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2016

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The Sabine Pass liquified natural gas export terminal in Louisiana made the first LNG shipment from the U.S. lower 48 states in February.

 

Once thought to be past its peak, and even in decline, U.S. gas production is soaring to all-time highs thanks in large part to innovative extraction techniques, including hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

 

The “shale revolution,” as this transformation has come to be known, is driving huge increases in gas demand and, in turn, billions of dollars in infrastructure investment in the U.S. and around the world.

 

The cover story of the March/April issue of NFPA Journal, “High Volume,” looks at what this enormous rise natural gas use means for inspectors, enforcers, and first responders. From a $20 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Louisiana, to a proposal to construct two massive LNG storage tanks in rural Massachusetts, this potentially flammable substance is making its way to unfamiliar places in quantities once unknown. The article also looks at the provisions in NFPA 59a, Production, Storage, and Handling of Liquified Natural Gas, which is used across the world to ensure the safe design, construction, siting, and operation of LNG facilities.

 

Read more about the big build out in LNG infrastructure in the U.S., about its increasing use as a fuel for vehicles, and about how and why the U.S. is producing and consuming more gas than ever before, in the new April/May issue of NFPA Journal.

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His Highness Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior for United Arab Emirates and NFPA Board Member Russell Leavitt were on hand to witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between NFPA and the UAE Ministry of Interior during Innovation in Fire Protection: Fire Service and Code Enforcers Symposium in Abu Dhabi this week.

 

Calling it a mutual commitment to advance fire and life safety in the United Arab Emirates, NFPA President Jim Pauley signed for NFPA while Major General Jassim Mohamed Al Marzooqi signed for the UAE Ministry of Interior.

 

His Highness thanked NFPA and the conference attendees for their roles in the protection of society saying, “Collaboration is key to our success in protecting our community.”

 

The MOU includes the development of training and certification programs, joint research projects, additional conferences and seminars and adoption of various codes and standards.

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More than 150 attendees from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) participated in a first of its kind symposium this week in Abu Dhabi. Entitled Innovation in Fire Protection: Fire Service and Code Enforcers Symposium, the two-day event was aimed at fire and life safety officials from around the country and addressed the latest code and related issues impacting fire and life safety.

 

Saying it may be the first time the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) brought so many staff outside of the U.S. at once to put on this type of event, NFPA President Jim Pauley stressed the importance of working together in his keynote remarks, “It is a unique opportunity for all of us to talk about the issues facing the fire service and enforcement community today and discuss what we can do together to protect people and property from fire and other hazards.”

 

 

NFPA worked closely with the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Interior to put together the program, which highlighted issues of greatest interest to the UAE. Topics included Impact of NFPA Standards in the Real World; Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Existing Buildings; Remote Inspection Program and Cinema Training Initiative; Managing Social Media; Smart Firefighting, Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems, Firefighter Operations and Industrial Fire Protection Challenges.

 

 

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NFPA President Jim Pauley joins Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior United Arab Emirates and members of the Ministry of Interior to hear the presentations.

 

Pauley talked about the historical success in fire safety noting the decrease in fires and fire deaths in recent decades but said there is more work to be done and today’s environment creates both opportunities and challenges for the fire service. “There are new challenges, new technologies and new threats that warrant new thinking and new approaches. Who would have thought that we would be talking about such futuristic things like robotics, jet packs and drones in the context of fire protection! But we are. Who would have thought we would be stretching our imaginations and building some of the incredible buildings we see today? But we are? The once unimaginable or only in science fiction is real; with real impact on fire and life safety.”

 

NFPA has increased its presence in the UAE, establishing an office about three years ago. “The Ministry of Interior’s vision is to be the safest country in the world,” said President Pauley. “They have recognized the value of the information and knowledge NFPA can provide and we are proud to work with them to realize that vision.”

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A garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) continues to build an international presence by sharing fire and life safety resources, expertise and research across the globe in an ongoing effort to help save lives and reduce loss.

 

This week, we released the Bangladesh Ready-Made Garment (RMG) Industry High-Level Assessment Report. This document, which looks at Bangladesh’s fire and building safety standards, protocols, inspection procedures and training programs for RMG factories, provides short- and long-term recommendations to improve fire and life safety at these facilities.

 

Over the past several years, several catastrophic fires and accidents in the Bangladesh garment district have killed hundreds of people and drawn attention to the poorly regulated industry. In 2013, 28 North American brands and retailers formed a five-year initiative, called the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (the Alliance), to improve safety and empower workers in the Bangladesh factories from which they source. The Alliance invited NFPA and the University of Maryland to visit a sampling of 14 factories in the Dhaka region and independently review the Alliance’s proposed program to increase worker safety.

NFPA made recommendations and suggested processes for the Alliance, government officials and other stakeholders to explore or undertake so that worker safety in Bangladesh is improved on an ongoing basis.

 

NFPA’s factory research work in Bangladesh is just one of many ways that we are sharing extensive life and fire safety insight with countries around the world. Last week, a delegate from China’s Tianjin Fire Research Institute visited NFPA to learn more about our codes and standards. Earlier this month, members of NFPA’s international team were invited by government officials to visit Ethiopia and explore opportunities for code enforcement in that third world country. NFPA also visited Chile in March to discuss wildfire mitigation and adopting the Firewise program there. And currently, a delegation of top NFPA leaders is in Abu Dhabi to help the United Arab Emirates address fire, electrical and related hazards in the Persian Gulf.

 

These global collaborations are just a few examples of how NFPA is transitioning from a codes and standards organization with a U.S. focus to an information and knowledge organization with an international influence.

#4 - 45th parallel
Spark got to visit the 45th parallel while in Northern Michigan recently, which is often the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole. At some point during the year, on the summer solstice, the sun is visible there for almost 16 hours!

 

Sparky turned 65 on March 18, 2016, and we have been pulling out all the stops to help him celebrate! He’s created a bucket list of 65 activities and events he’d like to accomplish from now through October. As he checks them off his list, we’ll make sure to share them with you. Some of Sparky’s wishes are pretty lofty, while others are just fun or a bit silly. Check in weekly to see where he goes and what he’s up to!

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Have you ever heard a preparedness myth like, “In an emergency, only first responders need to know what to do” or during an earthquake, “Stand in the doorway to protect yourself”?

