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January 27, 2017 Previous day Next day

nfpa firefighter hood bulletin

Download the full bulletin by clicking on the image.

 

NFPA has issued a firefighter protective hood safety bulletin as the fire service grapples with PPE contaminants and increases in job-related cancer.


Firefighters and their PPE are exposed to a wide range of toxins. According to a study by the CDC and NIOSH, firefighters have a higher chance of developing more than a dozen different cancers than the general population.

 

Firefighter thermal/flame protective hoods do not stop soot and chemicals from depositing on areas that are extremely vulnerable to dermal exposure. The hoods are designed to protect a firefighter’s head and neck, but they are not built to prevent toxins from being absorbed into a firefighter’s skin. The greatest number of carcinogens enter a firefighter’s body through the lungs; with the skin being the second most concerning access route. Furthermore, if the hoods are not properly cleaned, the toxins will linger in the hoods and rub against the firefighter’s skin.


NFPA is currently working on three research projects related to contamination, PPE and cancer. In the meantime, the protective hood bulletin recommends that fire departments educate personnel on PPE care and maintenance in accordance with NFPA 1851, the Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting.

 

Post and share this bulletin to keep firefighters safer from carcinogens and hazardous substances. For additional information, visit NFPA’s PPE cleaning page.

All eyes were on Dubai on New Year's Eve in 2015 when a fire quickly raced up the side of a 63-story building, The Address Hotel. Thankfully, there were only a few injuries. The fire spread from one floor to the next, feeding off the flammable exterior cladding. It wasn't the first exterior cladding fire in Dubai. According to this paper, Dubai had experienced at least three similar fires.

 

After the fire, many were asking how a flammable material could have been used on the exterior of a high rise building. It was revealed that the product had been tested, but not to NFPA 285. NFPA 285 tests the flame propagation characteristics of a material.  According to this news story, it was only tested for "fire containment and not flammability."

 

 

Over the weekend, Dubai announced more restrictive regulations on exterior cladding. The specifics of the new law have not yet been made available. However, it is being reported that all existing buildings will be forced to replace non-compliant cladding with compliant cladding before a certain date. If an existing building has a fire prior to the replacement, all non-compliant cladding must be replaced with materials that meet the new regulations. In addition, people could face prosecution and fines for not following the new law. You can read more here

 

These types of fires aren't exclusive to Dubai. They've happened all over the world. In 2014, the Lacrosse Apartments in Melbourne, Australia had a large fire. The exterior cladding was found to be a major contributor. In a recent decision, the Building Appeals Board denied the owners' request to install sprinklers on the balconies instead of replacing the exterior cladding.

 

The events of this past week show the importance of considering the fire characteristics of external cladding. Luckily, these fires have not resulted in serious injury and/or deaths, but they are costly. Hopefully, the push continues to properly test materials for the safety of cities across the world.

Fire Door Comparison

In the picture above, only the door on the left must comply with the inspection and testing requirements in NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives.

 

However, a lack of clarity around NFPA 80 requirements remains among many facility managers, safety officers, engineers, life safety supervisors, EHS managers, construction managers and others who are responsible for ensuring that the healthcare facilities they manage comply with the standard. Knowing which doors fall under the standards’ inspection requirements is just one example.

 

NFPA 80 compliance comes as a result of the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services’ (CMS) adoption of the 2012 edition of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code®, last year, which requires that all U.S. healthcare facilities meet the fire door requirements in the standard.

 

To help clarify the application of NFPA 101 and NFPA 80, NFPA and the Door Security & Safety Foundation (DSSF) have teamed up to conduct a series of one-day trainings, which work to help ensure fire door compliance in health care facilities. More specifically, the trainings cover:

  • door types encountered in a health care facility
  • door locking means permitted
  • eleven verification points required for the yearly inspection of swinging fire door assemblies
  • the skills required to serve as the qualified person permitted to perform inspection and testing in accordance with NFPA 80

 

NFPA 101 and NFPA 80 fire door inspection for health care facilities trainings will be held on the following dates, as follows:

 

February 3, 2017 - Cranston, RI

March 6, 2017 - NFPA Headquarters, Quincy, MA

May 15, 2017 - NFPA Headquarters, Quincy, MA

July 10, 2017 - NFPA Headquarters, Quincy, MA

October 5, 2017 - NFPA Headquarters, Quincy, MA

December 4, 2017 - NFPA Headquarters, Quincy, MA

 

For anyone who has questions at these trainings, please contact me, Lauren DAngelo at  ldangelo@nfpa.org.

NFPA has been working on a series of videos to help explain the significant changes to the 2017 edition of NFPA 70: National Electrical Code that impacts the electrical industry as a whole, as well as the work you do every day. We’re pleased to see so many of you are taking the opportunity to view the videos and ask questions on our Xchange platform.

 

Please join me for the next video in the series. In this one, I talk through the significant changes that impact limited energy circuits and communications systems, most notably in Chapters 7 and 8 of the NEC. These changes include:
 
•    Revisions on the use of unsupported lengths of power-limited tray cables
•    A new condition allowing metal masts and supporting structures for antennae to be protected by a building or structure lightning protection system instead of direct connection to a grounding electrode
•    New requirements covering the ampacity of signaling, data and communications cables that also provide power to connected devices in order to keep pace with new power over the Ethernet (PoE) technology

 

… plus other impactful changes from the 2017 edition that you absolutely need to know.
 
The following is a video preview:

 

 

You can watch the full video for free if you are logged into Xchange. Haven't registered for Xchange yet? It’s easy to do. Look for the login link above to login or register for your free account on Xchange. Once you’re logged in, you will have access to the full webinar, in addition to related free content, and discussions with your peers across the country and around the world. Don’t miss out; get involved today!

A few week's ago I wrote about NFPA 1's requirement to provide automatic sprinkler protection for new buildings housing emergency fire, rescue, or ambulance services.  In addition to that requirement, there are many other instances in the Code where sprinkler protection is mandated.

 

 

Section 13.3.2 of NFPA 1, Fire Code, addresses those scenarios.  As NFPA 1 extracts from 50+ other NFPA codes and standards, the requirements for sprinkler protection may also be included elsewhere.  However, Section 13.3.2 is where to start to determine if a building/structure needs sprinklers.  The first subsection, 13.3.2.1 reminds users that were required anywhere in NFPA 1 or by the referenced codes and standards in NFPA 1, the automatic sprinkler system is required to be installed in accordance with the provisions of 13.3.1, which mandates compliance with NFPA 13.

 

NFPA 1 requires automatic sprinkler protection in the following scenarios:

  • Basements exceeding 2500 ft2 (232 m2) in new buildings. (13.3.2.2)
  • New building housing emergency fire, rescue, or ambulance services (13.3.2.3)
  • New buildings three or more stores in height above grade (13.3.2.4)
    • Stand-alone open parking structures that are detached from other occupancies are not required to be protected with sprinklers. (13.3.2.5)

 

In addition to the conditions specifically noted by NFPA 1, other requirements may drive the need to automatic sprinkler protection.

  • Section 13.3.2.6, extracted from NFPA 13, addresses exterior roofs, canopies, porte-cocheres, balconies, decks, and similar projections.
  • Section 13.3.2.7 begins a series of code sections, extracted from NFPA 101, that address the occupancy specific sprinkler requirements based upon the occupancies (new and existing) that are contained in the Life Safety Code.
  • Section 13.3.2.26 mandates that all new high-rise buildings be protected by sprinklers.  Existing high-rise buildings must be fully sprinklered within 12 years of adoption of the Code.

 

Finally, Section 13.3.2.27 requires automatic sprinkler protection for all occupancies containing areas greater than 2500 ft2 (232 m2) used for high-piled storage of combustibles.  Any occupancies containing areas greater than 12,000 ft 2(1115 m2) used for general storage of combustibles must also be sprinklered. An automatic sprinkler system is also required throughout all occupancies containing storage commodities classified as Group A Plastics in excess of 5 ft (1.5 m) in height over an area exceeding 2500 ft2 (232 m2) in area.

 

Sprinkler requirements for other facilities such as mini-storage buildings, bulk storage of tires and woodworking operations are extracted from NFPA 5000.

 

There are a lot of instances that trigger the need to automatic sprinkler protection.  With the importance of these life saving and property protecting systems its critical to understand where in the Code to locate and identify these requirements...Section 13.3.2!

 

Happy Friday and thanks for reading!

 

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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