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As I'm sure you've all heard, the NFPA Conference & Exposition comes to Boston next week. An important part of the C&E is the annual technical meeting on Wednesday, June 7, at which certified amending motions (CAMs) on numerous codes and standards will be debated by the membership. The 2018 edition of NFPA 101 is included on the docket. Topics to be debated include:


  • Addition of physical violence mitigation to the Code's goals and objectives
  • Operation of shutters protecting openings in smoke partitions
  • Number of releasing operations for classroom door locks to prevent unwanted entry
  • Larger hospital smoke compartments
  • New occupant load factors for business uses, including collaboration rooms
  • New provisions for risk analyses for mass notification systems
  • New provisions for integrated fire protection and life safety system testing per NFPA 4


There are a total of 25 CAMs addressing these topics in various parts of the Code. If you believe these topics are important, the NFPA process depends on your voice being heard. The complete technical meeting agenda is available here.


I'll be there. If you plan to attend, please look for me and say hello. I'm looking forward to what I'm sure will be some lively debate. Hope to see you there!


Thanks for reading. Until next time, stay safe.


Got an idea for a topic for a future #101Wednesdays? Post it in the comments below – I’d love to hear your suggestions!


Did you know NFPA 101 is available to review online for free? Head over to and click on “Free access to the 2015 edition of NFPA 101.”


Follow me on Twitter: @NFPAGregH

NFPA Conference & Expo begins this upcoming Sunday. One easy way to stay organized and navigate the many events, sessions and activities is to download our mobile app. With the NFPA 2017 C&E mobile app, you can:


  • Stay organized with up-to-the-minute Exhibitor, Speaker, and Event information
  • Sync the app across all of your devices with Multi-Device Sync
  • Receive important real-time communications from the NFPA
  • Build a personalized schedule and bookmark exhibitors
  • Take notes and download event handouts and presentations
  • Rate the sessions you attend and comment on them, too
  • Interactively locate sessions and exhibitors on the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center maps
  • Visit your bookmarked exhibitors with the Quick Route
  • Find attendees and connect with your colleagues through Friends
  • Stay in-the-know and join in on social media with #NFPAConf
  • Share your event photos and experiences with the Photo Gallery
  • Watch NFPA videos
  • Find Boston, MA Local Places
  • And much, much more!


Downloading the app is easy. Use your device's QR code scanner for quick access. You can always search the Apple app store or Google Play for "NFPA Conference & Expo." Note: if you have the NFPA 2016 app on your device, tap "exit to show list" from the dashboard and select NFPA 2017 from there. 

This year's NFPA Technical Meeting (Tech Session) will be held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston, MA, on June 7, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. in the BCEC Ballrooms.  NFPA will be providing wireless internet access during the Tech Session so attendees have the option of downloading the agenda prior to or during the Tech Session. Also, documentation such as First Draft Reports and Second Draft Reports can be viewed on the Next edition tab of each specific document information page.


Download the agenda for this year’s Tech Session in Boston.


The Tech Session is an important step in developing a complete record to assist the Standards Council in determining the degree of consensus achieved on proposed changes to NFPA Standards. During this meeting, NFPA members are given an opportunity to vote on proposed changes and members of the public can voice their opinions on these actions. Only NFPA members of record as of December 9, 2016 who are currently in good standing are eligible to vote at this meeting.


Following is the order of the NFPA documents to be presented for action in Boston: 


  • NFPA 37, Standard for the Installation and Use of Stationary Combustion Engines and Gas Turbine
  • NFPA 54, National Fuel Gas Code
  • NFPA 59, Utility LP-Gas Plant Code
  • NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code
  • NFPA 1144, Standard for Reducing Structure Ignition Hazards from Wildland Fire
  • NFPA 1403,  Standard on Live Fire Training Evolutions
  • NFPA 1951, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Technical Rescue Incidents
  • NFPA 2112, Standard on Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire
  • NFPA 285, Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load-Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components
  • NFPA 730, Guide for Premises Security
  • NFPA 101, Life Safety Code®
  • NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code®
  • NFPA 1, Fire Code

The following two proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 1, Fire Code and NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code®, are being published for public review and comment:


  • NFPA 1, proposed TIA No. 1283, referencing on the 2015 and proposed 2018 editions
  • NFPA 5000, proposed TIA No. 1261, referencing 2.3.35(New), 3.3.296(New), 3.3.670(New), 38.9.15(New) and Annex G new material

Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the July 13, 2017 comment closing date. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.

NFPA 13NFPA has issued the following errata on NFPA 13Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems:

  • NFPA 13, Errata 13-16-4, referencing Tables and (b) of the 2016 edition, issued on May 24, 2017

An errata is a correction issued to an NFPA Standard, published in NFPA News, Codes Online, and included in any further distribution of the document.

image from Lake News Online article


Chief Jeff Dorhaue with the Osage Beach Fire Protection District in Missouri, writes about fire hose in Lake News Online and acknowledges the significant role that NFPA has played in the standardization of the fire service. A frequent contributor to the community news platform, Dorhauer's recent article highlights the evolution of fire hose and the early equipment inconsistencies among departments that led to NFPA developing a standard on fire hose and creating a consensus code process that endures today.


More than 100 years after insurance executives established NFPA to standardize fire hose, adapters, fittings, sprinklers and hydrants; the organization continues to champion codes, standards, research and resources that help the fire service do their job and keep safe. NFPA's impact today extends well beyond fire hose and the fire service, and includes more than 300 codes and standards that represent the perspective of thousands of volunteers and serve the needs of a wide array of stakeholders.


May is Electrical Safety Month and throughout the month, NFPA and ESFI have been raising awareness of potential electrical hazards and the importance of electrical fire safety on the job.


This week we’re testing your knowledge on an aspect of NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace with a question from one of our recent NFPA Live events. Here, Derek Vigstol, NFPA’s technical lead for Electrical Technical Services, asks: What is Normal Operation?


Think you know the answer? Watch this quick video to find out, then learn how you can access the full question and answer, and other important, related information.


For more information and resources about Electrical Safety Month, visit NFPA's electrical safety webpage.

A fire broke out during Memorial Day weekend just after midnight on May 27, 1911 inside a Coney Island amusement called "Hell Gate". The "Hell Gate" amusement park ride consisted of a series of channels that allowed park visitors to float through on boats. The channels had been leaking water and were being repaired with felt and pitch. The pitch was heated outside the building and work was done at night while the park was closed. At about 1:30 A.M. inside the "Hell Gate", the heat from the tar burst a cluster of electric lights that had temporarily been mounted on a wooden board. The workmen were able to escape from the building and attempted to fight the fire with hose streams. Eventually an alarm was sent in after losing valuable time. Upon their arrival, the firefighters were unable to gain control of the fire. The buildings were all of light-frame wooden construction, except for the Dreamland Power House. 


Dreamland Fire, Coney Island - May 27, 1911

Men fight the fire at the Coney Island Dreamland Amusement Park on May 27, 1911.


From the NFPA Quarterly v. 5, no. 1, 1911:


"Conclusions: The spread of this fire was due in part to delay in turning in an alarm and the inflammable nature of the buildings. The large area without fire walls or customary streets of proper width made it an exceedingly hard fire to fight. The separate fire main system was called on beyond its capacity and its use was not restricted to the fire department. But the minimum pressure would have been somewhat higher if the three pumps had remained constantly in service.


Recommendations: The capacity of the pumping station for the separate fire main system at Coney Island should be increased at least 100 percent... Pumps should be run long enough during daily test to show if the bearings are overheating."



For more information regarding this fire and other moments in fire history, 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.

The Fire Protection Research Foundation, an affiliate of NPFA, will co-host the 21st annual Suppression, Detection and Signaling Symposium (SUPDET® 2017) with the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany) as part of a joint conference with the 16th International Conference on Automatic Fire Detection (AUBE ’17). The symposium will be held September 12-14, 2017 at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Hyattsville, MD 

This year’s program will feature over 80 presentations over a three day period focused on the latest development in research, technology, and applications for the fire protection community, and how they can be put to use by the fire protection community. SUPDET/AUBE 2017 welcomes professionals and researchers in the fields of fire alarm, suppression, enforcement, insurance, and emergency communications to share their expertise and research, and to exchange ideas.   

The symposium will feature a variety of topics. A number of these address detection, including smoke aerosol characterization for detection applications, new detection technologies, and detection of wild fires. Some other areas of focus are new suppression research, new statistics and tests related to unwanted alarms, relevant standard updates, smart applications, unique modeling investigations, research on oxygen reduction systems, and fire protection in aircraft, vehicles, and tunnels.

