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February 16, 2017 Previous day Next day

NFPA Standards Directory 2017The 2017 NFPA Standards Directory is now available for download. The Directory contains standards development information such as:

  • An introduction to the NFPA standards development process
  • the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards,Technical Meeting Convention Rules, and other procedures
  • NFPA members of the Board of Directors, Standards Council, and advisory committees
  • Committee projects and scopes, revision cycle schedules for processing committee reports

Download a free copy of the NFPA Standards Directory, your guide to NFPA’s standards development process.

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Occasionally the concept of exceptions to the energized work permit comes into question. Being a consensus standard, NFPA 70E® has four exemptions to requiring a work permit. Although a work permit “shall not be required” for the exemptions it does not state that you are forbidden from doing one (remember back to my posts on consensus standards and best practices.) An exemption to the work permit is allowed for testing, troubleshooting, and voltage measuring. The other three exemptions are for nonelectrical work being conducted outside of the restricted approach boundary. There is a saying that “if it has not been documented it did not happen.” Would I go without an energized work permit?

Before covering whether I would or would not do a work permit look at the terms used in the exemption: TESTING – TROUBLESHOOTING – VOLTAGE MEASUREMENT. Everyone has the idea of what these terms mean. I have spent some time in the instrument and test field so I have my own opinion. Not one of these terms means repair. Some may disagree and consider repair as part of troubleshooting. General terms are not defined in NFPA standards. The definitions come from general sources. Just typing the words into an online dictionary here are the first definitions I saw. I hope I don’t have to look up voltage measurement.

Testing - the means by which the presence, quality, or genuineness of anything is determined; a means of trial.

Troubleshooting – discovering the cause of trouble in mechanical equipment, power lines, etc. (A troubleshooter eliminates the trouble.)

Regardless of your stance on this, this blog is discussing the need for a work permit. With or without a work permit, the qualified person has to be provided with and use appropriate safe work practices. If the task is voltage measurement, the employee must be informed of that fact. They must have the correct test instrument. They must wear the appropriate shock and arc-flash PPE. They must know the procedures for conducting voltage measurements on that specific piece of equipment.

You might say that since the person is qualified an energized work permit is not necessary. The minimum requirements of the standard permit that. I, on the other hand, probably would require a work permit. Why? What procedures, test instrument, PPE, etc. were used for the task? I can tell you. Who conducted the work? I can tell you. We all know that qualified or not people do unexpected things. A loose lug was seen during a voltage measurement. It was tightened and the equipment was damaged. Was that part of the task? I can tell you. Can you tell me? Going back to “if it has not been documented it did not happen.” Justified electrical work does not mean that the task will be completed without an incident or injury. What do you do when tightening that loose lug initiates an arc-flash? The facts of what was believed to have occurred prior to an incident often get muddled up after the incident.

I am not saying that I would always require a work permit. A lot you may not since you consider the work to be so menial or routine. Before you never require one under the exemptions, think about it.

Next time: The conditions which permit normal operation.


We are officially holding our 4th annual online contest to select “The Star Spangled Banner” singer(s) for this year’s General Session at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Boston on Sunday, June 4th - and the submission period opens today!


If you (or your group of up to 5 singers) want to share your talent with our Conference attendees, please submit an audition video through our website, or through our Facebook page by March 15th. Finalists will be selected by a panel of judges and then public voting will choose a winner.


Voting will take place on the NFPA website and through a Facebook Live poll from 10:00 AM Eastern Time (ET) to 2:00 PM ET on March 20, 2017 - so mark the date! Viewers will be able to vote once for their favorite entry during this time.


The contest winner(s) will receive a roundtrip flight to Boston, one-night hotel accommodations and full conference registration to the NFPA Conference & Expo where they will perform the national anthem in front of more than 3,000 attendees. The winner(s) will be announced on March 27th.


For a complete set of rules, please visit

wildfire, webinar, firefighter safety, training, Fourth Needs Assessment


More and more U.S. municipal fire departments are being called upon to respond to wildfire incidents, but do they have the capability to handle these unusually challenging events? Is your department adequately prepared to respond to wildfires in your community?

Join us on Wednesday, February 22 at 12:30 pm as we discuss findings in NFPA’s 2015 Needs Assessment survey that focus on wildfire preparedness in local fire departments including:

• Personnel and capabilities
• Training
• Health and wellness
• Personal protective clothing
• The use of auxiliary (support) roles when responding to wildfire events
• Community risk reduction

Ensuring our fire departments have the resources to do their jobs safely and effectively is imperative. The survey is an important resource that speaks to their needs and the very challenges they face.

Please visit NFPA’s webpage for more information and to register, .

Cold Climate Firefighting in the 1930's

Pictured here: A mid-winter fire in Montreal, circa the early 1930's


From Volunteer Firemen v.1, no. 14, 1934:

"In addition to the problem of snow and ice as factors in making response to, and work at, fires more difficult, the major problem of cold weather is to keep the water in radiators, booster or chemical tanks, extinguishers and hose lines from freezing... A heated place to keep the apparatus between runs is practically essential. An unheated station house or garage multiplies difficulties in freeing weather."


For more information regarding this or other historic fires, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Library

The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic. Library staff are available to answer reference questions from members and the general public.

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