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Judy presenting 2
Judy Comoletti, manager of NFPA's public education division, is attended by Detroit Fire Department's Captain Christopher Dixon (left) and Detroit Fire Commissioner Edsel Jenkins (right) as she teaches students about smoke alarms.

NFPA's 8th annual Fire Prevention Week campaign with Domino’s officially kicked off yesterday at the Detroit Fire Department’s Fire Engine 27, where 75 second graders from Detroit’s Mayberry Elementary School were treated to fire safety lessons supporting this year’s theme, “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm”, along with a visit from Sparky the Fire Dog® and a pizza party. The event culminated in a send-off of the Detroit Fire Department and Domino’s, who made the first smoke alarm check and pizza delivery to a local family.

The festivities received quite a bit of local media attention, too, including live interviews with Detroit’s FOX news affiliate throughout the morning.

Judy interviewed by FOX

As a quick reminder, here’s how the campaign works: Customers who order from participating Domino’s stores during Fire Prevention Week will be randomly selected to have their delivery arrive from the local fire aboard a fire engine. If the smoke alarms in the home are working, the pizza is free. If they’re not working, the firefighters will replace the batteries or install fully-functioning alarms.

Pizza delivered to family

A huge thanks to all the fire departments that work with local Domino’s to locally implement the campaign each year. It’s a fun, engaging way to educate residents about smoke alarm safety and make families safer from fire, and we truly appreciate your participation!

Nancy Pearce is the staff liaison to the NFPA 350 Technical Committee and for more than two years she has been working on this document which has the following scope:

“This guide is intended to protect workers who enter into confined spaces for inspection or testing or to perform associated work from death and from life threatening and other injuries or illnesses and to protect facilities, equipment, non–confined space personnel, and the public from injuries associated with confined space incidents.”

I had a few minutes to talk to Nancy about the history, timeline and importance of NFPA 350.

Q: Why is NFPA 350 so important?  A: There are still almost 100 workers killed each year in confined spaces in the United States. Confined spaces can be found in many facilities and workplaces so unless they are identified and confined space entry procedure developed, these spaces will continue to be “ticking time bombs” that under the right conditions can kill an unsuspecting worker. 

Q: What was the timeline of the creation of NFPA 350? A: First meeting of the committee held Sept 2012.  Preliminary draft to Standards Council for approval August 2013. Out for public input until January 2014. First draft meeting held April 2014.  Out for comment until November 2014.  Second draft meeting held April 2015.  Open for NITMAMS until August 21, 2015. No NITMAMS so will be released this November.   

Q: Who are the people that NFPA 350 will help?  A: Ultimately the people who go into those spaces will benefit if their employer follows OSHA regulations and uses NFPA 350 to help them comply with those regulations.  But will help those using OSHA regulations-supplements and supports, provides guidance and how-to’s and goes beyond minimums which will help improve worker safety. 

Q: What is the difference between OSHA requirements and NFPA 350? Or in other words, how does NFPA 350 bridge the gap between OSHA? A: NFPA bridges the gap between performance based minimum confined space entry standards by providing some of the “how to’s” and best practices for activities such as hazard identification and control, gas monitoring and ventilation. It also starts to define competencies for those involved in confined space entry and encourages the use of management of change and prevention through design to get to the core of many confined space entry challenges.

Q: What has been your most challenging moment in working with the technical committee? What has been the most rewarding thing in dealing with the technical committee?

A: Most challenging-discussion about how to “fix” and simplify some of the language in OSHA standards. For more than 20 years the term “permit-required confined space” has been used yet it continues to create confusion. The most rewarding was when we figured out how to simplify the language without conflicting with existing standards.  

Nancy went on to say “Confined space entry is a real passionate subject for me.  To have an opportunity to impact confined space safety and to go beyond the minimums is something I would not have envisioned and is the most rewarding and impactful project I have worked on in my 30 (plus) year career as a safety professional. We still have work to do but the committee is just as passionate as I am and we are determined to continue to improve and add to the document as we revise it over the next few cycles.”

Nancy will be hosting a live, online training event on October 28, 2015 from 11 am to 1 pm EDT on the subject of “What’s New in Confined Space Entry.” Click here for more information or to register.

What’s New in Confined Space Entry Live Online Training


A code is a code, not a design manual, says Wayne Moore, vice-president at the fire protection engineering firm of Jensen Hughes. In this case, the code is NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, which contains the minimum requirements necessary to install a reliable fire alarm system. However, it does not include all of the information a fire alarm systems design engineer must know and use.

“A qualified fire alarm systems design engineer should know the code’s requirements and alternatives, know and understand basic acoustical principles, and apply common sense,” says Moore. “The code provides guidance, but no one intended it to serve as a design manual.”

Generally, the NFPA technical committees that develop NFPA’s codes and standards try to address most of the situations that those in the field will encounter, but they cannot address every issue that may arise. Rather, they expect that qualifieds individual will design the appropriate systems the codes cover and define the qualifications of both the system designer and the installer.

For more on this subject, read Moore’s column “Think for Yourself” in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal.

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


At NFPA, we realize that many teachers have difficulty finding the right fire-safety materials for different grade levels, says Amy LeBeau, senior project manager in NFPA’s Public Education Division. As a result, we launched a school outreach program that focuses on a blended-learning approach using interactive apps and lesson plans that feature targeted fire-safety messages. We encourage fire safety educators to incorporate digital learning tools into their fire prevention programs as part of this year’s activities for Fire Prevention Week, which runs from October 4 to 10.

One of these tools is Sparky’s® Brain Busters, a new single- or multi-player trivia app for classroom or the home that uses an interactive learning experience to assess the safety knowledge of third, fourth, and fifth graders. Another free app, The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms, is an interactive game that allows first, second, and third graders to solve a mystery while learning fire-safety skills. For children in pre-kindergarten through grade 2, a third interactive learning app, Sparky’s Birthday Surprise®, enhances the reading experience with fire-safety messages about what to do if a smoke alarm sounds, how to get out of the home safely, and how to choose an ou
tside meeting place.

Finally, we’ve published the Rescue Dogs, Firefighting Heroes, and Science Facts eBook, which helps reinforce fire-safety messages for students in Grades 2 through 5 while building their reading comprehension skills, fluency, vocabulary, and more.

For more information on these exciting apps, read Amy’s column “Making It Stick” in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal.

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

AmbulanceNFPA is firmly committed to maximizing the safety of EMS providers at all times, including when they ride in ambulances. This point was powerfully reinforced in a NIST article, which highlights that the latest guidelines for ambulance patient compartments have been incorporated into the 2016 edition of NFPA 1917, Standard for Automotive Ambulances, which went into effect on September 7, 2015.

These patient compartment guidelines were developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and its two federal partners, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The guidelines detail safety, efficiency and ergonomic improvements for patient compartment configuration.

“For the first time, we now have a voluntary consensus standard that includes testing and performance requirements from a crash perspective,” says Jennifer Marshall, homeland security program manager in NIST’s Special Programs Office.

As the roles of first responders have increasingly expanded, NFPA is well-versed in addressing the needs of the entire first responder community, whether they’re responding to an incident via fire apparatus or ambulance. The combination of extensive public input and comment, along with a balanced technical committee that has a tremendous breadth and depth of knowledge, experience and expertise, ensures that NFPA standards deliver the highest level of safety to all first responders, including EMS providers.

I applaud NIST, DHS S&T, and NIOSH for developing these important guidelines to ensure that research-based guidelines, where appropriate, become an integral part of standards like NFPA 1917, which directly impact EMS providers’ safety and ensure that all of our nation’s first responders - and those they care for - are a safe as possible.

The First Draft of NFPA 10 Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, 2017 edition, is open for public comment until November 16, 2015. Comments can be submitted through the NFPA website (

For this draft, the technical committee passed 64 revisions, including updated references and clarifications of existing requirements. The following revisions incorporate technical changes to the standard:


Section 4.2, FIRST REVISION NO. 8

The standard will recognize the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) for extinguishers sold and installed outside the United States. Previous editions referenced the Workplace Hazardous Materials Identification System (WHMIS) Reference Manual.

Committee’s Substantiation: Canada is replacing WHMIS with the UN's Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).


Section 4.4, FIRST REVISION NO. 71

All extinguishers manufactured prior to 1955 will be considered obsolete and be removed from service. Prior editions limited this to stored pressure extinguishers only.

Committee’s Substantiation: Extinguishers manufactured prior to 1955 are obsolete, were tested to an outdated standard, rated with an outdated rating system, are 60 years old or older, and do not have current manuals or OEM parts available. These extinguishers should be removed from service.


Section 4.4.1, FIRST REVISION NO. 19

All dry chemical stored-pressure extinguishers with an indicated manufacturing date of 1984 or prior will be removed from service immediately. The previous edition allowed them to be removed at the next six-year maintenance or hydrostatic test.

Committee’s Substantiation: All hydrotest dates have passed for stored pressure extinguishers manufactured prior to October, 1984, thus there is no reason to maintain this language.


Section 5.5.7, FIRST REVISION NO. 22

Guidance on selection of portable extinguishers for areas containing oxidizers has been expanded.

