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Anyone out there as passionate about confined space safety as I am?    If you are at all involved with confined space entry then come hear about the new NFPA 350 Guide to Confined Space Entry and Work at the NFPA conference next week in Chicago!   The Technical Committee has completed the second draft revisions and, absent any NITMAMs, the new guide will be released this coming November!  This document explains  “how to” comply with provisions in the existing confined space regulations and standards by providing more detailed guidance on subjects such as hazard identification, air monitoring, ventilation and rescue.   It also addresses some of the gaps in the existing standards and provides best practices for confined space entry. 

A presentation on NFPA 350 is scheduled for Wednesday June 24th 9:30-10:30 in Room S404bc.   For those who are not attending the conference, you can stay on top of what is happening with NFPA 350 by signing up for email alerts at  Hope to see you at the conference!

Charleston 9Eight years ago today, a call was received for a fire in a Sofa Super Store in Charleston, SC. The fire would start in the loading dock behind the store and eventually would take over the rest of the 42,000 square foot structure. 

The Charleston 9, as the victims came to be known, died at the scene of the fire on the evening of June 18, 2007. 

The victims were Engineer Bradford "Brad" Baity, of Engine 19; Capt. Mike Benke of Engine 16; Firefighter Melvin Champaign, of Engine 16; Firefighter James "Earl" Drayton, of Engine 19; Asst. Engineer Michael French, of Ladder 5; Capt. William Hutchinson, of Engine 19; Engineer Mark Kelsey, of Ladder 5; Capt. Louis Mulkey, of Engine 15; and Firefighter Brandon Thompson, of Ladder 5.

The building had no fire sprinkler system. The fire started at approximately 7:00 p.m. in a covered loading dock area built between the showroom and warehouse buildings which was attached to both buildings.

At the time, the business was still open and employees were present. Charleston firefighters arrived on the scene within three minutes of the alarm.

The Charleston Chronicle details some of the events of that day and how the fire spread throughout the building in an article posted yesterday. They ask us all, and we agree, to never forget these men or their sacrifice. 

Read about how NIST worked to reconstruct the fire dynamics of the fire to help learn from the tragedy.

SFF Cover Revised 5-20-15 - Cropped

When firefighters arrive on-scene at a fire, they typically lack critical information about the structure, such as its floor plan, which puts them at significant risk.

Today’s communication, computing, sensor and networking technologies could change all that, according to the new "Research Roadmap for Smart Fire Fighting" which was officially released today by the Fire Protection Research Foundation (Foundation), the research affiliate of NFPA, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The roadmap report charts steps toward overcoming technical obstacles so that interconnected technologies, known collectively as cyber-physical systems, or CPS, can be harnessed to significantly improve fire protection and fire fighting capabilities.

“The ultimate aim of the roadmap is to enable real-time delivery of useful information before, during, and after a fire incident or other emergency—to get actionable intelligence to the first responders who need it, when they need it,” said Anthony Hamins, who heads NIST’s Fire Research Division.

The fire service and other first responders are already benefiting from today’s enhanced technologies and access to ‘big data’, notes Casey Grant, executive director of the Foundation. "But that existing level of access and usage merely reflects the tip of the iceberg," said Grant. "Our ever-increasing sensor-rich environment is continually generating vast amounts of potentially useful information, so that the ‘smart’ fire fighters of tomorrow will be able to perform their work more effectively and efficiently than ever before.”

The Research Roadmap for Smart Fire Fighting report is now available and can be downloaded for free. For more information on smart fire fighting, visit the Foundation’s website.

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In the latest episode of NFPA Journal Podcast, host Jesse Roman speaks with NFPA engineer Jacqueline Wilmot about the fire and life safety considerations of food trucks, a rapidly growing industry with an estimated 117,000 vehicles now on the road in the U.S. While the trucks are becoming wildly popular, recent events have called into question whether there needs to be more robust fire and life safety standards and inspections for these trucks.

On July 1, 2014, in the Feltonville neighborhood of Philadelphia, a leaking propane tank on the La Parrillada Chapina food truck ignited, resulting in an explosion that sent a fireball 200 feet into the air, shook nearby buildings, and shot the propane tank 95 feet into a neighboring yard. Truck operators Olga Galdamez, 42, and her daughter, Jaylin Landaverry-Galdamez, 17, suffered third-degree burns and died three weeks later. Ten other people were injured in the blast, some critically.Throughout the country have been numerous other examples of food truck fires and propane explosions, but as of now NFPA codes and standards are silent about these truck and safety regulations.

In the Podcast, Wilmot, the NFPA staff liaison for NFPA 96, Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations, talks about the problem, as well as the discussions underway at NFPA to address this issue. If you’re interested in learning even more, read the article “All Up in Our Grill,” in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal, which highlights the Chicago Fire Department’s robust fire safety permitting process for food trucks, as well as takes from leading food truck organizations.

To make sure you don’t miss an episode, please subscribe to NFPA Journal Podcast on iTunes. You can also listen to the episode directly on your computer.

Are we really approaching the last week of June already?! Wow. I'm sure for most of you, you're putting your finishing touches on your work for C&E, and I'm sure everyone is excited! For me, I'm mentally preparing for the bitter-sweetness of approaching my last week here at NFPA. Although I was very (very,very, VERY) happy to say goodbye to the dreadful winter we had, and what was the worst commute of my life (3 1/2 hours to and from Boston), I'm very sad that now I have to say goodbye to everybody here. 

My future plans after NFPA? Well, I will be spending July 4th week home with my family and friends on Long Island (pronounced lawn-guyland), New York, and will be back returning back to Boston to begin summer classes on July 6 at Northeastern University. After that, I enter my senior year, and in May 2016, I'll be graduating with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Journalism with a minor in Oratory and Public Speaking. After graduation, as a congratulations gift to myself, I plan to finally take a trip I have been itching to go on - Birthright! Then comes the oh-so-fun job searching...

I want to take this time to thank ALL of you here at NFPA for welcoming me with open arms. For my first internship, I would say I got pretty lucky with this one. It isn't often you come across an organization filled with fun, enthusiastic, passionate people who enjoy coming to work and enjoy doing what they do. So, thank you for this wonderful experience!!

I cannot thank the Public Affairs department enough for their continuous support and encouragement since my first day, and of course all those in other departments who I've gotten to know. It has been such a pleasure working here, and I certainly learned a lot. I will now and forever be that annoying roommate who will nit-pick all the things my roommates are doing wrong when it comes to cooking in the kitchen, lighting candles, using up ALL the outlets of our extension cords, the list goes on. But they can definitely rest assured knowing our smoke alarms are working and being tested once a month. I hope this is not the last I see of NFPA, I certainly intend to visit at some point. According to my good friend Don Bliss, I hear Christmas time is a hoot!

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