Each year, SUPDET draws a diverse crowd to learn about advancements in suppression and detection technology and we are happy that our partnership with the AUBE conference this year will provide additional opportunities for updates on relevant research for our audience. Register today for the full symposium. The deadline for early registration is July 28, 2017 and the deadline for hotel reservations is August 15, 2017. 

For more information, contact Eric Peterson at + 1 617-984-7281. 

Conventional grab bar installation (courtesy of Jake Pauls)Most people probably don’t associate reviewing tub and shower installations with the typical Life Safety Code inspector; but that’s about to change. New provisions in the upcoming 2018 edition expand the Code’s scope to include accidental fall prevention and requirements for grab bars in new bathtubs and showers. While the Code has historically been primarily concerned with life safety from fire, over the past 20 or so years, the scope has been gradually expanding to include not only fire, but also “similar emergencies.” Other topics addressed by the Code outside the realm of fire include crowd safety in assembly occupancies, and expanded criteria for hazardous materials, also coming in the 2018 edition.


Fall prevention isn’t actually new to the Code. For many years, it has regulated stair tread and riser dimensions to not only allow them to be used for egress during an emergency, but also to reduce the trip and fall hazard during day-to-day use. Handrails and guards have also been required for many years for the same reasons. Slip-resistant walking surfaces on means of egress components and essentially level thresholds at doors also serve to reduce the hazard of tripping and falling.


Now, however, the concept of fall prevention is expanding beyond means of egress and into tubs and showers. Although, proponents of the concept argued if you’re in the shower and there’s an emergency, you need to be able to safely egress. Others argued the tub/shower can’t be part of the means of egress because of the Code’s requirements for level and slip-resistant walking surfaces. This was a subject of significant debate during the development of the 2018 edition of NFPA 101. Ultimately, it was determined that grab bars should be required for new tubs and showers, but the requirements should not be located in the means of egress provisions of Chapter 7. Rather, they will be located in Chapter 24 with the means of escape requirements for one- and two-family dwellings. They are not, however, limited to one- and two-family dwellings. Other occupancy chapters also mandate them via reference to the Chapter 24 criteria. Given the amount of debate during the technical committee meetings on this subject, it was somewhat surprising that no notices of intent to make a motion (NITMAMs) were filed to further debate the subject on the floor of the annual technical meeting at the upcoming NFPA Conference and Exposition in Boston. For all intents and purposes, it’s a done deal; grab bars will be included in the 2018 edition of NFPA 101. (The grab bar provisions can be reviewed in 24.2.8 of the NFPA 101 Second Draft Report.)


DIY grab bar retrofit (photo by Jake Pauls)While the inclusion of grab bars in NFPA 101 was the subject of lots of debate, no one could argue against the injury statistics presented to the various technical committees. Falls from transferring into and out of bathtubs and showers rank second only to falls on stairs in terms of numbers of fall injuries requiring hospitalization. In 2010, bath and shower-related injuries led to some 263,000 hospital emergency room (ER) visits in the United States at a cost of about 20 billion dollars. This is more than ten times the number of civilian fire injuries (fewer than 20,000) that same year. Stair-related injuries were responsible for about 1.2 million ER visits at a cost of about 92 billion dollars. This is a significant public health issue, and the new NFPA 101 requirements will start to chip away at these annual injuries and costs.


Thanks to longtime NFPA 101 technical committee member Jake Pauls for permission to use his photos and providing the injury statistics cited in this post.


Thanks for reading. Until next time, stay safe.


Got an idea for a topic for a future #101Wednesdays? Post it in the comments below – I’d love to hear your suggestions!


Did you know NFPA 101 is available to review online for free? Head over to and click on “Free access to the 2015 edition of NFPA 101.”


Follow me on Twitter: @NFPAGregH

The NFPA Conference & Expo brings to life the products and services needed to meet and maintain compliance with prevailing codes and standards in the design, construction and operation of buildings and facilities of every kind.


Be sure to visit the Expo from June 4-6th in Boston, and:


  • Evaluate thousands of products over three days
  • Meet the experts at the NFPA booth
  • Find answers to code questions and interpretations
  • Discover solutions to your technical challenges
  • Develop specs for a current project
  • Stay current with latest innovations
  • Identify suppliers actively supporting the NFPA mission
  • Grow your personal and professional contacts


Our exhibit hours are as follows;


Sunday, June 4: 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Monday, June 5: 10:30 am – 3:30 pm

Tuesday, June 6: 10:30 am – 2:30 pm


Check out the growing list of exhibitors and plan your visit!

NFPA Conference & Expo is fast approaching and we are getting excited! (If you haven't registered yet, take a minute to do so.) Opening General Session is always one of the most popular events of the week, and this year it will take place on Sunday, June 4 beginning at 1:00pm EDT. 


For those of you who can't make it to NFPA Conference & Expo in person this year, we have an exciting announcement for you. We will be live streaming the complete opening General Session through Facebook LIVE, beginning at 1:00pm EDT. The session, and live stream, will feature NFPA President Jim Pauley and Board of Directors Chair Randy Tucker, as they discuss the current state of affairs at NFPA as well as some of the new exciting projects and initiatives that we have been working hard on.


Then, you'll be able to join us for two incredibly engaging keynotes to see how the future is being realized today through satellites, nano technology, augmented reality and more. See how Erin Baumgartner, Assistant Director of MIT’s Senseable City Laboratory, tackles Big Data, using creative visualizations to simplify complex information. Hear how ubiquitous sensors are monitoring everything from traffic flow to sewage flow so we can better understand and solve the problems of our urban environment. Tech Futurist Tom Koulopoulos, Founder/CEO of Delphi Group, will show us how the Industrial Internet of Things is enabling an entirely new set of tools and opportunities for first responders, builders, enforcers, the electrical community and more. From advances in wearables to deep imaging and the prevalence of real time sensors, there’s a new landscape to navigate. 


Be sure to tune in to NFPA's Facebook page for the LIVE stream of opening General Session on Sunday, June 4 at 1:00pm EDT.

Attendees at yesterday's Station Fire Memorial Park opening in West Warwick, RI/Courtesy of Providence Journal

Attendees at the opening of yesterday's Station Fire Memorial Park in West Warwick, RI. Photo courtesy of Providence Journal.


A new Station Fire Memorial Park was unveiled yesterday in remembrance of the Station nightclub fire that occurred in West Warwick, RI, on February 20, 2003. The tragic incident resulted in the deaths of 100 people. According to the Providence Journal, the new park features 10 circles of 10 monuments, each inscribed with the name and a portrait of one of the 100 people who died in the fire; a crowd of between 500 and 750 attended the dedication ceremony marking the park’s completion.


The Journal also reported that WJAR-TV news anchor Gene Valicenti served as emcee at the event, recognizing not only the people who died in the fire, but also those who survived or lost a loved one, as well as the first responders and others who fought to save lives in the fire’s aftermath.

The Station nightclub fire - the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in history - prompted NFPA to enact tough new code provisions for fire sprinklers and crowd management in nightclub-type venues. Provisions requiring fire sprinklers in all nursing homes, in new construction of one- and two-family dwellings, and in all new construction of nightclubs and like facilities, as well as for existing nightclubs and like facilities with capacities over 100, have since been applied to NFPA 101, Life Safety Code® and NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code®. These provisions mark sweeping changes to the codes and standards governing safety in assembly occupancies.


Below is a video from Robert Feeney, a Station nightclub survivor who talked about his experience and how it later led to his work as a sprinkler advocate:

Join us this Wednesday May 24th, 2017 from 3-4 pm (15:00 -16:00 Eastern) for an optional pre-bid conference call about the open Request for Proposals to build the proof-of concept, scalable data infrastructure for the new National Fire Data System.  If you have questions or are looking for clarification about the RfP this is a great opportunity to pose them to the team here at NFPA  Here are the call in details:


Phone number:       1.866.546.3377 (Toll Free in USA)

Meeting ID number: 623152#


If you have not had a chance to review the Request for Proposals or are not familiar with the wider project to build a new national fire data system please visit:

One more week until Memorial Day weekend, the "official" start of the summer season, which, along with sunshine and BBQs, also brings additional safety concerns and fire risks, and it's never too early to prepare for a safe and fun weekend.  NFPA 1, Fire Code, contains valuable requirements to help local inspectors and authorities ensure communities stay safe this summer season.


Is there a parade planned in your community?


Q:   How do I protect parade floats?

A:    Parade floats require a permit to use a parade float for public performance, presentation, spectacle, entertainment, or parade.  In addition, motorized parade floats and towing apparatus require a minimum 2-A:10-B:C-rated portable fire extinguisher readily accessible to the operator.  (See Section 10.16)


Enjoying time by a backyard fire pit?


Q:    How far do recreational fires have to be from a building/structure?