Committee’s Substantiation: The proposed change brings NFPA 10 in line with the 2013 edition of NFPA 400 Hazardous Materials Code. There are oxidizers that are incompatible with the application of water. Because the specific type of oxidizer, state of the material, and the quantity present can affect various extinguishment recommendations, referencing the material’s SDS is advisable.





The requirements for visibility of extinguishers and the means of indicating the location of a hidden extinguisher have been clarified and revised.

Committee’s Substantiation: As a minimum, signs or other means need to be provided to indicate the extinguisher location. Fire extinguisher signs are the preferred method for identifying extinguisher locations.



The means of hanging, mounting, and/or securing an extinguisher will be required to be listed or approved. Brackets will be required to have releasing straps or bands. Field-fabricated hangers and brackets will not be permitted.

Committee’s Substantiation: Text was added to help correct problems identified in the field for inappropriate installations.
Too often building occupants/owners believe an extinguisher can be placed in a general use cabinet along with other business storage. The revised text clarifies that the cabinet must be of an approved type.
The annex was revised to remove the specific construction description of a portable extinguisher stand.


Section (new), FIRST REVISION NO. 31

Only surface mounted cabinets or fire-rated cabinets shall be installed in 1-hour and 2-hour fire-resistance-rated walls.

Committee’s Substantiation: Only surface mounted cabinets or fire-rated cabinets which are specially constructed with gypsum board installed on the sides, top, bottom, and back and are intended to be installed in 1-hour and 2-hour fire-resistance-rated walls. Cabinets that are not fire-rated should not be installed in these walls as they would make the entire fire-rated wall non-compliant.

Bar JoistEarly suppression fast response (ESFR) sprinklers were developed to meet the demands of high challenge storage fire scenarios and are a common choice to protect warehouses. Many aspects of ESFR sprinklers are unique compared to standard spray sprinklers. Paramount to ESFR sprinkler performance is the ability of the sprinkler to provide large amounts of water, in a specific discharge pattern, to the fire source in the incipient phase of fire development. Obstruction of the sprinkler discharge pattern could greatly affect the ability of the ESFR sprinkler to achieve fire suppression.

Phase 1 of the Fire Protection Research Foundation's latest project was originally initiated to develop a tool that could be used to provide reliable analysis of the impact of obstructions on ESFR sprinkler performance. The tool and existing test data could also be used as a basis for the NFPA 13 Technical Committees to develop new requirements and guidance for ESFR sprinklers. This second phase implemented that test plan developed in the first phase. The testing in Phase 2 focused on open web bar joist obstructions and identified remaining knowledge gaps for future phases.

The objective of the Phase 2 research effort was to explore the threshold and tolerance of ESFR sprinklers to obstructions. This research utilized both intermediate scale testing and full-scale testing. Download the full report now, free of charge, "Obstruction and ESFR Sprinklers - Phase 2" (PDF, 20 MB), authored by Garner A. Palenske, P.E. and William N. Fletcher with Aon Fire Protection Engineering Corporation. 

Perspectives blog

College students get bombarded with information, stats and amenities from their schools when making their housing selections. Conspicuously missing from the material at most schools, however, is information about the dorm or campus housing’s fire suppression system. That could change across the nation under a new bill proposed by New York Rep. Steve Israel.

As he explains in an in-depth Q&A in the Perspectives feature in the all new September/October issue of NFPA Journal, Israel’s bill would require schools to inform students several times about whether their rooms have sprinklers. The schools would also be required to report information about bedroom sprinkler coverage to the government for tracking. Israel’s bill, as well as very similar legislation that passed in New York state in 2013, was inspired by a tragic fire at Marist College in 2012 where three students died in an unsprinklered off-campus apartment.

Read the interview with Israel in the Perspectives feature in the new NFPA Journal for more information about the bill and his thoughts on college fire safety.

Also, visit the website to find out more about NFPA’s new campus fire safety contest, campus fire stats, videos, a free tip sheet, and more. 



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 in fire history: firefighter dies in printing office fire





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At approximately 2:00 a.m., on Monday September 28, 1992, Denver fire fighters responded to a fire in a two-story print shop.  During the fire suppression operations in one Denver fire fighter died.   The victim was working by himself inside the fire building when he, apparently, encountered some type of difficulty.  He was able to reach a second-story window and shine his handlight through the window alerting other fire fighters who were outside.

A partially collapsed floor and intense fire within the building prevented potential rescuers from reaching the trapped fire fighter through the interior of the building.  Other fire fighters, laddered the building and entered the room where the trapped fire fighter was located.  Over a period of approximately 55 minutes, several rescuers attempted to remove the victim through a window; however, they were unsuccessful due to the confinement of the space in which they were working.  The fatally injured fire fighter was finally removed through a hole which fire fighters cut in a wall.

This fire highlights the importance of fire fighters remaining together during fire suppression and related operations.  This fire also reveals difficulties associated with rescue in confined spaces.


For the full NFPA&#0160;Fire Investigation report&#0160;To learn about NFPA&#39;s Fire Analysis and Research report on&#0160;Firefighter Fatalities and Injuries.</p>



New  York Sprinkler Initiative
A recent decision by the New York Fire Prevention and Building Code Council to not include a sprinkler requirement for new homes hasn't stopped fire officials from speaking out about this life-safety feature.

Despite the council's vote, the fire service and other safety advocates are planning on voicing the importance of such a requirement during New York's Department of State public-review process that precedes the new state building code becoming law. The department will finish the review process by early 2016, according to a story in the Watertown Daily News.

Regarding the code council's vote, "I'm disappointed they chose to put profitability of builders over safety," said Jerry DeLuca, executive and CEO of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs and member of the New York Sprinkler Initiative told the paper. 

Read more by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

ISEPThe International Code Council (ICC), NFPA, and ICC’s Solar Rating & Certification Corporation (ICC-SRCC) collaborated to publish the 2015 International Solar Energy Provisions and Commentary. Working together, we hoped for a helpful resource, as this new publication is the first of its kind to include solar energy code-related provisions, commentary and selected standards in a single, comprehensive place.

The book contains the complete solar energy-related provisions from the 2015 International Codes with corresponding commentary, plus NFPA 70: 2014 NEC National Electrical Code provisions related to solar energy and three important referenced standards from ICC-SRCC:

  • ICC-SRCC Standard 100 (Minimum Standards for Solar Thermal Collectors)
  • ICC-SRCC Standard 300 (Minimum Standards for Solar Water Heating Systems)
  • ICC-SRCC Standard 600 (Minimum Standards for Solar Thermal Concentrating Collectors)

This document will help code officials fulfill their responsibilities efficiently and assure code compliance for photovoltaic panels, solar water heating products and solar collectors. It empowers communities to meet their goals for alternative energy and also goes a long way in ensuring that solar energy is properly installed, maintained and handled during emergency situations.

The 2015 International Solar Energy Provisions and Commentary is available for purchase in hardcopy or PDF Download from ICC or NFPA.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) for NFPA 20Standard for the Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection, is being published for public review and comment:

Anyone may submit a comment on this proposed TIA by the November 20, 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.

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

  • Sparky’s Brain Busters, a free trivia–based app launched for Fire Prevention Week
  • New video featuring Casey Grant, Lessons from History: The Great Chicago Fire of 1871
  • Tip sheet highlights pets and fire safety
  • Lab safety tip sheet for teachers and students
  • NFPA’s educator web site gets redesign for Fire Prevention Week
  • Sparky hits the streets to find out about smoke alarms 

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.

In the Library, we get many requests for information about historic fires.  Recently we were asked to research the 1916 conflagration at Paris, Texas.


Paris, Texas is located about 100 miles north east of Dallas.  In 1916, it is estimated that the population was about 15,500.  The city was a local trading center, and as such had a larger business district than other cities of similar size and population.   The business district was closely built-up but the residential portions of the city were less so.  However practically all the homes had shingle roofs.   No rain had fallen in Paris for more than 7 weeks when the fire began.

The fire started about 5:30 pm on March 21, 1916 in a frame warehouse in a southwestern portion of the city.  Fire brands were lifted by the wind, which was estimated to be blowing at 35 miles per hour, and set fire to buildings several blocks away.  It is noted that in the early minutes of the fire, that occupants of buildings attempted to extinguish small roof fires with garden hoses and buckets of water to no avail, but that a few, determined in their efforts, succeeded in significantly narrowing the path of the fire.   By 7:00 pm however, the fire had advanced and aid from nearby Oklahoma and Texas towns and cities was requested.  By 10:00 pm the fire had spread in the business district and brands were lighting fires in the area north of the district.  By 3:30 am the following day, the fire was finally under control. 

The devastation was remarkable.  More than 264 acres were burned.  1440 buildings were lost, resulting in the destruction of most of the business district, several churches, schools and public buildings, and more than 700 homes. 

