression issues in museums and archives, and much more. 

National Anthem Singing Contest 2015 ad
For the second year in a row, NFPA is holding a contest to determine the talent who will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at this year’s General Session of the NFPA Conference & Expo in Chicago on Monday, June 22, 2015 in front of about 3,000 attendees! (Watch the video of last year's winners during their big moment!)

Submit your audition video by March 29th of you or your group (consisting of no more than 5 members) singing the National Anthem a cappella! Please also include a spoken statement during the video describing your interest in NFPA's mission, or email a statement separately.

Finalists will be selected by a panel of judges at NFPA, and public voting will take place between April 1st and April 20th 4 to help determine the winning performance. The winner(s) will receive the opportunity to sing the National Anthem at General Session, as well as a 2-day/1-night trip to Chicago, Illinois June 21-22, and full admission to the NFPA Conference & Expo.

Enter through our contest webpage, or through NFPA’s Facebook page. Also, please be sure to read the full contest rules.

Good luck!

Thomas Multer and Christina Francis were presented this morning with the William M. Carey Award at the 2015 Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications (SUPDET) Conference in Orlando, Florida.The award is given for the most outstanding suppression presentation at last year SUPDET Conference.

Cary award final

Thomas Multer receives the William M. Carey Award from Amanda Kimball of the Fire Protection Research Foundation during the 2015 SUPDET Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Multer’s and Francis’s presentation “Storage Protection Using Horizontal Barriers and Large K-Factor, Extended Coverage In-Rack Sprinklers,” looked at how installing continuous horizontal barriers at 20- to- 30-foot levels may help protect storage racks from fire and reduce the number of sprinklers required. 2014 conference attendees selected the presentation as last year’s best.

Multer is the vice president of product technology at The Reliable Automatic Sprinkler, Co. and Francis works for P&G Global Fire Protection.

The award is named after William M. Carey, a former senior staff engineer at Underwriters Laboratories Inc. Carey participated in many Foundation fire suppression projects, including the first National Quick Response Sprinkler Project

The 2015 SUBDET Conference, hosted by the Fire Protection Research Foundation at the Wyndham Orlando Resort in Orlando, Florida, runs through March 6.

NFPA and Domino's have teamed up once again to help people protect themselves and their loved ones from home fires. Using daylight savings time and pizza boxes, we’re working together to encourage the public to change their batteries when they change their clocks this weekend. (Daylight savings time is Sunday, March 8, at 2 a.m.) Domino's logo

Domino’s is using its pizza boxes to deliver fire safety tips throughout the month of March in participating markets across the country.

“Daylight saving time brings a convenient, timely reminder to change the batteries in your smoke alarm, which is an easy, important step to make your home safer,” said Jenny Fouracre, Domino’s Pizza spokesperson. “Domino’s has a great opportunity to reach many people in their homes and we want to use it to share fire safety tips with them. We are excited to work with the NFPA to help make homes across the country a little bit safer.”

As part of the spring campaign, customers who order from participating Domino’s stores may be surprised when their delivery arrives aboard a fire engine. If all the smoke alarms in the home are working, the pizza is free. If a smoke alarm is not working, the firefighters will replace the batteries or leave a fully functioning smoke alarm in the home.

For more information on smoke alarm installation, testing and maintenance, visit our Smoke Alarm Central page.

Space photo

Researcher David Urban of NASA's Glenn Research Center presenting today at the SUPDET Conference in Orlando, Florida. 

Fire, smoke and detection issues are quite literally universal, on land, at sea and even in space. If there were any doubts of that, David Urban of NASA’s Glenn Research Center laid them to rest during his presentation Wednesday morning at the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s 2015 Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications (SUPDET) Conference.

Urban’s talk, “Smoke Detection in Low Gravity—Results from the Smoke Aerosol Measurement Experiments Conducted on the International Space Station,” measured the distribution and particle size from combustion materials resulting from burning typical substances found aboard a spacecraft. By burning these substances—Teflon Kapton, silicone rubber, cellulose, and dibutyl-phthalate—aboard the International Space Station and analyzing the results, NASA hoped to learn how to improve smoke detection in space.

“In spacecraft, it’s critical that detection happen as early as possible,” before ignition, Urban said.

There are many challenges to detection that arise in the unique environment of space, Urban said. Those challenges include the way smoke diffuses in low gravity environments, the elevated amount of dust and other particles floating in the environment, airflow within the space station, and the vast amount of equipment that can often get in way of detection devices.