A:    Recreational fires shall not be located within 25 ft (7.6 m) of a structure or combustible material unless contained in an approved manner.  This includes fire pits and camping fires.  Also, conditions that could cause a fire to spread to within 25 ft (7.6 m) of a structure must be eliminated prior to ignition.  (See Section 10.10.4)


Hosting a cookout or reviewing plans for a community event?


Q:    Where can grills be located?

A:    (For other than one- and two-family dwellings,) no hibachi, grill, or other similar devices used for cooking, heating, or any other purpose shall be used  on any balcony, under any overhanging portion, or within 10 ft (3 m) of any structure.  In addition, these devices cannot be stored on a balcony. (See Section 10.10.6)


(Check out this post on grills for additional details.)  NFPA also offers a variety of resources for safe grilling and outdoor entertaining!


Are there restaurants with outdoor seating in your jurisdiction? 


Q:   Are there any provisions for patio heaters in NFPA 1?

A:    NFPA 1 extracts provisions for the installation of patio heaters from NFPA 58, Liquified Petroleum Gas Code.  Patio heaters, often used extensively in restaurants with outdoor seating, must be listed and used in accordance with their listing and the manufacturer's instructions.  They cannot be located within 5 ft (1.5 m) of exits from an assembly occupancy, recognizing their common use in restaurants. (See Section 10.10.7)


Are local festivities planning activities with sky lanterns or open flame devices?


Q:   Does NFPA 1 permit the use of sky lanterns?

A:    The use of unmanned, free-floating sky lanterns and similar devices utilizing an open flame are prohibited.  For more information, check out NFPA's safety tip sheet on sky lanterns.  (See Section


Reviewing site plans for a local carnival?


Q:   How does an AHJ enforce outdoor events such as carnivals or fairs?

A:    The AHJ is permitted to regulate all outdoor events such as carnivals and fairs as it pertains to access for emergency vehicles; access to fire protection equipment; placement of stands, concession booths, and exhibits; and the control of hazardous conditions dangerous to life and property.  (See Section 10.14)


As always, thanks for reading. Happy Friday and have a safe weekend!

ABC News


BMW car owners are a little on edge these days with news outlets across the country reporting that the popular German cars are bursting into flames while parked, in some cases, for days. The resulting damage has been extensive, especially when the vehicles were parked in attached garages or close to residences.


ABC News’ investigative team unearthed more than 40 such BMW fires .Their investigation focused on 17 BMW vehicle fire cases, spanned five years, referenced different models and factored in information found at National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Carfax, an online vehicle history site. If there was an open recall for a fire-related issue, the incident was eliminated from the list.


NFPA has fielded inquiries this week about BMW fire incidents and taken requests for relevant research or data about the car brand. NFPA does not have specific information on BMW fires, but estimates of highway vehicle fires, including cars and trucks, are included in the U.S. Fire Loss Report.


This is not the first time that concern has been raised about vehicle fires starting after the vehicle has been shut off. NHTSA has received several complaints about other brands catching fire while parked. A 2012 article by the Center for Auto Safety describes Ford cruise control deactivation switch recalls and history.

NHTSA can order recalls after completing an investigation. To open an investigation, they need specific information. If you have had a similar incident, or if your car or truck has a safety defect, you can report it at You will be asked to provide your VIN, vehicle make and model, and any documentation you can share, such as a police report. If you have concerns about any type of vehicle, you can search that site for recalls, investigations or complaints.

Safety in our school laboratories should be a top priority to protect our children. Yesterday, a common school experiment using chemicals and fire to create a rainbow of colors has gone wrong…once again…resulting in the injury of 12 Texas preschoolers.


Dangers in the school lab prompted the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) to produce a 2013 safety video entitled “After the Rainbow”, focused on potential dangers in high school laboratories. Subsequently, in January 2014, the American Chemical Society issued a safety alert on the "rainbow" demonstration.


NFPA Codes and Standards address this topic as well. NFPA 45 is a Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals, 2015 edition. Chapter 12 addresses Educational and Instructional Laboratory Operations with general requirements including a documented hazard risk assessment, personal protective equipment (PPE) and a safety barrier. Section 12.3.2 specifically addresses standards for the performance of experiments or demonstrations. Laboratories can be an educational environment for our children, but it needs to be done safely.


Teachers have an obligation and responsibility to teach and perform safe laboratory practices. The NFPA addressed this issue in the NFPA Journal article Unsafe Science. The safety habits that children develop in school laboratories will last them their entire life…to the rainbow’s end.

Have you ever had a sunburn? Is a bad sunburn really that bad? The answer to that question will depend on who you ask. If you ask a person not likely to be exposed to the possibility of the burn, they probably will say no. If you ask a person who has been burned, they will probably say yes. The following assumes that you have read each of my posts about the authority having jurisdiction, consensus standards, risks to workers, and workers having some say regarding their safety.

The minimum standard is that should an arc flash occur while you are performing a task on justified energized electrical equipment that you be able to survive without permanent physical damage. Think about this. For anything other than an electrically safe work condition (which your employer has determined not appropriate for the task assigned to you), the standard does not prevent injury to you. While compliant and properly rated PPE increases the possibility that you emerge from an incident unscathed, you are not guaranteed to be uninjured. The severity of the burn injury permitted by the standard is limited by the 1.2 cal/cm2 incident energy. Why is 1.2 cal/cm2 used? Testing determined that this is the level where exposed skin can suffer a second-degree burn.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a second-degree burn as: a burn marked by pain, blistering, and superficial destruction of dermis with edema and hyperemia of the tissues beneath the burn. This type of burn results in red, white, or splotchy skin, swelling, and blisters. A second-degree burn penetrates the second layer of skin. When the first layer is destroyed, it separates from the second layer. The raw nerves in the second skin layer make this burn painful. If a second-degree burn is larger than 3 inches in diameter or is on the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, or a major joint, the Mayo Clinic suggests treating it as a major burn and getting immediate medical help.

Those of you who think that arc-flash PPE will prevent an injury are wrong. Testing determines the incident energy level at which the PPE has a 50% probability of successfully preventing an injury. Half of the time there is a possibility of a second-degree burn if the rating is based on the arc thermal performance value (ATPV) and the incident energy exposure does not exceed that rating. Remember back to my post on consensus standards. It discussed how you determined the incident energy level and whether PPE rated for that exact level was a best practice. The arc-rated PPE that you are wearing has an increased probability of success if subjected to an incident energy lower than its rating. This also ties into my last blog on compliant PPE because if your employer has provided you with substandard equipment, the severity of your injury will most likely be greatly increased.

Another side point to this discussion is that the working distance for equipment is generally stated as 18 or 36 inches. If the incident energy is calculated to be below 1.2 cal/cm2 at this distance, how much closer to the origin of an arc-flash are your hands, arms or head when you perform the energized task? Those body parts could suffer worse than a second-degree burn if not protected.

Compliant and properly rated PPE should limit your injury to a second-degree burn when a higher incident energy is present during an incident. The minimum requirements of the consensus standard use 1.2 cal/cm2 because there is a probability that you will not suffer a permanent physical injury. The standard has no requirement to provide you with arc-flash protection below 1.2 cal/cm2. Only you and your employer can decide if a second-degree burn is acceptable.

For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on Xchange.


Next Time: Working below 1.2 cal/cm2

In 1929, a float designed and built by William Aitken, a firefighter attached to Engine Co. No. 2 of the Newark, New Jersey Fire Department, depicting the slogan "Prevent Fire" won eight baby parade prizes within three months in eight different New Jersey municipalities.


A Prize Winning Float

"Firefighters" Billy Aitken, James McNichols and Edward O'Brien operate a prize winning float.


From the NFPA Quarterly v.23, no. 2, 1929:


"Mr. Aitken's son, Billy, five years old, by right of heritage, does the rescue act on the float. His career started in June [1929] when Mr. Aitken entered the float in the Orange baby parade. The float is designed like a house, with fire coming out of the roof. There's a girl in the picture too. She is a beautiful doll-baby calling for help from an upstairs window. The gallant fireman rushes up a ladder to rescue, puts out the fire and saves the child.


On the float stand a small fire engine, hose cart and chief's car. A hose is attached to a fire hydrant and the nozzle is held by the fireman on the ladder. Billy's two cousins, James McNichols and Edward O'Brien, both of Orange, attired in regulation fire costume, pull the float. A bell and siren ring continuously."


For more information regarding this or other moments in fire history, 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.


