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The JATC Tournament is an online code challenge where JATCs nationwide were able to test their NEC IQ in a head-to-head tournament for a chance to attend this year's NFPA's Conference & Expo in Las Vegas AND get an exclusive first look at the upcoming 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC). The JATC Tournament was created by NFPA, publisher of the NEC, in conjunction with the Electrical Training Alliance (ETA).



Congratulations to the winning team (left to right in group photo above):


* Greg Grenier - ETA Director of LMS

* Ghedlom Kiros - IBEW Local 106

* James  Reid - IBEW Local 111

* Nicole Griffith - IBEW Local 108

* Lon Adams - IBEW Local 112

* Maikil Hernodon - IBEW Local 110

* Jessica Hitt (Team Captain) - IBEW Local 106

* Gerard  Andrews - IBEW Local 113

* Andrew Jewett - IBEW Local 107

* Prentise Hicks - IBEW Local 109

* Dan Whiting - NFPA Content Marketing Manager


Jesscia Hitt.jpgAs part of the prize package for winning the JATC Tournament, each member receives a complimentary toolkit from tournament sponsor, Southwire. NFPA will also provide the JATC with complimentary 2017 NEC handbooks and NEC flashcards for use in their training programs.


Congratulations to IBEW Local 106 on their win!


Photo right:  Jessica Hitt (center), IBEW Local 106 team captain with Electrical Training Alliance (ETA) Director of LMS, Greg Grenier (left), and NFPA's Dan Whiting, content marketing manager.

#31 - Swan Boats (003).jpgSparky took a ride on Boston's famous Swan Boats, which have been one of the city's trademarks for well over a century. In 1877, a boat operator named Robert Paget chose the image of his swan to adorn his newly invented form of paddle boat. He sold rides around a pond in Boston Common, a public park which has been part of Boston since the city was founded, and is the oldest public park in the United States. Paget's descendants still operate the Swan Boats to this day!


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!

Fireworks_campaign_box_576_x_324.jpgFourth of July weekend is almost here, and with it comes one of the holiday's most iconic symbols- fireworks. As we all prepare for a fun and festive weekend, NFPA reminds the public that there is no safe way to use consumer fireworks. Instead, enjoy a fireworks display put on by professionals.


Last year, two NFL players made headlines by losing fingers in accidents involving fireworks. The two separate high-profile incidents raised awareness about the dangers of consumer fireworks.


Almost half (47 percent) of the fires reported on Independence Day in the U.S. during this period were started by fireworks, more than any other cause of fire. However, the vast majority of fireworks injuries occur without a fire starting. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than half of fireworks injuries each year are to extremities – hand or finger (36 percent), legs (14 percent), and arms (5 percent). Most of the remaining injuries were to parts of the head (38 percent), including the eye (16 percent of total).


NFPA, coordinator of the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks, recently released their 2016 Fireworks report. As the report details, U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 18,500 fires caused by fireworks between 2009 and 2013. These fires included 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, 16,900 outside and other fires, and killed two people per year.


So how can you celebrate the holiday safely? Attend public fireworks displays put on by trained professionals. And, check out NFPA's new fireworks infographic to know the facts and stay safe this holiday weekend.

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A panel discussion on unwanted alarms was held at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas in June 2016. Panel members included (from left) Tom Hammerberg, Marty Ahrens, David Kerr, Pravinray Gandhi, Monica Colby, Anthony Apfelbeck, and Jay Hauhn.


Did you see, or better yet, read, the May/June (show issue) NFPA Journal's article, “The Unwanted Conundrum?”  This was a preview of the educational session on recent activities related to unwanted alarms held at NFPA’s Conference and Expo (C&E).  Judging by the turnout, it's clear that this is an issue of concern to many. Fifteen minutes before the sessions started, we had people standing in the back and only a few empty seats scattered about.

I was thrilled that six great people were willing to join me and share their expertise on this panel, including Jay Hauhn of the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), Monica Colby of the Rapid City, SD Fire Department, David Kerr of the Plano, Texas Fire Rescue, Anthony Apfelbeck of the City of Altamonte Springs, FL Public Safety, Tom Hammerberg, of the Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA), and Pravinray Gandhi of Underwriters Laboratories (UL.)

• Jay Hauhn told us more about the IAFC and CSAA partnership and the many recommendations they developed. He stressed the fact that there is no “silver bullet” that will solve the problem. It can take several cycles for proposals to be accepted and it takes years before new code requirements are widely applied.

• Monica Colby considered confined cooking fires that were out on arrival and did not require fire department assistance as unwanted in terms of fire department response. She also noted that one in five unwanted alarms was related to construction or service activities. See her full report, Unwanted alarm analysis of Rapid City Fire Department 2014, for more details.

• David Kerr explained how the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s risk management tool for commercial automatic alarms helped them decide to run a single engine cold on all fire alarm responses and to have a 90 second delay ordinance that incorporates the requirements in NFPA 72®.  He also stressed that the tool needs more testing.  Contact Amanda Kimball at if you are interested in learning more about this tool.

• Anthony Apfelbeck reported that neither early intervention by fire prevention with notification of business owners nor fines after multiple unwanted alarms lowered the frequency of such alarms. He pointed out that the results might be different elsewhere; Florida requires alarm contractor licensing and ITM in compliance with NFPA 72®. Read his article, “Two hypotheses to reduce unwanted automatic alarms,” originally published in the May 2015 edition of Florida Fire Service and posted with permission,


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Tom Hammerberg said building owners need to take more responsibility for systems, provide better staff training, and be more careful in selecting contractors.


• Tom Hammerberg pointed out that owners need to take more responsibility for systems, provide better staff training, and be more careful in selecting contractors. Designers should stay involved through installation. Installers and ITM technicians should be certified. AHJs should enforce code provisions. The AFAA offers free webinars and free membership to AHJs.

Pravinray Gandhi described some of the many changes in UL 217, Standard for Smoke Alarms and UL 268, Standard for Smoke Detectors for Fire Alarm Systems. These revisions include but may not be limited to a) firmware upgrades; b) surge immunity; c) end of life requirements; and d) smoke alarm cooking nuisance tests.  In addition to over 800 changes included in the 8th Edition of UL 217, the standard also includes new flaming and smoldering polyurethane foam tests.


The discussion also brought up some interesting ideas. For example, if industry specialists could ride with fire departments to calls from commercial alarm systems, they could help the fire service understand more about the causes of these calls and they would learn more about the fire department perspective. It would also be helpful to know more about how information is communicated to Dispatch. Someone else suggested that improved ventilation might reduce unwanted cooking activations.

