Skip navigation
All Places > NFPA Today > Blog > 2016 > February
2016

(Recounted by Casey Grant- Fire Protection Research Foundation Executive Director)

6a0111685e14d2970c01b8d1a5ac9d970c-200wi.png

 

On Friday evening (26/Feb) my wife Cathy and I attended the play “Inferno: Fire at the Cocoanut Grove 1942” at the Core Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts theatre complex. It was a great show and I was part of a post-show talk-back panel answering questions from the audience, along with former Boston Fire Department Commissioner Paul Christian and author Stephanie Schorow. Truly a unique experience!

 

Rich in content, the dialogue was fascinating and provided a realistic portrayal of this tragic disaster. It was a straight-forward production, and the solid cast provided a noteworthy representation of a wide span of colorful characters. Their monologues and multiple scenes effectively engaged the audience using a straight-forward set, centered primarily on the Grove’s nightclub atmosphere and related locations, before and after the fire.

 

Not only was the story accurate, but the post fire scenes stressed the significant advances that came from the tragedy. They gently but firmly emphasized that valuable lessons ultimately came about, and those who suffered did not do so in vain. The importance of the work of emergency responders and fire safety organizations like NFPA were mentioned more than once, as well as being prominently highlighted in the program.

 

For me, this was not just another show. Beyond the story itself, I felt like I was in a surreal reality, listening to voices and seeing the faces of people whose stories I had heard many times but could only imagine. Eerily, I’ve previously had conversations with some of the main characters in the play. These people survived and witnessed the fire but have since left this world, and seeing their characters again had a dreamlike quality.

 

Not long after I started at NFPA in 1988 I decided I wanted to write an article for NFPA Journal on something that was full of passion and non-technical. As I poked around on this thought, it became clear that touching on a historical event was a worthy and safe approach. But on what?

 

A little more digging, and I realized that a few years hence (i.e., 1992) would be the 50th anniversary of the famed Cocoanut Grove Fire, an incredible tragedy in the City of Boston that took 492 lives and left a deep scar on the fire safety landscape.

 

Published in the May/June 1991 edition of NFPA Journal as “The Last Dance at the Cocoanut Grove”, I constructed the story around the personal eyewitness testimony of survivors and participants. Locating these individuals prior to the 50th anniversary (in 1992) required significant investigative work. Today, all have now passed from this world to the next.

 

I allowed the story to be told by the following five participants in the event: Hewson Gray, a patron that survived with his wife Hilde; Daniel Weiss, a bartender in the Melody Lounge; Red Graney of the Boston Fire Department and on one of the first arriving units that stumbled on the fire while at a nearby car fire; Dr Francis Moore who was in charge of the emergency room at Mass General Hospital that fateful evening; and John Collins with the US Navy that responded with other military units. I interviewed each of them, and they told me their stories, and I simply packaged them together. In the play, three of these characters came back to life: Hewson Gray, Daniel Weiss, and Red Graney. Very, very strange indeed.

 

“Inferno: Fire at the Cocoanut Grove 1942” will have a six-week run, from February 24 to April 3. The Core Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts theatre complex is located at 539 Tremont Street, Boston. With a parking garage underneath the complex and plenty of great restaurants in the complex and nearby, it makes a great evening out.

 

The production was written and directed by James Hansen Prince, a Texas playwright-actor-director. His connection is a personal one, with a relative from his wife’s family lost in the disaster, and one of the play’s characters. This is considered the first theatrical production about the devastating nightclub blaze, and it’s intended as a tribute to never forget. Significant advances have been linked to this disaster, and this play allows us to reflect on the somber thought that those who died and those who suffered did not do so in vain.

 

I highly recommend it.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1a4bc10970c-550wi.jpg

We are hiring! NFPA has an opening for a Fire Protection Engineer in our Quincy, MA headquarters. Our new Fire Protection Engineer will independently manage technical projects including technical committee work, product development, and association activities. The ideal candidate will serve as a technical project manager for assigned technical committees and support technical inquiries, and external organization interests.

 

Principal responsibilities will include assisting in the processing of NFPA Building Code, Life Safety Code, Building Construction, Manufactured Housing, Fire Test, Smoke Management and other related codes and standards; serving as staff liaison to technical committees, as assigned; assisting in the preparation, editing, and production of documents, as assigned as well as assisting in the review of books and other publications, author and edit materials to be included in the Association's publications including online content and membership magazine, instruct at Association seminars and workshops and more. Take a look at the complete listing of responsibilities and apply through our website.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1a4707e970c-800wi.jpg

The following commentary was written by Joshua Carson, fire marshal for the Elko Fire Department in Nevada:

With progressive campaign slogans like “Make America Great Again," “Reigniting the Promise in America," “America Needs a Champion,” “A New American Century,” and “A Political Revolution is Coming”, one can expect an exciting presidential race.

The 2016 election brings ideas of hope and positive change within our individual lives, our country, and the world as a whole. It also brings hope that our new Commander in Chief will provide guidance and institute change on home fire sprinklers.

There are many topics that are debated on a national scale during a presidential campaign. Veteran support, military, immigration, terrorism, healthcare, economy--all of which are worthy and necessary topics of debate. Where do home fire sprinklers fit in?