Non-fire electrical incidents

Posted by bprince Employee May 18, 2017

May is Electrical Safety Month and what better way to raise awareness of potential electrical hazards and the importance of electrical safety than with NFPA's new Non-Fire Electrical Incidents Report? This report states that local fire departments respond to an estimated 385,700 non-fire electrical incidents each year. These incidents can involve downed power lines, electrical failures, electrical rescue, and electrocution or potential electrocution. It is also stated that according to our 2017 Electrical Fires report, some type of electrical failure or malfunction caused an estimated average of 61,300 structure fires, 430 civilian deaths, 1,600 civilian injuries, and $2 billion in direct property damage each year. Preventing electrical failures can prevent most of these fires!


Did you know?

Nearly half (47%) of local fire department responses to electrocutions or potential electrocutions occurred in residential properties.


Click here to view the report!

A 75-year old woman died, and several fire fighters escaped tragedy after being trapped in a fire early Monday morning at Pittsburgh’s Midtown Towers, a non-sprinklered, 17-story apartment building constructed in 1907. The victim died in the apartment of fire origin. It was only through the heroic efforts of the Pittsburgh Fire Department that only one other resident needed to be transported to the hospital. The potential for significant loss of life was apparent.


This building, like many older high-rise buildings, pre-dates requirements for automatic sprinklers. Unfortunately, most people seeking affordable housing don’t first ask whether the building is sprinklered. Therefore, we as a society must ask ourselves, “Is the risk of living in non-sprinklered high-rise buildings acceptable?” We also need to ask whether the risks posed to emergency responders are acceptable; you can bet that fire fighters will put their lives on the line when a fire breaks out in an occupied, high-rise apartment building in the middle of the night. Are we doing enough to protect those first responders?


Clearly, the installation of automatic sprinklers in all existing high-rise buildings is the optimal solution.  However, the position of NFPA is reflected by the requirements of its codes and standards. The Life Safety Code says existing high-rise apartment buildings need to be protected by automatic sprinklers OR an engineered life safety system, unless every apartment is provided with exterior exit access. As described in Annex A of the Code, the engineered life safety system might consist of a combination of any or all of the following systems:

(1) Partial automatic sprinkler protection

(2) Smoke detection alarms

(3) Smoke control

(4) Compartmentation or other approved systems, or both

I don’t have any details on what systems were provided in the Pittsburgh high-rise, other than news reports indicating it was non-sprinklered. I don’t know if any mitigating features were in place, other than reports of a working fire alarm system. The trapped fire fighters were located on the 8th floor, two floors above the fire-floor; that leads me to believe smoke control and compartmentation were either not in place or ineffective.


The question I keep asking myself is, “What will it take to mandate sprinklers in all existing high-rise buildings?” Cities have done it, or at least come close. In Philadelphia, it took the deaths of three fire fighters at the One Meridian Plaza fire in 1991. Following that fire, the city mandated the installation of automatic sprinklers in all nonresidential buildings 75-feet or taller. As I peruse the Internet for examples of high-rise sprinkler retrofit requirements, I see numerous exemptions for residential occupancies, thus omitting protection where it’s needed most. Yes, it’s disruptive to people’s lives to mandate a sprinkler retrofit in existing apartments and condos. Yes, there is a cost associated with it. Is it necessary? Unless the risks to occupants and emergency responders demonstrated by the fire this week in Pittsburgh are acceptable, I would argue yes, it’s necessary.


Interestingly, NFPA 101’s companion code, NFPA 1, Fire Code, came to this conclusion years ago. NFPA 1 mandates the installation of automatic sprinklers in ALL high-rise buildings within 12 years of its adoption. Is there a disconnect here? Maybe. The scope of NFPA 1 is broader than that of NFPA 101; it includes fire fighter safety and property protection. The scope of NFPA 101 is limited to occupant life safety. I know what I think, but as I often say, I can’t change the Code because I’m an NFPA staff member; only you can. If you believe the provisions of NFPA 101 are inadequate, it’s incumbent on you to participate in the process, which is easy to do. NFPA’s online public input system allows anyone to submit proposals for revisions, which you’ll be able to do shortly after the publication of the 2018 edition of NFPA 101 later this year.


Thanks for reading, and as always, until next time, stay safe.


Got an idea for a topic for a future #101Wednesdays? Post it in the comments below – I’d love to hear your suggestions!


Did you know NFPA 101 is available to review online for free? Head over to and click on “Free access to the 2015 edition of NFPA 101.”


Follow me on Twitter: @NFPAGregH



Smart firefighting technology is increasingly used today by the fire service to assess risks before, during, and after incidents. Data captured from smart technology is helping to make firefighting safer and more efficient than ever before.


Emerging technologies including cyber-physical systems (CPS) and situational awareness tools allow for the collection of information and the transmission of relevant information in a timely manner. This timely exchange improves the safety and functionality of every firefighter. Advances in sensor performance and enhanced firefighting equipment also prompt important questions about how to effectively use the data that is generated by smart technology.


Smart firefighting technology can be effectively employed during wildfires. Wildfire scenarios present a number of unique challenges, and opportunities for positive change. Often characterized by their unpredictable nature, wildfires require the fire service to contend with limited resources, rapidly evolving weather patterns, and fast-moving hazards. Response crews deal with poor visibility, exposure to the elements, high victim accountability, aerial suppression, and incomplete or inaccurate triage reports from across a wide swath of land.


Emerging technologies and sensors such as physiological monitoring and unmanned aerial systems can help with poor visibility, high risk areas, jurisdictional reporting, situational awareness, and incident assessment. Information about the environment can be provided to firefighters and incident commanders, offer real-time situational updates , and deliver reliable predictions of future fire spread.


FireSat is a NASA satellite-technology that uses infrared sensors to identify wildfires that have grown to more than 35-50 feet wide. Within 15 minutes of a wildfire starting, FireSat detects the fire, this is an incredible technological advantage in a field where timing is crucial to preventing damage. Past iterations have captured and transmitted fire images a few times a day, but new technology from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab will take images every minute.


In the long run, the data gleaned from smart technology like FireSat will also allow the fire service and forestry organizations to mitigate, predict and respond to wildfires. Using smart technology during a wildfire scenario and utilizing the data captured from emerging technologies will go a long way in preventing loss of life and property, and keeping our first responders safer.


Comments or questions about smart firefighting and wildfires? Sign up for the FireTech: Emergency Response Innovation and Technology community and be part of the discussion.

70E, worker safety

May is Electrical Safety Month and throughout the month, NFPA and ESFI have been raising awareness of potential electrical hazards and the importance of electrical fire safety on the job.

This week, we’re highlighting some important statistics that point to the dangers of electrical work, and offering training opportunities to help employees and employers reduce the risk of injuries on the job, and create a safer electrical workplace. Check out our “70E: Did You Know” interactive demonstration to learn more.

We also wanted to let you know that NFPA has a new newsletter dedicated to all things electrical including NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace and  NFPA 70: National Electrical Code (NEC). When you’re looking for information about safe electrical design, installation and inspection, training, events, worker safety and more, NEC Connect has the answers you’re looking for. Check it out and subscribe today!

NFPA President/CEO Jim Pauley


NFPA President/CEO Jim Pauley, NFPA staff and representatives from the Fire Services Section (FSS) Executive Board are in Glasgow this week at Scottish Fire Symposium 2017. The US-based contingent are providing industry perspective along with their UK counterparts on a myriad of topics including research and development programs; firefighter health and safety; working with trade unions; codes and standards; residential sprinklers; emergency medical response; terrorist events; data; youth engagement; and careers.



NFPA's FSS connects international peers from command level to hands-on firefighters, occupational safety and health experts, training personnel, and code enforcers. Members work to advance the interests of the fire profession; stimulate continuing education; encourage involvement in the code process; foster the development of improved fire suppression equipment, apparatus, and facilities; raise awareness of relevant legislation and regulations; protect cultural diversity; and promote interaction with like-minded organizations.


NFPA's Central Region Director Russ Sanders 

In 2014 NFPA published the “Total Cost of Fire in the United States”, a landmark document that captured all the available information on the economic cost of fire loss and fire protection in this country.  The document is still frequently referenced today as one of the few sources of information on a topic that is increasingly on the agenda of decision makers in our community.  Those decision makers include not only policy makers at the national level, the target of the 2014 report, but also regulators at the state and local level who are increasingly requiring an assessment of cost/benefit for regulation, and local jurisdictions who are making decisions about fire protection resources in their community based on cost.


Recognizing the need, in 2016, the Fire Protection Research Foundation convened a workshop of stakeholders to explore what other tools are available and what are the gaps.  The workshop report called for additional data resources and additional tools to be developed for use at the national policy level, the regulatory arena, and at the local level.


The Foundation has published one such tool, Enveco. which is a tool for fire departments to demonstrate the impact of their intervention on reducing the economic and environmental impact of an warehouse fire event in their community. Another project is underway – an assessment of the impact of home fire sprinkler legislation on the cost of housing.