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A full house listened to the 90-minute discussion about unwanted alarms. In 2014, U.S. fire departments responded to almost 2.5 million false alarms, almost twice the total number of reported fires and five times the number of structure fires.




There is still more to learn and more to do.  We asked our audience

1. What other work has been done on this topic?
2. What are the most important research needs?
3. What should NFPA do to help?



What do you think?  Let’s continue the conversation.


Do you want more information about this topic? Here are some additional resources from NFPA.

•  “The Unwanted Conundrum” from the May/June 2016 issue of NFPA Journal. 
           Slides from our presentation:  M34 - Unwanted Alarms -- Impact and Mitigation
          What's going on with unwanted alarms? Summary of Educational Session at NFPA C & E, June 13, 2016


        NFPA’s and IAFC’s free Fire Service Guide to Reducing Unwanted Fire Alarms
• Fire Protection Research Foundation’s Risk-Based Decision Support in Managing Unwanted Alarms
Fire Alarm Response and Management Summit - Proceeding Summary, May 2011

  NFPA's 2011 report: Unwanted Fire Alarms
• Fire Protection Research Foundation’s 2015 Report: Smoke Alarm Nuisance Source Characterization: Experimental Results
        Slides from presentation on subject:  M19 - A New Nuisance Smoke Alarm Test--Development and Impact

Training.JPGInterested in online or classroom training focused on fire, electrical or building safety? Then you’ll want to check out NFPA’s 2016 Training Catalog where you’ll be introduced to a wide-range of topics, code experts and a first-rate training experience!.


Find content tailored to your schedule, environment and facility needs, and preferred format. Get answers to your code concerns and earn CEUs, too! Investing in code knowledge pays off, right? The better you and your employees understand requirements, the easier it is to ensure compliance. So what are you waiting for? Take a look at all of our great offerings and register (there's four easy ways to do so) for the program that best fits your needs.


Are you an NFPA member? If yes, take advantage of our 10% savings. If not, you may want to consider joining us. It's easy. Let us show you how.


Whatever discipline you study, and wherever you live, you won't want to miss on out on this year's training. Download NFPA’s 2016 Training Catalog today and choose the topic and format that works for you. We hope to hear from you soon!

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A member of the NFPA staff carries an attack hose during a training session at the Massachusetts Fire Academy


Last month the Fire Protection Research Foundation (Foundation), the research affiliate of NFPA, hosted a workshop on fire hoses in Denver, Colorado which was held in conjunction with the NFPA 1961, Standard on Fire Hose, Second Draft Meeting. Thermal performance of fire hoses was raised after two Boston firefighter fatalities in 2014, and other fire incidents involving hose failure in recent years. The National Institute for Safety and Health (NIOSH), the independent investigator in the Boston fire, asked the Federal Bureau of Arson, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to perform a thermal analysis, including radiative tests, so that general data about the thermal performance of the fire attack hose can be provided to the fire service and fire investigation community.


ATF and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) each submitted findings from research they've conducted over the past year. While WPI's research is still in progress, ATF presented the findings of their tests to the NFPA 1961 Technical Committee, and recommended two additional tests on fire hoses. This and other information will be considered by the Technical Committee as they work on the next edition of NFPA 1961 that will be released in August 2018. The Foundation has released proceedings from the workshop, including the ATF and WPI research information.


How strong is your knowledge of attack hose performance characteristics? Take part in a fire hose poll on Xchange and we will send you the five things you should know about the construction and maintenance of attack hose.

Each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks.

Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks - devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death.


The Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks is a group of health and safety organizations, coordinated by NFPA, that urges the public to avoid the use of consumer fireworks and instead, to enjoy displays of fireworks conducted by trained professionals.


Take a look at the infographic below to make sure you know the facts and stay safe, and download a copy to share with others!


As we head into the summer boating season across the country (unfortunately I live in a region of the US where boating season is only a few months from late spring to early autumn) it is a good opportunity to talk about some of the proposed changes for the 2017 NEC focused on improving electrical safety at marina and boat docking facilities.

First a little background.


The first Article 555 covering installations at marina and boatyard areas was introduced in the 1968 NEC® (the article title was Boat Harbor Wiring) and contained requirements to address the power consumption and personnel safety concerns unique to these facilities. The requirements of Article 555 have continually evolved to meet the safety needs of the marine community.


Most recently, the topic of electric shock drowning (ESD) has been in the cross-hairs of the electrical safety community.  NEC Code-Making Panel 19, supported by the Fire Protection Research Foundation have jumped into this problem with both feet as tragedies at marina facilities have made headlines.  In addition several states have passed legislation requiring increased code enforcement and re-inspection at marinas.


To improve safety for marina users a requirement for an enhanced level of ground-fault protection (set to open the circuit at ground-fault currents exceeding 100 milliamperes or 1/10 ampere) of marina service equipment was introduced in the 2011 NEC.  The goal requirement was to extend this enhanced level of protection to the entire marina electrical distribution system.  The same requirement was also accepted into Article 553 which covers Floating Buildings.  The 2014 NEC maintained this level of protection but concern was expressed that the 100 ma threshold was too high. 


In response to the need for more research and data on electrical safety within the marina environment, and in particular to support any additional changes to the requirements of Article 555 the research arm of NFPA, the Fire Protection Research Foundation initiated a project titled Assessment of Hazardous Voltage/Current in Marinas, Boatyards, and Floating Buildings.  The report of the first project was issued in 2014 and can be obtained freely though the Foundation website.


Several changes to installation requirements for marinas and boat docking facilities are proposed for the 2017 NEC and one of these changes is based on a recommendation from 2014 FPRF report to lower the threshold at which ground-fault protection of circuits supplying docking facilities will respond from 100 ma to 30ma.  This change has only been proposed for Article 555 and current threshold remains at 100 ma for Floating Buildings in Article 553.  It is important to note that this protection does not override requirements for GFCI protection (4-6 ma) also specified in Article 555 for those receptacles not providing shore power to watercraft.


Other proposed changes include expanding the scope of Article 555 to cover commercial and noncommercial docking
facilities.  The impact of this proposed change is that now docking facilities on residential property (including one-family dwellings) are subject to the requirements of Article 555. A proposed new requirement in the 2017 NEC calls for sign(s) warning of the electrical hazard with the command to not swim in these areas.  These NEC changes are one piece of larger effort involving all stakeholders within the marine community to improve electrical safety at marinas and boat docking  facilities.  Working collectively, the headlines of tragic ESD incidents at these facilities will become a thing of the past.

josh.JPGJosh Cellars and the NVFC invite you and a guest to join them for a special taping of the nationally syndicated show, ABC’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Three departments will also win a $10,000 grant, awarded by Josh Cellars.