 

America’s PrepareAthon! will host a Twitter chat, using its Twitter handle – @PrepareAthon, on Wednesday, March 30 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Emergency professionals across the country, including NFPA and Firewise, will discuss common preparedness myths and provide facts on preparing for and staying safe during emergencies.

To follow the Twitter chat use #SafetyFacts.

Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletterIn the latest edition of the Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter, read how safety advocates in Maryland defeated a bill that would have weakened the state sprinkler requirement. You’ll also read about:

  • an Arizona town that has sprinklered more than half of its homes
  • why we need to be asking the presidential candidates their stance on fire safety
  • a new report that cites a lack of sprinklers in a high-profile fire that killed two firefighters

Don't miss an issue--subscribe to this free newsletter today! Since its a monthly publication, we promise it won't clutter your inbox. 

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Sparky was lucky enough to spend his birthday, March 18, in New Hampshire’s famous Mount Washington Hotel.  This beautiful hotel first opened in 1902 and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Behind the hotel you can see Mount Washington, New England’s tallest mountain!

 

Sparky turned 65 on March 18, 2016, and we have been pulling out all the stops to help him celebrate! He’s created a bucket list of 65 activities and events he’d like to accomplish from now through October. As he checks them off his list, we’ll make sure to share them with you. Some of Sparky’s wishes are pretty lofty, while others are just fun or a bit silly. Check in weekly to see where he goes and what he’s up to!

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08cd00f6970d-450wi.jpgThe National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Volunteer & Combined Officers Section (VCOS) and Kidde Fire Safety will host a volunteer recruitment and community engagement webinar on Tuesday, March 29 at 2:00pm (EST). The online seminar was organized so that fire departments can learn the best strategies to engage their community by conducting fire safety events and promote the Step Up and Stand Out program, a national campaign to recognize volunteer firefighters and promote community involvement in fire safety. 

 

The one hour webinar will help local fire departments:

  • build awareness of the Step Up and Stand Out campaign
  • learn strategies for recruiting and retaining talent in the fire service
  • educate volunteer fire departments how to teach fire and life safety education at community events
  • create an understanding of how to utilize local media as a communications tool

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Earlier this year country star Craig Morgan, Firehouse Magazine and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, in conjunction with the organizations hosting the webinar, launched The Step Up and Stand Out campaign to recognize current volunteers and encourage citizens to learn how they can become a volunteer firefighter. 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. Members of IAFC will hold open houses at various firehouses along the route too. Fire departments in non-tour locations are also staging local events or taking part in community programs to draw attention to this campaign. Tuesday’s webinar will give departments, big and small, the tips and tools to successfully plan, participate in or host local events - and connect with local residents, recruits and the media.

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If you haven't read the first installment of Rob Feeney's experience during The Station Nightclub fire in 2003, please do. It's a well-written, albeit horrific, account of the night that turned Feeney into an advocate for fire sprinklers. In this latest installment, Feeney recalls what he experienced--or thought he experienced--immediately afterwards as the truth about his fiancé, also at The Station the night of the fire, unfolds:

 

I don’t remember if I lost consciousness on the way to the hospital or if I was given something to knock me out. I do know I was intubated and placed in a medically induced coma for about 10 days. During that time, I had what I called morphine dreams. It took me years to figure out what were dreams and what was reality.

These dreams were a combination of people and events from my past and events in my hospital room. There were friends from elementary school. My brother made frequent appearances, which was strange since I had only seen him once or twice over the past decade before the fire. There were other relatives, celebrities I had never met. There was also a lot of fire. A lot of chaos. A lot of violence and a lot of pain. I was always trying to get somewhere to get help, but would always be trapped.

I didn’t dream about The Station Nightclub, but places like Boardwalk and Baseball, an amusement park in Orlando I visited when I was 16. In my dreams, it burned down as I was on a roller coaster alone. I also dreamt of the Burger King at the Route 6 rest area in Hyannis, Massachusetts, but this time it was a movie set. I was auditioning for a part. It also burned down. No matter who I was with or where I was, everything turned into a war zone around me. Houses and buildings I was in would burn down. Roads I drove and walked down wound up being surrounded by fire.

 

In my dreams, I would eventually make it to the hospital. There was one dream where a part of the hospital where animals were treated was on fire. My relatives were in the hospital dreams. There were fights and violence in the hospital segments. At one point, a fight in an overcrowded ER escalated into it being set on fire. Many people were trapped. I was rushed down a hallway into another room. Then the dreams changed. They became more reflective of the reality going on around me as I was awakening from the induced coma.

 

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

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A massive fire that consumed a dorm building at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa last week reminds us of the importance of practicing fire safety in dorms and other college housing.

All 41 of the building occupants managed to escape uninjured, but the early-morning fire, which officials say was likely caused by a lightning strike, forced the university to hastily relocate the students to temporary housing.

Fire safety can be the last thing on a college student’s mind. But according to National Fire Protection Association (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. A majority of these incidents were caused by cooking equipment, with many others resulting from unattended candles or electrical problems.

To combat the problem of on-campus fires, NFPA offers safety tips for those living in dorm buildings. These include:

  • Learning your building’s evacuation plan and practicing all drills as if they were the real thing
  • Never tampering with your room’s smoke alarms or removing the batteries
  • Staying in the kitchen at all times when cooking
  • Using a surge protector for your computer and plugging the protector directly into an outlet

In addition, students who live off campus should make sure their residence is fulling sprinklered and has smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on each level. Simple measures like these will optimize student safety, and give parents one less thing to worry about!

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c82787a2970b-250wi.jpgThe March issue of Safety Source, NFPA's public education enewsletter, is now available for viewing. In this issue, you will find;

  • Sparky’s 65th Birthday!
  • Hoarding and Fire: Reducing the Risk safety tip sheet
  • A Compelling Case for Home Fire Sprinklers mini lesson
  • The dangers of sky lanterns
  • And more!

 

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.

A fire of incendiary origin occurred at the Ozark Hotel in Seattle, Washington, on March 20, 1970 and claimed the lives of 20 occupants.  Fire investigators determined that a flammable liquid had been poured and ignited on the first-floor level of two open stairways.  The fire quickly spread throughout the building rendering the stairways and corridors useless.  As a result, 20 occupants perished, either from smoke inhalation or from injuries suffered when jumped from the upper stories.