As a result of the workshop, we are revisiting the 2014 Total Cost of Fire Report.  Working with the State University of Buffalo, we are taking a more comprehensive look at the direct and indirect costs of fire loss.  This information will serve as the basis for additional modeling and tools for the community.  We also hope to do more in-depth work on the cost of firefighter injury and on the environmental impacts of fire, in collaboration with DHS and the Swedish Fire Protection Association, respectively. 


Last week, Amanda Kimball from the Research Foundation attended an international workshop on regulatory reform which focused on this topic; we have also been providing resources to the World Bank as they build the case for resilient (and fire resistant) development.  All this means that we are not alone:  dollars and cents are the new metrics for decision making in fire and life safety around the world.

The following three proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®, NFPA 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations, and NFPA 1906, Standard for Wildland Fire Apparatus, are being published for public review and comment:


  • NFPA 70E, proposed TIA No. 1265, referencing 110.4(A), 130.2(A)(3), 130.6(C)(2), 130.6(F) and 130.6(G) of the proposed 2018 edition 
  • NFPA 921, proposed TIA No. 1269, referencing 3.3.116, 20.1.3, 24.1* and 28.8.2 of the 2017 edition
  • NFPA 1906, proposed TIA No. 1267, referencing 2.3.8, 14.1.1, 14.4, A.14.4, A., A.14.1.1(new), and E.1.2.4 of the 2016 edition


Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the July 13, 2017 comment closing date. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.


In the days leading up to this morning’s announcement from Tesla about aggregating energy storage to form an energy network, the Technical Committee on Energy Storage Systems gathered at NFPA headquarters in Quincy to finish the development of the NFPA 855, Standard on Stationary Energy Storage Systems draft. The draft was completed by the committee and will soon be on its way to the Standards Council for their August meeting.


Battery technology is big these days for consumers, manufacturers, municipalities, businesses and energy providers. Working with Green Mountain Power in Vermont, Tesla will begin linking thousands of batteries to form a power network that delivers value for the energy sector, consumers and businesses. Per today’s announcement, the two organizations will bundle Tesla’s Powerwall home battery and the company’s utility and business energy Powerpack batteries into a shared package. This will make grids operate better and allow Tesla and utilities to tap into customer energy storage systems during high demand periods, in exchange for compensation. Tesla has declared this is just the beginning. They are working with resources around the world to provide reliable power at all times of day and to modernize energy infrastructure.


NFPA and its stakeholders recognize the opportunities and potential fire hazards associated with energy storage systems, which is why the NFPA 855 document has been fast-tracked to get the first edition of the standard out as soon as possible. The purpose of NFPA 855 is to provide the minimum requirements for the fire prevention, fire protection, design, construction, installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of stationary, mobile and temporary energy storage systems. The technical committee is working within a schedule that will enable the document to be issued as early as summer 2018.


NFPA has an array of resources covering the topic of energy storage systems including the nation’s only free online training program for the fire service, NFPA Journal coverage, reports, five videos, and key takeaways from a Research Foundation workshop in conjunction with FDNY.

Many exciting changes are coming to the 2018 edition of NFPA 1, Fire Code, that will address a number of new technical topics as well as revise and expand on existing topics.  Changes such as a completely revised and updated chapter on Energy Storage Systems, new requirements for mobile cooking operations (food trucks) and even a new chapter on marijuana growing, processing and extraction facilities reflect how the Fire Code stays up to date with industry needs and technological developments.


New Chapter 38 will address the growing and processing of marijuana (which includes all forms of cannabis as well as hemp) in both new and existing buildings.  It does not establish provisions for the retail sales of marijuana where growing and processing does not occur. You might be asking, "how did NFPA become involved in developing code requirements for marijuana buildings?" because yes, I have been asked that a bunch of times during this revision cycle.  The background on how this new chapter came about is important to both understanding how codes and standards are developed and is also a prime example of how NFPA is responding to the immediate needs of its stakeholders.


Dude with dark glasses walks through an indoor growing facility surrounded by marijuana plants

Photo from NFPA Journal Sept/Oct 2016 article "Welcome to the Jungle"


In the fall of 2015, a member of the Fire Code Technical Committee was approached by an AHJ about the increase in these types of facilities in their jurisdiction and the need for a model code to provide guidance on how jurisdictions can protect them as well as keep those responding to fires in these facilities safe.  These jurisdictions needed help, and NFPA 1 was a logical place to start.  During the First Draft meeting, the NFPA 1 committee approved a Committee Input which introduced a draft of the new chapter.  Throughout the year leading up to the Second Draft meeting a task group consisting of both committee members as well as industry professionals worked to refine and develop a revised draft of the chapter.  This new Chapter 38 was presented to the fill NFPA 1 Technical Committee at their Second Draft Meeting last October and after additional work during the meeting was accepted as a Second Revision and will be included in the 2018 edition of NFPA 1 when it is approved by the Standards Council later this summer.


Not every jurisdiction is dealing with these facilities.  However, as a country, we are seeing more and more states who are legalizing the use of marijuana either recreationally or medically.  To meet those demands, there are facilities, either built new or fit into an existing structure that have to grow and process the marijuana into the various products used by consumers.  There needed to be a baseline for those responsible for inspecting and enforcement of these facilities.


When developing the provisions for new Chapter 38, the task group was focused on addressing those hazards that are unique to marijuana growing and processing all while relying on existing provisions in the Code that may help contribute to the safety of the facility.  For example, it was not the goal of the task group to rewrite egress provisions when NFPA 101 adequately addresses egress and is contained in Chapter 14 of NFPA 1, or to copy electrical requirements as those are already addressed by Chapter 11 and NFPA 70.  The chapter is organized to address general provisions, provisions specific to growing and production, and those requirements specific to extraction processes.  The extraction section is then split up by general provisions and then requirements specific to the extraction solvent, as follows:

  • 38.1 Application
  • 38.2 Permits
  • 38.3 Fire Protection Systems
  • 38.4 Means of Egress
  • 38.5 Growing or Production of Marijuana (including ventilation, fumigation, and pesticide application)
  • 38.6 Processing or Extraction
    • General (extraction room, staffing, operator training, signage, equipment, approval for equipment with no listing, equipment field verifications)
    • LP Gas Extraction
    • Flammable and Combustible Liquids Extraction
    • CO2 extraction
    • Transfilling


Those interested can view the current draft of NFPA 1 and view new Chapter 38 in its entirely.  It is hopeful that the provisions introduced in this Chapter will help those jurisdictions faced with enforcing, inspecting and responding to incidents at marijuana processing and extraction facilities.  NFPA is also offering additional resources for our stakeholders including educational sessions at this years NFPA Conference, journal articles, photos, and links to existing regulations used in some jurisdictions that also contributed to the development of NFPA 1 requirements.  Check them out today!


Thanks for reading, Happy Friday!


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

Check back here today at 1:15p Eastern to watch the live stream:



I’m excited to participate in the NFPA Rural Fire and Life Safety Symposium later this week. I will be presenting on how data solutions can alleviate many of the challenges fire departments face and how the NFPA Data and Analytics team is working to help the fire service leverage data and create tools for fire departments to better use their own data.  We will discuss a new national fire data system for the US to improve the quality and usability of fire department data across the country.  This presentation will specifically focus upon how NFPA’s investment in Data & Analytics is creating cutting edge big data tools for small departments.    


Join me of Friday, May 12 at the Rural Firefighters Connection on Xchange from 1:15 – 2:15 Eastern time.  Stick around after the presentation.  I will be taking questions from viewers at home!

Request for Proposals for Project Contractor has been issued for a new project on Smoke Detector Spacing for High Ceiling Spaces. Proposals should be submitted by May 24, 5:00 pm EDT.


For more details on submitting proposals, please see the Research Project Guidelines for Contractors on the Foundation website.

electrical safetyele


May is Electrical Safety Month and throughout the month, NFPA and ESFI have been raising awareness of potential electrical hazards and the importance of electrical fire safety on the job. We’re dedicated to providing valuable, life-saving information to help employees make safe choices and tips for creating a safer work environment.

To that end, NFPA’s senior electrical engineer, Chris Coache, has created a blog series devoted to NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. The series covers a wide range of topics from the role of the contract employer to PPE, energized work permits and justified energized electrical work, and everything in between. If you’ve always wanted to better understand NFPA 70E, this series is for you.

Read the whole series or choose the topics most relevant to you and your job. You can find the series on NFPA’s Xchange platform.

For additional information and resources, check out ESFI’s workplace safety pages on their website, and stay tuned for more electrical worker safety-related topics coming this month.

One hundred and twenty-five people died as a result of a fire originating in nitrocellulose X-ray films in one of the buildings of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio on May 15, 1929.