For the past 3 years, Josh Cellars has donated almost $300,000 to help first responders, in honor of the winemaker's father Josh, a firefighter.


Winners will be announced on the show and you must be present to win (which tapes on August 5th). The episode, which will air on September 27th, will be a special first responder's themed show sponsored by Josh Cellars in honor of National First Responder's Day. 


RSVP now. Please note, you are responsible for all of your travel, accommodations, and expenses. Read official rules.

Hundreds of changes in the 2017 edition NEC bring you up-to-code and help you prepare to address new sources of electrical power.


NFPA 70 Handbook.JPGThroughout the U.S. and around the world, NFPA 70®: National Electrical Code® (NEC) sets the foundation for electrical safety in residential, commercial and industrial occupancies. The 2017 edition of this trusted code presents the latest comprehensive regulations for electrical wiring, overcurrent protection, grounding and installation of equipment.


Did you know that more than 4,000 public inputs and 1,500 comments went into the 2017 NEC ? It’s true. Also included are hundreds of updates and five all-new articles that pave the way to a safe and efficient electrical future.


So why do you need the 2017 NFPA 70 Code Book? Because it reflects the continuing growth in renewable power technology including the advancement of privately owned wind and solar power generation and distribution equipment -- including coverage of higher voltage systems that were once only the utilities' domain. The expanded NEC coverage is vital for designers, engineers, contractors and AHJs. The newest additions include:


• Large-Scale Photovoltaic (PV) Electric Supply Stations (New Article 691) that cover systems that produce at least 5 megawatts (MW) of power, or enough to power 800+ U.S. homes.


• Energy Storage Systems (New Article 706) that govern ESS installation, disconnection, shutdown, and safety labeli


• Stand-Alone Systems (New Article 710) that cover power production sources that are not connected to the grid, including PV and wind-powered systems.

• Direct Current Microgrids (New Article 712) that concern independent energy distribution networks that allow the utilization of power from DC sources to direct-current loads. Microgrids are on the rise worldwide.


Learn more about the 2017 NFPA 70 code and be even better prepared to protect lives and property in the ever-changing electrical landscape. Choose from a variety of code formats including softbound, looseleaf, spiralbound, a PDF or e-book. Handbook formats come in a PDF or hardbound. Pre-order your copy today.

#30 - Mall of America (002).jpgSparky checked another item off his bucket list when he visited the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Mall, which opened for business in 1992, is the largest shopping mall in the United States. The Mall of America  even has its own mini golf course, movie theater, and indoor amusement park!


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!

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has officially adopted the 2012 edition of NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code, and recently published, Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Fire Safety Requirements for Certain Health Care Facilities that mandates health care facilities be in direct compliance with provisions of the 2012 edition of NFPA 99, and also requires these facilities to migrate from using the 2000 edition of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, to the 2012 edition.



Join NFPA in San Francisco for a two-day classroom training program where you’ll learn from health care authorities and code experts what’s different about the 2012 edition of NFPA 99 and how it will impact your work in all types of health care settings. You’ll get an in-depth look at NFPA 99's revised content and reorganization, and find out how to conduct a risk-based analysis. Hands-on exercises and activities provide a great working knowledge of the code.


Learn more about this important training and register today. We hope to see you there!

At 9:15 a.m. on June 25, 1985, a series of explosions and subsequent fires occurred at the site of the Aerlex Fireworks Manufacturing Corporation, near the town of Jennings, Oklahoma. In all, 21 people were killed and 5 injured in what was the second-deadliest fireworks factory explosion in the United States reported to the NFPA between 1950 and 1986.

The company was federally licensed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and produced approximately 90% display-type special fireworks and 10% common fireworks. As a result of increased demand created by the upcoming July 4th holiday, the plant had temporarily increased its staff and extended the hours of operation. Members can download the investigation for free.

We want to hear from you! It's easy to comment on posts: just look for the login link above to login or register for your free account on Xchange. Xchange is more than a blog; it's an online community that connects you with peers worldwide and directly with NFPA staff. Get involved today!

SF.JPGReserve your seat now for NFPA 70: National Electrical Code (NEC) or NFPA 70E: Electrical Safety in the Workplace classroom training. The full training course runs from July 18 – 22 at the Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf Hotel in San Francisco.


Start the week off (July 18 – 20) by navigating through the NEC then continue on with your training during the last few days (July 21 – 22) with the 2015 NFPA 70E to learn how to assess electrical risks and reduce employee exp

osure to hazards. Learn from the experts in electrical code safety and compliance and register for this great event today!

Arc_House_Logo_and_House_image.jpgGreen Builder Media recently announced a partnership with specialty modular builder Shelter Dynamics to bring a prototype tiny home called the Arc House to PCBC (June at the Moscone Center in San Fran), Solar Power International (September at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Vegas), and Greenbuild (October at the Los Angeles Convention Center in LA), with the goal of exposing conference attendees to the uniquely designed, hand-crafted structure that is simultaneously net zero, resource efficient, resilient, intelligent, and elegant. Additionally, the Arc House does include home fire sprinklers (a life-saving feature supported by NFPA and HFSC advocacy and education campaigns) and NFPA has therefore sponsored this effort.


The Arc House is a prototype factory-built 432 square foot residence that shows how small, affordable spaces can be practical and beautiful, as well as net zero energy.  The home’s innovative design is comprised of a series of flowing arches that offer structural stability.  The Arc House’s well-designed interiors are beautiful and functional, boasting comfortable living areas and even a walk-in closet.


The house is resilient in its ability to function independently from the grid and its mitigation of fire risk—the fire protection system meets standards and guidelines set by NFPA. The Arc House represents an excellent example of resilient, autonomous housing that can be located in any kind of urban, suburban, or rural setting.


Look for the Arc House at an upcoming conference, or stay tuned to Green Builder Media's website for more information, photos, and video.

Summer is officially here.  'Tis the season for fireworks shows and displays. 


NFPA 1, Fire Code, 2015 edition, contains provisions for the storage, use, and handling or explosives, fireworks, and model rocketry in Chapter 65.  More specifically, Section 65.2 requires the construction, handling, and use of fireworks intended solely for outdoor display as well as the general conduct and operation of the display to be in compliance with the requirements of NFPA 1123, Code for Fireworks Display, 2014 edition.  In addition, permits are required per Section 1.12 of the Code.