According to statistics from NFPA and the Insurance Information Institute, property and lives lost from fire in the U.S. continue to be a major problem. NFPA tells us that fire departments responded to more than 367,000 home fires in 2014, resulting in:

  • more than 2,700 civilian fire deaths, or 84 percent of all fire deaths in the U.S.
  • close to 12,000 civilian fire injuries, or 75 percent of all civilian fire injuries
  • nearly $7 billion in direct property damage

Of the top 10 most catastrophic multiple fire deaths that occurred in 2014, three of the 10 occurred in single-family homes. To put these numbers into perspective, the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 was the most catastrophic multiple-death fire in U.S. history, accounting for close to 3,000 deaths.

6a01bb08a9454e970d01bb08bef65e970d-500wi.png

Last fall, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) announced a strategic goal of getting closer to stakeholders across the globe.   NFPA’s hiring of Rafa Yañez  as a new business development leader for Latin America and Spain brings us closer to that goal.

Yañez, who’s worked extensively in business development and electrical safety for Schneider Electric and his own electrotechnology company, will collaborate with customers, providers, instructors and new educational partners on training in these regions. 

View the press release to learn more.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1a44e1a970c-800wi.jpgRemembering When is a fire and fall prevention program for older adults developed by NFPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is designed to help older adults live safely at home as long as possible. There are sixteen key messages, eight related to fire prevention and eight related to fall prevention, developed by experts from national and local safety organizations as well as through focus group testing in high-fire-risk states. The program is intended to be led by members of the fire service in their local communities. Remembering When offers flexibility to form a coalition of professionals and volunteers who assist with the group presentations and home visit delivery as well. Coalition partners include service clubs, social and religious organizations, and retirement communities. Coalition members determine the best way to implement program components based on the unique needs of the community.

 

NFPA wanted to evaluate the program to determine the program’s efficacy, as well as identify any areas where the program could be improved and so the Fire Protection Research Foundation initiated this pilot project studying five communities in Iowa, to do that.

 

Download the report, "Pilot Evaluation of the Remembering When™ Program in Five Communities in Iowa" authored by Carri Casteel, Ph.D., Rebecca Bruening, and Sato Ashida, Ph.D., with the University of Iowa.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08be9e96970d-250wi.jpgThere is limited prior research related to protection of storage under ceilings with slopes steeper than 2/12. Previous studies exist from FM Global, University of Maryland/Custom Spray Solutions, the Fire Protection Research Foundation, and National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA), but there are still many open questions related to the protection criteria for storage under sloped ceilings. The questions include, but are not limited to; sprinkler activation pattern relative to fire source location, and optimal sprinkler installation orientation.

 

There are many different parameters related to this design challenge. Some of the key parameters include the slope of the ceiling, the commodity being stored, types of sprinklers (including ESFRs), sprinkler orientation, and sprinkler spacing. Some possible protection design solutions to sloped ceiling facilities are to use higher densities or larger calculation areas than for storage under flat ceilings.

 

Further modeling analysis will be beneficial in order to understand the potential protection challenges related to sloped ceilings, and to determine the range of scenarios that should be studied further through testing. The information from this work as well as information gathered from testing could help inform the NFPA 13 requirements.

The Fire Protection Research Foundation initiated this project to ultimately determine the impact of sloped ceilings on protection of storage and develop the technical basis for the NFPA 13 Technical Committees for new requirements and guidance. This report, "Protection of Storage Under Sloped Ceilings - Phase 1" authored by Kenneth E. Isman, Stephen J. Jordan, Andre W. Marshall and Noah L. Ryder from Custom Spray Solutions, covers the first phase of this project with the objective to develop a test plan based on the review of current range of typical storage configurations and modeling.

 

A separate FM Global report titled “Numerical Modeling of Sprinkler Activations and Spray Transport Under Sloped Ceilings” contains the results from the modeling effort and can be downloaded

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c819b81a970b-250wi.pngHelp us celebrate Sparky's 65th birthday by joining us for a special 'Happy Birthday' Thunderclap!

 

Sparky the Fire Dog was created for NFPA in 1951 and has been our official mascot and spokesdog ever since. He is a widely recognized fire safety icon that is beloved by children and adults alike. Millions have learned about fire safety through Sparky's educational lessons and materials. We think it is therefore only fitting, that we plan something special. Sparky deserves a big celebration to honor his 65th birthday on March 18th.

 

If you have not yet heard about Thunderclap - it's simple and fun! Just visit our Thunderclap site, and register with your Twitter or Facebook account. That's all! Then, on March 18th, on every account that has been registered, an automatic "Happy Birthday" message will post, so that we can all share our birthday wishes at the same time.

 

We hope you will join in on the fun, and make Sparky's 65th (or 455th in dog years!) a special day!

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c819475c970b-320wi.pngThe Second Draft Report for NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, is now available. NFPA 25 is in the Annual 2016 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 March 18, 2016.

On Saturday, February 23, 1991, an early evening fire occurred in a 38-story building in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The fire extended to 9 floors, killed three firefighters and injured 24 others.

 

The fire started on the 22nd floor and was caused by spontaneous ignition of linseed-soaked rags used for restoring and cleaning wood paneling.  The fire was able to grow significantly before being detected.  Vertical spread was ultimately stopped by the automatic sprinklers on the 30th floor that were supplied by fire department pumpers.

 

Significant factors affecting the outcome of this fire include:

  • The lack of automatic fire sprinklers on the floor of origin
  • The lack of an automatic early detection system
  • Inadequate pressures for fire attack hose lines due to improper settings of the standpipe pressure regulating valves
  • The early loss of main electrical service and the emergency power to the building
  • The improper storage and handling of linseed soaked rags and other associated combustibles

 

NFPA members can read the full investigation report and all site visitors can read a summary in English or Spanish.

