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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. 



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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>



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