NFPA 1123 contains information on how to set up and operate professional outdoor fireworks displays in order to prevent injuries to both the workers handling the fireworks and to the viewing audience, as well as to prevent fires that could cause property damage.


It addresses construction and operation of fireworks displays from the ground, elevated platforms, and floating vessels and platforms, including aerial shells and equipment, site selection, spectator separation distances, firing of shells, electrical ignition and qualifications of display operators. Recommended local permit regulations and regulations for outdoor displays and suggested qualifications for licensing of display operators are provided in Annex material.



NFPA's site dedicated to fireworks safety is the go to resource for data, reports, information, and free safety tip sheets.  From a newly published report by NFPA's Marty Ahrens the following facts show the danger of fireworks during this time of year:

  • In 2013, fireworks caused an estimated 15,600 reported fires, including 1,400 total structure fires, 200 vehicle fires, and 14,000 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated 30 civilian injuries and $21 million in direct property damage.
  • In 2014, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 10,500 people for fireworks related injuries; 51% of those injuries were to the extremities and 38% were to the head. These injury estimates were obtained or derived from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2014 Fireworks Annual Report by Yongling Tu and Demar Granados.
  • More than one-quarter (28%) of fires started by fireworks in 2009-2013 were reported on July 4th. Almost half (47%) of the reported fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks


Fireworks can be extremely dangerous and must be left up to the professionals at all times.  NFPA 1, through a reference to NFPA 1123, provides the guidance jurisdictions need to help ensure both the audience as well as the professional operators and employees are kept safe.


Do you plan to see a professional fireworks show this season? Are you responsible for enforcing permits or code requirements during fireworks performances? What challenges do you face?


Don't miss another #FireCodeFridays blog! Get notifications straight to your email inbox by subscribing here! And you can always follow me on Twitter for more updates and fire safety news @KristinB_NFPA

On June 24, 1973, a fire in a second-floor cocktail lounge in the French Quarter of New Orleans killed 32 patrons and injured 12 others. The fire was deliberately set on the stairway of the main entrance, blocking the normal exit route from the lounge. Combustible wood paneling and carpet in the stairway provided fuel for the fire. In the confusion that followed, 20 people escaped through a rear door, 15 others escaped through windows, and 28 bodies were recovered from the lounge after the fire. Of those who escaped, one died before reaching the hospital, three died later of burn injuries, and seven others were critically burned. NFPA members can download the investigation report for free.

We want to hear from you! It's easy to comment on posts: just look for the login link above to login or register for your free account on Xchange. Xchange is more than a blog; it's an online community that connects you with peers worldwide and directly with NFPA staff. Get involved today!

#29 - Beach.jpgSparky checked off another exciting item from his bucket list by spending a day at the beach! Each summer, millions of Americans flock to the nation's beaches to enjoy bright sun, hot sand and refreshing waves. Sparky had a great time playing in the waves and building sand castles- even though he got some sand in his boots!


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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C&E panelists discuss the importance of data to assess community risk

A well-rounded panel of data experts explained the value of Predictive Community Risk Reduction at C&E last week. Moderator Matt Hinds-Aldrich, Ph.D. with the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department guided panelists Bill Schneider of Experian Marketing Services, Marc DeCosta of, Bistra Dilkina, Ph.D. of Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and NFPA's Nathaniel Lin, Ph.D. through a timely discussion of how the fire services, private business, academia and non-profits are using data science to reduce fires.


Schneider of Experian talked about the Intelligent Door Knocking App which his company launched last year so that fire departments could identify where to focus fire safety prevention efforts. Looking at two years' worth of data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) in three major cities, Experian was able to create a statistical model comparing the traits of people that experienced a home fire with those of the general population. Thanks to this data, they were able to map out at-risk residences and help local fire departments target tech.JPG


Similarly, Enigma began working with the New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) in 2014 after a fire that killed five, including three children. The home had no smoke alarms. In response to this tragedy, Enigma established Smoke Signals and began working with NOFD to determine which areas are most likely to not have smoke alarms. Firefighters were able to canvas those neighborhoods and set up smoke alarms where they were needed. Enigma has extended the Smoke Signals program to 30 large metro areas that also have unfavorable fire safety statistics.


Bistra Dilkina from Georgia Tech explained how their Data Science for Social Good partnership with Atlanta Fire led to the establishment of Firebird. Firebird allows fire departments to identify properties that need inspection, display at-risk homes on a map, and use this data for optimal outreach, planning and fulfillment.


das.JPGNathaniel Lin also introduced NFPA's Data Analytics Sandbox to the audience. Lin spent the week talking to conference attendees in the Discovery District, conducting informal presentations, and advocating to partners about the importance of capturing, sharing, analyzing and utilizing data. NFPA established the Sandbox as a tool to help jurisdictions use local inspection information and other relevant data to develop more effective inspection, community engagement and emergency response practices.


The panelists emphasized that there are great resources out there interested in collaborating on data projects for a variety of reasons: the greater good, school credit, real-world experience, altruistic purposes, career benefits, product development and more. They encouraged audience members to harness the power of data by partnering with municipalities, enforcers, business owners, students, and organizations who share an interest in making communities safer from fire, electrical and other hazards.

#28 - Navy Ship.jpgSparky got to visit the USS Arleigh Burke, a US navy ship. Launched in 1989, the Arleigh Burke is the lead ship of a class of guided missile destroyers, called Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, which are among the largest ships built in the United States. The ship, which is still in active service, is 505 feet long and has a crew of almost 300 people. Sparky even took a picture with Commander Thomas E. Myers, the ship's Commanding Officer!


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!

#26 - Vegas.jpgSparky checked off two of his bucket list items when he traveled to Nevada to visit the city of Las Vegas. Dubbed the entertainment capital of the world, the so-called "City of Lights" is famous for the massive casinos and hotels that line the neon-lit Las Vegas Strip. Sparky was excited to see the Fountains of Bellagio, and take in the spectacle of the fountains' water show. The Bellagio, a hotel and casino, is famous for its massive, elaborate fountains that are set to light and music in a striking performance.  The hotel even has its own botanical garden and fine art gallery!#27 - Bellagio Fountains.jpg


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!

I am just returning from a long but inspiring week at NFPA's Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.  As always, the week was filled with many exciting events from educational sessions, industry receptions and gatherings, meeting with colleagues and friends from the fire protection industry, and the sprawling Expo which featured hundreds of companies from the fire and electrical safety world.