6a014e86dfab17970d01b8d1a31060970c-300wi.pngA Texas playwright-actor-director who had never even been to Boston before last year to finally bring to the stage a tragedy that remains one of the most traumatic events in the city’s history.

 

On Wednesday, “Inferno: Fire at the Cocoanut Grove 1942” will begin performances at the Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. “Inferno” is written and directed by James Hansen Prince, a Texas playwright-actor-director, who had never even been to Boston before last year. It is also apparently the first theatrical production about the devastating nightclub blaze — “a massive, humongous story about the ’40s and our society and about greed and selfishness,” said Prince. “The heroism was amazing. . . . There’s so many incredible stories, the way the whole city came together to help people out.’’

 

Structured as a mosaic of voices, “Inferno’’ draws heavily on transcripts of accounts by survivors and witnesses that were assembled by investigators from Boston’s Fire and Police departments, along with newspaper and TV interviews. The playwright also talked with descendants of survivors and experts like Schorow and former Boston fire commissioner Paul Christian.

 

On opening weekend, the Friday, February 26th show will also feature Schorow, Christian and NFPA Research Foundation's Casey Grant, who will participate on a speaker panel to answer audience questions and share their knowledge of the event, alongside the production.

 

The play will have a six-week run, from February 24 - April 3, so if you are in Boston, grab tickets to a show.

 

You can also review some of the history of the Cocoanut Grove fire beforehand, through NFPA's website.

6a0162ff1d4766970d01b7c816d357970b-800wi.png
Ron Siarnicki with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation stands with the Maryland fire service during a video supporting the state's home fire sprinkler requirement

 

A new video produced by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) highlights Maryland fire service and sprinkler advocates fighting a legislative bill aimed at weakening Maryland's sprinkler requirement.

The video features key players in this push, including Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci; Ron Siarnicki, NFFF's executive director and member of the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition; and Sher Grogg, who lost her brother, sister-in-law, and three nieces and nephew in a catastrophic Maryland home fire in 2015. Fire officials also tackled the issue of installation costs, particularly in rural areas. Maryland legislators held a recent hearing on the new bill that was well-attended by the fire service.

Please watch and share this important video, titled "Sprinklers Save Lives: A Maryland Story," using the social media buttons below.

 

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c818d474970b-550wi.jpg
Last week, Charlotte, NC Fire Chief Jon Hannan fulfilled his part in the "Super Safety Challenge" - installing smoke alarms in a resident's home wearing a Denver Broncos jersey. Chief Hannan and Denver Fire Chief Eric Tade, along with Kidde Fire Safety, agreed to the challenge ahead of the Superbowl. The winning football team's Fire Chief would receive 200 Kidde Worry-Free 10-year sealed battery smoke/carbon monoxide alarms to install in homes of need. The losing city's chief would receive 50 of the same alarms, but must install them wearing the winning team's jersey.

 

Working smoke alarms are important; three out of five fire fatalities in the U.S. occur in homes without working smoke alarms (mainly due to missing or disconnected batteries). This fun challenge was really a win for both cities, and was a good way to spread the message to the public that having working smoke alarms in your home is an important thing to keep in mind.

 

Review Smoke Alarm Central for information regarding where you should install smoke alarms in your home, how often you should replace the batteries, how often you should replace the actual alarms and more.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 2, Hydrogen Technologies Code, and NFPA 36, Standard for Solvent Extraction Plants, are being published for public review and comment:

 

Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the April 15, 2016 closing date. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08bd906f970d-250wi.jpgThe February 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:

  • Scholarship opportunities for firefighters who want to attend the Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone seminars
  • Our newest wildfire e-book that highlights three steps to building a safer Firewise home, developed by Green Builder Media and NFPA
  • Tips on finding the best grant opportunities for your wildfire projects
  • A blog series that captures our Firewise success stories around the country

 

...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.

There is still time to register for the Foundation's 2016 SUPDET symposium, which will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton San Antonio Downtown, San Antonio, TX from March 1-4, 2016.  This year's symposium will feature 30 presentations on suppression and detection and signaling research and applications.

 

In addition, on the afternoon of March 2 there will be a free half-day workshop on "Big Data and Fire Protection Systems".  The goal of this workshop will be to identify and prioritize the opportunities for big data to inform decision making around inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire protection systems.  An agenda for the workshop is available on the SUPDET website.

 

The suppression session, which will take place March 1-2, will feature a keynote on the "History of Fire" by Dick Gann from NIST, presentations on the latest research on warehouse sprinkler protection, research on the protection of lithium ion batteries, and more.

 

The detection and signaling section will take place March 3-4 and includes research on residential smoke alarms, smart building applications, notification, smoke characteristics, and more.

 

Don't miss out - register today for the full symposium, or choose either the Suppression Program or the Detection Program.  For additional details and the full program visit: www.nfpa.org/supdet2016.

On Sunday, February 18, 1990, a natural gas explosion and subsequent fire in a motel in Hagerstown, Maryland caused the deaths of four guests and minor injuries to ten others.  At approximately 5:20 a.m. two guests reported the smell of gas to the hotel desk clerk.  The clerk then confirmed that there was a gas leak, called the gas company, and attempted to stop the gas that was escaping.  Neither the gas company nor the clerk called the fire department, and the building alarm was not activated until after the explosion occurred at about 5:30. Hagerstown Fire Department investigators determined that the fire was accidental, and the result of a leaking natural gas valve on a hot water heater.