Urban’s presentation was one of several this morning, the last day of the detection portion of this year’s SUPDET Conference, which runs through March 6 at the Wyndham Orlando Resort in Orlando, Florida. Attendees also saw presentations on the effect ceiling fans have on smoke alarm performance, early warning fire detection in nuclear power plants, the challenges of integrating systems to achieve smarter buildings, and detection of fires in heavy duty vehicles.

Yesterday’s SUPDET sessions included information on detecting and preventing cooking fires, carbon monoxide diffusion through walls, nuisance sources for smoke alarms, occupant evacuation operation of elevators, and many more.

The suppression portion of the 2015 SUPDET conference begins tomorrow. 

NFPA 407-2017The NFPA Technical Committee on Aircraft Fuel Servicing met on September 24-26, 2014, to develop the First Draft of the 2017 Edition of NFPA 407 Standard for Aircraft Fuel Servicing. The result is a completely reformatted standard that organizes the requirements into chapters based on the type of aircraft fuel servicing equipment (i.e., fueling facilities, fueling vehicles, rooftop heliports, and self-servicing). In addition, each chapter makes use of a consistent numbering system for each topic. Prior editions organized the information into broader chapters for Design and Operation, which have proved difficult to navigate in practice.

At the same time, the committee considered input from the public and reviewed each and every requirement with respect to existing technologies, updated knowledge, and current best practices. The draft incorporates many technical changes.

Those who use or reference NFPA 407 are encouraged to review the draft, which can be accessed from the NFPA 407 Document Information Page. It will remain open for public comment until May 15, 2015.

Five NFPA Standards, reporting in the Fall 2015 revision cycle, have been issued by the NFPA Standards Council as Consent Standards:

  • NFPA 102, Standard for Grandstands, Folding and Telescopic Seating, Tents, and Membrane Structures
  • NFPA 115, Standard for Laser Fire Protection
  • NFPA 551, Guide for the Evaluation of Fire Risk Assessments
  • NFPA 1405, Guide for Land-Based Fire Departments that Respond to Marine Vessel Fires
  • NFPA 1984, Standard on Respirators for Wildland Fire Fighting Operations

NFPA 102, NFPA 115 and NFPA 1405 did not receive any Public Comments, and the Technical Committees determined that no further revisions were needed to the Standards.  A notice was published in accordance with the Regs announcing no further meeting was needed along with a notice that an appeal could be filed on the Issuance of these documents.  No appeals were filed and the Standards Council acted by ballot to issue the standards.  NFPA 102, 115, and 1405 were issued by the Standards Council on January 28, 2015.

NFPA 551 and NFPA 1984 did not receive any Public Comments, and the Technical Committees determined that no further revisions were needed to the Standards. (The Respiratory Protection Equipment Committee, who is responsible for NFPA 1984, did hold a second revision meeting resulting in no Second Revisions.)  A notice was published in accordance with the Regs announcing no further meeting was needed along with a notice that an appeal could be filed on the issuance of these documents.  No appeals were filed and the Standards Council acted by ballot to issue the standards.  NFPA 551 and 1984 were issued by the Standards Council on February 13, 2015.

ElyseElyse Gottuk is proof that you don’t necessarily need an advanced degree to do good and useful research—heck, she hasn’t even been to high school yet.

The 14-year old Maryland eighth-grade student is the youngest presenter at this year’s Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications (SUPDET) Conference, hosted by the Fire Protection Research Foundation. Gottuk’s presentation, “The Effect of Ceiling Fans on Smoke Alarm Performance,” was the first of the day Wednesday, the second day of the 2015 SUPDET conference held at the Wyndham Orlando Resort in Orlando, Florida.

NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, states that smoke alarms must be placed at least 3 feet from a ceiling fan. Faced with her upcoming seventh grade science fair—“ I needed an idea,” she said— Gottuk decided to test whether the 3-foot rule made sense. So she borrowed some equipment from her father Daniel Gottuk, an engineer at Jensen Hughes, and went to work.

In a 17x17x8 foot room with a ceiling fan in the middle, she installed a line of smoke detectors on the ceiling, placing the first just next to the fan, the second a foot away and additional detectors 3- and- 6-feet away. She also installed a line of detectors extending 8 feet to the corner of the room. Next, she ran a series of tests, burning shredded paper in a small metal bin first in the center and then corner of the room, taking note of how long it took each alarm to sound. She repeated the experiment with the fan on different speed settings and running clockwise and counterclockwise.

The experiments proved that the fan did impact smoke detection times—the faster the fan went, the longer it took for the alarms to sound. The direction of the fan did not matter. In terms of smoke alarm distance from the fan, Gottuk found that, for a fire near the center of the room, alarm location did not matter for response time. For fires in the corner of the room, the alarms placed more than 3 feet from the fan had faster response times.