This year's conference launched several new events, all which proved to be a great success.  Among those was the food truck exhibit at the new Discovery District in the Expo, where a food truck on display provided an opportunity for attendees to view the equipment and safety features of the vehicle and a chance to do a walk through mock inspection.  The Discovery District provided NFPA's stakeholders with a hands on opportunity to explore some of the latest initiatives being addressed by NFPA (food trucks, data analytics, electric vehicles, robots.)  NFPA's own Jacqueline Wilmot, a Fire Protection Engineer and Staff Liaison to NFPA 96, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations, ran the food truck exhibit and led the daily scheduled mock food truck inspection.  A big part of the discussion was the current work of NFPA's Technical Committees to address food truck safety, including NFPA 1, Fire Code.



The First Draft of NFPA 1 includes new language regarding mobile and temporary cooking operations.  These proposed provisions include applicable requirements from NFPA 96, extracted material from NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code, and additional language addressing food truck location, fire department access, vehicle separation, tents, communication, and training.  Several public comments were received that seek to further refine the provisions for leak detection equipment and testing, and food truck separation.



The many attendees that I had a chance to talk to about food trucks, including the large crowd at the Annex talk, showed tremendous support for the work of the NFPA committees seeking to address this issue in their documents.  Jurisdictions need guidance on how to regulate these vehicles and equipment as well as the seemingly endless events with food trucks that are popping up in cities and towns across North America.  NFPA currently offers a webpage dedicated to food truck safety with free resources available for jurisdictions. Until these much needed additions to our codes and standards go into effect, this information can help to point jurisdictions in the right direction regarding food truck safety.



NFPA 1 will be holding its Second Draft meeting this October 3-4 in Milwaukee where the proposed changes will be voted on.  It is hopeful that the 2018 edition of the Code will include these valuable requirements on mobile and temporary cooking operations. Judging by the level of interest at this week's Conference, our stakeholders will be excited to see it.

During the Technical Meeting in Las Vegas, NFPA members considered proposed changes to four NFPA documents. The fourth document up for consideration, NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code®, was passed with 12 amending motions. See details on our Conference & Expo blog.

WHITE PAPER FINAL COVER.JPGNFPA has produced a  white paper, Community Risk Reduction: Doing More with More, aimed at helping fire service leaders gain management support for launching a Community Risk Reduction program in  their departments.


The white paper was written by members of NFPA’s Urban Fire and Life Safety Task Force, which comprises representatives of large, urban fire departments whose work assists urban fire departments across the globe to implement strategic Community Risk Reduction programs. The white paper, the most recent task force project, was written by Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer, Philadelphia Fire Department; Battalion Chief Derrick Phillips, St. Louis Fire Department; Education Specialist Dana Catts, Seattle Fire Department; and Liaison Officer David Sawyer, Columbus Division of Fire.


Community Risk Reduction is defined in NFPA 1035, Standard on Fire and Life Safety Educator, Public Information Officer, Youth Firesetter Intervention Specialist and Youth Firesetter Program Manager Professional Qualifications, as “programs, actions, and services used by a community, which prevent or mitigate the loss of life, property, and resources associated with life safety, fire, and other disasters within a community.” Through a historical overview, case studies of successful programs, an outline of the benefits of a Community Risk Reduction program, recommendations and a call to action, the white paper seeks to provide tools to fire service leaders that will help get a Community Risk Reduction plan endorsed by top fire department management and implemented in their area.


With the fire services increasingly responding to new and emerging hazards, it is essential for fire departments to look at ways to proactively engage residents and mitigate risk in their communities.

During the Technical Meeting today in Las Vegas, NFPA members are considering proposed changes to four NFPA documents. The third document up for consideration, NFPA 75, Standard for the Fire Protection of Information Technology Equipment, was passed with zero amending motions. See details on our Conference & Expo blog.

During the Technical Meeting today in Las Vegas, NFPA members are considering proposed changes to four NFPA documents. The second document up for consideration, NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code, was passed with eight amending motions. See details on our Conference & Expo blog.

During the Technical Meeting today in Las Vegas, NFPA members are considering proposed changes to four NFPA documents. The first document up for consideration, NFPA 25, Standard for Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection, was passed with three amending motions. See details on our Conference & Expo blog.

On Tuesday, June 14, 1983, at 3:22 am., a fire was reported at the Ramada Inn Central, Fort Worth, Texas. The hotel is located to the south of interstate 30, approximately two miles east of downtown Fort Worth. The 90-room two-story structure involved in the fire was part of a 5 building hotel complex which included a combination lobby/restaurant building and three other buildings housing guest rooms. The building was of protected wood frame construction. Interior corridors were connected by three unenclosed interior stairways. The building was not protected by automatic sprinklers or smoke detectors and had no fire alarm system. The area of fire origin was within the first floor corridor, adjacent to an exit, at the building's west end and initially involved rolled carpet and padding stored in the corridor as the building was undergoing renovations.

Five people died of "asphyxiation due to inhalation of smoke and carbon monoxide" and 33 were injured. All fatalities were found by firefighters within guest rooms. Four of the fatalities were occupants of the second floor; one an occupant of the first floor.

NFPA members can download the investigation report for free.


We want to hear from you! It's easy to comment on posts: just look for the login link above to login or register for your free account on Xchange. Xchange is more than a blog; it's an online community that connects you with peers worldwide and directly with NFPA staff. Get involved today!

In a measure to safely protect families in New Hampshire, two-term governor Maggie Hassan released a message on June 9 after vetoing House Bill 533 in relation to installation requirements for arc-fault circuit interrupters.


House Bill 533 called for the scaling back of a need to use arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCI), which could threaten public safety by potentially reducing a key piece of fire protection in New Hampshire homes.


ARC-Fault Circuit Interrupters.JPGAn arc-fault is a dangerous electrical problem caused by damaged, overheated or stressed electrical wiring or devices. Arc-faults can happen from a nail or screw that damages a wire behind a wall during installation or maintenance of the electrical system, or when the wiring becomes frayed or cracked due to age.


In her message Governor Hassan states that arc-fault protection can reduce the chance of an electrical fire occurring in homes. By switching the arc-fault protection to another device without first understanding the root cause of electrical system issues as the bill suggests, the risk of fire increases and doesn’t allow for the electrical code to do its job:  helping save lives.


NFPA first required the installation of AFCIs in the 1999 edition of NFPA 70, National Electrical Code.


According to a recent NFPA report, in 2013 nearly 45,000 home fires involved some type of electrical failure or malfunction and caused more than 400 deaths and 1,000 injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that more than 50 percent of electrical fires that occur each year can be prevented by AFCIs.