 

Three of the four fatalities occurred in rooms affected by the explosion, and the fourth victim was found in a corridor about 35 feet from the area of the explosion.  Even though the building was damaged by the gas explosion and subsequent fire, the interior fire-rated walls maintained tenable conditions sufficiently long to allow over 90% of the occupants to escape without assistance from firefighters.  NFPA members can download the full investigation report  and all site visitors can download a summary in Spanish .

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and their Volunteer & Combination Officers Section (VCOS) are holding a two day event, the Symposium in the West, this May in Reno, NV. The event adds on to the current education and networking that is offered by VCOS, by providing education to meet the unique needs of volunteer and combination leaders, to help them further the skills needed to make hard decisions and develop tactics to address tough leadership challenges.

 

 

6a014e86dfab17970d01bb08bba21f970d-250wi.pngTopics being covered at the Symposium in the West include:

  • Leadership skill building
  • Fire dynamics
  • Self-care for the volunteer fire chief
  • Cancer in the fire service
  • Recruitment and retention

 

VCOS is known for providing chief officers who manage volunteers within the fire/rescue/EMS delivery system with information, education, services and representation that enhances their professionalism and capabilities. The IAFC and VCOS invite members of the fire service community to learn more and register to attend this new event on their website.

6a0162ff1d4766970d01b8d1a08016970c-800wi.png

To further the life-saving impact of home fire sprinklers, the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Fire Sprinkler Initiative is once again offering grant funding for sprinkler advocacy campaigns across North America.

Following a successful launch in 2015, the Bringing Safety Home Grant will once again assist as many as 10 selected fire sprinkler coalitions and other safety advocates throughout the U.S. and Canada with up to $10,000 apiece to support activities that showcase the importance of home fire sprinklers. Sprinkler advocacy is gaining momentum as more residents and policy-makers understand the value of the devices in new homes. Home fire sprinklers, for instance, can reduce home fire deaths by about 80 percent and direct property damage by about 70 percent, according to NFPA research.

Applicants can apply for up to $10,000 to fund an extensive sprinkler campaign in their state or region, or to develop an array of educational endeavors that underscore the necessity of sprinklers. For inspiration, applicants can review a report underscoring how 2015 grant recipients funded local campaigns in their regions. We're also asking advocates to get creative:

 

  • How can this grant help you spread the message in your state or region that sprinklers in new homes save lives?
  • Is there a new way to educate the public and decision makers about the value of home fire sprinklers?
  • How can you expand on a tried-and-true method of sprinkler advocacy?

Please don't miss out on this opportunity. Visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative site for application details, and email us with any questions. The application deadline is March 16, 2016.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c815e3c4970b-320wi.jpgAs frigid temperatures have reached several regions of the U.S. this past week, frozen pipes have become a real concern for homeowners. Unfortunately, news reports over the past few days have featured home fire incidents caused by people using open flames to thaw frozen pipes in their homes.

 

Clearly, no one should ever use an open flame to thaw pipes, as this presents serious risks to people and property. The American Red Cross offers a wealth of tips and recommendations to prevent frozen pipes and safely thaw them.

 

Also, take a look at our safety tips for safely heating your home during the winter months.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c815d2b4970b-800wi.jpg

Disaster survivors displaced from their homes will now have one less thing to worry about if sheltering in temporary housing.

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has decided to include key fire safety features--particularly, fire sprinklers--in its new manufactured housing units. Following a major disaster, these units serve as a temporary home until formal repairs or permanent housing is acquired. FEMA wanted to make sure its next generation of temporary housing was as safe as the agency could provide, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate recently told an ABC affiliate. The concealed sprinklers accompany smoke alarms throughout the unit.

 

For more information on this story, visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d19fec0b970c-250wi.jpgThe February issue of Safety Source, NFPA's public education enewsletter, is now available for viewing. In this issue, you will find;

  • New checklist on barn fire safety
  • NFPA and CPSC co-sponsor carbon monoxide toolkit for fire departments
  • “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” infographic highlights electrical safety
  • Video helps children identify hot items
  • E-book highlights three steps to a safer Firewise new home

 

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.

On February 13, 1975, a fire occurred in a nine-story hotel in Peoria, Illinois.  Due to the efforts of local police and firefighters, 119 guests, many of whom did not speak English, were evacuated and there were no fatalities.  Many guests in the hotel were from around the world, attending a construction equipment conference.

 

At around 1:00 a.m. one of the guests returned to his room on the seventh floor of the hotel from a party on the ninth floor of the building.  He then turned on his TV set and lay down on his bed.  The next thing that he remembered was waking up to find his mattress on fire.  He attempted to get the mattress out the window, but he was unable to get it through.  He then left the room, leaving the window and the door to the room open.  He then left the building without notifying anyone about the fire or sounding an alarm.

 

The Peoria police were patrolling the area around the hotel due to the large number of out-of-town visitors at the conference.  Several police were nearby when they were notified by a woman outside the building.  The officers then notified the fire department and entered the building to begin to evacuate guests.  They eventually charged standpipe hose lines in the hotel and used them to control the fire while they notified guests.  The fire department arrived shortly thereafter and began to evacuate guests using aerial ladders, as well as engaging in fire suppression.

 

The presence of police officers in the immediate area of the hotel, as well as their fire fighting and rescue actions likely saved many lives.  NFPA members can read a full report .

   6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08aa7e48970d-200wi.jpgThe February 2016 issue of NFPA News, our codes and standards newsletter, is now available.