The NFPA report on the conflagration was prepared by State Fire Marshal and NFPA member S.W. Inglish.  He described the fire and the devastation: 

"The firemen were not able to hold the blaze to the first building being burned, for the reason that the brands carried by the high gale had set on fire buildings four, five, six and even ten blocks away and, in practically every instance, the fire started on the roof of the building.  These in turn, would send their burning brands on the wings of the wind to other buildings with shingle roofs until every dwelling on both the south and east sides of the business section was a seething, roaring, mass of flames; Paris1and notwithstanding the fact that the roofs of the business buildings had refused to take fire from the burning embers that had fallen upon them like a rain of hail for some time, when the half-circle of fire around the business district had closed in, the intense heat of the wind-driven flames and the flying brands and coals which were many inches deep in the streets, broke through the windows and doors, and when once an entrance was effected, the doom of the business section was sealed." Paris, Texas Conflagration, NFPA    The writer believed that had the roofs of the business district been of non-combustible material, that the Paris fire department alone could have held the blaze to the block in which it originated.    He also noted that the destruction in Paris was greater in its completeness and burned area than that of the Baltimore conflagration, at least in proportion to populations. 


The Charles S. Morgan Library supports the research activities and maintains the archive of NFPA.  In addition to the NFPA report which contains a map indicating the area burned in the conflagration, we have a copy of the NBFU Committee on Fire Prevention Report on the conflagration, which was the source of the images in this post. Learn more about the Library and Archives, our resources, and services.

Firefighter jackets 2

Between fighting fires and responding to other emergencies, fire fighter personal protective equipment (PPE) is exposed to a wide range of toxic chemicals, biological pathogens and other hazardous substances. It’s well recognized that these contaminant exposures can pose significant risks to fire fighters’ immediate and long-term health, with cancer topping the list of concerns. However, knowing if current or new cleaning procedures adequately remove contaminants from PPE has yet to be fully determined.

Meanwhile, incidents like the Ebola outbreak have reinforced that we also don’t know what it scientifically takes to remove air- and blood-borne pathogens that first responders come in contact with as well.

The Fire Protection Research Foundation (Research Foundation) recently received nearly $900,000 in Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) funding to find out. Over the next three years, the four-phase project will work to scientifically identify and establish procedures that measure how effectively cleaning processes remove a broad range of contaminants that fire fighter PPE is exposed to.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), among other project partners, will be working collaboratively with the Research Foundation on this project. To learn more, visit

FMGlobal_229-11(R)_300high resolution color
Thank you FM Global for participating in the 2015 NFPA Backyards & Beyond sponsorship program! We appreciate your continued support.

For 175 years, many of the world’s largest organizations have turned to FM Global to develop cost-effective property insurance and engineering solutions to protect their business operations from fire, natural disasters and other types of property risk. FM Global ranks #545 among FORTUNE magazine’s largest companies in America and is rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best and AA (Very Strong) by Fitch Ratings. The company has been named “Best Property Insurer in the World" by Euromoney magazine and “Best Global Property Insurer" by Global Finance magazine.

You can view the full list of exhibitors and sponsors who will be participating in the 2015 NFPA Backyards & Beyond event at

If you’re exhibiting in this year’s event and would like to learn more about the 2015 NFPA Backyards & Beyond sponsorship program and how you can get involved, please contact Laura Koski at 630.271.8226 or

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in Myrtle Beach!

Looking back blog
The Looking Back feature in the new September/October NFPA Journal didn’t have to look back too far to highlight the Centralia, Pennsylvania, coal mine fire. It’s actually still burning today, after more than 50 years.

The fire started at the Centralia town dump in May 1962, where burning trash lit an exposed coal seam at the mouth of a mine. For several years, the residents of Centralia didn’t seem to mind the fire burning beneath them. Many no longer had to shovel snow; some could even grow tomatoes year-round in the warm ground. But the honeymoon ended when residents began passing out from toxic gases, when the main road dropped eight feet and that time a fracture in the earth almost swallowed a boy.

Learn about suppression efforts, relocation efforts and the just ended legal fight between the government and some town residents to remain in the town despite the risks, all in the new 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.

Danger high voltageWhile NFPA 70E®, Electrical Safety in the Workplace®, is the standard for safe work practices, numerous installation requirements in NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC®), provide the means to implement those practices.

A number of proposed changes to the 2017 NEC that target the installer and maintainer community are part of an ongoing effort to promote safe work practices through installation rules. One of them calls for the provision of warning label at service equipment to provide the nominal system voltage and the arc-flash boundary, while the other expands the working space requirements for equipment rated 1,000 volts and less for electrical equipment installed in locations that are not at grade, floor, or platform level.

For more information on these proposals, read Jeff Sargent’s column “Ties that Bind” in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

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

Dr. Howard JP  and CG sign NIOSH MOU

From left to right: Director Dr. John Howard, President Jim Pauley and Executive Director Casey Grant sign MOU between NIOSH, NFPA and the Fire Protection Research Foundation, respectively

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Fire Protection Research Foundation (Research Foundation) - the research affiliate of NFPA, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today at NFPA headquarters in Quincy, MA. The signing represents the third agreement between the two organizations and an alliance that began some 10 years ago.

The MOU, which was signed by Jim Pauley, NFPA president, Casey Grant, executive director for the Research Foundation, and Dr. John Howard, director of NIOSH, solidifies the pathway for NFPA, the Research Foundation and NIOSH to continue working collaboratively on multiple projects and initiatives, particularly those that address fire fighter health and safety.

JP and JH shake hands

As an example of these ongoing collaborative activities, the Research Foundation is currently working in coordination with NIOSH on a comprehensive, four-phase research project to identify what procedures are needed to ensure optimum contaminant removal from fire fighter personal protective equipment (PPE).

“We are very excited for this opportunity to continue our partnership with NFPA and the Research Foundation,” said Dr. Howard. “Our nation relies on fire fighters to keep us safe from threats and today’s MOU helps to ensure that we can continue to work together on the important research to ensure their health and safety.”

Traditionally, fire museums in the United States and Canada have been operated by firefighters and fire buffs without museum backgrounds, but this is fast changing, says Lisa Braxton, associate project manager in NFPA’s Public Education Division.

Nowadays, fire museums offer multi-sensory learning experiences, emerging as valuable educational tools that weave fire safety education into the museum experience.

In an effort to maintain their relevance to contemporary audiences, many fire museums now try to immerse museum visitors in the firefighter experience by including interactive displays and organizing their collections of artifacts accordingly. They are developing membership programs and pursuing grants. At a time when many fire departments are cutting back on their public education programs because of budget constraints, fire museums are also aligning their programming with state educational learning standards to keep their goals compatible with those of teachers.

To see how fire museums across the country have transformed themselves from static presentations of historic artifacts to dynamic, hands-on, family-focused institutions, read Lisa’s article “Hands-On History” in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

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

Outreach blog
Finding the right age-appropriate fire-safety materials for different grade levels can be a challenge, so NFPA’s school outreach program has worked at developing a blended-learning approach through interactive apps and lesson plans, which encompass targeted fire-safety messaging.

In her column “Making It Stick,” in the new September/October issue of NFPA Journal, Amy LeBeau, a senior project manager in NFPA’s Public Education Division, discusses a number of new tools NFPA has developed to help kids learn more about fire safety. That includes a couple new fun apps, a children’s ebook, and more.

Learn all about these useful tools in the new 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.


In anticipation of Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, today we’re launching the third video in our “Smoke Alarm Smarts” series, which addresses smoke alarm replacement. As you’ll see, when Sparky the Fire Dog® randomly asked people how often they think smoke alarms in the home need to be replaced, he gets a lot of guesses in response.

We encourage all fire departments, fire safety educators and others to share this video on their social media platforms, websites and via email – it’s a quick, engaging way to reinforce a basic but vital message about smoke alarm safety: smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years.

(Tip: To figure out when the smoke alarms in your home need to be replaced, look on the back of the smoke alarm for the date of manufacture. Smoke alarms should be replaced 10 years from that date. Immediately replace any smoke alarm that does not respond properly when tested.)

For more information on Fire Prevention Week 2015 and this year’s theme, “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm”, visit








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On September 19, 1990 an early morning fire in a board and care occupancy in Bessemer, Alabama resulted in four fatalities.  Fortunately, eleven residents were evacuated by the prompt actions of a 16-year-old occupant.  An inadequate water supply for an installed residential sprinkler system resulted in the system not operating properly illustrating important code enforcement lessons.  Had the system been properly installed and adequate water been supplied, it's likely that no loss of life would have occurred.  


For the full NFPA&#0160;Fire Investigation report. To learn more about NFPA&#39;s Fire Analysis and Research statistical report&#0160;Structure Fires in Residential Board and Care Facilities.</p>



You may not know when or if you will have a fire in your home, when or if a member of your family will be stricken with a medical emergency or when and if your community will face a terrorist or other life threatening calamity; but what you do know is that you expect the first responders in your area to be there, be well trained and be properly equipped to deal with the situation.


This seems to have been lost on the author of a recent Washington Post piece that posed the question that if we have fewer fires today, why are there more firefighters. The author simplistically thought the answer should be that we need fewer firefighters and they should be volunteers. Here are a few reasons why that is the wrong conclusion.


While the number of career firefighters has been increasing, the number per 1,000 people has been steady.

The number of career firefighters has increased has the population size as increased.  In contrast, the number of volunteer firefighters per 1,000 people has been decreasing since 1986. One reason we have more career firefighters today is that volunteers are harder to find and keep. Increased training requirements, unpredictability of when an alarm will sound, not living in community and today’s lifestyle make it harder to keep and retain volunteers. But both career and volunteer firefighters are essential to public safety.


It’s not just the number of fires that describe the problem, but the severity of the fires.

Consider a few examples. Human losses of fire in the United States are among the highest per capita in the industrial world. Climate change and other factors are having a tremendous impact on wildland urban interface fires. These fires are happening in more places, more often and causing more loss. In addition to vehicle fires, we are experiencing a new generation of transportation related fires, such as train derailments carrying large amounts of Balkan crude, a phenomenon that was a rare occurrence only a few years ago. Fires are still fatal. The death rate per 1,000 home fires has not substantially changed since 1977. Today we see about 3,000 people die in fires each year. Loss from fires is actually increasing. NFPA research shows that the loss per structure fire was 35% higher in 2013 than in 1977 (adjusted for inflation).


The reality is our nation’s first responders are our first line of defense and our offense in ordinary and extraordinary situations.

The author gives only a terse mention of firefighters being asked to do more than fight fires. The complexity and range of incidents that firefighters are being asked to respond to continues to increase including EMS, HazMat incidents and other public needs, requiring specialized training and expertise.

It was just a week or so ago that the nation recalled the horrific tragedy of 9/11. It was a solemn reminder of all those who lost their lives on that day and how it changed our expectations about what we now rely on our first responders for. The Post piece misses the point.

Twitter_Chat_Graphic_Final 2

Get excited for community preparedness! Your favorite safety friends like our very own Sparky the Fire Dog, along with Smokey Bear, Lassie and others, will be participating in a live Twitter chat focused on preventing and preparing for hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes and more!

The ‘Safety Friends Unite for Preparedness’ Twitter chat takes place on September 22 at 3PM ET, don't forget to check it out using the hashtag #SafetyChat

This Twitter chat is part of FEMA's National Preparedness Month. “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” is the message emergency managers are sharing with people through the month of September.

Additionally, September 30 is National PrepareAthon! Day. You are encouraged to participate by doing a simple, specific action or activity to improve your preparedness and your family’s preparedness; or it can be something more elaborate that involves your neighborhood, your place of worship, your entire workplace or your community.

Visit or for more information on America’s PrepareAthon! You can find tools to stage your own emergency preparedness drills, as well as register any preparedness activities for you or your community.  

Esri logo
Thank you Esri for participating in the 2015 NFPA Backyards & Beyond sponsorship program! We appreciate your continued support.

Please visit Esri in booth 205 October 22-24 to learn more about their products and services.

GIS software from Esri enables search & rescue personnel to capture and create an integrated picture of information in the form of interactive maps and reports on the desktop, handheld, or in the emergency vehicle. GIS will help you unlock the spatial component of your valuable data and see your information from a new perspective. 

You can view the full list of exhibitors and sponsors who will be participating in the 2015 NFPA Backyards & Beyond event at

If you’re exhibiting in this year’s event and would like to learn more about the 2015 NFPA Backyards & Beyond sponsorship program and how you can get involved, please contact Laura Koski at 630.271.8226 or

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in Myrtle Beach!

Sprinkler blog
Despite its 400-plus pages. NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems, makes an admission that it does not, and never will, contain all of the answers to every question and every scenario encountered by its users.

To that end, sections 1.5 and 1.7 of NFPA 13 address equivalencies to the standard as a means of addressing new technology, alternative means and methods, and matters otherwise not provided for.

Matt Klaus, an NFPA principal fire protection engineer and staff liaison for NFPA 13, addresses these equivalencies and how they are meant to be used in his new In Compliance column “Other Means,” in the new September/October issue of NFPA Journal.

Learn more about this issue by reading Klaus’s column at

HarvardWhen the University of New Haven Fire Science Club (UNH) decided to host a national campaign and Campus Fire Safety Sweepstakes & Contest to raise awareness for fire safety on college campuses, they turned to The Center for Campus Fire Safety (the Center) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for statistics and resources that would engage college communities. UNH students developed a Facebook contest and made quick videos with key messages to call attention to September being Campus Fire Safety Month. The Center and NFPA provided fire safety questions to ask landlords and school officials, and videos, checklists, tip sheets, infographics and flyers for social media, college websites, dorms and common areas. A great partnership was born, a new collaborative effort is currently underway, and students are learning that proactive behavior will help address the 24 percent increase in dorm fires that occurred across the country from 2003-2013.

Domino’s and the American Burn Association Burn Prevention Committee also recognized that most college students, many living on their own for the first time, often don’t consider the fire safety implications of their housing choices. So, they, too, signed on to help stimulate interest and raise awareness for campus fire safety. Domino’s offered a popular college staple – pizza – to motivate students to enter the UNH Facebook contest and to learn more about preventing fire on campus. They will provide pizza parties for 50 to two sweepstakes winners and award an IPad mini 3 to the student whose paragraph submission best explains how they will keep themselves and their neighbors safe from campus fire. The ABA’s involvement underscores the importance of cultivating multi-agency partnerships with organizations that share consistent messages about fire safety. ABA’s partnership with UNH, NFPA, The Center and Domino’s ensures that the campus fire safety discussion extends beyond college settings to medical circles, burn communities and business influencers.

By joining forces to raise awareness for campus fire safety, The University of New Haven Fire Club, The Center for Campus Fire Safety, NFPA, Domino’s and the American Burn Association are showing the power of partnerships and the tremendous impact that organizations have when they collaborate on education, outreach and advocacy.

Several times every year, Lucien Deaton, manager of the Firewise Communities and Fire Adapted Communities Programs for NFPA, travels around the United States to meet those who use the programs to teach the public about the risk of wildfires.

In the current fiscal environment, he says, these partners are being asked to do more with less funding and smaller staffs, even as people continue to move into the wildland/urban interface. With state budgets for prevention and preparedness shrinking and the demand for investment in land management growing, we must help our partners ensure that they can apply the right resources to the landscape before it’s too late. 

Fortunately, advocating for prevention and preparedness through economic ups and downs is not foreign to NFPA or to local fire departments, state agencies, code officials, fire marshals, and residents.

“Our role, and that of Firewise,” he says in his column "The State of the States” in the latest issue of NFPA Journal, is to ensure the value of prevention and to advocate tirelessly for its adoption.”

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

Fire BreakThe September issue of Fire Break, NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division newsletter, is now available for viewing. Here’s what you’ll find in this month’s issue:

  • Information about TakeAction:  Empowering youth through new wildfire awareness campaign, which speaks to middle and high school students who want to help their neighborhoods better prepare for wildfire.
  • Year of Living Less Dangerously from Wildfire campaign: Residents embrace widlfire safety actions.
  • How-To Tips on incorporating Firewise principles.
  • Virtual workshop to focus on Firewise community days to be held on September 29 at 1:00 PM EST.

...and much more. We want to continue to share all of this great information with you, so don’t miss an issue! So subscribe today. It’s free! Just click here to add your e-mail address to our newsletter list.






!|src=|alt=Sept171984|style=width: 350px;|title=Sept171984|height=373! On Monday, September 17, 1984, at approximately 4:00 p.m., an explosion occurred in a cold storage warehouse building near Shreveport, Louisiana. The explosion occurred while two members of the Shreveport Fire Department&#39;s Hazardous Material Unit were attempting to isolate an anhydrous ammonia leak in a section of the building&#39;s refrigeration system.&#0160; Employees had earlier detected the leak and workers had begun repairs earlier in the day, but were unable to complete the repair due to the effects of the ammonia.
The force of the explosion raised the building's roof/ceiling assembly in the immediate area of the leak approximately one foot and severely damaged interior wall assemblies.  The initial explosion also resulted in a severe fire from the ignition of ordinary combustibles in the adjacent areas of the building.  The two fire fighters within the room of origin were severely burned when their protective clothing became ignited.  One fire fighter died within 36 hours of the explosion; the other fire fighter was admitted to a hospital in critical condition.

Based on the investigative study, the following are considered to be major contributing factors to the loss of life in this incident:

     •     The ignition of a flammable mixture of anhydrous ammonia gas during the

             emergency scene operation,

    •     The lack of proper precautions by workers to reduce the possibility of a hazardous

             accumulation of  ammonia gas, and

    •     The lack of awareness by fire fighters that the conditions for a hazardous accumulation of

             flammable anhydrous ammonia gas were present.


For Full NFPA Fire Investigation report. &#0160;To learn more about NFPA&#39;s Fire Analysis and Research report&#0160;Firefighter Fatalities in the United States</p>



!|src=|alt=Pam Elliott|style=width: 550px;|title=Pam Elliott|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a01b7c7aee75c970b01b7c7cf387a970b img-responsive!

Burn survivor Pam Elliott speaking at the November 2014 Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit

While many states are expanding the requirements for Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs), North Carolina may stand pat with state requirements. On Tuesday, Pam Elliott, an advocate of the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, stepped up to the plate to deliver a powerful testimony to the North Carolina Building Code Council.


“You’re talking about people’s lives and of course the most vulnerable in a fire are infants, children, the elderly and the physically and mentally disabled, so it is the job of a committee like this to protect the public, not expose them to more harm by decreasing safety standards,” she told Gloria Rodriguez of Raleigh’s ABC11.


Burned in a house fire at the age of five, Elliott has been an outspoken advocate for fire prevention standards, penning op-eds and speaking at the 2014 Home Fire Sprinkler Summit, among other things.

Elliott emphasized to the Council the tremendous hardships she has experienced first-hand physically, mentally and financially, detailing painful years of skin grafting, rejections and ill-treatment based on physical appearance, and millions of dollars spent on medical procedures. She said that the costs of requiring full-home AFCIs are minimal when compared to the life-long damages caused by electrical fires, and that safety should be the number one priority.

AFCIs guard against electrical fires by shutting down electrical systems when issues are detected. The current code adopted in North Carolina do not require them in kitchens or laundry rooms, but the proposed expansion would require them throughout the house, drawing cost concerns from builders. The current 2014 National Electrical Code (NEC), which is what is being reviewed by the Building Code Council, does require AFCI protection in these spaces.

According to Jeffrey Sargent, NFPA’s electrical code specialist for the New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern regions, the net retail cost for AFCIs is $30-35 per breaker greater than the suggested retail cost of the standard circuit breaker. The number of breakers the NEC requires depends on the square footage of the house as well as the number of fixed appliances.


For Pam Elliott’s full story, check out her feature in the November/December 2014 issue of +NFPA Journal+.</p>

Catastrophic blog

In March, a gas explosion and fire involving two mixed-occupancy buildings in New York killed eight people and injured 61. PHOTO: Anthony Behar/Sipa USA

Last year firefighters responded to an estimated 1,298,000 fires in the United States. Twenty-four of these fires were categorized as catastrophic multiple-death fires, defined as fires or explosions in residences that result in five or more fire-related deaths, or fires or explosions in all other structures and outside of structures, such as wildfires and vehicle fires, that claim three or more lives.

The new September/October issue of NFPA Journal includes a detailed look at the 2014 U.S. Catastrophic Fire Report compiled by NFPA’s Fire Analysis and Research Division. The article includes a synopsis of the statistics, as well as the conditions and circumstances behind these tragedies.

These 24 fires killed 128 people, and accounted for 0.002 percent of the total estimated fires and 3.9 percent of the total fire deaths in the U.S. in 2014. By comparison, there were 20 catastrophic multiple-death fires in 2013, resulting in the deaths of 122 people, including 28 children under age six.

To learn much more about these events read the new NFPA Journal, and to read the full report, 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.


Every U.S. fire department needs to fill out the 2015 U.S. Needs Assessment survey, and here’s why:

The U.S. Needs Assessment survey asks fire departments where you’re meeting the needs of your communities and where there are gaps in the service you provide. The U.S. Congress and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) rely on that feedback to help determine where the nation’s fire service funding should be allocated.  This presents a unique, powerful opportunity to show where you need help, and to get the support you need.

The survey can also be used to compare your fire department’s resources to those of others with comparable demographics and populations. This can be extremely helpful when showing local legislators and officials where you’re meeting your community’s needs, and where you may be lagging behind.

But the survey is only as good as the data provided by fire departments. Simply put, the higher the participation rate, the better and more accurate a picture the survey will paint about the true challenges the nation’s fire service is facing today – and will likely face in the years ahead.

So make sure to fill out the 2015 Needs Assessment survey as soon as you can! It’s available online for the first time, making it easier than ever to fill out and return. The fire chief of each fire department (or an assigned designee) is asked to fill it out. We’ve also mailed out a print version (as we’ve done for the previous three surveys).

Learn more about NFPA's U.S. Needs Assessment survey initiative, which began in 2001, and see why it’s worth ALL fire departments’ time and effort to complete.

Local fire departments are critical to the success of Fire Prevention Week - we count on their participation and support each year to reach local communities with the campaign's fire safety messages.

FPW Challenge 2015

In appreciation of those efforts, we’re kicking off the Fire Prevention Week 2015 Challenge, which works to recognize the hard work and creativity of fire departments that are actively promoting Fire Prevention Week in their communities this fall.

Here’s how the Fire Prevention Week 2015 Challenge works: All U.S. fire departments are invited to send NFPA a picture of an event they’ve hosted in support of Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme, “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm.” Pictures can be submitted for an event a fire department has held anytime between now and October 31, 2015. The application is available online at

Participating in the Challenge activity also fulfills the requirements of the Federal Emergency Management Association’s (FEMA) Preparathon!® campaign, which works to increase the number of Americans who understand the disasters most relevant their community, while educating them on ways to be safer and mitigate damage.

A total of 10 winners will be randomly selected to receive a free NFPA Fire Safety Sports Box (valued at $420), which includes:

  • Sparky®'s Team Up For Fire Safety Flag (4' x 6')
  • 1 Fire Safety Activities for your Team Sports Brochure (11" x 17" folds to 8.5" x 11", 4-color)
  • 100 All-Star Fire Safety Brochures
  • 100 Sparky's Team Up for Fire Safety Soft Slap Bracelets
  • 100 Sparky's Team Up for Fire Safety Drawstring Sports Bags
  • 100 Sparky's Team Up for Fire Safety Tattoos
  • 100 Sparky's Team Up for Fire Safety Water Bottles (not intended for children under the age of five)

All winners will be notified and announced in November, and their events will be promoted on Safety Source, NFPA’s public education newsletter; NFPA’s social media platforms and website; and featured in a blog highlighting their efforts.

Fire chiefs from the U.S., U.K. and Canada met last week for NFPA’s Urban Fire Forum (UFF). Three important documents were endorsed by the group of attendees as official UFF-Metro Chiefs position papers, with the goal of using the latest research and best practices in fire response and preparation.

  • Warehouse Fires and Pre-Fire Planning – Emphasizes the importance of pre-fire planning for warehouses. FM Global research shows that in-rack sprinklers are the only way to prevent rapid spread of fire in rack storage. The sprinklers not only minimize the threat of spreading by pre-wetting areas in the path of fire, but also guard against possible roof collapse by cooling the UFFceiling. Effective planning requires the cooperation of multiple parties, and entails attention to several categories including building construction features, types of sprinklers, and size and location of underground mains.
  • -Fire Community Assessment Response Evaluation System (FireCARES) – Designed to assess community risk, structural hazards, and fire department response capabilities. This easy-to-use system encourages accurate and timely risk/resource assessment for planning and budgeting safety of the public and firefighters, and will assist decision-makers in evaluating how a fire department’s resources measure up to its needs.
  • -National Fire Operations Reporting System (N-FORS) – A user-friendly online tool for fire service data collection and analytics. This software will allow for the sharing of fast and accurate information which will assist fire service leaders in making the best decisions for response operations. N-FORS will be key in determining the best practices as well as the most effective and efficient allocations of resources.

“These position papers are critical resources for departments to use to apply the latest fire research and implement the best practices for usual and extraordinary circumstances,” said Russ Sanders, NFPA Metro Chiefs Executive Secretary and UFF coordinator.

For further information on these topics, please read the full documents.

Office Hours
 is a live, interactive, streaming video presentation for NFPA Members featuring NFPA technical staff discussing NFPA codes and standards. Tune in September 17th at 2:00pm EDT for the next episode. In this month's event, join Gregory Harrington, NFPA Principal Fire Protection Engineer, as he discusses key changes to the 2015 edition of NFPA 1, Fire Code, including:

  • New mandatory requirements for fire hydrant locations and distribution
  • Inspection and maintenance of combustible dust equipment and facilities
  • Fire alarm system requirements overhauled
  • And more!

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

It is comforting to know that new, code-compliant buildings offer occupants, regardless of their mobility issues, safe egress systems, says Ron Coté, principal life safety engineer at NFPA.

In buildings that are fully protected by an approved, supervised sprinkler system, provisions of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, permit a floor to serve as an area of refuge, even if it does not have special fire-rated or smoke-resistant barriers. The area may become smoky and potentially frightening to someone who remains behind when most others have evacuated, but the area should not be endangering.

NFPA 101 also requires the area of refuge in a sprinklered building to have a two-way communication system between each elevator landing and the fire command center or a central control point approved by the authority having jurisdiction, an additional feature not required by the other accessibility documents.

For more information on accessibility provisions in NFPA 101, read Ron’s column “And Egress for All” in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

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

Podcast logo
Dust explosions have always been considered an industrial danger, certainly not something to worry about at a concert or celebration. That perception was forever changed in June, when a cloud of colored cornstarch dust exploded at a packed concert in New Taipei, Taiwan. The explosion sent a giant fireball through the crowd, burning hundreds of people and killing at least 11.

The unprecedented explosion, it’s aftermath and NFPA’s response is the subject of an article “Powder Keg” in the new September/October issue of NFPA Journal. It is also the subject of a new NFPA Journal podcast, “Dust Explosions and Color Runs," released last week on iTunes.

On the new podcast, Guy Colonna, NFPA’s division manager of Industrial and Chemical Engineering, speaks to host Jesse Roman about how the dust explosion in Taiwan may have occurred, and what NFPA codes and standards could be used to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again. Colonna also offers advice to public safety officials in communities that might be hosting or thinking of hosting similar events involving powder, including “color runs”—fun-runs where participants have colored powder thrown on them—as well as Holi festivals, where revelers throw colored powder into the air.

Learn more about the tragedy and the science of dust explosions in the new NFPA Journal and the NFPA Journal Podcast, which can be downloaded at iTunes, or played from your computer


People may have as little as one to two minutes to safely escape a home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds. That’s information everyone should know. Unfortunately, not everyone does. As you’ll see in this "Smoke Alarm Smarts” video – the second in our weekly series of four leading up to Fire Prevention Week – when Sparky the Fire Dog® asks people how long they have to safely escape a home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds, he gets lots of different answers.

As Fire Prevention Week fast-approaches, we’re working to promote basic but vital smoke alarm messages. Please help us spread the word by sharing this video on your website and/or social media.

For more information on Fire Prevention Week 2015, October 4-10, and this year’s theme, “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm”, visit

Door barrier blogShaken by gun violence, more schools around the country are purchasing after market classroom door barricades that attach to the inside of the door, making it next to impossible to enter from the outside during an active shooter event. That’s good news if the sole aim is to keep a bad guy out. But what if the bad guy is already inside a classroom and it’s police or firefighters who can’t get in? What if kids are inside a classroom in lockdown while a fire is set and they need to get out?  

This emerging issue is explored in the ‘In a Flash’ section of the new September/October issue of NFPA Journal. The article, “What Price Security,” details NFPA’s efforts to strike a better balance between school security and fire and life safety in existing codes and standards such as NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®. To pave the path forward, NFPA held a two-day “School Safety, Codes and Security Workshop” in Maryland last December, bringing together about 70 stakeholders, including firefighters, police officers, architects, security experts, school officials, code enforcers, building managers, and more. A link to the full report from the workshop can be found in the new article.

“What Price Security” also details the controversy with these classroom door barriers in Ohio, where the state legislature passed legislation making it illegal to ban the devices in the state fire code. The law overruled the Ohio Board of Building Standards, which released a detailed report against allowing the door barricades. 

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.

CalgaryfireSusan Strasberg, the youngest actress to star on Broadway and enjoy marquee exposure when she played the lead role in Diary of Ann Frank in 1955 at age 18, once said about her grandparents, “I loved their home. Everything smelled older, worn but safe; the food aroma baked itself into the furniture.

There is something about our grandparents’ homes that is comforting – not just for us but for our elderly loved ones, especially as they age. As we celebrate Grandparents Day on Sunday, September 13, think about your grandparents, the reassuring spaces they call home – and the many community champions out there that help our seniors to live safely in familiar territory as they age.

CalgaryseniorsFor instance in Calgary, Alberta – the City of Calgary Fire Department, Calgary Seniors and Calgary Meals on Wheels have teamed up to keep elderly residents safe in their homes, delivering fire safety and fall prevention messages via local presentations and home visits.  Devoted elderly advocates with the Calgary Fire Community Safety Division, Calgary Wheels on Meals and Calgary Seniors recently applied for – and were approved - to attend the 2015 Remembering When Scholarship Conference in Orlando, Florida in November. Remembering When is a Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults developed by NFPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Calgarymealsonwheels

Representatives from Calgary will join teams from across North America to learn how to implement the Remembering When fire and fall prevention program.  After the conference they will return to Calgary even more prepared to help older adults live safely at home for as long as possible. 

Thanks for looking out for the grandparents of Calgary. And to all the grandparents out there – enjoy your special day!


!|border=0|src=|alt=Residential fire|title=Residential fire|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1562c52970c image-full img-responsive!
Fire forced John Kor, his girlfriend, and others from Kor's home within minutes of noticing the flames. Finding a sense of normalcy after the incident won't be as brief.


Kor, 33, and those involved in the August 15 fire in Rapid City, South Dakota, are experiencing the aftermath felt my thousands of others across North America each year. In 2013 alone, there were more than 369,000 reported home structure fires that resulted 2,800 deaths, 12,000 injuries, and nearly $7 billion in direct property damage, according to NFPA.&#0160;An added component to this data is the excruciating pain of picking up the pieces after these tragedies.


Kor and the others home at the time at the fire weren&#39;t injured, but his home was badly damaged and deemed &quot;uninhabitable&quot; when the story first appeared in the +Rapid City Journal.+ &quot;We were able to get some clothes out of there, but a lot was lost,&quot; house guest Lonnie Weeg told the paper. Kor&#39;s girlfriend added that the experience has made her intimately aware of fire&#39;s fierceness. &quot;As soon as we got back to my house, we checked the fire detectors and changed things around a bit.&quot;


For more on this story and how a disaster volunteer is looking to limit these tragedies by pitching for home fire sprinklers, visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Do your legislators know you support home fire sprinklers? If not, take action

NFPA Standards in the Fall 2017 revision cycle are accepting Public Input through NFPA's online submission system. 

To submit Public Input using the online system, select the Standard from the list of NFPA codes and standards or search for any document available for public input using the search feature in the gray box. Once on the specific document information page, select "The next edition of this standard is now open for Public Input (formerly proposals)" to begin the process. The system shows any changes made by the submitter in legislative text.  You have the option of submitting the input right away or saving it for later completion before the closing date.

Review further instructions on how to use the online submission system

We are here to assist!  If you have any questions when using the online submission system, feel free to contact us by email or call 617-984-7242.

Some of the Fall 2017 revision cycle documents:

  • NFPA 12, Standard on Carbon Dioxide Extinguishing Systems
  • NFPA 33, Standard for Spray Application Using Flammable or Combustible Materials
  • NFPA 79, Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery
  • NFPA 92, Standard for Smoke Control Systems
  • NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations
  • NFPA 259, Standard Test Method for Potential Heat of Building Materials
  • NFPA 495, Explosive Materials Code
  • NFPA 505, Fire Safety Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks Including Type Designations, Areas of Use, Conversions, Maintenance, and Operations
  • NFPA 705, Recommended Practice for a Field Flame Test for Textiles and Films
  • NFPA 1001, Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1451, Standard for a Fire and Emergency Service Vehicle Operations Training Program
  • NFPA 1925, Standard on Marine Fire-Fighting Vessels
  • NFPA 1962, Standard for the Care, Use, Inspection, Service Testing, and Replacement of Fire Hose, Couplings, Nozzles, and Fire Hose Appliances
  • NFPA 1981, Standard on Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for Emergency Services
  • NFPA 2001, Standard on Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems

View the complete list of the Fall 2017 documents

The deadline for online submissions of public input for the Fall 2017 documents is January 7, 2016. 

Public input is a suggested revision to a proposed new or existing NFPA Standard submitted during the Input stage in accordance with Section 4.3 of the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards.

At its August 2015 meeting, the NFPA Standards Council considered the issuance of several proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs).  The following TIAs on NFPA 2, NFPA 13, NFPA 33, NFPA 111, NFPA 1221, NFPA 1917, and NFPA 1971 were issued by the Council:

TIAs issued on August 18, 2015 and incorporated into the NFPA Standard: 

  • NFPA 2, TIA 16-1, referencing 18.3.3, 2016 edition
  • NFPA 13, TIA 16-1, referencing, A. and A., 2016 edition
  • NFPA 13, TIA 16-2, referencing 2.3.1, 3.11.9, A.3.11.9,, A., A. and E.7, 2016 edition
  • NFPA 13, TIA 16-3, referencing, Figure, Figure,, 5.6.4, A.5.6 and Table A., 2016 edition
  • NFPA 13, TIA 16-4, referencing Tables A.5.6.3, A.5.6.4 and A., 2016 edition
  • NFPA 13, TIA 16-5, referencing Table, A. and Table, 2016 edition
  • NFPA 33, TIA 16-1, referencing C.2.1, 2016 edition
  • NFPA 1221, TIA 16-1, referencing 3.3.X (New), 8.6 (New), and new Corresponding Annex material, 2016 edition
  • NFPA 1917, TIA 16-1, referencing 2.3.6, 4.7.1, Figure,, 8.2.7, and 9.1.4, 2016 edition 

TIA issued on August 19, 2015 and incorporated into the NFPA Standard:

  • NFPA 111, TIA 16-1, referencing Table 4.2.2, 2016 edition

TIA issued on August 18, 2015.

  • NFPA 1971, TIA 13-5, referencing 6.4.8 and A.6.4.8, 2013 edition

Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) are amendments to an NFPA document processed in accordance with Section 5 of the Regulations Governing Committee Projects.They have not gone through the entire standards development process of being published in an ROP and ROC for review and comment. TIAs are effective only between editions of the document. A TIA automatically becomes a proposal for the next edition of the document, as such is then subject to all of the procedures of the standards development process.  TIAs are published in NFPA News, NFCSS, and any further distribution of the document after being issued by the Standards Council.

Door barrier blogShaken by gun violence, more schools around the country are purchasing after market classroom door barricades that attach to the inside of the door, making it next to impossible to enter from the outside during an active shooter or other type of emergency event. That’s good news if the sole aim is to keep a bad guy out. But what if the bad guy is already inside a classroom and it’s police or firefighters who can’t get in? What if kids are inside a classroom in lockdown while a fire is set and they need to get out?

What do you think about the trend of more schools purchasing these barricades? How would you describe your view of school classroom door barricades?

Tell us your thoughts, take a new NFPA Journal online poll. Also, to learn more about this timely subject, read the article “What Price Security,” in the new September/October issue of NFPA Journal

Take the poll today and let your voice be heard. To share additional thoughts on this subject, email

First responder blog

NFPA 1710, Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medicals Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments, requires specific times for the response of fire and emergency services. But, according to NFPA's Division Manager for Public Fire Ken Willette, some fire departments have recently been criticized by local media and public officials for how they interpret these requirements.