 

NFPA members can download the Fire Journal  article 

January 1971 Fire Journal article

 Those interested in more information about hotel and motel fires can download

NFPA's Hotel and Motel Structure Fires report and fact shee

t More information on intentional fires 

NFPA's report on Intentional Fires

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On March 18, 1937, the London, Texas Consolidated High School suffered a tragedy due to an explosion that killed 294 students and teachers.  H. Oram Smith of the Texas Inspection Bureau was involved in the investigation and his account of the disaster was published in the NFPA Quarterly.  He described that the "blast occurred with the suddenness characteristic of such explosions although with some unusual features.  Every witness agreed that there was but one explosion and that it was a low rumbling noise, with none of the blast or roar that might be expected."  He went on to explain that the total destruction in the blast area was evidence of great force with the description of a car, located 200 feet from the blast, "crushed like an eggshell" under the slab of concrete propelled from the building.

 

It is thought that the explosion was caused by a gas in an improperly vented space underneath the floor.  One of the students who survived noted that a teacher was in the act of plugging in a power tool at the time when the explosion took place.

 

The casualties were great, with 294 fatalities and at least 39 serious injuries. Remarkably, three boys who were at the far end of the room where the explosion occurred were blown into the rear addition of the school, surviving with only minor injuries.

 

The Charles S. Morgan Library supports the research activities and maintains the archive of NFPA.  In the Library we have copies of NFPA publications including the NFPA Quarterly, published from 1907-1964.  Learn more about the Library and Archives, our resources, and services.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1b0802d970c-250wi.jpgThe March 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:

  • A link to the latest Wildfire Watch column that highlights climate change and its effect on wildfire and homes in the WUI
  • A look back at the successes of the Firewise program in 2015
  • Information about the newest wildfire track at this year’s Conference & Expo
  • A recap of our visit to South Africa …

 

...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.

It's not every day a nationally-respected fire safety "spokesdog" turns 65! But today, March 18, marks a milestone birthday for Sparky the Fire Dog®, the official mascot of NFPA.

 

Sparky, a fire safety icon beloved by children and adults alike, has helped teach millions of people about fire safety through educational lessons and materials featuring his image. Sparky frequently visits schools and participates in community events to spread fire safety messages, often accompanied by his firefighter friends.

 

Like a true Pisces, Sparky is caring, sympathetic, and is always willing to help others, without hoping to get anything back.

 

NFPA is cooking up all kinds of adventures to help Sparky celebrate his birthday: over the new few months, Sparky will enjoy chance-of-a-lifetime excursions, must-have meetups, unforgettable learning opportunities, and cool collaborations with others who have made fire safety their mission. Be sure to check out his 65th Birthday Bucket List!

 

And today, on the official day of his birth, Sparky wants to party like a rock star (and a comedian and a Hollywood actress). Here are some well-known folks who share Sparky's birthday.

 

Photos and celebrity information from FamousBirthdays.com)

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Adam Levine is 37
Singer and guitarist for the band Maroon 5, who became known for hit songs such as "Harder to Breathe" and "Moves Like Jagger." In 2011, he became a coach on The Voice.

Dane Cook is 44
Stand-up comedian and actor who was the first comic to use social networking websites to amass a giant and devoted fan base. He has also starred in the films Good Luck Chuck, Dan in Real Life, and My Best Friend's Girl.

Queen Latifah is 46
A Golden Globe-winning actress who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 2002 film Chicago.

Vanessa Williams is 53
An actress best known for her roles in Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives. She initially gained fame after becoming the first African-American woman to earn the title of Miss America in 1984.

Mike Rowe is 54
A television personality best known for hosting the popular Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs. He also worked as a pitchman for the Ford Motor Company.

Sparky the Fire Dog is 65
Sparky was “born” at the 1950 NFPA Annual Meeting in Atlantic City, NJ, where the association announced that the Advertising Council had approved a national fire-prevention campaign to be launched in 1951, with NFPA as sponsor.

On March 17, 1996, a fire occurred in a single-story board and care facility in Laurinburg, North Carolina.  The fire was caused by sparks from a faulty electrical receptacle which ignited bedding materials in one of the resident rooms.  Smoke spread into other areas when cross-corridor doors were opened during evacuation and fire suppression.  Eight residents died in the blaze.


According to NFPA’s investigation, the following contributed to the loss of life in this incident:

  • Occupants’ inability to evacuate before untenable conditions developed in the fire area
  • Room doors that remained open due the lack of door self-closing devices
  • Lack of automatic sprinklers
  • Staff members’ inability to enter the fire area due to smoke and heat

 

NFPA members can read the full investigation report.

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 4.27.09 PMThe boom in liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure around the country and what it means for safety and emergency planning are the topics of “Full Tank,” the cover story in the new March/April 2016 issue of NFPA Journal. The issue is available in print, online, and through NFPA Journal mobile apps.

The cover story, written by NFPA Journal staff writer Jesse Roman, looks at the factors that have contributed to the United States’ emergence as a net exporter of natural gas. A new concentration on the infrastructure and processes necessary to handle these growing supplies of gas—natural gas is converted to liquid form for most transport and storage purposes—have prompted a re-examination of the codes and standards, including NFPA 59A, Production, Storage, and Handling of Liquefied Natural Gas, designed to maintain natural gas safety.

Other March/April features include a new look at sprinkler systems for in-rack storage and their possible ramifications for NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems. Another feature looks at membrane enclosures—temporary structures used for painting and refinishing processes inside buildings—and changes to NFPA 33, Spray Application Using Flammable or Combustible Materials.

The issue’s departments include a “Perspectives” interview with a South African wildfire organization on how it has incorporated elements of NFPA’s Firewise program, and a “First Word” commentary by Jim Pauley, NFPA’s president, on the importance of preserving copyright protection for NFPA’s codes and standards.

Two of the issue’s columns look at fire safety issues related to the recent Paris climate change conference: “Washington, D.C.” looks at how the conference may signal a new role for standards developers, while “Wildfire Watch” connects climate change to structural fire risks in the wildland/urban interface.

Be sure to check out the NFPA Journal podcast on South Africa’s wildfire problem at nfpa.org/podcast.