Where the fire started

Pictured here: Location where the fire started. Electric light bulb and steam pipes present.


The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, established at the end of World War I, included a hospital, laboratory, and a clinic. The clinic building, well separated from the rest of the foundation's buildings, was used for examining, diagnosing, and treating patients. There were no bed patients in the clinic, so most people in the building at the time of the fire were adults able to walk. A fire and two explosions broke out around 11:30 a.m., during the clinic's busiest time of day, when about 225-250 patients and employees were inside. Three tons of X-ray films in the basement decomposed and ignited, spreading toxic fumes throughout the building.


A steam pipe leak had been reported earlier that day in the film storage room. A workman sent to repair the leak shut off the steam supply upon seeing the room filled with steam, and about 20 minutes later, he "heard a 'sputtering hiss' and saw a cloud of yellow smoke 4 or 5 feet in diameter at the ceiling of the film room." He had sprayed most of a fire extinguisher into the discolored smoke when there was an explosion. He was able to make his way to a window as a second explosion blew him outside through the window. The explosions "forced these fumes at considerable pressure into the pipe tunnel and up the pipe ducts," causing the fumes to permeate nearly every room in the building.


Though "safety" film was available at the time, and it had "no more hazard than paper or cardboard," the Cleveland Clinic still used nitrocellulose film, known to be extremely flammable and produce toxic fumes when burning. Nitrocellulose film becomes chemically unstable and begins to decompose and ignite when exposed to elevated temperatures. Investigations determined three probable reasons why film decomposition was ignited at the Cleveland Clinic: 1) a light bulb hanging just above a shelf used for film storage came in contact with the film; 2) steam escaping from a pipe that passed close to the storage shelves caused the film to get hot enough to ignite; or 3) a discarded match or cigarette came in contact with the film.


But whatever the cause of ignition, the carbon monoxide and nitrogen peroxide fumes from the burning X-ray films killed about half the people inside the clinic. Most were caught unaware and died almost instantly, while others collapsed on their way to a door or stairway. Some were able to escape only to succumb to the poisonous fumes in their lungs in the subsequent hours or days. In all, 125 people died as a result of the fire, though none of the deaths or injuries were from burns.



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.

NFPA is planning a Fire Data Vendor Summit for June 21st, 2017 at NFPA Headquarters in Quincy Mass. If your company works with, sells software to, or otherwise helps fire departments collect, manage, analyze or share data we'd love to have you join us. See the attached open invitation for more information. Please be sure to RSVP so we can be sure to accommodate everyone. See the attached open invitation and FAQs for more information. 

NFPA is soliciting proposals for an established and experienced firm to develop a flexible, scalable, system-agnostic, proof-of-concept data infrastructure and software to ingest, process, store and share fire service activity data from fire departments and other fire service entities.  All proposals are due by June 9th 2017 at 5pm Eastern.  There will be an optional pre-bid conference call on May 24th at 3pm Eastern.  Any additional questions or requests for clarification should be submitted in writing to by May 26th at 5pm Eastern. 

The full RfP document is available for review, click here to download.

More information about the NFDS project is available, click here.



Last week was the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) New England Chapter monthly dinner meeting, and the topic of discussion was energy storage systems (ESS). At the meeting, Lieutenant Paul Rogers from the Fire Department of New York gave a presentation on ESS from the emergency response perspective.


The event was well-attended, and the audience was very engaged. The attendees were a diverse group of people from a variety of professional backgrounds, including authority having jurisdictions (AHJs), fire marshals, engineers and designers, equipment manufacturers, and researchers.


Lt. Rogers’s presentation focused on the fundamentals of ESS, and covered some of the specific considerations emergency responders must give when dealing with ESS. He also gave several examples of installations and proposals for consideration in New York, an overview of fire hazard research, and talked about stranded energy, a characteristic unique to ESS. 


The emerging issue was also covered during NFPA president Jim Pauley’s keynote speech at the Fire Australia conference last week. Later that day, NFPA’s vice president of engineering Chris Dubay presented an educational session on lithium-ion battery storage and associated fire safety dangers. Electric vehicles and energy storage systems were the focus of the presentation, with Dubay providing perspective on codes and standards, NFPA emergency responder training, research, and the knowledge gaps that have been identified for these topics.

Sign up for the Webinar on Factors Relating to Cancer and Contamination in the U.S. Fire Service

Many U.S. fire departments are struggling to provide firefighters with the PPE and SCBA needed to keep them safe from contaminant exposure. That’s according to NFPA’s Fourth Needs Assessment survey, which was sent to every fire department in the U.S.

Findings from the 2015 survey show that:

  • 13% of U.S. fire departments do not have enough PPE for each emergency responder
  • 72% of U.S. fire departments have some PPE that is more than 10 years old
  • 53% of firefighters are not equipped with SCBA
  • 69% of firefighters use SCBA that’s at least 10 years old


The survey also shows that many fire departments aren’t inspecting, testing or cleaning contaminated PPE on a regular basis:

  • More than half (57%) of all U.S. fire departments do not inspect or test their PPE yearly.
  • Almost half (46%) of departments do not have laundering or external services to clean the contaminated PPE.


To learn more about the findings from this survey, sign up for “Factors Relating to Cancer and Contamination in the U.S. Fire Service,” NFPA’s upcoming, free webinar on Tuesday, May 23, at 12:00 p.m.

Hylton Haynes, NFPA’s senior research analyst, will lead the discussion with an overview of the Needs Assessment survey findings on PPE and SCBA. He’ll be joined by Casey Grant, executive director of the Fire Protection Research Foundation, who will provide an overview of the latest research efforts to better understand and address contaminant exposure among firefighters; Chris Farrell, an NFPA emergency service specialist, will cover issues related to the upcoming edition of NFPA 1582, Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments.


Register now!

May is Electrical Safety Month and throughout the month, NFPA and ESFI have been raising awareness of potential home electrical hazards and the importance of electrical fire safety. This week we want to share one of NFPA's most popular videos, “A Shocking Revelation,” that features our beloved character, Dan Doofus. Follow along as Dan learns from his mistakes and forges a new path for safer electrical practices in his home, and invites you to do the same!


Learn more about electrical fire safety  on NFPA’s campaign webpage and at, and stay tuned for more great resources throughout the month.



The latest issue of NFPA Journal®, the official magazine for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), previews the 2017 Conference & Expo with stories covering a number of issues that will be addressed at this year’s conference in Boston.


The 160-page issue includes feature stories on firefighter cancer, flammable refrigerants, virtual inspections, hot work, and more. In addition to the lineup of departments and columns, the issue also includes 30 pages of listings covering the products and services that will be on display at the Expo, which runs June 4–6.


In Facing Cancer, the issue’s lead feature, NFPA Journal looks at cancer in the fire service and details how the Boston Fire Department has become a national leader in taking steps to prevent cancer in firefighters. The story is part of a preview of a first responder health forum that will be held as part of this year’s Conference & Expo.


Also featured in this issue:

  • Structural SurvivalJournal previews a pair of conference education sessions that will present ways to better protect homes and buildings against the threat of wildfire.
  • Hot Work, Safe Work – A look at the key findings from U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Board investigations into hot work incidents around the country.
  • Freezer Burn – A feature detailing possible changes to codes that could result in the widespread use of flammable refrigerants.
  • In Compliance – The popular section on code compliance leads off with an NFPA 13 article on the challenge of designing fire protection systems for museums, art galleries, and other high-value cultural occupancies.
  • Outreach – The column on outreach and advocacy focuses on a fatal residential fire in Connecticut as another reminder of why states must embrace home fire sprinklers.
  • Dispatches – The magazine’s beefed-up front section includes stories on continued research into the historic Cocoanut Grove fire, big-data research that’s being applied to cities, international fire news, and more.


To read NFPA Journal on the go, download the mobile apps available through the Apple App Store and Google Play.

NFPA's Senior Fire Investigator and New England Regional Director, Bob Duval provides code and arson perspective in a new podcast, produced by Lohud, a news division serving Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties in the Lower Hudson Valley region of New York. The media platform is part of the USA Today Network and is owned by the Gannett Company, Inc.


Duval spoke with Lohud's Crime Scene host Jordan Fenster about fire codes, and the history of standards being established after traumatic loss in a podcast called, "The Tragic History of Fire Codes". He touches on the difficulty that investigators have piecing together clues from the rubble; and how large loss fires in schools, hotels and factories have influenced some of the most important building and life safety codes of today. Duval takes the listener on a historic fire journey that led to the adoption of codes related to sprinklers, smoke alarms, exits, and fire escapes.