  • Comments sought on proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) to NFPA 101 and NFPA 5000
  • One day session for NFPA Technical Meeting
  • Annual 2016 Second Draft Reports available
  • Potential new project on stationary energy storage systems
  • Comments sought on 9-1-1 Telecommunicators training guidelines
  • NFPA news in brief
  • 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.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08b9705d970d-550wi.jpg
Kidde Fire Safety has teamed up with Craig Morgan, Country Music star and former first responder, Firehouse, the magazine of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), NFPA and National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to launch “Step Up and Stand Out,” a national campaign to increase awareness of the need for volunteer firefighters.

 

An integral part of the campaign is a contest that launched nationwide yesterday to reward volunteers who have gone above and beyond in their community. Hosted on Firehouse.com, the contest invites the public to upload a brief video submission nominating a current volunteer firefighter or support volunteer for their service. Five finalist prizes and one grand prize will ultimately be awarded after the public selects who has “stepped up and stood out” the most.

 

“As a former first responder, I want to continue to do what I can to help keep families safe,” said Morgan. “That means making sure our volunteer fire departments have the support they need. This program is a great way to show volunteer firefighters how important they are to us and their communities.”

 

At select stops along Morgan’s 2016 tour, he will meet with local volunteer fire departments, and donate Kidde 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms. Also, members of IAFC will hold open houses at different stations along the route.

 

Most of America’s 30,000 fire departments (87 percent) are either fully or partially staffed by volunteers. These men and women act as the first line of defense in an emergency, provide medical services and protect more than 50 percent of Americans, particularly in rural communities; however, their numbers have steadily declined. Volunteers dedicate significant training hours to ensure they are prepared, often at their own expense.

 

Submissions will be accepted from now until May 21, and voting will begin in June. The five finalists will be announced at IAFC’s Fire-Rescue International Show, the IAFC's Annual Conference & Expo on Aug. 18. A final public vote will determine the grand prize winner who will be announced at Firehouse Expo in October. The finalists and grand prize winners will receive a prize pack consisting of Kidde smoke alarm donations, safety grants, an NFPA Fire Prevention Week Kit, and more. The complete rules are available at www.firehouse.com/vf.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08b91699970d-550wi.jpg
As Valentine’s Day rolls around, it’s important to remember to use caution when lighting and burning candles. Between 2009 and 2013, there were 9,300 reported home structure fires in the US that were started by candles, with an average  of approximately  25 fires reported per day. Damage from these fires amounted to 86 deaths, 827 injuries and $374 million in direct property damage.

 

A third of these fires started in bedrooms, where falling asleep played a role in 11% percent of reported home candle fires and a third of the associated deaths.

To minimize the damage and injury associated with burning candles, we have compiled a list of candle safety tips. Suggestions from the list include:

  • Blow out candles before leaving the room or going to bed
  • Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom
  • Utilize candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily
  • Use flameless candles

 

Candles should also be kept at least 12 inches away from anything flammable, as more than half of home fires caused by candles occurred when some form of combustible material was left or came too close to the candle. NFPA also offers a candle safety video to help you implement safe practices regarding candles in the home.

 

Be sure to keep your loved ones safe this Valentine’s Day by adhering to basic candle safety guidelines. If you want to share safety tips and messages through social media, feel free to use NFPA's pre-made posts found on our website.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d19e67b7970c-250wi.jpgIn the aftermath of recent events with major impacts on the built environment, such as Hurricane Sandy, the building and emergency response communities are reassessing their future preparedness.

 

In 2014, NFPA’s Research Foundation initiated a project to identify those provisions in NFPA codes and standards that embody the concepts of resiliency, compile available information to serve as a technical reference for those documents, and provide guidance to NFPA Technical Committees. In order to share the results of that project and learn about other emerging needs of our stakeholders related to this topic, the Foundation convened a workshop at NFPA headquarters on December 16, 2015.

 

Participants included leaders from NFPA Technical Committees, with a focus on those related to emergency preparedness and resiliency, and those of our stakeholders who own, manage, and insure facilities.

 

The goal of this workshop was to review recent national and international resiliency initiatives, including a recent guidance document developed by the Foundation for technical committees, and to discuss the resource needs of the community. This resulting report presents an overview of the workshop presentations and findings, which can be downloaded from the Foundation's website.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c8143345970b-550wi.jpg

Last week, children at Shriners Hospital in Springfield, Mass. were visited by local fire fighters and Sparky the Fire Dog, in an effort to entertain patients and simultaneously spread fire safety messages.

 

The visit was meant to highlight Burn Awareness Week, which the state fire marshal organizes each year in conjunction with the Western Massachusetts Safety and Fire Education Association. The campaign’s focus this year is on scald burns, which result from contact with hot liquids or steam and are the top cause of burns in children under the age of five.

 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers safety tips for avoiding scald burns. These include:

  • Always supervising children in or near a bathtub
  • Placing hot liquids and foods away from the edges of tables and countertops
  • Making sure children are at least three feet away from stoves and places where food is prepared

 

In addition to  spreading a message of fire safety, fire fighters from Hatfield, Mass. brought with them $750 they had raised for the hospital and fire fighters from neighboring Hadley, Mass. brought donated toys for the children.


6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d19ec3d6970c-320wi.jpgNFPA is kicking off the year with over 130 NFPA instructor-led training programs in locations across the country such as: Baltimore, Las Vegas, Nashville, Seattle, Orlando and more. Download or print this 2016 calendar for quick reference. NFPA offers expert-led classroom training on electrical safety, sprinkler and water-based systems, fire alarm and signaling, building and life safety systems, and fire protection.