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In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the deployment of lithium ion batteries in energy storage systems (ESS). Many ESS are being deployed in urban areas both in high rise structures and single- and multi-family residences. Local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) along with the ESS integrators and installers are challenged by the lack of clear direction on fire protection and suppression in these installations. Without a recognized hazard assessment made available to standards developers, AHJs, emergency responders, and industry, guidance on safe installation of these systems will lack a technical basis.

 

The purpose of a recent Fire Protection Research Foundation project was to develop a hazard assessment of the usage of lithium ion batteries in ESS to allow for the development of safe installation requirements and appropriate emergency response tactics.

 

Download the full report, "Hazard Assessment of Lithium Ion Battery Energy Storage Systems", authored by Andrew F. Blum, P.E., CFEI and R. Thomas Long Jr., P.E., CFEI, with Exponent, Inc. to read more about the project and findings.

 

Interested in more information on this topic? In a recent article in NFPA Journal, "Power to Spare," Jesse Roman details energy storage systems that are revolutionizing power management, and the host of emerging safety questions that enforcers and responders must now tackle.

dogRescue.pngA firefighter who rescued a puppy from a fire last year has made his furry companion an official part of the firehouse family.

Last April, Bill Lindler of the Hanahan Fire Department in South Carolina was returning home from work when he saw flames engulfing a neighbor’s garage. As the structure burned, a dog and several puppies were able to escape by themselves, but one puppy was trapped by a fallen piece of burning ceiling and unable to escape. After backup arrived, Lindler went into the building to rescue the puppy, who the firefighter has since named Jake. Jake had to receive emergency oxygen and was sent to an emergency veterinary clinic tor receive treatment for his burns, which covered 70 percent of his body.

A few weeks after the fire, Lindler visited Jake at the clinic to see how he was doing. To his surprise, he found that no one had come to claim the puppy. So, Lindler decided to adopt Jake, and started to bring the puppy along for his shifts at the fire station. There, Jake fit right in. He started assisting the firefighters with their educational efforts, traveling with them to local schools for classes about fire protection. He’s a hit with the kids, and his presence around the firehouse has been a huge boost for the morale of the firefighters working there.

"Everybody was just thrilled to death," Lindler told The Dodo earlier this month. "He's just the cutest little thing there is. Everybody fell in love with him."

As a reward for all his hard work, Jake was recently sworn in as an honorary firefighter, making him the fire department’s official mascot. He’s currently being trained as an arson detection dog. Despite his scars, Jake is happy and in perfect health, said Lindler.

"Sometimes people ask about the scars, and when they do I tell them Jake's story,” he said. “I tell them that the scars are just his badge from being a firefighter."

Photo courtesy of the Dodo.

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Sparky is celebrating his 65th in a BIG way – on the big screen. Recently, Sparky ticked a high-visibility bucket list item off his wish list when he was featured on the HDX screen at an NHL hockey game. Fans in the crowd went wild when they saw NFPA’s firedog onscreen. Sparky’s 65th birthday Bucket List campaign has just gotten underway – keep track of the old dog’s adventures on his 65th Birthday Bucket List site.

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Sparky got a jump on his 65th Birthday Bucket List recently when he rode the ice resurfacer at the Boston Bruins’ inaugural First Responder Night. Sparky was in his glory as he circled the ice at TD Garden, waving to his favorite audience – police, fire and EMS professionals. Be sure to follow the iconic fire dog’s adventures by visiting his 65th Birthday Bucket List site often.

Anyone doubting the long-term benefits of a fire sprinkler ordinance need only look to Scottsdale, Arizona. 


Since it went into effect in 1986, the ordinance has had a hand in saving lives and property; the city's fire losses, for example, are a third less than the national average. As for the myth that "fire sprinkler requirements will place the fire service out of business," the number of Scottsdale's fire stations and firefighters has increased since the ordinance took effect 30 years ago.


 

In this new video by NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative, Jim Ford, fire marshal for the Scottsdale Fire Department, discusses how his town's ordinance has significantly decreased the city's fire losses without diminishing the necessity of the fire service. (Read this report from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition showcasing other benefits of this ordinance.) He also gives advice to other safety advocates looking to mirror Scottsdale's success.


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!http://i.zemanta.com/338179680_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/338179680_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Another U.S. state takes a big step in support of home fire sprinklers
!http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_113_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/noimg_113_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Do you know your favorite presidential candidate's position on fire safety?
!http://i.zemanta.com/308513509_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/308513509_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Texas Fire Marshal honored for working with the media to promote sprinkler saves
!http://i.zemanta.com/326401612_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/326401612_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Sprinklers 101: School program teaches future homebuilders the value of home fire sprinklers
!http://i.zemanta.com/322348751_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/322348751_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!"Homes are burning so darn fast:" Fire chiefs make convincing argument for home fire sprinklers

An early morning fire on March 14, 1981 resulted in the deaths of 19 tenants, and injuries to 13 other persons (including two police officers).  The fire began in a first-floor laundry room and quickly spread to a nearby stairway, which trapped many of the 62 occupants of the four-story residential hotel.

 

The Chicago Fire Department first received a telephoned report of smoke at 2:59 a.m.  When they arrived at 3:02 a.m. they found the rear stairway of the hotel fully involved.  Rescue operations were made difficult by the extensive fire involvement, thick black smoke, and the loss of the rear stairway, however, firefighters were able to rescue 20 occupants from the upper floors by means of ground ladders.

 

Several factors contributed to the severity of this incident:

 

    • Lack of adequate protection in hazardous areas
    • The hotel reportedly served as a residence for patients in area drug and alcohol detoxification programs, people undergoing this treatment may not be capable of self preservation during a fire emergency
    • Performance of detectors and alarm systems was inadequate, and many room detectors did not have batteries
    • Lack of adequate corridor fire protection

 

NFPA members can read the Fire Journal article.

symposium.pngJoin us on April 18, 2016 at the Holiday Inn Munich - City Centre in Munich, Germany for an in-depth review of the latest emerging issues important to the global fire protection community. NFPA and the Fire Protection Research Foundation present a one-day symposium on recent global research to address the challenges of today and tomorrow.  The program includes presentations about intelligent building design, tall wood buildings, lithium-ion batteries, big data for fire protection, and much more.  Additional details and a full program can be found on our website: www.nfpa.org/munich.