The Governor cited opposition to the reduction in fire safety from a broad coalition of electrical and fire safety advocates including The State Fire Marshal, the New Hampshire State Building Code Review Board, the New Hampshire Building Officials Association, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 490, the Electrical Safety Foundation International, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, NFPA, and advocates who have been victims of severe and debilitating burns.


Jeff Sargent, NFPA’s Regional Electrical Code Specialist based in New Hampshire says Governor Hassan’s veto sends an important message. “Governor Hassan’s commitment to public safety, in a state rocked earlier this week by its worst multiple fatality fire since 2005, was clearly evident in her veto of House Bill 533. We applaud her efforts in taking a proactive stand on electrical fire safety and helping protect the residents of New Hampshire.”

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

  • Comments sought on proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) to NFPA 13, NFPA 1901, and NFPA 1906
  • 2016 Conference & Expo: NFPA Technical Meeting, Standards Showcase, standards development process sessions, and resource room
  • 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.

As most of you know by now, next week is NFPA's annual Conference and Expo, which, this year, is being held at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.  This conference is always an exciting time for the NFPA and our community.



There can be A LOT of great things to see and do at a conference of this scale. Do you work with NFPA 1 in your jurisdiction? Are you attending the conference and interested in learning about some of the topics addressed in the Code?  If so, here is my guide for navigating everything the conference has to offer relevant to NFPA 1:


Codes and Standards

  • Interested in the Codes and Standards process and the development of NFPA 1?  Check out the variety of codes and standards resources and events offered this year.  On Wednesday, June 15th at 2:00 pm, is the Standards Showcase, which will provide an update on the Tech Session, the standards development process and discuss new technologies and projects in NFPA codes and standards.

Educational Sessions

  • Session M11:  Food Trucks, On the Road to Regulation will talk about food truck regulation and its role in codes and standards.  NFPA 1 will be adding new language in the 2016 edition on mobile cooking equipment.
  • Session M04: Energy Storage Systems (ESS) - Fire Safety Considerations will provide an overview of fire safety considerations associated with these systems and changes to fire codes (NFPA 1!) that are being considered to address potential hazards associated with the new technologies. (See also Session M21 and M33)
  • Session M27: Marijuana Concentrate and Grow Operation Hazards - Fire Responder Safety will address the manufacturing process, hazards, and evidence associated with the illicit recreational hash oil extraction and marijuana grow operations.  NFPA 1 is currently exploring the addition of a new Chapter to the 2018 Code which will provide safety requirements for the protection of marijuana growing and processing facilities.
  • Session T27, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code: Looking Ahead to 2017 will provide information on the likely changes in the new edition of NFPA 58, LP-Gas Code.  The 2017 edition of NFPA 58 will be extracted into the 2018 edition of NFPA 1.
  • Session T33: PV + Storage: The Path of Rapid Shutdown and ES Safety Gaps discuss the growth of PV + Energy Storage from the perspective of fire & life safety.  NFPA 1 currently contains provisions for PV systems in Section 11.12.  (See also Section T64, W07, W17, and W25)
  • Session W12: Test Your Knowledge: An Interactive Discussion of Fire Protection System ITM will test the audience knowledge of the requirements regarding the inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire protection systems.  ITM requirements are an important part of NFPA 1 so this session is sure to be educational...and fun!
  • Networking Lounge: Speakers will be working their way to the lounge after their presentations to continue the discussion and answer questions.

Expo - Discovery District (NEW!)

  • You can touch, feel, see and ask questions about new innovations in the fire protection and safety world.  In particular, check out the Food Truck Safety exhibit!

Here, you can conduct a mock inspection of a food truck with a fire safety specialist and learn all about these trendy "meals on wheels". Experts will be on hand for tours and to provide tip sheets on Monday at 5:00 pm, Tuesday at 11:30 am and Wednesday at 10:00 am.


The Annex

  • New this year, learn about new NFPA initiatives, emerging issues, valuable resources, innovative Expo exhibits and upcoming sessions.


Looks like I am going to have a busy week packed with exciting and informative events.  I look forward to attending the great sessions, speaking in the Annex, helping with food truck inspections, and meeting YOU, our NFPA community and NFPA 1 supporters.


Follow me on Twitter at @KristinB_NFPA for updates on my adventures at the conference throughout the week, or stop me in person and say hello!  Look forward to seeing you there!

Firefighter fatalities image.jpg

According to NFPA's recently released U.S. Firefighter Fatalities report, a total of 68 firefighters died while on duty in the United States in 2015, representing the fourth time in the past five years that the total number of deaths has been below 70. The number of volunteer firefighter deaths was the second lowest total every reported (32 deaths).


The largest share of firefighter deaths occurred while firefighters were operating at fires (24 deaths), accounting for just over one-third of the on-duty deaths last year. This is the fourth time in the last six years that the total has been fewer than 25 deaths.


Overexertion, stress and medical issues accounted for by far the largest share of firefighter deaths. Of the 40 deaths in this category, 35 were classified as sudden cardiac deaths, usually heart attacks, with onset while the victim was on duty. This reflects only one less death than the 2014 total, reinforcing last year's findings, which showed that the general downward trend in on-duty sudden cardiac deaths since 2007 has stopped. Cardiac-related events accounted for 51 percent of the deaths in 2015, and 42 percent of the deaths over the past 10 years.


For an in-depth overview of the report's findings, read the NFPA Journal article, "Firefighter Fatalities in the United States, 2015".

shutterstock_6300025 (002).jpgA broad swath of relevant organizations, including NFPA, have developed a new set of recommended minimum training guidelines for 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers, as part of a three-year collaborative effort facilitated by the National 9-1-1 Program.


Eighteen different organizations, referred to as the Working Group, contributed to the project. These involved agencies include the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International (APCO), the Denise Amber Lee Foundation, International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED), National Association of State 9-1-1 Administrators (NASNA), National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and PowerPhone. Additionally, numerous individuals who contributed during the public review period. The Working Group and the National 9-1-1 Program felt it was imperative to include the 9-1-1 community in vetting the new guidelines.


The recommended training topics are intended to provide nationally recognized, universally accepted guidelines that cover core competencies for the nation's 9-1-1 telecommunicators, establish the foundation for ongoing professional development, and provide the framework for state legislation that establishes the requirements for such training and a funding mechanism. The idea is to enable 9-1-1 Centers and emergency service providers to establish training programs and build upon training programs already in existence, and to assess the effectiveness of outside training programs. Topics covered by the training include telecommunicator roles and responsibilities, 9-1-1 call processing, emergency management and interpersonal communications.