 


Download the 2016 NFPA Training Schedule now.

 

For more information on all of the training options that NFPA offers including state licensure programs, certification programs and training at your facility go to: nfpa.org/training.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c8132e8b970b-550wi.jpg

We have four positions currently open in our engineering department, and wanted YOU to hear about them!

  • Associate Engineer: NFPA is actively searching for an Associate Engineer who will independently manage and answer advisory service questions related to the ongoing sprinkler project as well as related standards such as fire pumps, standpipes, water tanks, and underground piping systems (NFPA 13, 13D, 13R, 20, 14, 22 and 291.) The successful candidate will assist technical committees in the development and maintenance of a specific technical committee project of moderate complexity. In addition, he or she will provide technical services to members and constituents as well as serving as a technical project manager for assigned technical committees.

  • https://re21.ultipro.com/NAT1018/jobboard/JobDetails.aspx?__ID=118Division Manager, Industrial & Chemical: We are searching for a Division Manager, Industrial & Chemical Engineering, to be responsible for the daily oversight and management of programs, projects and assignments that support the NFPA mission as well as short and long term goals of NFPA as they relate to codes, standards, field service, personnel and management responsibilities. Independently makes decisions representing the views and positions of the Association.

  • https://re21.ultipro.com/NAT1018/jobboard/JobDetails.aspx?__ID=108Technical Lead - Electrical: The Technical Lead - Electrical serves as the definitive source of knowledge and expertise for the Electrical area, functions as the internal and external organizational ambassador for that area and applies that expertise to support NFPA’s standards development organization, stakeholder-centric product development process and the organization’s overall vision and strategic direction. The Technical Lead – Electrical is the primary Association spokesperson and externally-facing subject matter expert for all Electrical topics and is independently responsible for managing all engineering services within the area of expertise including content creation and delivery, external relationships, and related association-wide activities.

  • https://re21.ultipro.com/NAT1018/jobboard/JobDetails.aspx?__ID=109Fire Alarm Specialist: We have an ideal opportunity for a fire alarm specialist who will independently manage technical projects of a complex nature related to area of expertise including technical committee, product development, and association activities.

Are you a fit for any of these positions? We want to hear from you! Take a look at each job's roles and responsibilities as well as ideal candidate requirements on our Careers website.

 

On February 8, 1996, a fire occurred in a board and care facility in Shelby County, Tennessee, which caused the deaths of four residents.  The fire was caused most likely by improperly disposed smoking materials.  Smoke from the apartment of fire origin spread to other apartments through open doors.  The facility was 20 years old, and all areas of the building were of wood-frame construction.  All areas in the building had various fire protection provisions including smoke detectors, fire alarms, fire doors, and door self-closing devices.  However, self-closing devices for many apartments, including the apartment of fire origin, had been removed or deactivated allowing doors to remain open.  Based on NFPA’s investigation and analysis of the fire, the following factors were considered as having contributed to the loss of life in the incident:

  • Improperly disposed smoking materials
  • Lack of automatic sprinkler protection
  • Ineffective response of some staff members
  • Failure of occupants to respond effectively to operating fire alarms
  • Room doors that remained open due to the deactivation of door self-closing devices and chocks

 

NFPA members can download the full investigation report.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08b689b3970d-550wi.jpg
ASIS International
(ASIS) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently convened a meeting for stakeholders as part of a continuing conversation about active shooter incidents. More than 100 leaders in security, fire, law enforcement, EMS, life safety, professional associations and government participated in the meeting.

The intent of the collaborative effort was, and will continue to be, to examine gaps and exchange knowledge as they relate to active shooter events. Participants reviewed existing resources, the crossover between security and fire disciplines, operational solutions, management procedures, building design and construction issues, and cost considerations with an emphasis on preparation and planning.

A summary of the discussions can be viewed online. Areas of focus included:

  • Defining “active shooter” and reviewing FBI statistics
  • Assessing technology, management needs and budgets
  • Considering public and private sector concerns
  • Identifying competing goals between security safety and fire safety practices
  • Examining the status of legal and regulatory issues

Participants acknowledged that there is no single strategy for the problem. The various needs and resources of different organizations mean active shooter planning and preparation must be tailored for each individual setting.

 

“By bringing together members of the security and fire safety communities, ASIS and NFPA are taking important steps to define strategies that will protect people as well as physical assets,” said Robert Solomon, division manager, Building Fire Protection and Life Safety, NFPA. “Gathering the best practices from stakeholders and influencers will allow us to formulate necessary guidance so that individuals and organizations can mitigate, survive and recover from these incidents.”

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c811bf2b970b-320wi.jpgNow is the time when home fires are at their worst. February and its two preceding months are the leading months for U.S. home fires, according to NFPA.

 

These incidents are already responsible for more than 300 reported U.S. deaths since the start of the year, says the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). NFPA has partnered with USFA for its Put a Freeze on Winter Fires Campaign, which aims to prevent these tragedies.

 

February is also the month to get educated on home fire sprinklers, stated David Kurasz, a member of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition, in a recent letter to the editor. In his state specifically,there were 143 fire deaths in 2014 and 2015. "Men, women, children, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters," he stated. "Despite all of this, some people still argue that we do not have a fire problem."

 

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08b686e0970d-120wi.jpgKurasz also pointed to an action by New Jersey Governor (and presidential hopeful) Chris Christie to conditionally veto legislation last year that would have required sprinklers in new, one- and two-family homes. "Here we sit, one month into 2016 and very little has been achieved, advanced, or acknowledged," stated Kurasz. "Please educate yourselves and your families on the dangers of fire, especially in the winter, and take some time to learn about [home] fire sprinklers."