Based on the results, Gottuk concluded that further tests should be conducted in smaller rooms to test alarm effectiveness. She also urged NFPA 72 technical committee members to consider amending the code to allow alarms to be installed closer to fans when the 3-foot threshold is not physically possible.

The research drew praise from the SUPDET crowd and even an invite from NFPA 72 technical committee member Richard Roberts for Gottuk to present to the committee at a future meeting.

Asked by an audience member if she had had “fun” conducting the research, Gottuk looked at her father, sitting at the front table just feet away, and said, “sure,” drawing laughs from the crowd.


On, March 4, 1991 a fire of accidental origin occurred at Crystal Springs Estate, a board and care facility, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Nine of the building's 25 elderly residents died during the fire.  In addition, eight other residents and five firefighters were injured. 

The single-story masonry and wood structure, with two separate partial basements, was divided into three fire compartments by noncombustible walls, and the corridor openings in these walls were protected with fire doors.  A fire alarm system using heat detectors as the primary initiating device protected all rooms, closets, and attic spaces.  Manual pull stations and smoke detectors located next to the fire doors were also connected to this fire alarm system.  The activation of any device in the fire alarm system would initiate alarm chimes throughout the building and would send a signal to a central monitoring station.  A separate alarm system of interconnected corridor smoke detectors was also provided and only initiated a local alarm upon the activation of any detector on the system.

An electric motor in a ventilation fan apparently malfunctioned, overheated, and ignited combustible materials in the attic above the east wing.  The fire burned for an undetermined period of time, spreading in the attic space above several rooms before causing the ceiling to collapse in a residents' lounge.  At approximately 12:35 a.m., smoke entering the occupied space activated the corridor smoke detection system, and staff began their emergency procedures.

The fire also breached a wall between the wing of origin and a dining room and spread across the combustible ceiling in the dining room.  Because there was no fire door between the dining room and the corridor in the west wing, smoke and fire extended to that corridor. 

The first firefighters on the scene found the dining room fully involved in fire with heavy smoke and some fire extension in corridors of both wings.  They started simultaneous rescue and suppression operations.  All survivors were rescued during the first half hour, and fire suppression operations continued for approximately 4 1/2 hours.  In addition to the nine fatalities and eight injured residents, the fire destroyed two of the building's three wings. 

The following factors appear to have significantly contributed to the loss of life:

    •     Heat detector system in the attic did not provide early warning,

     •     Fire separations did not prevent the spread of smoke and fire,

     •     Combustible ceiling in the dining room,

     •     Lack of adequate firesafety training for staff and residents.

NFPA members can download the full investigaion report Board and Care Facility Fire. Those interested in more information about board and care fires can download NFPA's Structure Fires in Residential board and Care Facilities report and fact sheet.  For more information on firefighter injuries download Firefighter Injuries in the United States

Cooking fire

Joshua Dinaburg, a researcher at Jensen Hughes, presents at the 2015 SUBDET Conference Tuesday in Orlando, Florida.

Cooking fires are the leading cause of residential fires in the U.S., accounting for about two of every five fires, according to a recent NFPA report. But there is an effort underway to help develop better technology to prevent these fires.

That effort was the topic of one of today’s feature presentations at the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s 2015 Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications (SUPDET) Conference in Orlando, Florida. The conference, which brings together some of the world’s leading researchers in suppression and detection technologies, began today and will run through Friday.

A number of devices have surfaced in recent years that promise to detect abnormal conditions and automatically shut off cooking equipment before a cooking fire ignites. These new devices work in a number of ways, such as measuring the temperatures of heating elements, pans, and even the air near the stove, said Joshua Dinaburg, a researcher at Jensen Hughes.

It’s a promising development, but the problem is “it’s the wild wild west right now,” Dinaburg said Tuesday during his SUPDET presentation. “There is no way of confirming that these devices do what they say they do.”

Beginning in 2010, the Fire Protection Research Foundation, with Dinaburg as a lead author, commenced a project that looked at developing standards for evaluating the performance of these new technologies. Two reports have been published; the first in October 2013 and the most recent in July 2014. The project is still ongoing.

In the latest research, “we ran number of cooking tests, basically heated oil up in stoves and let it ignite,” Dinaburg said. “We measured the pan temperature, the oil temperature, and gas concentrations. We looked at a number variables, including oil types, oil depths, different range tops, different pan materials, and pan size, trying to find the most challenging detection scenarios” to test the equipment against.

What was found is, there is no one-size-fits-all testing scenario.

“Selecting the most challenging test depends on the detection technology you’re using,” Dinaburg said. “There is a difference for smoke-based testing, verses temperature- based testing.”

For instance, oil types—such as canola verses corn—didn’t matter as far as ignition temperatures of cooking fires. However, old oils produced more smoke at a much lower temperature than fresh oil.

There’s still more work to be done, both in testing the technology and developing the cooking pre-ignition detecting equipment itself, Dinaburg said.

“There’s definitely a challenge with the smoke detection method as far as nuisance alarms,” he said. “It is much easier to install a temperature sensing device, but in some scenarios temperature doesn’t detect everything that smoke has the potential to. There are drawbacks and benefits to each.”


From left, Amanda Kimball and Casey Grant of the Fire Protection Research Foundation, present the Ronald K. Mengel Award to Lance Ruetimann at the 2015 SUPDET Conference in Orlando, Florida. 

The Fire Protection Research Foundation’s 2015 Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications (SUPDET) Conference began Tuesday, March 3, in Orlando, Florida, with the presentation of the Ronald K. Mengel Award for most outstanding fire detection presentation.

Lance Ruetimann, the senior manager of industry affairs for Siemens Switzerland Ltd. was honored with the award for his presentation, “Reducing False Fire Alarms: A Study of Selected European Countries.”

The presentation, which Ruetimann gave at last year’s SUPDET Conference, focused on the consequences of and potential solution to nuisance fire alarms in European countries. With an average false alarm rate of more than 90 percent for fire alarm systems, some cash-strapped fire departments in Europe have altered their response procedures to alarms. Changes have included charging for false alarms, requiring visual confirmation of fire before deploying assets, and stopping automated alarm transmissions altogether. Ruetimann’s presentation looked at the cause of false alarms, the consequences of these changing fire service responses, and identified best practice examples by looking at different approaches in each European country studied.

“What was found is promising in defining and deploying measures to reduce false alarm rates for fire safety system, whilst also increasing the overall safety of the system,” Ruetimann wrote in his accompanying paper on the study.

Ruetimann, a native of Switzerland, had never attended a SUPDET Conference prior to giving last year’s presentation. On Tuesday, he said he was “surprised and honored” by the award and told conference attendees that fire detection challenges are truly a global issue.

“The only thing that divides us is about 5,000 miles of water,” Ruetimann said in accepting the award. “The issues we face are the same.”

The award is named for Ronald Mengel, who for many years was the vice president of industry affairs of the system sensor division of Honeywell Corporation. Mengel was instrumental in Honeywell’s efforts in industry-sponsored research and training. He contributed to a number of Foundation projects and served on the Foundation’s Fire Detection and Alarm Research Advisory Council.

The 2015 SUPDET Conference, held this year from March 3-6 at the Wyndham Orland Resort, features more than 30 presentations on the latest developments in research, technology, and applications of fire suppression and detection.

A family of eight was able to safely escape an overnight fire in their Phoenix, AZ, home this past weekend, thanks to working smoke alarms. According to local reports, the fire was started by unattended cooking on the stove, which caused significant damage to the home’s kitchen and attic.

“We’re just glad that everybody is o.k.,” said Alaina McLittle, who lived in the home. “You can always replace a house, but you can’t replace lives.”

Sadly, this sentiment was underscored by a home fire that occurred in Greensville, SC, last Friday, which claimed the life of 75-year-old Mark Walker. Firefighters were unable to detect any evidence of a smoke alarm in the home, where Walker lived alone. An autopsy revealed that he died from smoke inhalation and heat related injuries.

As reinforced by these two incidents, working smoke alarms can make a life-saving difference in a home fire. That’s why it’s so important to follow these basic smoke alarm guidelines:

  • Install one smoke alarm on every level of the home, in every bedroom and outside all sleeping areas. Smoke alarm image for typepad
  • Test smoke alarms 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, either replace them annually, or before then if they begin to chirp.
  • Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years or sooner if they don’t respond properly when tested.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.

For more information on smoke alarm installation, testing and maintenance, visit Smoke Alarm Central, NFPA's complete source for smoke alarm information.


!|src=|alt=Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb07fb696c970d img-responsive!Jeff Jordan is bringing to light the necessity of home fire sprinklers via a new video underscoring his story. Burned in his residence when he just weeks old, Jordan has gone through about 35 reconstructive surgeries--procedures that may not have been necessary, he says, if sprinklers had been present.&#0160;


The new edition of NFPA&#39;s Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter features Jordan&#39;s video and other important updates from the sprinkler arena. In the latest issue, you&#39;ll find stories on:

    • sprinkler bills filed in two states

    • the chair of America's newest sprinkler coalition getting vocal about sprinkler opposition

    • schooling future builders on sprinklers


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