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The Boston Fire Department (BFD) held its inaugural A. Michael Mullane Health and Safety Symposium recently with a focus on fire fighter and paramedic occupational health and safety issues. The 2-day conference was named for the late International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) 3rd District Vice President Mullane who gave 43 years of dedicated service to the Boston Fire Department, Local 718 and the IAFF.


The symposium was preceded by a half-day round table discussion on presumptive cancer, cancer prevention protocols and hood particle permeation. Several members of Boston Fire's command staff, including Commissioner Joe Finn, and Pat Morris from the IAFF Department of Health and Safety made presentations. During the second half of the round table format, attendees participated in open discussion about the next generation of personal protective equipment (PPE), NFPA's standards on PPE, obstacles to change, post-fire decontamination, and fire fighter turnout gear.BFD Health Symposium audience.JPG


The goal of the symposium was to provide timely information and resources to first responders so that they can enjoy long and prosperous careers. The workshop featured speakers from the fire service, the medical field, academia, wellness innovation, the fire fighter's union and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Topics ranged from labor/management cooperation, cancer awareness and prevention, heart disease, behavioral health, tactical athletics, survival in the fire service, and the protection and comfort of structural fire fighter gear. There was also an Ask the Doc session. An exhibit area and networking opportunities rounded out the successful education and engagement program.


NFPA was pleased to support the first-time event as a sponsor and exhibitor; and to reinforce BFD's efforts to make health and safety a priority in the fire service.

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Firefighter behavioral health and a new initiative to develop codes and standards related to large-occupancy facilities are two of the department highlights in the new May/June issue of NFPA Journal.


Issues related to firefighter behavioral health, including firefighter suicide, are covered in "Into the Open," the lead article in this issue's "In A Flash" section. "Large Load," this issue's "Perspectives" article, features an interview with Joseph Cocciardi, chair of NFPA's Technical Committee on Loss Prevention Procedures and Practices, who discusses a new NFPA committee that is exploring the creation of codes and standards for buildings and other facilities with high occupancy loads, including stadiums, hotels, and concert venues.


The articles are part of NFPA Journal's comprehensive 2016 Conference & Expo coverage, and include information on related education sessions scheduled for the conference in Las Vegas.


In other departments in this issue of NFPA Journal, Jim Pauley, NFPA's president, writes in "First Word" of a recent trip to the United Arab Emirates and that nation's efforts to become the safest country in the world. In "Looking Back," Mary Elizabeth Woodruff recounts a series of landmark hotel fires in 1946—including the Winecoff Hotel fire in Atlanta, where 119 people died—that resulted in significant changes to NFPA's Building Exits Code, the forerunner to NFPA 101, Life Safety Code.

#23 - Maple Museum.jpgSparky visited the new England Maple Museum, located in the foothills of the Green Mountains in Vermont. The Museum traces the history of maple sugaring through 200 years, beginning with Native Americans discovering how to cook sap into syrup. Sparky even got to taste some of the famous Vermont maple syrup!


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!

1616massevacandshelteringfeaturethumb.jpgIn 2013, NFPA embarked on the development of NFPA 1616, Standard for Mass Evacuation and Sheltering. The Technical Committee on Mass Evacuation and Sheltering is responsible for the administration of this activity, and they are in the of seeking to clarify the available literature and other applicable detailed information in support of this effort.


A compilation of the different laws and how these laws are implemented through the local emergency management infrastructure is recognized as useful information for the NFPA 1616 effort. Currently in the United States, each state empowers the Governor to take actions in time of disaster, but the authority to order and enforce such an order differs in each jurisdictional area. The purpose of this recently completed Fire Protection Research Foundation project is to provide a compendium of state mandatory evacuation laws and the mechanism for the enforcement of such laws.


"Mass Evacuation and Sheltering,” authored by Bryan L. Hoskins and Keagan D. Lacey with Oklahoma State University is now available for free download.


For further information on this topic, take a look at the new edition of NFPA Journal's article, "Single Source," which delves into the creation of the new NFPA 1616, and how it provides emergency officials with a comprehensive guide for managing a program for mass evacuation and sheltering.


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Happy Weekend!  It's the "official" start of the summer season, which, along with sunshine and BBQs, also brings additional safety concerns and potential hazardous scenarios.  NFPA 1, Fire Code, contains valuable requirements to help ensure communities stay safe this summer season.


**While staying safe and enjoying the long weekend please remember that Memorial Day is a time to remember those that have sacrificed for our freedom and our country so we can all enjoy weekends like this.**


Q1:   How do I protect parade floats?

A:     Parade floats require a permit to use a parade float for public performance, presentation, spectacle, entertainment, or parade.  In addition, motorized parade floats and towing apparatus require a minimum 2-A:10-B:C-rated portable fire extinguisher readily accessible to the operator.  (See Section 10.16)


Q2:   How far do recreational fires have to be from a building/structure?

A:     Recreational fires shall not be located within 25 ft (7.6 m) of a structure or combustible material unless contained in an approved manner.  This includes fire pits and camping fires.  Also, conditions that could cause a fire to spread to within 25 ft (7.6 m) of a structure must be eliminated prior to ignition.  (See Section 10.10.4)


Q3:  Where can grills be located?

A:    (For other than one- and two-family dwellings,) no hibachi, grill, or other similar devices used for cooking, heating, or any other purpose shall be used  on any balcony, under any overhanging portion, or within 10 ft (3 m) of any structure.  In addition, these devices cannot be stored on a balcony. (See Section 10.10.6)


(Check out this post on grills for additional details.)  NFPA also offers a variety of resources for safe grilling and outdoor entertaining!


Q4:   Are there any provisions for patio heaters in NFPA 1?

A:     NFPA 1 extracts provisions for the installation of patio heaters from NFPA 58, Liquified Petroleum Gas Code.  Patio heaters, often used extensively in restaurants with outdoor seating, must be listed and used in accordance with their listing and the manufacturer's instructions.  They cannot be located within 5 ft (1.5 m) of exits from an assembly occupancy, recognizing their common use in restaurants. (See Section 10.10.7)



Q5:   Does NFPA 1 permit the use of sky lanterns?

A:     The use of unmanned, free-floating sky lanterns and similar devices utilizing an open flame are prohibited.  For more information, check out NFPA's safety tip sheet on sky lanterns.  (See Section


Q6:   How does an AHJ enforce outdoor events such as carnivals or fairs?

A:     The AHJ is permitted to regulate all outdoor events such as carnivals and fairs as it pertains to access for emergency vehicles; access to fire protection equipment; placement of stands, concession booths, and exhibits; and the control of hazardous conditions dangerous to life and property.  (See Section 10.14)


Have a safe holiday weekend!

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