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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.

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