Skip navigation
All Places > NFPA Today > Blog > 2015 > March > 04

Clock
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.

Coloradospringsb&c

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

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: