An 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.