During the quick and engaging exchange, Duval explains that arson makes up a small percentage of fires but typically attracts media attention because it involves a crime and is more compelling. One such case was the 1980 Stouffer's Inn Conference Center fire in Harrison, New York that killed 26. Listen and learn more about the twists and turns of this case that prompted the adoption of a statewide building and fire code in New York.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month; and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is doing their part to spread the word about the behavioral issues associated with the post traumatic shock disorder (PTSD) that firefighters often experience.


Behavioral health is a hot topic in the fire service today, and rightly so. Firefighters are perceived as big, burly, fearless warriors; but lately we are learning more about the hopelessness, shame, guilt or destructive thoughts that haunt many first responders. Stress, depression, anxiety and exhaustion are some of the risk factors the NVFC wants fire personnel to pay attention to, and address.


NVFC's Share the Load™ program highlights suicide, job burnout and recurrent issues in an effort to raise awareness and reduce mental health issues among firefighters. Additionally, news stories like this one from Minnesota spotlight psychological issues within the fire service so that the general public is aware of first responder trauma. Training within the industry, the community and the healthcare realm will go a long way in supporting firefighters, EMTs and paramedics. NVFC’s Share the Load™ program provides access to a helpline, newsletters, ads, reports, online courses, and resources.


NFPA 1500, Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program calls for access to a behavioral health program that provides assessment, counseling and treatment for stress, anxiety, and depression. The goal of behavioral health programs is to change the culture of the fire service, help people to identify the warning signs, eliminate any stigma associated with mental health issues and asking for help, and provide assistance with retirement planning.

For many, the month of May signals the home stretch of the school year.  However, this shouldn't be a time to overlook required safety practices in the event an emergency should occur.  Just this past Wednesday, a fire destroyed the Appleseed Academy school in Mesquite, Texas.  A cause of the fire has not been determined but it is being reported that the building is a total loss.  Fortunately, the building's fire alarm system notified the occupants and everyone was able to evacuate the building with no injuries.  The school's director did confirm that students and staff participate in drills monthly, and are capable of evacuating the building in about two minutes.

Image result for fire drill


Emergency egress and relocation drills are required as mandated specifically by a particular occupancy in Chapter 20 of NFPA 1, Fire Code or in Chapters 11 through 42 of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, or as deemed necessary by the local AHJ.  Requirements for drills are extracted from NFPA 101 but are located in Chapter 10 in NFPA 1 under General Safety Requirements.  Fire inspectors play an important role in regulating and managing drills in facilities throughout their jurisdiction, especially in schools.  Drills should always be designed and conducted in cooperation with the local authorities as the procedure and details of drills will vary jurisdiction by jurisdiction.  Factors such as occupant demographics and location may all impact the details of the drill. 


The purpose of emergency egress and relocation drills is to educate the participants in the fire safety features of the building, the egress facilities available, and the procedures to be followed. Speed in emptying buildings or relocating occupants, while desirable, is not the only objective. Prior to an evaluation of the performance of an emergency egress and relocation drill, an opportunity for instruction and practice should be provided. This educational opportunity should be presented in a nonthreatening manner, with consideration given to the prior knowledge, age, and ability of audience.


Additionally, NFPA 1 also contains the following provisions for drills:

  • Frequency: Drills are to be held at sufficient frequency so as to familiarize occupants with the drill procedure and to establish conduct of the drill as a matter of routine.  Means should be provided so that all persons subject to the drill are able to participate.
  • Orderly and organized:  Emphasis should be placed on drills being orderly rather than focusing on the speed of the evacuation.  When occupants are not organized and not aware of their responsibilities during the evacuation, drills can become inefficient and cluttered.  This only leads to evacuation taking more time.  Focusing on orderly evacuation will benefit all occupants by allowing a faster and more efficient evacuation to occur.
  • Simulated conditions: Drills must be held at both expected and unexpected times and under varying conditions.  As fire is always unexpected, if the drill is always held in the same way at the same time, it will lose its value and effectiveness.
  • Relocation Area: Drill participants must relocated to a predetermined location and remain at the location until a recall or dismissal signal is given.
  • Documentation: A written record of each drill is to be completed by the person responsible for conducting the drill and maintained in an approved manner. Included in the documentation should be information such as date, time, participants, location and results of the drill.


Both new and existing educational occupancies, such as those facilities like the Appleseed Academy elementary school, mandate the conduct of emergency egress drills via Section in the Code.  They are required to comply with the provisions noted above from Section 10.5 as well as additional details from Section  Other occupancies may also supplement additional provisions for drills in their facilities in addition to whats required by 10.5. Drills in educational occupancies are required at the following frequency:

  • Not less than one drill every month the school is in session (there are exemptions recognizing climates where weather is severe)
  • One additional drill (other than schools open on a year round basis) is required within the first 30 days of operation


Fortunately, all students and staff at the Appleseed school were safe, in part thanks to the effective and diligent conduct of drills.  Provisions from NFPA 1 and NFPA 101 can help ensure occupants well prepared for drills are also well prepared for emergencies. 


Thanks for reading, Happy Friday!

70E, worker safety

May is National Electrical Safety Month and throughout the coming weeks, NFPA and its partner, ESFI, will be sharing information and resources with industry professionals dedicated to creating safer working environments for their employees.This week we're taking a look at the roles of host and contract employers.

According to Derek Vigstol, NFPA’s technical lead for Electrical Tech Services, a common industry misconception is that the contract employer is the only one liable for their workers’ safety. With the next edition of NFPA 70E:  Electrical Safety in the Workplace about to complete the revision process, Derek points out that it’s important both contract and host employers understand they have a role when it comes to worker safety.

In the March/April 2017 issue of NFPA Journal, Derek dives into this very subject in his article, Host Employer & Contract Employer: Understanding Roles in Electrical Safety.

Read the article, then tell us what you think. As a host or contract employer, how do you see your role? What kinds of solutions have you developed to increase safety where you work? We’d like to hear from you.

WOW! The complaints from the field are overwhelming. The equipment that was purchased is wrong. An employee was injured. The equipment was substandard. How can NFPA 70E® allow such things? What is the subject of this discussion? Compliant PPE. NFPA 70E has a requirement that the employer provide the employee with appropriate PPE. How do you know what is appropriate? Appropriate is not only concerned with the claimed equipment rating but that the PPE has the ability to perform as needed to protect the employee. You are likely aware of PPE that is not only labeled incorrectly but also labeled as conforming to a standard when in fact the PPE does not conform. There are many pieces of PPE available that are counterfeit. How do you verify that the PPE really has been tested and conforms to the applicable standard? Even when something appears to be labeled correctly how do you know it is valid or that the standard stated is the correct one?


Past NFPA 70E editions had a requirement that the PPE conform to specific listed standards. The 2018 edition will still require that PPE conform to appropriate standards but will provide reference to several standards in informational form. Manufacturers of PPE have not been required by any NFPA 70E edition to evaluate their equipment to a standard. This means that YOUR ROLE IN SPECIFYING PPE HAS NOT CHANGED IN ANY WAY. Whether you realized it or not NFPA 70E has required that YOU verify conformance without telling you how to do it. YOU are still responsible for doing what you have done for several years. YOU are still the one who must make sure the appropriate standards for the specific PPE have been followed and that the PPE has been proven to meet the requirements.  YOU are still the one responsible for providing PPE that will prevent the death of your employee when an incident occurs. YOU are still the one who must approve the PPE before you distribute it to your employees. 


How do you do to determine that the PPE that you purchased complies with specific standards before being given to your employee as their last line of defense for limiting the severity of an injury. Are you even aware that there are standards addressing this? Did you purchase those standards to learn what they covered? Do you compare the PPE that you purchased to the standard to determine that it actually conforms? Do you just accept whatever the label states? Do you ask the manufacturer for something regarding compliance to any standard? Do you accept whatever the manufacturer sends without question? Do you know what is covered by the standard that the manufacturer claims compliance to? Do you conduct your own tests? This list could go on and on. But the point is regardless of what edition of NFPA 70E you use, YOU were and still are the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) when it comes to approving PPE for your employees. YOU are the one who must decide what the appropriate PPE to purchase is and verify that the appropriate standard was used for the evaluation of that PPE. You do not have to accept anything that does not seem correct. No standard or code forces you to approve any specific piece of equipment even if it is listed by a third party.


Who verifies that PPE conforms to a standard? Does a claim equate to conformance? What does it all mean? In the past, NFPA 70E did not provide you with guidance on things to ask for. So what do YOU do now? The manufacturer may have provided a label on the PPE. They may have sent a letter stating that the PPE conforms to a standard. The manufacturer probably did not provide anything unless you specifically asked for it. Have YOU ever asked? The 2018 edition will require that the PPE manufacturer be able to provide you with one of three forms to address PPE conformity. YOU must ask for it. If a document is supplied, YOU must verify the truth behind that claim. Whatever method you use to verify the compliance, YOU are responsible for approving the PPE. This has been YOUR ROLE since PPE was first addressed in NFPA 70E. Regardless of the method you use for approving the purchase of PPE, the goal is to provide protection for the employee who is put a risk of injury when authorized to perform energized work. Your employee will trust that YOU have done all of this for them.