The recommended training topics are intended to cover only the lowest level of competency required for 9-1-1 telecommunicators. It is important that telecommunicators receive supplemental, discipline-specific training. It is up to each 9-1-1 authority having jurisdiction to decide how best the implement the guidelines, as they are not a federal mandate.

#25 - Carousel.jpgSparky checked off another item from his bucket list by riding a carousel. The first modern carousels were built in the mid-1800's and were meant to imitate medieval jousting tournaments. They have been popular ever since!


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!

On June 8, 1998, a series of explosions occurred at one of the largest grain elevators in the world, killing seven and injuring ten. The facility located in Haysville, KGrainSiloFire - Copy.JPGansas, was being prepared for the early summer harvest of wheat; workers were preparing the facility by cleaning the gallery houses at the top of the silos as well as the conveyor tunnels under the silos. The ignition source is unknown, even after an investigation.

Members can download a free copy of the NFPA investigation report on the this incident. All visitors can read a summary of the event.

We want to hear from you! It's easy to comment on posts:
just look for the login link above to login or register for your free account
on Xchange. Xchange is more than a blog; it's an online community that connects
you with peers worldwide and directly with NFPA staff. Get involved today!

Capture.JPGThe changing landscape has caused electrical experts to reimagine the future of the electrical grid and it's been one of the main drivers for three of the most important proposed additions to the 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC). As members gather this year at NFPA's Conference & Expo to vote on these proposed changes, we want to know:  what edition of the NEC do you currently use?


Take our poll then share it with your peers so they can take it, too!


Don't forget ... you can keep up to date on the latest information regarding the NEC coming out of the Conference & Expo. Our Conference blog on Xchange will provide highlights of the sessions all week long. But Xchange is more than a blog; it's an online community that connects you with peers worldwide and directly with NFPA staff. So get involved and keep up to date on all things NEC. Look for the login link at the top of the Xchange page to login or register for your free account today.

This was the question posed to a group of NFPA stakeholders that participated in our Life Safety Sprinkler System Challenge workshop in December, 2015. With more than four decades of experience with NFPA 13 D and about 26 years of experience with NFPA 13 R, there is a relatively broad range of knowledge with the performance of these standards in the field. In recent years, we have seen a small, but measurable number of fires where the life safety goal of the standards has been achieved, yet the secondary goal of property protection has been less than ideal. Our workshop attendees spent two days to review this dilemma, look at contributing factors, and determine what measures might be taken in the future to address this concern. These events are low-frequency but high-impact and they effect the occupants, first responders, code officials, insurance interests, and the building owner/operator.


The workshop report was recently released and is readily available to anyone wishing to download a copy. The recommendations in the report are being shared with the appropriate NFPA technical committees to determine if we need to make changes to the applicable codes and standards, simply raise awareness of the anticipated performance levels, increase educational opportunities surrounding the use of these systems, or maintain the status quo and accept the fact that such events are simply going to occur. The report is available at:


Question:  So what's your view and opinion of life safety only sprinkler systems? The Workshop report has extensive information in it but we know it's always possible (and likely) that the broader audience has some other views, thoughts and opinions on the subject.  Let’s Xchange those opinions and see where the dialogue goes.

chile group plan.jpg

NFPA's Lucien Deaton assesses wildland areas with local authorities in Chile.


Last year at Conference & Expo (C&E), NFPA's President Jim Pauley spoke about the organization's quest to share information and knowledge with our stakeholders in a variety of ways. One area that Pauley touched on, and that NFPA has been working hard to deliver on during the eleven months since our annual meeting, is expanding the association's global reach.


Members of NFPA's leadership team, business development group, international division and training department have traveled to different countries and continents in recent months listening to our stakeholders, discussing best practices, introducing resources, and forging invaluable partnerships that will make our world safer from fire. One team in particular, NFPA's Wildland Fire Operations Division, has made a concerted effort to share and gain knowledge, globally, by meeting with fire officials, researchers, private industry, government agencies, and community groups dedicated to fighting wildfire in South Africa, Chile, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Lebanon and Spain. These wildland/urban interface (WUI) conversations and collaborations, extend beyond the fire, building and life safety expertise that NFPA has been offering to stakeholders in Latin America, Abu Dhabi, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Hungary, Sweden, Mumbai, Oman, Prague and Melbourne during recent months.


Lucien Deaton, NFPA Wildland Fire Operations Division project manager, says that each global market has their own unique set of wildfire challenges and that each nation he has visited considers NFPA the go-to-resource for international fire prevention resources. He recently traveled to Chile and South Africa to talk about wildfire concerns and to look at data that is being collected that might help with wildfire safety efforts. Deaton also toured wildland/urban interface (WUI) settings with members of the National Fire Service in Chile, and met with officials in Santiago and Concepcion regarding the effects of climate change, urbanization and land use. According to Deaton, the region also has a unique problem in that 98% of their wildfires are a result of arson due to youths and others deliberately setting fires for various reasons. Often, children will set fires so that they can see firefighting helicopters responding.


One of NFPA's partners is working in Chile on wildfire training and wildland mitigation job creation. Working on Fire (WoF) recruits disadvantaged residents and, after extensive training, hires them as wildland firefighters for response activities. WofF currently trains more than 1,200 firefighters a year for fire response. During the recent visit to the region, NFPA team members shared the value of NFPA 1051, the Standard for Wildland Firefighting Personnel Professional Qualifications and other wildfire resources with different audiences.

chile hillside.jpg

Ten years ago, WoF and its Kishugu non-profit organization in South Africa adopted NFPA’s Firewise Communities Program as an addition to its program in South Africa. The objective is to get neighborhood volunteers to take steps to reduce the risk of wildfire in their communities, such as clearing excess fuels from the landscape, maintaining defensible space around homes, and using fire-resistant building materials. NFPA signed a formal memorandum of understanding with Kishugu, and works closely with them so that mitigation messaging can be shared in other global markets.


south africa workers.jpgNew housing in Chile being built very close to the fire line.

South Africa was another one of the stops on NFPA's international wildfire tour. No matter where you are in the nation, wildfire and unemployment are persistent; and in response to these problems, WoF has 5,000 participants stationed at 200 bases across South Africa today.  Additionally, South Africa is looking to prioritize wildfire education among 6th and 7th graders, covering the topic as part of its climate change curriculum. NFPA also met with government agency staff in the Western Cape region to learn about their interest in taking proactive steps to advocate for internal fire prevention strategies including smoke alarms and sprinklers.

