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One year after a deadly Philadelphia food truck explosion, two NFPA representatives spoke about food truck safety in a recent radio interview.

Christal Frost, host of a weekday show on WTCM NewsTalk 580 in Traverse City, Michigan, asked the pair about risk factors involved with the increasingly-popular mobile food vendors and what the NFPA is doing to address the issue. "Our goal this morning is not to incite fear and panic in the public with food trucks," said Meredith Hawes, an NFPA public education specialist, "but just to bring to light some of the safety concerns."

Jacqueline Wilmot, an NFPA fire protection engineer, Capture said that fuel sources on trucks are a risk factor. Tank connections can loosen while driving, leading to gas leaks. A basic cautionary step is to ensure connection points for fuel are properly connected and that there are no holes in the hoses. To check for possibles leaks, use a handheld detector or apply a light soap and water solution to the hoses. If it bubbles while propane is flowing, there is a leak. 

Food truck regulation and incident categorization are also issues, said Wilmot. Some places like Chicago have rigorous inspection processes, while others little or no regulation at all. Additionally, incident reporting is a gray area because they fall in a gap between restaurant and vehicle fires.

Wilmot is the staff liaison for NFPA 96, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations, which only minimally covers temporary cooking. While the NFPA continues to look at potential changes to codes, Wilmot and other members of NFPA 96's committee have been working on a food truck safety checklist to post online. "You don't want people to be scared of food trucks," she said, "it's just that they need to [take appropriate safety measures], because if you put propane on anything and didn't maintain it, it could be dangerous."

For a more in-depth look at the topic of food truck safety, read "All Up In Our Grill," a feature in the May/June 2015 issue of NFPA Journal. Also check out the related podcast featuring a conversation between Wilmot and Journal staff writer Jesse Roman. 

Listen to the full WTCM interview for more information about food truck fire safety, other risk factors and the status of possible changes to regulation standards and safety practices.

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire and to educate everyone about the importance of Fire Prevention. The Industrial Fire Protection Section(IFPS) Fire Prevention Week(FPW) award recognizes an IFPS member that uses the theme of FPW and educates their employees and involves the community in getting the word out about Fire Prevention. Applicants are judged on 4 different areas:

  1. Employee education
  2. Local outreach
  3. Creativity
  4. Promotional usage

For 2014, we had a number of strong admissions but 3 submissions stood out among the rest. One company edged out the other two and won 1st prize.  Here’s a quick summary of what McKee Foods and our other winners did to promote Fire Prevention Week:

McKee Foods

McKee Foods educated over 6,000 employees using a combination of media including in-house newsletters and airing spots on their closed circuit TV system. They also partnered with the Tri-State Mutual Aid association to deliver McKee Foods Products and home escape plans-----distributing over 50,000 cookies and 60,000 escape plans through 40 regionally located fire departments.


CVS Health-Honorable Mention

CVS donated 500 smoke alarms at 5 retail stores in New York City to draw attention to Fire Prevention Week. They also set up an information kiosk in each store, handing out FPW brochures, playing a Sparky the Fire Dog Video and answering questions from more than 56,000 customers that visited those stores during Fire Prevention Week.

IFPS Awards 2015 C&E CVS II
From L to R: Joan Paquet, Fire Protection Engineering Manager, Ford Motor Company and Chair of the IFPS Executive Board, Catherine St. Onge, Senior Advisor Corporate Safety, CVS, Dana Brainerd, Senior Manager, Environmental Health & Safety, CVS and Sean Ryan, NFPA

Draper Inc.-Honorable Mention

Draper Inc., headquartered in Spiceland, IN donated smoke detectors for low income housing in their area, organized fire extinguisher training for employees and worked with their local fire department to create a fire prevention awareness day at their local elementary school. One of Draper’s employees is a volunteer firefighter with access to the local fire department’s equipment so the kids got to learn about fire safety first hand by using hoses and navigating through a smoke room.


IFPS Awards 2015 C&E Draper
From L to R: Joan Paquet, Fire Protection Engineering Manager, Ford Motor Company and Chair of the IFPS Executive Board, Linda Brinson, Safety and Wellness Director, Draper Inc., and Sean Ryan, NFPA

FPW 2015

This year’s FPW theme is “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm.” We will send out entry information to all section members via e-mail and regular mail in August. The deadline for entries is December 15, 2015. We highly recommend you work with your Communications or Public Relations teams to organize a Fire Prevention Week program in October at your organization. If you start planning now, you can have a great program put together for October. For more information, contact Sean Ryan, IFPS Executive Secretary, at

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