 

NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative has a healthy array of research reports to expand your knowledge on the benefits of home fire sprinklers.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08b686c5970d-550wi.jpg
On Tuesday, NFPA welcomed several delegates from The Finnish National Rescue Association (SPEK). The group was made up of Juha Hakola, Jari Sainio, Marko Hasari, and Taina Hanhikoski, all high-ranking officials from Finnish fire and public safety organizations.

 

Jim Pauley welcomed the members of the Finnish delegation, while six NFPA staff members delivered presentations. Casey Grant, Ed Conlin, Christina Holcroft, Robert Solomon, Chris Dubay and Curt Floyd presented on the research foundation, public fire protection, fire analysis, building and life safety, and codes and standards.

SPEK is a member of the Confederation of Fire Protection Associations – International (CFPA-I®), a body of leading fire protection organizations from around the world that collectively works to reduce the global fire problem and increase life safety. NFPA serves as the secretariat for CFPA-I, which includes 25 international fire protection associations.

 

In addition to visiting NFPA, the Finnish delegation was meeting with the United Nations in New York.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d19bc47b970c-550wi.jpg
Yesterday was World Cancer Day, and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network shared a great post that we wanted to make sure our readers saw as well. They thought (and we agree!) that the day was a great opportunity to mention FCSN's new cancer-prevention white paper. FCSN assembled an outstanding working group for three days last week, and one of NFPA's Research Foundation members, Casey Grant, was able to attend. The group met to review the latest occupational-cancer research and develop recommended cancer-prevention practices for the fire service. The new white paper’s scheduled for release in April. FCSN thanked their participants for their time, dedication and expertise, Chiefs John Buckman and Dan Eggleston for facilitating, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and IAFF Local 1403 for their incredible hospitality; and Honeywell First Responder Products for the generous $10K contribution toward the meeting expenses on their Facebook page, where you can find more details.

 

We will be sure to let you all know when this white paper is released by FCSN following this great meeting, so stay tuned for updates!

 

Pictured: FCSN cancer-prevention working group participants assemble in the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Training Facility on January 26, 2016. From right by row: Bryan Frieders, John M. Buckman III, Jack Jarrell, Greg Mackin; Burton Clark, Julie Sherman; Keith Tyson, Peter McBride, Aaron Straussner; Susan Schell, Russell Osgood, Tim Elliott; Adam Wood, Vicki Sheppard; Todd LeDuc, Casey Grant; Susan Tamme, Larry Petrick; Sam Eaton, Paul Erickson, Steve Westcott; Paul Sumner, Tom Hales; Beth Gallup, Dan Eggleston; Gavin Horn, Mike Hamrock. Not pictured: Nicolas Morgado, Michael Mackey, Alberto Caban-Martinez, Natasha Schaefer Solle. Photo courtesy of John M. Buckman III.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d0cb9a16970c-450wi.jpg

Fire fighters from four engines and two truck companies were committed to suppression operations on the third floor and a medical sector had been established outside the building.  While suppression operations were in progress, the fire suddenly increased in magnitude and spread into several areas beyond the room of origin.  Two of these fire fighters were killed, and four fire fighters were injured with two sustaining critical injuries.  A subsequent search of the building revealed that one patron had also died in the fire.  This person was found in a stairway between the sixth and seventh stories, and he had died of smoke inhalation.  Four civilians were also injured.

Indianapolis Fire Department investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature.  The fire occurred when an electrical problem caused the ignition of wood paneling in a third-story bar.  The investigators also determined that the sudden increase in the fire magnitude, which killed and injured the fire fighters, occurred when combustion gases that were trapped in a concealed space entered the room and caused a flashover in the room where the fire fighters were working.  The fire rapidly spread to other areas on the third and fourth stories, and smoke spread throughout the building.

 

The following factors contributed significantly to the loss of life at the Indianapolis Athletic Club:

    •      Lack of an approved automatic sprinkler system in the room of fire origin,

    •      Lack of automatic fire of smoke detection system in room of fire origin,

    •      Combustible interior finish,

    •      Unprotected penetrations in wall and ceiling assemblies,

     •      The existence of concealed spaces which were not readily observed by fire fighters during suppression operations.

NFPA members download the NFPA full Fire Investigation report

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 101, Life Safety Code®, and NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code®, are being published for public review and comment:

 

 

Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the March 18, 2016 closing date. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.

The Second Draft Reports for 23 NFPA Standards in the Annual 2016 revision cycle are available with a deadline to submit a Notice of Intent to Make a Motion (NITMAM) of February 19, 2016.  Some of these proposed Standards with Second Draft Reports are listed below:

 

  • NFPA 15, Standard for Water Spray Fixed Systems for Fire Protection
  • NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code
  • NFPA 61, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities
  • NFPA 80A, Recommended Practice for Protection of Buildings from Exterior Fire Exposures
  • NFPA 130, Standard for Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems
  • NFPA 232, Standard for the Protection of Records
  • NFPA 414, Standard for Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Vehicles
  • NFPA 450, Guide for Emergency Medical Services and Systems
  • NFPA 497, Recommended Practice for the Classification of Flammable Liquids, Gases, or Vapors and of Hazardous (Classified) Locations for Electrical Installations in Chemical Process Areas
  • NFPA 502, Standard for Road Tunnels, Bridges, and Other Limited Access Highways
  • NFPA 654, Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids
  • NFPA 664, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities
  • NFPA 704, Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response
  • NFPA 780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems
  • NFPA 1124, Code for the Manufacture, Transportation, Storage, and Retail Sales of Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles
  • NFPA 1141, Standard for Fire Protection Infrastructure for Land Development in Wildland, Rural, and Suburban Areas
  • NFPA 1145, Guide for the Use of Class A Foams in Manual Structural Fire Fighting 

 

Note:  The Second Draft Report for NFPA 25 will be delayed due to balloting.  As such, a revised deadline to submit a Notice of Intent to Make a Motion on this document will be March 18, 2016.