 

The symposium will take place the day before Fire Sprinkler International 2016 which is being held April 19-20 at the same hotel.

 

Regular rate is $395 USD. A special rate of $350 USD applies for those who are also attending Fire Sprinkler International 2016.

Register now to reserve your spot for this important global symposium.

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The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) and the Boston Fire Department today released reports on their investigations of the Back Bay fire that resulted in the tragic loss of two firefighters on March 26, 2014. Welders installing railings on a nearby building caused the fire; the welding company did not have the necessary permits for this work.

 

According to the NIOSH report, there were several contributing factors to the fatalities, including the wind-driven nature of the fire itself; firefighter training, staffing and tactics; and the location of fire hydrants. The report cited 15 recommendations, including the provision of a Mayday tactical checklist; requiring the use of sprinkler systems in residential structures and the establishment of retroactive requirements for the installation of fire sprinkler systems; and consideration for the effects of thermal degradation on fire attack hose.

 

“There are so many factors that can contribute to a fire incident going horribly wrong, horribly fast,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of NFPA’s Outreach and Advocacy. “It is our role to look at these reports and other information so we can learn all we can to improve firefighter and public safety, and prevent a similar tragedy in the future.”

 

Since the Back Bay incident occurred nearly two years ago, the Technical Committee for NFPA 1961, Standard on Fire Hose, has received input from multiple stakeholders, including Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and the Federal Bureau of Arson, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), in support of examining the existing requirements in NFPA 1961, and in determining whether changes need to be made to the next edition of the standard, to be issued in 2018. As part of those ongoing efforts, a workshop among the NFPA 1961 Technical Committee and other vested parties is planned for this May.

 

NFPA and the Fire Protection Research Foundation (the Foundation) - the research affilliate of NFPA - offer resources and information that address issues related to this incident:

 

WPI has established on online fire attack hose burn-through survey to capture fire incidents involving fire hose failure. We strongly encourage fire departments to submit related incidents and/or information through this registry, and to help more accurately capture the actual occurrence of fire hose failures nationwide.

The Conference sessions, descriptions and speakers are now available on the NFPA Conference & Expo website. Search by key word, date, track, or speaker. Go to nfpa.org/conferenceeducation to put together your personal schedule!

 

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Learn more about this conference...and register today!

supdet.jpgThe Research Foundation's SUPDET 2016 symposium wrapped up last week in San Antonio, Texas.  Over the course of the four-day conference more than 100 attendees and 30 presenters met to discuss the latest research, developments and emerging issues in the fire detection and suppression world. Attendees listened to presentations on topics such as the History of Fire, New Technology for High-Challenge Sprinkler Protected Warehouses, Hazards of Lithium-Ion Batteries, Data Collection related to Smoke Alarm Performance, Indoor Positioning Systems, new research focused on reducing Nuisance Alarms, as well as a workshop on the opportunities for big data to inform ITM practices of fire protection equipment.

 

The conference presentations and extended abstracts on each of the topics are now available on the Foundation's website: www.nfpa.org/2016supdetpapers.

The Foundation expresses special thanks to our sponsors that helped make this event a success:

 

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February 3, 2016 marked a new age in the world of NFPA training programs: it was the launch of our NFPA 25 Hands-On Training Program and it was an amazing success. Dozens of students spent two days with Matt Klaus, NFPA's Technical Lead for Fire Protection, in Cranston, RI alternating time between the lab and the classroom, applying the code to actual equipment.

 

I asked Matt Klaus about the event and he had this to say: "It was an amazing experience to connect NFPA codes and standards to real world applications. The feedback from the attendees was that we need to have more training opportunities like this." Based on the response we received to the last class, Matt agreed to host another training session in Cranston, RI  from April 12-14.

 

For more information on that session go to: www.nfpa.org/handson. Check out some of the photos from the training session in February.

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The NFPA Standards Council will be meeting on April 5-6, 2016 in Bonita Springs, Florida. At this meeting, some of the topics the Council will address include:

  • an appeal on a proposed TIA to NFPA 780
  • the issuance of proposed TIAs on NFPA 20, NFPA 30B, NFPA 52, NFPA 55, NFPA 68, NFPA 69, NFPA 400, NFPA 409, NFPA 664, NFPA 780, and NFPA 1977
  • new projects/documents on hanging and bracing of water-based fire protection systems; low pressure dispensing containers (LPDC); marijuana growing and processing facilities; and stationary energy storage systems.
  • consideration of requests from Committees to change revision cycle schedules, committee scopes, and committee titles
  • action on pending applications for committee memberships

 

Read the full Council agenda for further information.

 

The NFPA Standards Council is a 13-person committee appointed by the NFPA Board of Directors that oversees the Association's codes and standards development activities, administers the rules and regulations, and acts as an appeals body. The Council administers about 250 NFPA Technical Committees and their work on nearly 300 documents addressing topics of importance to the built environment.

The First Draft Reports for NFPA documents in the Annual 2017 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 through the online system on any of these documents is May 16, 2016. Some of the proposed NFPA documents with First Draft Reports in the Annual 2017 revision cycle are as follows:

  • NFPA 1, Fire Code
  • NFPA 54, National Fuel Gas Code
  • NFPA 59, Utility LP-Gas Plant Code
  • NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace
  • NFPA 87, Recommended Practice for Fluid Heaters
  • NFPA 90A, Standard for the Installation of Air-Conditioning and Ventilating Systems
  • NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code
  • NFPA 101, Life Safety Code®
  • NFPA 301, Code for Safety to Life from Fire on Merchant Vessels
  • NFPA 402, Guide for Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Operations
  • NFPA 472, Standard for Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents
  • NFPA 1500, Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program
  • NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting
  • NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code®

 

 

See the full list of documents in the Annual 2017 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.

On March 9, 1984, a fire occurred in a crew cabin of a ship on a daily cruise approximately 5 miles off the coast of central Florida.  The fire was discovered at approximately 7:30 p.m. and officers on the bridge immediately mobilized the ship’s fire brigade.  Crew members attempted unsuccessfully to extinguish the fire; while the attempts were being made, the captain alerted the passengers and returned the ship to a terminal at Port Canaveral.  When the ship reached land, the ship’s crew assisted all 744 passengers in safely disembarking the ship, meanwhile, land-based fire crews boarded the ship and began fire suppression operations.


Fire suppression operations took 40 hours, and caused 90 firefighter injuries.  Six of the injured were transported to local hospitals for treatment.  Six factors were identified during the investigation which contributed significantly to the magnitude of this incident.


    • The fuel loading of the cabins in the area of initial fire involvement
    • The failure of fire station hoses onboard the ship when fire crews attempted to place these lines in service
    • The incompatibility of the ship’s fire station (standpipe) hose connections with land-based fire department hose couplings
    • The lack of a detailed contingency plan for firefighting operations onboard ships docked at Port Canaveral
    • The lack of training of the land-based fire department units in shipboard firefighting tactics
    • The failure to extinguish the fire in its incipient stage

 

NFPA members can download the full investigation report.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1ab0081970c-500wi.jpgNFPA is actively supporting Domino’s annual spring campaign, reminding everyone to change their smoke alarm batteries when they change their clocks for daylight saving time this Sunday, March 13.

 

“Domino’s reaches thousands of people through delivery on a daily basis, and we want to use that opportunity to share fire safety tips with families across the country,” said Jenny Fouracre, Domino’s spokesperson. “Daylight saving time is a great time to remember to change your smoke alarm batteries after you set your clocks ahead. This small step is an easy one, but it can help save lives.”

 

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1ab010d970c-320wi.jpgWorking smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a fire in half. That's why it's so important to test them monthly and make sure they're working properly. For smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away. For smoke alarms that don’t have non-replaceable (long-life) batteries, replace the batteries at least once a year. If the alarm chirps, replace only the battery.

 

Visit our Smoke Alarm Central page for a wealth of additional information on smoke alarm installation, maintenance and testing. And remember to turn your clocks ahead one hour this Sunday!

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c8201952970b-320wi.jpgHow can lithium-ion battery energy storage systems (ESS) be installed safely, and what are appropriate emergency response tactics? The Fire Protection Research Foundation (the Foundation) has released its Fire Hazard Assessment of Lithium-Ion Battery Energy Storage Systems report, which provides an overview of lithium-ion battery usage in ESS. The report works to establish safe installation requirements for ESS integrators and installers, along with appropriate emergency response tactics for standards developers, AHJs and emergency responders.

 

Report co-author Andrew Blum, P.E., CFEI, Exponent, Inc., will be hosting a free webinar training on this issue on April 19, 12:30-2:00 p.m. (Registration for the webinar is now open.)

 

Meanwhile, lithium-ion batteries that power devices like hoverboards and e-cigarettes continue to receive significant media attention. An article in last week’s New York Times, The Risks in Hoverboards and Other Lithium-Ion Gadgets, highlighted associated fire risks and incidents that have been reported on in recent months.

According to the NFPA report “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires”, "Half of smoke alarm failures in reported home fires were due to missing or disconnected batteries. Nuisance alarms are the leading cause of occupants disconnecting their smoke alarms. Cooking is the leading cause of nuisance alarms."  Two SUPDET 2016 presentations focused on this issue.

 

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08c47930970d-550wi.jpgThomas Cleary (pictured below), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is conducting research on how current smoke alarm models react to the new polyurethane foam and nuisance tests in ANSI/UL 0217 Standard for Smoke Alarms (8th Ed.). In his presentation, Impact of Smoke Alarm Performance Considering New Nuisance and Fire Tests, Cleary describes the planned experiments to evaluate the performance of current smoke alarm models to the new fire tests and additional cooking scenarios including light toast, dark toast, heated cooking oil, and stir fry vegetables to assess "the potential performance enhancement of new smoke alarm designs" and to determine how appropriate a single nuisance source test is in representing a broad range of cooking activities.  Look for the report, as well as the raw data, by summer 2016.

 

Joshua Dinaburg, Jensen Hughes, is concerned about the nuisance alarms cause by other factors.  In Beyond Cooking: Smoke Alarm Nuisance Sources Evaluated, "Water mist from showers may account for 40% of nuisance alarms." he says.  Long term exposure to dust or smoke may also cause an increase in sensitivity which leads to more nuisance alarms.  Dinaburg postulates that we could save 300 people a year by eliminating nuisance alarms entirely.

 

Additional research on nuisance alarms can be found on the Research Foundation's Smoke Detection page.  To access the SUPDET 2016 presentations and papers, please visit the proceedings website.

Those of us not blessed with a keen sense of direction and a solid mental map are deeply grateful for the now ubiquitous addition of GPS navigation to our lives.  Long car trips have been shortened as we’ve avoided getting lost.  “Marriages,” Lance Rütimann asserts, “have been saved.”  Unfortunately, that saving grace deserts us when we go inside.

 

In yesterday’s SUPDET 2016 “Indoor Positioning Systems Enhance Safety and Security in Buildings” presentation authored by Oliver Zechlin and Lance Rütimann, Siemens Switzerland Ltd., Rütimann outlined the possibilities inherent in creating in indoor positioning system.  Buildings would be thoroughly mapped and users could be triangulated through beacons, Wi-Fi, RFID, or a number of other technologies.  A phone app, smart glasses, or other output device could receive directions from a central server based on your current location and desired destination and guide you there just as your car navigation currently does.  Imagine being guided to the correct spot in a large warehouse or to the room you need in a sprawling hospital complex.

 

The applications for emergency systems are even more exciting.  With additional sensors and algorithms, you might be able to receive personized emergency evacuation procedures that take into account current hazards, blocked escape routes, and your own abilities to guide you to the closest and safest exit.  Audible guides could also be provided to account for those with poor eyesight or for situations with poor visibility.  Emergency responders could be guided to or away from hazards, directed to people needing rescue, or even guided to emergency equipment.  The possibilities are endless!

 

To access the SUPDET 2016 presentations and papers, please visit the proceedings website.  You may also want to check out the Research Foundation’s Smart Fire Fighting Project.

Joseph M. Fleming, Boston Fire Department, argues that we don’t.  In his presentation at SUPDET 2016, “Improving Data Collection of Smoke Alarms in Fires,” Fleming points out the investigators may be prone to bias, assuming fire alarms did or didn’t go off based on their expectations regarding survival likelihood.  If no one escapes, they might simply assume that the alarm was not triggered.  Investigators may even code the NFIRS Detector Operation Field as “failed to operate” or “undetermined” based on their assumptions despite witness testimony to the contrary.  Regarding the “Detector Failure Reason” coding, he states, “Most fire chiefs are not trained to make this determination. When this form is being filled out right after a fire, how would the fire chief know if the victim was impaired or deaf?  What if the victim was alerted but alerted after it was too late?”  All of these may lead to bad data and thus to incorrect conclusions.

 

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08c29114970d-550wi.jpgFleming recommends working to improve our data and the consistency/accuracy of coding, as well as applying data analysis to fire fatalities in different areas, keeping in mind their different requirements, to shed light on the number of flaming vs. smoldering fires, the number of furniture fires, the efficacy of smoke detectors, and other issues.

 

This echoes the calls we’ve heard throughout the week, most particularly at Workshop on Big Data and Fire Protection Systems, for better data combined with robust algorithms to help us tease out patterns and solutions which will allow us to make the best evidence based recommendations.

To access the SUPDET 2016 presentations and papers, please visit the proceedings website.

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On, March 4, 1991 a fire of accidental origin occurred at Crystal Springs Estate, a board and care facility, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Nine of the building's 25 elderly residents died during the fire.  In addition, eight other residents and five firefighters were injured.

 

The single-story masonry and wood structure, with two separate partial basements, was divided into three fire compartments by noncombustible walls, and the corridor openings in these walls were protected with fire doors.  A fire alarm system using heat detectors as the primary initiating device protected all rooms, closets, and attic spaces.  Manual pull stations and smoke detectors located next to the fire doors were also connected to this fire alarm system.  The activation of any device in the fire alarm system would initiate alarm chimes throughout the building and would send a signal to a central monitoring station.  A separate alarm system of interconnected corridor smoke detectors was also provided and only initiated a local alarm upon the activation of any detector on the system.

 

An electric motor in a ventilation fan apparently malfunctioned, overheated, and ignited combustible materials in the attic above the east wing.  The fire burned for an undetermined period of time, spreading in the attic space above several rooms before causing the ceiling to collapse in a residents' lounge.  At approximately 12:35 a.m., smoke entering the occupied space activated the corridor smoke detection system, and staff began their emergency procedures.

 

The fire also breached a wall between the wing of origin and a dining room and spread across the combustible ceiling in the dining room.  Because there was no fire door between the dining room and the corridor in the west wing, smoke and fire extended to that corridor.

 

The first firefighters on the scene found the dining room fully involved in fire with heavy smoke and some fire extension in corridors of both wings.  They started simultaneous rescue and suppression operations.  All survivors were rescued during the first half hour, and fire suppression operations continued for approximately 4 1/2 hours.  In addition to the nine fatalities and eight injured residents, the fire destroyed two of the building's three wings.

 

The following factors appear to have significantly contributed to the loss of life:

 

    •     Heat detector system in the attic did not provide early warning,

 

     •     Fire separations did not prevent the spread of smoke and fire,

 

     •     Combustible ceiling in the dining room,

 

     •     Lack of adequate firesafety training for staff and residents.

 

NFPA members can download the full investigaion report Board and Care Facility Fire. Those interested in more information about board and care fires can download NFPA's Structure Fires in Residential board and Care Facilities report and fact sheet.  For more information on firefighter injuries download Firefighter Injuries in the United States

Wednesday afternoon at SUPDET was dedicated to a Workshop on Big Data and Fire Protection Systems focused on identifying the opportunities for big data to inform inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) decision making.    The on‐going reliability of built‐in fire protection systems is related to ITM of these systems.

 

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c81d7ce2970b-550wi.jpgNathaniel Lin (pictured below), NFPA's new director of data strategy and analytics, gave a presentation on “Big Data Analytics and Decision Making” where he highlighted the need for analytics to turn raw data into insights and solutions that can be acted upon.  “True analysis,” he said, “leads to predictions.  It uses the past to predict the future.”

 

Gayle Pennel followed with a “Case Study Presentation: Update of Fire Pump ITM Data Coordination” which came out of his 2012 Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Fire Pump Field Data Collection and Analysis" and was an effort to “provide credible and statistically valid fire pump performance data that substantiates testing frequencies and protocols.”

 

The second half of the afternoon was devoted to breakout groups who wrestled with the larger questions of what data might inform ITM decisions, how standard data formats might be developed, what data sources might be available, and what potential barriers to data sharing might need to be overcome.  It was an exciting and talk-filled two hours!  A workshop summary will be made available in the future.

 

Recent additional efforts to address this topic have included a previous Foundation Workshop on “Applying Reliability Based Decision Making to ITM Frequency” (2012), and a workshop at SUPDET 2015 on the topic of general research needs around the topic of ITM, which identified several areas where data is needed to answer key questions such as the optimal frequency for certain tests and the relationship between ITM activities and failures.

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OSHA recently released its finding on the fatal collapse of a circus tent in New Hampshire last summer, reinforcing the importance of proper maintenance and adherence to safety codes.

The tragic accident killed two people and injured 50, including several employees of the circus. OSHA found 14 serious violations in total and proposed that the circus operator, Walker International Events, be fined $33,800.

In a release issued this month, OSHA delineated the circus operator’s failings that led to the tragic deaths of a father and daughter, and injuries to many others. The report concluded that the tent was not erected properly, and the operator failed to use the required tent stakes, to properly anchor the stakes, and to replace stakes that had been damaged. In addition, the circus operator ignored multiple warnings from the National Weather Service about severe thunderstorms that were rolling into the area.

The violations acknowledged in the OSHA findings go against several safety codes that theNational Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has created that address safety, including:

These codes pertain to fire and life safety, electrical design, installation, and inspection and construction design.

Along with the tent missteps, OSHA’s investigation uncovered other hazards that placed employees of the circus at risk for electric shock, burns, lacerations and struck-by injuries. The report went on to detail incorrect use of electrical equipment, inadequate safety gear, unmarked exits, and a lack of fire extinguishers. These infractions point to systematic disregard for the safety of circus employees and attendees alike.

With spring and summer just around the corner there will be more and more events involving the sort of tent that was involved in the 2015 catastrophe in New Hampshire. Meticulously observing established safety codes will go a long way in protecting all those involved.