In Willette’s recent column in the new September/October issue of NFPA Journal, “How Fast is Fast Enough,” he sheds some light on the requirement, why it matters and how it should be followed.

“Draft a fire department organizational statement, be transparent if you modify your travel-time objectives, address any gaps posed by the increased times, and share all of it with the public early and often—not just at budget time,” he writes.

Read more in the new NFPA Journal, or at

According to NFPA’s new vision statement, the Association is “the leading global advocate for the elimination of death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and related hazards.” While the mention of economic loss is new, there’s nothing groundbreaking about the concept for NFPA, says Kathleen Almand, vice-president of Research at NFPA.

Almand notes that it became apparent that the cost of fire and fire protection occupies a more prominent place in conversations about fire safety during the research the Fire Protection Research Foundation did to prepare the Association’s new strategy. It also became clear that the cost of fire involves more than just the cost of fire department operations, sprinkler installation, and the like.

It also involves the cost of fire injuries and the environmental costs of fire. To that end, the Foundation investigated the impact of home fire sprinklers in reducing the cost of fire injuries, and completed a report, "The Environmental Impact of Fire," which it recently published online.

For more on the subject, read Almand’s column “Data Connection” in the new issue of NFPA Journal.

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

On September 9, 1989, the Seattle Fire Department responded to the report of a fire in a lumber warehouse.  On arrival, fire fighters found a large building with visible flames involving a 75 ft X 75 ft shed attached at the building's southwest corner.  The fire quickly became a multiple alarm fire.  A fire officer and a fire fighter who were in a smoky section of the main building became disoriented while looking for an area from which to attack the fire.  Several circumstances caused the fire fighters to separate as they attempted to leave the area.  The fire fighter was found and rescued by a fire fighter from another engine company, the officer was not able to escape; he died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The building, which was scheduled for demolition, was a heavy timber structure approximately 295 ft X 180 ft and had been abandoned for about two years.  The primary fuel was the structure; however, small amounts of combustible trash were scattered throughout the building.  The piping for several dry sprinkler systems was still in place.  Before this incident occurred, the main control valve for the water supply to all sprinkler systems had been shut off because one of the systems had been damaged.

The following factors appear to have contributed directly to the death of the fire officer:

    •     The inability of fire ground officers to account at all times for the location

            of all personnel;

    •     The actions of fire fighters that failed to conform to safe fire ground

            practices as recommended by the National Fire Protection Association and

            the International Fire Service Training Association, and as required by the

            Seattle Fire Department;

   •     The inadvertent use of the wrong radio channel by two disoriented fire

          fighters while attempting to let others on the scene know that they were in

          need of help.

For Full NFPA Fire Investigation report  To learn more about NFPA's Fire Analysis and Research report on  Firefighter Fatalities in the United States






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Fire during the night, caused by a 1/4-inch separation in a furnace chimney connector, destroyed the 30-room, three-story, wood-frame Sedgwick Hotel in Bath Maine, on September 9, 1973. Three men and a woman lost their lives; 18 others were injured, some seriously. Four of those with minor injuries were fire fighters. The 100-year-old hotel had no fire detection or alarm system and no sprinklers. The fire burned in concealed spaces an estimated 1 1/2 to 2 hours before breaking out into the lobby, where it was discovered by an occupant. The occupant saw a lobby couch on fire and, assuming that only the couch was burning, tried to smother the fire with his coat. Failing to put the fire out, he ran to a phone booth across the street and called the Fire Department at 4:13 a.m.

The fire occurred when carbonized wood in the tongue-and-groove wood ceiling for a boiler room ignited. The fire burned through the ceiling and entered the area between the wood joists. It then spread horizontally through joist channels and vertically through the hollow spaces of the non-firestopped walls. The fire burned into the lobby where it ignited the couch and was discovered.


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Download this March 1974 Fire Journal article. &#0160;To learn more about Fire Analysis and Research statiscal report on&#0160;Hotel and Motel Structure Fires</p>



NFPA 1911, Standard for the Inspection, Maintenance, Testing and Retirement of In-Service Automotive Fire Apparatus, states that fire apparatus tires must be replaced every seven years. With the upcoming edition of the standard now in cycle, the NFPA 1911 Technical Committee is recommending that this requirement remain unchanged.

FD tire close up-cloned

Not everyone agrees.

Some factions have noted that fire departments use their apparatus to different degrees, and that the level of wear on tear on tires varies based on the type of community a fire department serves. For example, an urban fire department may use its fire apparatus every day, while a rural department may only use its apparatus a handful of times within a year, making the requirement excessive for some fire departments, and adequate or possibly even too lax for others.

The NFPA 1911 Technical Committee published its First Draft Report on Monday, September 7, and will be accepting Public Comments through November 7.

What are your thoughts? Do you think NFPA 1911 should continue to require that fire apparatus tires should be replaced every 7 years? If so, why? If you think the requirement should be modified, what changes would you recommend? What are your reasons for making such changes?

As part of our ongoing Standards in Action campaign, we encourage firefighters to weigh in on issues like this that directly impact you and your department. Providing your perspectives and input through our technical process can directly influence NFPA’s standards. So provide your Public Comments on NFPA 1911 today - Your Voice Matters!


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At approximately 1:00 a.m. on September 8, 1990, a fire occurred at a fraternity house in Berkeley, California.  The fire killed three students and injured two others.  Local fire investigators determined that the fire started when a couch in the assembly room was ignited with a butane lighter.  The couch then ignited other combustibles in the room and the fire quickly spread through the building.  Fire protection equipment included fire extinguishers, fire hose cabinets, local fire alarm system with bells and manual pull stations, and single station, battery-operated smoke detectors in a few sleeping rooms.

The following factors significantly contributed to the loss of life and property in this fire:

    • Open stairways

    • Combustible interior finished throughout the building

    • Lack of compartmentation and occupancy separation with fire-rated construction

    • Lack of fire safety training and drills


NFPA members can download the full investigation report  for free, and all site visitors can download a summary of the investigation in Spanish .&#0160;&#0160;



21113The Second Draft Report for NFPA 211, Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel-Burning Appliances, is now available. NFPA 211 is in the Fall 2015 revision cycle but the Second Draft Report was delayed due to balloting.

As such, a revised deadline to submit a Notice of Intent to Make a Motion on this document is October 3, 2015.

The First Draft Reports for NFPA documents in the Fall 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 on any of these documents is November 16, 2015. Some of the proposed NFPA documents with First Draft Reports in the Fall 2016 revision cycle are as follows:

  • NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers
  • NFPA 17, Standard for Dry Chemical Extinguishing Systems
  • NFPA 18, Standard on Wetting Agents
  • NFPA 56, Standard for Fire and Explosion Prevention During Cleaning and Purging of Flammable Gas Piping Systems
  • NFPA 96, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations
  • NFPA 288, Standard Methods of Fire Tests of Horizontal Fire Door Assemblies Installed in Horizontal Fire Resistance-Rated Assemblies
  • NFPA 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations
  • NFPA 1072, Standard for Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Emergency Response Personnel Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1616, Standard for Mass Evacuation and Sheltering
  • NFPA 1670, Standard on Operations and Training for Technical Search and Rescue Incidents
  • NFPA 1986, Standard on Respiratory Protection Equipment for Technical and Tactical Operations
  • NFPA 1992, Standard on Liquid Splash-Protective Ensembles and Clothing for Hazardous Materials Emergencies

See the full list of documents in the Fall 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.


!|src=|alt=Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb086ee961970d img-responsive!The nonprofit&#0160;Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC)&#0160;and NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative are teaming up to recognize outstanding local efforts by an advocate who diligently promotes the importance of home fire sprinklers.


The Bringing Safety Home Award honors members of the fire service and other sprinkler advocates who use&#0160;HFSC&#0160;and&#0160;Fire Sprinkler Initiative resources&#0160;as a key component in educating decision-makers on fire sprinklers and convincing them to support sprinkler requirements at the local, state, or province level.

The award recipient will be honored at NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative Summit, October 13-14, 2015, in Phoenix. NFPA will cover the recipient’s travel and lodging expenses for the trip.


Download the nominee application form from the Fire Sprinkler Initiative website&#0160;and submit it to by Thursday, September 10, 2015.&#0160;

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Do your legislators know you support home fire sprinklers? If not, take action


How smart is the general public about smoke alarms? That’s what we wanted to find out!

In support of this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm”, we sent Sparky the Fire Dog® out on the street to ask people basic questions about smoke alarms.

In this “Smoke Alarm Smarts” video - the first in a series of four - see what people know (and don’t) about smoke alarms. This clip addresses how often smoke alarms should be tested; the upcoming videos will be posted weekly in anticipation of Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, 2015, each focusing on a specific smoke alarm message. 

Don’t be shy about using these videos! Share them on your social media platforms, post them on your website, or wherever you think you’ll reach the most people with their smoke alarm messages.

