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The updated 2016 edition of the NFPA Glossary of Terms (GOT) has been published and is available for FREE online. Visit to download your copy.


The GOT is a list of the defined terms in all of NFPA's published codes, standards, guides and recommended practices. Over 15,000 terms are listed alphabetically and assembled into a free PDF available on the NFPA website. The document is used in a number of ways. It helps NFPA Technical Committees who are looking to define new terms or compare existing terms. It also helps members of the public who are interested in learning about how NFPA documents define specific terms. The GOT contains the following details about each term:


Term: The word being defined.

Definition:The description of the term.

Document (Edition): Where the term and definition are found (document #) and the edition year of that document.

Document Defining Same Term: A list of all documents that also define the same term.

Document Using Same Definition: A list of all documents that also define the same term in the exact same way.


See the figure below for an example of how the GOT is organized. The term "Barrel" is defined in 3 documents- NFPA 1, 30, and 80.  NFPA 1 and NFPA 30 both define the term in the exact same way. The first 2 definitions refer to a unit of volume while the last  definition, from NFPA 80, refers to a rolling steel door component.To learn more about any of the documents defining a term, visit the NFPA Document Information Pages- doc #). For example, NFPA 80 can be found at


Barrel def.JPG

Here’s an article I wrote this summer, which speaks to the two fires that occurred at senior living facilities in California this week:


101-lifeSafetyCode.jpgOlder adults are more vulnerable to fires compared to the general population; at age 65, people are twice as likely to be killed or injured by fire. That's why it's important for older adults to carefully consider their living environments, and to make sure they're adequately protected from fire and related risks.


While it's often assumed that any residence for people ages 55 and older will include the fire and life safety provisions needed to maximize their safety, that's not necessarily the case.


Depending on how a senior living residence is categorized, it may or may not include the fire safety measures, designs and features that other senior living occupancies such as an assisted living facility incorporate. Anyone either currently living in or considering a move into a residence that is advertised as senior housing or otherwise caters to older adults needs to be aware of what safety measures are — or are not — in place, so they can make an informed decision about where they live.


The National Fire Protection Association developed NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, which serves as the most widely used source for strategies to protect people from fire and related hazards based on building construction and occupancy features.


While NFPA 101 must be used by facilities that fall under certain federal guidelines, buildings identified simply as senior housing have no obligation to follow NFPA 101 unless the code is adopted at the state or local level. Buildings that fall under the federal criteria include assisted living facilities, long-term care and nursing home facilities. Although individual states can and do adopt NFPA 101 for other types of occupancies, Nevada is not among them.


In a section of NFPA 101 called "Residential Board and Care," stringent requirements for assisted living facilities include the installation Of smoke alarm systems and fire sprinkler systems, as well as building construction features that ensure adequate means of egress in the event of a fire or other emergency. The building managers of assisted living facilities are also required to establish emergency evacuation plans and procedures for residents which are supervised by 24 hour on-site staff. Meanwhile, the residents themselves must be evaluated by qualified staff to determine whether or not they're capable of living in an assisted living facility.


However, occupancies referred to as "senior housing" or "senior apartments" oftentimes are simply apartment buildings whose only requirement is that residents are 55 years of age or older. They offer no fire safety provisions specific to the needs of older adults, and the occupancy owners and managers of these residences are not required to follow NFPA 101 unless state or local adoption of the code is in place. This puts older adults living in those residencies at increased fire risk.


Firefighters don't always have the ability to get multiple people, particularly those who are disabled or use medical equipment at home. This challenge is multiplied if the senior housing occupancy consists of multiple stories.


Fortunately, there are many steps people living in senior residences can take on their own to reduce their risk of fire. One should talk with the building manager to learn what, if any, fire protection systems are installed in the building, and to find out about emergency evacuation plans that may be in place. Buildings with multiple stories that are protected with automatic sprinkler systems will be inherently safer than buildings that have no similar protection.


Regardless of what features your building does or doesn't have, NFPA's Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities is a valuable resource that can be used for any specific situation. The Guide, addressing the main evacuation elements needed for the disabled community, can be easily applied to older adult communities and is available online for free. If a building manager doesn't have a plan in place, providing him or her with the guide will give them the information, guidance and resources needed to implement one.


For more information on fire safety, visit For information specifically on fire safety for at-risk populations, visit


This article was originally published in the July issue of Health Care Quarterly/Las Vegas.

Congratulations to the Kirkville Fire Company, a volunteer fire department in Kirkville, NY - they're the winners of our first-ever "Get Ready for Your Close-Up" catalog contest! Along with being featured on the cover of next year's Fire Prevention Week catalog, photos and stories highlighting the Kirville Fire Company's year-round efforts will be included throughout. The catalog will be distributed to fire departments, safety advocates educators and other groups nationwide in May 2017. So get ready for your close-up, Kirville Fire Company!


Also, a tremendous thanks to First Alert, which is actively supporting the contest by donating 500 smoke alarms to the department.

College.JPGA recent 4-alarm fire, which broke out Labor Day Weekend in a student housing building at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Purchase College highlights the importance of requiring all college dormitories to have automatic fire sprinklers, according to a recent press release sent out by the leaders of the New York Fire Sprinkler Council, a division of the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York.


Eight different Westchester County fire departments were called in to extinguish the fire, which forced dozens of students to move to temporary housing. The dorm, located on campus on “K Street”, did not have fire sprinklers installed.


“Thankfully no one was injured in the SUNY Purchase fire, but this incident highlights the risks of placing students in campus housing without fire suppression systems.” said Tony Saporito, Executive Vice President of the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York, Inc. “Automatic fire sprinklers not only put out fires quickly, but statistics prove they save lives and property.”


Pending New York State legislation, introduced by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D-103, Ulster & Dutchess Counties), would require all SUNY and City University of New York (CUNY) campus dormitories to be retrofitted with fire-sprinklers (Assembly Bill #A1217). According to the release, there has never been any real urgency for the state to advance this public safety legislation first introduced in 2003, however, many in the fire services believe the need for action is long overdue.


Read the attached press release (below) for the full story. A more detailed look at the fire sprinkler efforts aimed at New York colleges can be found in a September 13 post written by my colleague, Fred Durso, communications manager for NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative.


As a reminder, NFPA, Campus Firewatch, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the U.S. Fire Administration joined forces in May to launch the “See It Before You Sign It Campaign,” encouraging parents to take a more active role in helping their loved ones choose secure, fire-safe housing for the school year. This includes considering residences with fire sprinklers. For more, including resources, statistics, checklists, tips and videos, visit the Campus Firewatch webpage or by visiting

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