 

View the full list of NFPA documents in the Annual 2016 revision cycle.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d19a4cf0970c-150wi.jpgWe need your input!

 

Over the past few months, organizations and agencies joined forces to design a national recommended minimum training guideline for 9-1-1 Telecommunicators. NFPA participated with these key stakeholders in the telecommunications industry to identify universally accepted training for consistent level 9-1-1 service.

 

The result of this effort is a training guideline that covers topics including; roles and responsibilities, call processing, legal aspects, and quality assurance, just to name a few.

 

Established early in the process was the desire to involve the telecommunicator community and public in the review process of the new guidelines. While the recommended topics have been vetted by the leadership of many telecommunicator organizations and agencies, the value-add of a public review is an aspect necessary to the project. 

 

So, NFPA and other telecommunicator stakeholders now invite you to review the material found at the NENA public workspace website, and to offer your thoughts and comments on the “Recommended Minimum Training Guidelines for the 9-1-1 Telecommunicator”.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c8070b5f970b-800wi.png

The Hotel Vendome was the height of Gilded-Age opulence in Boston, but on June 17, 1972, it was the scene of a fire and partial building collapse that killed nine firefighters and injured eight—one of the worst losses ever suffered by the Boston Fire Department.

 

The “Looking Back” article in the new January/February issue of NFPA Journal takes a detailed look at this tragedy, including what led to the fire, and the subsequent building collapse that killed the firefighters.

 

“The collapse trapped 17 firefighters in a pile of debris nearly two stories high,” Mary Elizabeth Woodruff, manager of library in information resources at NFPA, writes in the article. “In the first hour, four firefighters were rescued, and eventually four more were freed from the rubble. Firefighters worked through the night to recover the bodies of the nine remaining men who died in the collapse.”

 

Read more about the Hotel Vendome fire in the new NFPA Journal and at nfpa.org/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.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1986ce8970c-800wi.jpgDid you know that Super Bowl Sunday ranked #6 behind Thanksgiving, Christmas and Memorial Day in 2013 as having the largest numbers of estimated reported home fires on a holiday? According to NFPA’s 2015 Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment report, an annual average of 590 home cooking fires occurred on Super Bowl Sunday in 2013. That’s a 25% increase over the average number of fires on a typical day!

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) tells us that Super Bowl Sunday is also the second biggest day of the year for food consumption! So if you’re planning to whip up some tasty snacks for this year’s game, make sure you add kitchen fire safety “plays” to your line up.

 

What’s the best way to do that? The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) offers a handful of great tips below that are easy to follow:

1. Kitchen Huddle
Prepare your cooking area. Use back burners or turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Move things that can burn away from the stove. Keep a timer handy and use it when you’re roasting or baking.

2. Penalty Flag
Frying poses the greatest risk of fire. Keep an eye on what you fry. Start with a small amount of oil and heat it slowly. If you see smoke or if the grease starts to boil in your pan, turn the burner off. Even a small amount of oil on a hot burner can start a fire.

3. Defense
Stay awake and alert while you’re cooking. Stand by your pan. If you leave the kitchen, turn the burner off. Keep a large pan lid or baking sheet nearby in case you need to smother a pan fire.

4. Illegal Contact
Prevent burns when you’re cooking. Wear short sleeves, or roll them up. Don’t lean over the burner. Use potholders and oven mitts to handle hot or steaming cookware.

5. Defensive Linemen
Children need constant adult supervision. If you have young children in the home, keep them three feet from anything that can get hot, including the stove. Put hot objects and liquids beyond a child’s reach so they can’t touch or pull them down. Never hold a child when you cook.

6. Touchdown!
Keep safety in mind when serving on game day, too. If you burn candles, position them out of reach of children and away from anything that can burn. Consider using flameless candles that are lit by battery power instead. Food warmers and slow cookers get hot. Place them toward the back of the serving table so they won’t get knocked off. Provide hot pads to prevent burns. Light the chafing dish fuel can after it is placed under the warmer. Make sure nothing comes in contact with the flame. If young children are in your home, supervise them and keep matches and lighters locked away.

 

For more fire safety information, visit USFA's webpage. Additional resources can also be found on NFPA's Cooking Fire Safety web pages.

Enjoy the game, everyone, and please stay safe!

2.jpg

On the evening of February 1, 1991 a US Air, Boeing 737-300 collided with a Skywest, Fairchild Metroliner at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).  The B-737 that was involved was configured to carry 128 people including both passengers and crew; however, only 89 people were aboard at the time of the accident.  Twenty-two people on the B-737 died, and all 12 people aboard the Fairchild Metroliner were killed by the collision and subsequent fire.


The NFPA dispatched a staff member to participate in the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigation of the accident.  The NFPA’s focus was on the aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) for the purpose of providing lessons learned from this accident to the NFPA Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Committee, the Aviation Membership Section of the NFPA, and the fire community.

NFPA members download the full NFPA Fire Investigation report.

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: