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shutterstock_85231228 (002).jpgPhiladelphia public schools are ignoring the city’s code and the school district’s policy for fire drills, according to a local affiliate of NBC News.

 

City codes require public schools to have ten fire drills— one a month— over the course of the school year, including two within the first two weeks of school. In an investigative segment that aired earlier this week, NBC 10 Philadelphia reported less than 15 percent of Philadelphia schools performed the required ten fire drills during the 2014-2015 school year. Some schools only performed as little as two.

 

Records for the past two and a half years show schools recording drills on days school was not in session, including a Saturday, Christmas Eve and during the Papal visit in September 2015.

 

NFPA offers resources to help educators safeguard against fire. These include a lesson plan for teaching students about fire drills, and a list of safety tips for school fires. However, it remains vitally important that schools conduct the proper amount of drills. These NFPA resources build on the requirements of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code which requires one drill a month with an additional provision that two must be conducted within the first 30 days of school.

 

Said NFPA’s Robert Solomon, “This is one of the most important things you can do for the students and the faculty."

 

Watch part two of the NBC 10 segment here.

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the city of San Antonio, Texas, sheltered an estimated 37,000 storm evacuees at a cost to the city of roughly $21.8 million. While extraordinary in its benevolence, the city’s mayor at the time, Phil Hardberger, conceded later that his initial assessment that San Antonio could handle such a wave of refugees, even if it meant creating and implementing a complex, multiagency plan on the fly, was bold and maybe even ignorant.

 

Put yourself in Hardberger’s shoes,” writes Dean Larson, the chair of the technical committee of NFPA 1616, Mass Evacuation, Sheltering, and Reentry Programs, in his feature article “Single Source” in the new issue of NFPA Journal. “Sheltering that many people for an indeterminate length of time is a truly daunting task, one you’ve never before undertaken. Where do you even begin?”

 

Now, with the creation of NFPA 1616, there is a document officials can turn to for assistance. In his article, Larson details the just completed NFPA 1616—the 2017 edition will be the first—which describes an integrated program for planning, executing, and evaluating mass evacuation, mass sheltering, and mass reentry.

 

“I believe the new standard will allow emergency managers and other key decision makers to initiate and manage such programs much more quickly and efficiently, and will help ensure a safe, humane, and supportive experience for evacuees throughout the evacuation, sheltering, and reentry process,” Larson writes in the article.

 

Learn much more about the new NFPA 1616 standard, how it was created, the process technical committee members went through to create it, as well as much more about what the how it will impact future mass evacuation and sheltering events, by reading Larson's article in the all in the new May/June issue of NFPA Journal. 

fire-starting-drones-1.jpgFor almost two years, researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) have been working on a drone that can set fires while airborne, with the intention of making controlled burns easier. As reported by Gizmag, the team recently carried out real-life testing of their creation, which they say will help reduce the risks facing firefighters by letting them set controlled burns remotely.

 

The aircraft carries balls of potassium permanganate powder that are injected with liquid glycerol before being launched to the ground. The combined chemicals set off a reaction that ignites the materials within 60 seconds after landing.

 

Controlled burning lowers the risk of dangerous wildfires by removing built up underbrush that could fuel an out-of-control blaze. This method, called a prescribed burn, has been covered in NFPA Journal® as a critical part of reducing the threat wildfires pose to communities. Currently, firefighters use helicopters and handheld launchers to avoid being too close to intentional burns. It’s thought that drones have the potential to be a more efficient and affordable alternative.

 

NFPA Journal® has also covered the growing prevalence of drones, robots and other unmanned vehicles as emergency response tools in a 2015 article, Rise of the Machines.  Drones will also take center stage during NFPA’s Conference & Expo in Las Vegas during the keynote address. Don’t miss the chance to learn more about how drones, robotics and key analytics are helping to solve today’s fire problems.

 

Photo courtesy of University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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When compared to its older counterparts, today's homebuilding material offers a more economical and environmentally friendly way of crafting new dwellings. A lesser-known fact is the dramatic way these materials respond to fire.

 

NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative is hosting its next webinar, Lightweight Construction: The Fire Dangers of Today's Homebuilding Materials, on June 8, 12:30-1:30 p.m. EST. Learn the science behind this type of material and why home fire sprinklers are a proven method for reducing fire's impact in new dwellings. You'll also discover free resources developed by the Fire Sprinkler Initiative to promote these dangers and necessity of fire sprinklers in new homes.

 

Register for the free webinar today.

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