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December 16, 2016 Previous day Next day

 

Getting codes adopted and enforced by AHJs can be a long, uphill battle that leads to many mutual benefits. We often get a better understanding of the practical and actionable information needed by the enforcer community in the process. And yet as eye-opening as it may seem on the domestic front, there are even greater challenges and rewards that come with getting codes adopted internationally.

 

NFPA has been working for many years to support Latin American stakeholders as they champion fire safety and code adoption. This week in Mexico City the level of engagement was elevated during NFPA's first Electrical Workshop for Latin America. NFPA's Antonio Macias, Rafael Yañez, Olga Caledonia and Diana Jones met with representatives from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Chile and Paraguay to share NFPA 70: National Electrical Code® (NEC) insight and learn about the adoption challenges in their countries.

 

Workshop attendees discussed their adoption differences and the enforcement concerns that they share. Professionals - contractors, engineers and vocational school contacts - explained how they use the NEC. Officials from Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama talked about working hand-in-hand with NFPA to engage government officials, business leaders and contractors to initiate code adoption in their territories. Case studies were shared, technical aspects of the NEC were discussed, legal framework was considered, a current edition of the code translated into Spanish was requested, and participants provided insight on the role of the government. For instance, the fire department is always viewed by communities in Latin America as the authority, even if the regulatory agency is a federal or municipal entity. The greatest obstacles for many in the room, however, center around enforcement, the role of the AHJ, and overcoming the argument about safe electrical installations costing more money.

 

The Electrical Workshop in Latin America was a great success. There was tremendous value in hearing different points of view and learning from non-traditional players during the two-day forum. NFPA staff and stakeholders emerged with a greater understanding of local issues, global adoption strategy, and relevant tips for improving international enforcement processes. The code trials, tribulations and successes resonated with all attendees, especially the government representatives from El Salvador, Peru, Chile and Guatemala who are currently looking to formalize adoptions or consider NFPA's wealth of electrical information for safer installation practices in their countries.

The article "Proving Risk Reduction Works: The Case in Point" by Mark Chubb of the IAFC describes the challenge facing fire and emergency services to prove the effectiveness of community risk reduction efforts. Chubb illustrates a case study that is a successful blend of anecdote, supporting data, and petition. Be sure to check out his full article here.

 

When proving program effectiveness we know that the data is out there among our communities, but it is not always clear the best way to collect, analyze, and communicate that data in order to achieve our objectives. NFPA aims to provide fire and emergency services in any size community with tools to aid in these endeavors, and NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development, is that toolbox. Released to the public as a draft document in August 2016, NFPA 1300 is currently open for public input until June 28, 2017. On behalf of the Technical Committee on Fire Prevention Organization and Deployment I encourage you to read the draft and submit your ideas to the committee for review at www.nfpa.org/1300next. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

community risk reduction crr community risk assessment iafc nfpa 1300 nfpa 1730 smart enforcement

E-cigarettes have become increasingly common. In Richard Campbell’s April 2016 NFPA report, Electronic Cigarette Explosions and Fires: The 2015 Experience, he referenced a statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “12.6% of adults reported ever trying an e-cigarette in 2014.”Image of hand holding e-cigarette

 

That’s a tremendous number of users for a product that did not exist 10 years ago.

While many have been concerned about health issues and the possibility that e-cigarettes could be a gateway to other tobacco usage, reports about fires, explosions and burns caused by the batteries in these devices have raised alarm in the safety and burn communities.  At the time Campbell wrote his report, no government agency had regulatory authority over e-cigarettes, although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had something in the works. 

 

On August 8, 2016, the FDA’s new tobacco rule took effect. The FDA now regulates e-cigarettes and their components. Anyone who has a product safety concern with e-cigarettes or other products regulated by the FDA can file a report at the FDA Safety Reporting Portal.

 

E-cigarettes are one of many products that have had problems with lithium ion batteries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued numerous recalls of consumer electronics, including computers, cell phones and hover boards. NFPA recently published a tip sheet on lithium ion battery safety for consumers.

 

Safety issues with consumer products can be reported at the CPSC's saferproducts.gov.  To report vehicle safety problems, go to safercar.gov.  Both sites also provide information on recalls and complaints already filed.

Chances are there is someone on your holiday shopping list that has requested a device, toy, tool or new technology that contains lithium ion batteries. To help the public take care when using smart phones, laptops, scooters, remote control gadgets, wearable technology, and a host of other products on the market right now, the NFPA has developed a lithium ion battery safety tip sheet for consumersThe timely resource highlights the problem with these batteries, offers ways to identify issues, shares safety advice, and addresses battery disposal. 

 

Lithium ion batteries are ideally suited for today’s streamlined, lightweight, high-tech consumer products but convenience comes with concern. The compact batteries store a large amount of energy; and if not used properly, can overheat and cause a fire or explosion. Fire issues related to lithium ion batteries dominated the news this year leading to a CPSC recall of more than a half-million hoverboards and the FAA banning Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices from all flights.

 

For safety sake this holiday season, spread the word about lithium ion battery safety. NFPA's new tip sheet for consumers is perfect for sharing with audiences online, via social media (JPEG) or as a printable resource (PDF).

We've just released the latest edition of our “U.S. Firefighter Injuries” report, which highlights data on injuries sustained by firefighters on duty in 2015. 


There were 68,085 U.S. firefighter injuries in 2015. While this number reflects a 7.5 percent increase over 2014, it represents the third lowest injury rate since 1981, when the association began analyzing firefighter injury data.


Of those injuries, 29,130 (42.8 percent) occurred during fireground operations, with the leading causes reported as falls, slips and jumps (27.2 percent) and overexertion and strain (27.2 percent).

 

To find out more about the types of injuries, please review our full press release, and download the report

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