A South African Firewise Community in Sir Lowry's Pass works on a garden.


As promised at C&E last July, NFPA  has made stakeholder support, data analytics and global reach a priority. By cultivating wildfire partnerships, spearheading mitigation efforts and sharing educational resources, NFPA is helping to save lives and reduce loss with information, knowledge and passion across the globe.


We want to hear from you! It's easy to comment on posts: just look for the login link above to login or register for your free account on Xchange. Xchange is more than a blog; it's an online community that connects you with peers worldwide and directly with NFPA staff. Get involved today!

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has designated June, "Healthy Homes Month." "Healthy Homes" is a century-old concept that promotes safe, decent, and sanitary housing as a means for preventing disease and injury. There is a lot of emerging scientific evidence linking health outcomes such as asthma, lead poisoning, and unintentional injuries to substandard housing. And, there are more than 6 million substandard housing units nationwide, and it is not just older homes that contain hazards. Even newer expensive homes may have hazards lurking within.


Fortunately there are some really simple ways to help make your home a healthier place for you and your family. By following HUD's Eight Healthy Homes Principles, you can help make your home a healthier place to live in.


  1. Keep it Dry: Prevent water from entering your home through leaks in roofing systems, rain water from entering the home due to poor drainage, and check your interior plumbing for any leaking.
  2. Keep it Clean : Control the source of dust and contaminants, creating smooth and cleanable surfaces, reducing clutter, and using effective wet-cleaning methods.
  3. Keep it Safe: Store poisons out of the reach of children and properly label. Secure loose rugs and keep children's play areas free from hard or sharp surfaces. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and keep fire extinguishers on hand.
  4. Carbon Monoxide.JPGKeep it Well-Ventilated: Ventilate bathrooms and kitchens and use whole house ventilation for supplying fresh air to reduce the concentration of contaminants in the home. Be sure to install carbon monoxide detectors in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. Then, test the alarms at least once a month.
  5. Keep it Pest-free: All pests look for food, water and shelter. Seal cracks and openings throughout the home; store food in pest-resistant containers. If needed, use sticky-traps and baits in closed containers, along with least toxic pesticides.
  6. Keep it Contaminant-free : Reduce lead-related hazards in pre-1978 homes by fixing deteriorated paint, and keeping floors and window areas clean using wet-cleaning approach. Test your home for radon, a naturally occurring dangerous gas that enters homes through soil, crawlspaces, and foundation crack. Install a radon removal system if levels above the EPA action-level are detected..
  7. Keep your home Maintained: : Inspect, clean and repair your home routinely. Take care of minor repairs and problems before they become large repairs and problems
  8. Thermally Controlled: Houses that do not maintain adequate temperatures may place the safety of residents at increased risk from exposure to extreme cold or heat.


For more information on carbon monoxide safety, please visit NFPA's website.

#24 - Freedom Trail.jpgSparky visited Boston to walk the Freedom Trail, a collection of 16 historical sites that all have ties to the Revolutionary War. Sites included the Old State House, the former center of the Massachusetts government that was the site of several significant events leading up to U.S. independence.


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!

A significant portion of NFPA 1, Fire Code, is provisions related to hazardous materials.  The scope of the Code, as addressed in Section 1.1.1, states that NFPA 1 addresses, among other areas:

(12) Storage, use, processing, handling, and on-site transportation of flammable and combustible gases, liquids, and solids

(13) Storage, use, processing, handling, and on-site transportation of hazardous materials


In fact, Chapter 60 through 75 (156 pages worth of code text!) contains requirements that address storage, use, processing, handling and transportation of various types of hazardous materials; aerosol products, compressed gases, corrosive materials, flammable and combustible liquids, LP Gas, and more.


Understanding how to apply the provisions for hazardous materials can be complex.  There are several key terms that must be understood before attempting to decipher the Code.


1. Maximum Allowable Quantity (MAQ). The quantity of hazardous material permitted in a control area.  This term is deceiving.  NOTE! --> While the term is referred to as "maximum", it really means that the material allowed is the maximum quantity per control area before requiring additional protection.  So, its not really a "maximum", rather a threshold before additional code requirements kick in.


2. Control Area. A building or portion of a building or outdoor area within which hazardous materials are allowed to be stored, dispensed, used, or handled in quantities not exceeding the maximum allowable quantities (MAQ).


3. Protection Level. While not an officially defined term in the Code, where the quantity of hazardous materials in storage or use exceeds the MAQ for indoor control areas, the occupancy is required comply with additional protection requirements set forth in the Code (Protection Level 1, 2, 3 or 4.)


Chapter 60 of NFPA 1 contains general requirements for the protection of occupancies with hazardous materials in storage and use.  There are three conditions to understand the general application of Chapter 60:

1. Storage, use, and handling of hazardous materials in quantities not exceeding maximum allowable quantities permitted in control areas set forth in Section shall be in accordance with Section 60.1 through Section 60.5.

2. Storage, use, and handling of hazardous materials in quantities in excess of the maximum allowable quantities permitted in control areas set forth in shall comply with Section 60.2 through Section 60.6.

3. Chapter 60 shall apply in its entirety to all hazardous materials except where Chapters 61 through 75 of this Code specify that only certain sections of this chapter shall apply to a specific material classification category.


Chapter 61 through 75 contain requirements to specific types of hazardous materials (for example, Chapter 63 contains requirements for compressed gases and cryogenic fluids.)  Most of these provisions are extracted into NFPA 1 from the respective NFPA documents  (NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code; NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code...)  Each hazardous material chapter will state, in the beginning of the Chapter, its application with regards to Chapter 60 and the referenced NFPA documents.


For example:

Chapter 63 Compressed Gases and Cryogenic Fluids* The installation, storage, use, and handling of compressed gases and cryogenic fluids in portable and stationary containers, cylinders, equipment, and tanks in all occupancies shall comply with the requirements of Chapter 63; NFPA 55, Compressed Gases and Cryogenic Fluids Code; and Sections 60.1 through 60.4 of this Code.


Understanding the application of the requirements for hazardous materials in NFPA 1 is an important first step in enforcing the Code. Future posts will highlight more specific requirements for hazardous materials and take a deeper look at the provisions in Chapter 60 through 75.  Happy #firecodefridays!


Don't miss another #FireCodeFridays blog! Get notifications straight to your email inbox by subscribing here! And you can always follow me on Twitter for more updates and fire safety news @KristinB_NFPA

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