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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.

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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.

 

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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 60.1.3.1 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 60.1.3.2 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

63.1.1.1* 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!

 

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