Lithium-ion batteries have become a staple of everyday life, from the small ones that power our cell phones, laptops, and tools, to the larger energy storage systems (ESS) that may soon be found in many houses storing energy created by solar panels for later use.  With the power potential that makes them so useful comes additional safety concerns.  This morning at SUPDET 2016 we heard from a number of researchers examining different issues.

 

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08c221ff970d-550wi.jpgMark Smith presented 3M’s promising experiments with using fluorinated ketones to stop thermal runaway in battery packs in “Preventing Cell-to-Cell Thermal Runaway in Li-ion Battery Packs by Means of Fluid Application.”

 

Andrew F. Blum (pictured above), Exponent, Inc., presented “Lithium-ion Energy Storage System Fires.”  The focus was on assessing failure scenarios in energy storage systems.  They suggested future fire testing to develop safe installation rules, consider ventilation and placement needs, and recommend fire fighter tactics.

Ben Ditch, FM Global, presented “Cartoned Lithium Ion Battery Storage Sprinkler Protection” which focused on reduced commodity evaluations of a variety of lithium-ion batteries in order to assess and classify hazard levels.  The future holds a large scale test of the highest hazard batteries to confirm proper protection levels.  Their aim is “protection based on actual results for actual batteries.”

 

Additional Research Foundation projects related to lithium-ion batteries can be found online.  To access the SUPDET 2016 presentations and papers, please visit the proceedings website.

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A few recent home fires in the news got my attention. The most recent occurred on January 31 in Novi, Michigan, that killed five people ranging in age from 16 to 23. My research indicates the home was built between 1995 and 1999. On December 17, 2015, a fire killed a father and son in Lower Macungie Township, Pennsylvania, in a home built in 1998. Three days earlier, a woman perished in a home fire in Logan-Rogersville, Missouri, in a home built in 1994. (These are just the headlines I've noticed.) In all incidents, fire departments responded within minutes of being dispatched.

We often hear from homebuilders, Realtors, politicians, and others that fire sprinklers should not be required in new homes since new homes are safer than old homes. They claim that fire deaths and injuries most often occur in older homes. They imply that simply living in a new home reduces your chances of being killed or injured in a home fire over living in an old home. If this is true, my first question is as follows: When does a new home become an old home?

For more on this post written by Fire Chief Rick Ennis, visit NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative blog.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08c19cac970d-550wi.jpgHow can we apply smart firefighting to sprinkler protected high challenge warehouse fires?  Christina Francis of Proctor & Gamble has some suggestions and they start with gathering data to determine the current state of the fire.

 

Currently, it can be difficult for a fire brigade to determine the size and state of a warehouse fire upon arrival.  Smoke, steam, and physical obstructions may obscure visual and infrared inspection, requiring hose teams to make estimates based main fire alarm panel data and their familiarity with the area.  Rack storage may reach as high as 145 ft. which poses its own challenges for both inspection and fire control.

 

Christina believes that monitoring real-time data on fire pump status and water flow can provide key information regarding whether a fire has reached a controlled or steady state.  If the flow to the sprinklers maintains at the same gallons per minute over a period of ten or more minutes, it is a persuasive indicator that the fire has not grown to require additional sprinklers and is likely in a controlled state.

 

A website, which she hopes will soon be an app, monitors data on water flow, riser activity, suction pressure, and the amount of flow left at current flow levels.  This puts all the data needed on one incident command screen for the best possible information on the current situation.  Additionally, push notifications could be set up to notify key people when fire pumps become active.  Data made actionable!

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The suppression portion of SUPDET 2016 kicked off yesterday with a keynote on the "History of Fire" by Dick Gann from NIST.  He began with the idea that “fire safety is a benefit provided by a society using tactics, including fire suppression, whose nature reflects the cultural priorities of the era rather than being a force by itself.”

 

For the first hominids, the preservation of fire would have been a priority.  They recognized both its destructive power and its benefits, but without the ability to start fires, they had to preserve those they found in order to maintain their power.  Later they learned to start fires and to harness them to clear land, work metal, and bake clay.

 

As civilization grew, along with more tightly packed communities, the priority became not to preserve fire, but to “preserve community.”  Ancient Rome brought us the first formal, written building codes and the first fire brigades.  We mastered steam, the invented steam-driven perforated pipe system, fire pumps, and finally the self-propelled fire engine to bring water to fires more efficiently.

 

The beginning of the 20th century heralded a desire to preserve both property and people.  We began to experiment with chlorine, halon, and powders as fire suppressants.  In the latter half of the 20th century, however, we began to realize the environmental effects of our use of these chemicals.  Migration and environmental persistence of compounds contributed to ozone depletion, groundwater pollution and toxicity issues.  Our view had to move from a global to a local one.

 

Where are we now?  Our current goal, Dick says, is to “preserve fire safety.”  It must be viewed as a pervasive global problem with a global magnitude.  Our best tools are performance based codes, integrated information alert/actuation systems, and new fire technologies.

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NFPA is excited to hold our National Anthem Singing Contest for the 3rd year in a row! We are looking to select a singer(s) of the National Anthem at this year’s General Session of theNFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas on Monday, June 13, 2016. Solo performers or established groups of up to five singers must submit their audition video by March 27th to be considered. Finalists will be selected by a panel of judges and their videos will be posted online for public voting between April 1 and April 24, 2016.

The contest winner(s) will receive a roundtrip flight to Las Vegas, one-night hotel accommodations and full conference registration to the NFPA Conference & Expo, where they will perform the national anthem in front of over 3,000 attendees. The winner(s) will be announced on April 27th. Good luck to all!

 

Please see the full terms & conditions.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c81c6c90970b-320wi.jpgIn the latest edition of our Fire Sprinkler Initiative newsletter, read about a new push from some of Maryland’s biggest names in fire safety (and a few new ones) to fight anti-sprinkler legislation there. There are also stories on:

  • FEMA announcing that it will sprinkler its temporary housing for disaster survivors
  • NFPA once again offering sprinkler advocates the chance to secure up to $10,000
  • why the fire service should unify its support for home fire sprinklers

If you haven't done so already, pleasesubscribe to this newsletter to stay up to date on all sprinkler news. Feel free to share this post with your peers!

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