For more information on Fire Prevention Week or to find a wealth of resources for promoting the campaign in your community, visit






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A fire in a ninth-floor room of this 11-story high-rise hotel on September 8, 1974 destroyed the room and eventually involved the nearby elevator lobby on that floor.  A motel employee who attempted to extinguish the fire was killed.  Of significance in this fire was the delayed alarm and the failure of certain fire protection devices.  The equipment that did not perform properly were doors for the exit stairway, doors to guest rooms, standpipe system, and dampers in bathroom exhaust ducts.


For more information on this hotel fire&#0160;download this January 1975 Fire Journal article&#0160;To read Fire Analysis and Research statistical information on&#0160;High-Rise Building Fires</p>



NFPA News The September 2015 issue of NFPA News, our codes and standards newsletter, is now available.

In this issue:

  • Comments sought on Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) to NFPA 30B, NFPA 55, NFPA 59A, NFPA 80, and NFPA 105
  • NFPA 211 Second Draft Report available
  • National Electrical Code public comment closing date
  • NFPA news in brief
  • Research and Analysis Reports
  • 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 following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 30B, Code for the Manufacture and Storage of Aerosol Products, NFPA 55, Compressed Gases and Cryogenic Fluids Code, NFPA 59A, Standard for the Production, Storage, and Handling of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, and NFPA 105, Standard for Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives, are being published for public review and comment:

Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the October 16, 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.

Nuisance alarmsDuring the revision cycle for the 2010 edition of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, the Technical Committee on Single- and Multiple-Station Alarms and Household Fire Alarm Systems (SIG-HOU) focused renewed attention on nuisance alarms. Based on the information in the NFPA report "Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires" authored by Marty Ahrens, during the development of the 2013 edition of NFPA 72 the SIG-HOU Technical Committee added several new provisions to Chapter 29 to further reduce nuisance alarms.

At present there is a lack of characterization of common nuisance sources for the development of new performance test protocols. Accordingly, the Foundation initiated a project to work toward characterizing common nuisance sources for the development of new test protocols to meet the NFPA 72 requirements. This Phase 2 project involved collecting data to characterize nuisance sources from cooking and steam/water mist and comparing the nuisance source data to existing fire test data.

Now, the full report from Phase 2, "Smoke Alarm Nuisance Source Characterization: Experimental Results" authored by Joshua B. Dinaburg and Dr. Daniel T. Gottuk, Ph.D. with Jensen Hughes, is available for download.


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If there&#39;s one myth fire sprinkler advocates hear ad nauseum, it&#39;s the one about fire sprinkler ordinances driving up housing costs and forcing homeowners to seek cheaper alternatives in neighboring communities or states. A recent article in +The New York Times+ notes this notion couldn&#39;t be further from the truth.

[California has been requiring sprinklers in new homes since 2011, |] and has not seen a negative impact on housing stock or affordability. In fact, as the story states, "there's a robust demand for housing." For a state that's expected to swell to 50 million people by 2050, protecting its growing population with this level of home protection aims to have a positive impact on reducing home fire deaths in decades to come.


Get all the facts by visiting NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Do your legislators know you support home fire sprinklers? If not, take action

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 3.57.39 PMAn up-close look at the problem of school science lab demonstrations gone wrong headlines the September/October issue of NFPA Journal, available online now.

The issue also includes summaries of the 2014 Catastrophic Multiple-Death Fires report and the 2014 Fire Loss report, as well as a variety of pieces on the theme of educational and cultural occupancies.

Our cover story, “Hey Kids, Watch This,” takes a detailed look at the problem of students and teachers who are burned and injured during school science lab demonstrations—incidents that occur far more frequently than you think. The story’s author, Andrew Minister, is chair of NFPA’s Technical Committee on Laboratories Using Chemicals, which oversees NFPA 45, Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals. The new edition of NFPA 45 includes a number of recommendations designed to minimize the hazards presented by science labs and demonstration spaces in schools, museums, and other educational settings. “By working together to implement these safety controls, we can protect our students from being seriously injured in the event of an accident involving flammable liquids or hazardous chemicals,” Minister writes, offering an assortment of harrowing examples of demonstrations gone awry. “There is no reason for students to be burned while watching science demonstrations.”

Our focus theme for the issue is educational and cultural occupancies, and our coverage includes “Hands-On History,” a feature on how fire museums—some 350 in the U.S. and Canada—are moving toward increased interactivity to draw broader audiences and offer fresh, dynamic takes on fire and fire history. In “Perspectives,” we have an interview with a member of Congress on a proposal that would require colleges to report sprinkler protection in all college-run student housing. Our “In A Flash” department leads off with a timely dispatch on schools’ efforts to improve security in the wake of shootings and other violent incidents—measures that may be compromising fire safety.

In "First Word," NFPA President Jim Pauley writes of his recent trip to Costa Rica, and how that country can serve as a model internationally for how to build a system of fire protection for its citizens.

Finally, if you don’t have your Journal app yet, go get it—versions for both Apple iOS and Android devices can be accessed by visiting our Journal apps page. They’re easy to use, look great on all of your mobile devices, and they’re free.






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On Tuesday, September 3, 1991, at approximately 8:15 a.m., a fire occurred at the Imperial Foods Processing Plant in Hamlet, North Carolina resulting in 25 fatalities and 54 injuries. The intense fire quickly spread products of combustion throughout the plant causing employees to search for available exits. Although many of the estimated 90 occupants escaped without incident, others found exterior doors unavailable and sought alternative means of escape. Not all of those who remained were able to be rescued, and many perished.

The National Fire Protection Association is cooperating with the Hamlet Fire Department and the North Carolina Department of Insurance - Fire and Rescue Services Division in documenting this incident. The purpose of this life safety evaluation was to determine significant factors and lessons learned that will assist the fire service, building and fire code officials, and other concerned parties in reducing the potential for such tragic losses of life.


For more information on this fire&#0160;NFPA Fire Investigations. To learn more about Fire Analysis and Research statistical data on&#0160;Fire in U.S. Industrial and Manufacturing Facilities</p>



NFPA public education Meredith Hawes spoke about electrical safety as part of her monthly guest spot on WTCM NewsTalk 580’s Safety Dance program. Hawes sat down with Christal Frost, host of the Traverse City, Mich. radio program, on July 24.

According to Hawes, electrical fires account for 70,000 American fires each year, resulting in 485 deaths and $868 million in property loss on average. Outler pic

Aging homes with aging wiring are particularly at risk. As insulation in electrical outlets erodes around wiring, a definite fire hazard is created. Additionally, arcing with connections that are not tight accounts for about half of the above statistics. In these instances, electrical current jumps gaps in a circuit, and causes power to come and go. If you see lights flickering or going on and off, this is an indicator of arcing, and a sign that you should call an electrician.

“What we’re really trying to drive home this morning is if you’ve got any of these issues, get an electrician in to take care of them,” said Hawes.

It is also important to keep these ideas in mind for newer homes, as they will be affected as time goes on. If concerns are raised, an inspection should be done by a professional.

“All homes will eventually be aging, so this is something you just need to be aware of,” she said.

CaptureAlso in the interview, Hawes covered several tips for guarding against electrical fires, including information on wattage of appliances, different types of outlets, where objects should and shouldn’t be plugged in and buying reliable products. She also stressed the importance of putting safety above cost concerns.

“Purchase what you can afford, the best you can afford, and when it comes to life safety of you and your family members, you really can’t put a cost on that.”

Listen to the full interview for more information on electrical safety in the home.

September is Campus Fire Safety Month and this year, NFPAThe Center for Campus Fire Safety (The Center), the University of New Haven Fire Science Club, (UNH) and Domino's are teaming up to host a national campaign and Campus Fire Safety Sweepstakes & Contest (Contest) that raises awareness of fire safety on college campuses.

The two-tiered Contest, which starts today, September 1, and runs through the 25th, can be found on the Campus Fire Safety for Students Facebook page and targets students currently enrolled in an institution of higher education. The Contest encourages students to put fire safety first, and provides a host of student, parent and fire safety educator resources that can be found at These materials focus on the dangers of candles and unattended cooking, in addition to highlighting smoke alarm education, evacuation plans and more. These resources have been designed for sharing via social media, on college websites, and for posting in dorms and on common area bulletin boards and include:

  • Fire safety questions to ask landlords and school officials
  • Videos
  • Checklists
  • Tips Sheets
  • Infographics and flyers

Students who complete the first tier of the Contest will be entered into a sweepstakes where two winners will be randomly selected to win a Domino's-sponsored pizza party for 50 of their friends. Students can also submit a 200-word paragraph about the steps they will take to help keep themselves and their peers safer from fire. One winner from the second-tier will be eligible to win an iPad mini 3! Read the complete rules and enter today!

According to NFPA statistics, fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities and student barracks increased 24 percent from 3,350 fires in 2003 to 4,160 fires in 2013. The Center states that from 2000 through October 2014, 126 students died in 89 fires on college campuses, in Greek housing, or in privately owned off-campus housing within three miles of the campus. Of those, 107 deaths occurred in fires in off-campus housing. At least four fatal off-campus fires have occurred this year, including deaths in South Dakota, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

With the start of the school year upon us, help us spread the word and raise fire safety awareness on college campuses starting with the students you love! Share our contest video and rules and visit NFPA's and The Center's webpage for everything you need to get the discussion going. 

Join the fire safety movement on college campuses in your area! Learn more today!

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