For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on Xchange.


Next time: Do you mind getting a really bad sunburn.

 Jim Pauley and Scott Williams, FPA Australia


NFPA President Jim Pauley shared international fire protection standards and research insight with more than 1,500 firefighters, engineers, fire safety engineers, architects, facility managers, and building and fire protection professionals at the Fire Australia 17 Conference & Tradeshow in Sydney this week.


His keynote touched on the historical challenges that have shaped the fire service; and the role that codes and standards play in keeping citizens, first responders and property safe from the burden of fire and related hazards. He pointed out that NFPA’s first code, NFPA 13, the Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, was established in 1896 and sprinklers continue to be a key issue for NFPA today. NFPA has pledged support to Australia as they too advocate for the increased use of sprinklers.


During his remarks, Pauley challenged the audience to consider new ways of tackling the fire problem by capturing and using data for improved decision-making; and by working with global stakeholders to share resources and best practices. He spoke about demographic changes, emphasizing that the number of people in Australia over age 65 will soon reach twenty-five percent of the total population - compared to thirteen percent just a few years ago. As populations get older, there will be more risk of fire death.


Pauley also highlighted climate change and the dramatic increase in wildfires – or bushfires as Australians call them. Wildfire seasons are getting longer, the intensity of fires are increasing, and the losses are staggering. He referenced the Climate Institute’s total economic cost of natural disasters in Australia, including bushfires, being six billion dollars in 2012. Those numbers are expected to double by 2030 and rise to an average of twenty-three billion Australian dollars per year by 2050.


Emerging issues were also covered during Pauley’s keynote. This topic was covered in greater detail later in the day by NFPA’s Chris Dubay. The vice president of engineering presented an educational session on lithium-ion battery storage and associated fire safety dangers. Electric vehicles and energy storage systems were the focus of the presentation with Dubay providing perspective on codes and standards, NFPA emergency responder training, research, and the knowledge gaps that have been identified for these topics.


NFPA has worked closely with Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) since its debut in 1997. FPA Australia sends a contingent to NFPA’s Conference & Expo (C&E) annually.

International Firefighters’ Day (IFFD) is observed on May 4th, and is a time where the world’s community can recognize and honor the sacrifices that firefighters make to ensure that their communities and environment are as safe as possible. It is also a day in which current and past firefighters can be thanked for their contributions.


IFFD was instituted after a proposal was emailed out across the world on January 4, 1999 due to the deaths of five firefighters in tragic circumstances in a wildfire at Linton in Victoria, Australia. It is a day for emergency services to run events such as: memorial services; fetes, open days and fundraisers for relevant campaigns; long service and other presentations; or a media campaign to focus attention on the role, activities and key messages of firefighters and fire organizations. In turn, communities can:

  • show support for all firefighters worldwide
  • recognize their level of commitment and dedication
  • remember those lost or injured in the line of duty
  • say “Thank you”


THANK YOU from all of us at NFPA to all firefighters around the world today (and everyday!)

May 3, 1922 - US Treasury Building Fire

Damage caused by an oil burner used for heating roofing cement on the U.S. Treasury building roof; May 3, 1922.


In 1922, the U.S. Treasury Building roof suffered a series of fires caused by heating apparatus that were used by contractors for roofing cement and pitch. A fire early in February caused considerable damage to temporary structures on the roof and greatly inconvenienced the Drafting Division of the Supervising Architect. After repairs and placing what was thought to be more than sufficient protection for the wood floor of the gallery, the equipment was again put to use.


From the NFPA Quarterly v.16, No.3, 1923:


"At 1:45 A.M. on the morning of May 3 fire was found burning under the platform and in the printing gallery. Both were a total loss. This second fire did damage to the extent of $6000 and incidental inconvenience and loss amounting to more than the money value of the damage. 


The burner used for heating the slater's cement was thought by the Fire Marshal to have caused the fire and at the request of the committee appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury to determine the cause of the fire the Bureau of Standards made an investigation of heat transmission through such protection as had been used on the floor."



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.

NFPA has been working with international stakeholders for decades. Try as we might, long distances can often preclude NFPA staff from traveling to countries that are looking to learn more about codes, training, and best practices. Technology, however, is doing an impressive job of bridging the divide and providing a platform where our global counterparts can find relevant information and engage with peers.


NFPA has enjoyed a strong reputation for bringing people to the table since its inception in 1896. It is the foundation of our organization. A prime example of our ability to foster conversation, share resources and proactively address issues is NFPA’s newest platform, Xchange. The online community launched midway through 2015, and currently connects over 30,000 users worldwide with like-minded professionals and NFPA subject matter experts. Global traffic now makes up 35% of Xchange visits; increasing in the last year by 373% with the greatest interest stemming from Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and Africa. Community members hail from 133 countries and conducted 93,000 sessions in the past year. Conversely, domestic Xchange engagement increased by 23 times, year-over-year. And while the majority of users are based in the United States, we have seen a huge bump in visitors from China in the past year. They now own the #2 spot (displacing Canada and India).


One corner of the globe that has been particularly engaged with NFPA has been Latin and South America. Currently, 18 countries in Latin America have adopted, in some way, codes and standards including NFPA 1, NFPA 70 and NFPA 101. Dozens more use NFPA standards, research and educational offerings to influence fire and life safety protocol.


Under the direction of international senior project manager Gabriela Mazal, NFPA upgraded platforms over the past year to enhance engagement with Latin American first responders, AHJs, building professionals, businesses and government officials. In March, NFPA introduced an adaptable digital edition of NFPA Journal Latinoamericano® (JLA), the bi-monthly publication for Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries or for those that prefer to read content in Spanish or Portuguese. Launched in 1998, JLA features high-quality news, information and code-focused stories from the award-winning NFPA Journal®, as well as articles written by respected Latin American thought leaders. The new JLA design offers readers a faster, more dynamic experience via a wide range of devices and screen sizes. JLA’s website and Facebook pages have seen an uptick in popularity too. Between 2010 and 2015, traffic to averaged 10-12,000 visits per month; last month traffic swelled to more than 31,000 with help from a digital marketing campaign and new search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. The JLA Facebook page also improved from 5,675 followers a year ago to nearly 30,000 today.

As NFPA continues to extend its reach globally, online resources and digital assets are proving to be key avenues for international stakeholders to learn, share, and discuss fire and life safety issues.

When most people think of crowd managers, they probably think of large assembly venues, such as stadiums (or stadia, if you prefer), arenas, exhibition halls, theaters, and so forth. However, since the 2006 edition (following the Station Nightclub fire), NFPA 101 has required at least one trained crowd manager in ALL assembly occupancies. (The occupant load threshold was previously 1000.) I believe this requirement is largely overlooked, because when I mention it in NFPA’s Life Safety Code Essentials seminar, I usually get the deer-in-the-headlights look from the class. As a reminder, here’s the Code’s definition of assembly occupancy:


An occupancy (1) used for a gathering of 50 or more persons for deliberation, worship, entertainment, eating, drinking, amusement, awaiting transportation, or similar uses; or (2) used as a special amusement building, regardless of occupant load.


Restaurant with seating for 50 or more? Needs a crowd manager. Office building or hospital with a cafeteria or meeting/conference space for 50 or more? Needs a crowd manager. University lecture hall with 50 or more seats? Needs a crowd manager. Fast-food restaurant with a children’s play structure that meets the definition of special amusement building regardless of occupant load? Needs a crowd manager. (I think you get the point.) Where the occupant load exceeds 250, additional crowd managers are required at a ratio of one crowd manager for every 250 occupants.


What about a church with seating for 50 or more? The Code exempts assembly occupancies used exclusively for religious worship from the crowd manager requirements unless the occupant load exceeds 500 because, well, I don’t really know why. (I don’t write the Code, folks. As an NFPA staff member, I’m one of about 300 people in the world who can’t submit proposed revisions.) I suppose the justification was the nature of the occupancy and associated life safety risk doesn’t justify requiring crowd managers. You can judge for yourself.


The Code spells out in Chapters 12 and 13 the duties and responsibilities of crowd managers. Training is also required. Several years ago, NFPA worked with the International Association of Venue Managers on the development of an online trained crowd manager program. You can check it out at Other organizations provide training as well. Check with your AHJ to determine what is acceptable to them. There’s a lot to it, as described in Annex A of the Code:


A. Crowd managers and crowd manager supervisors need to clearly understand the required duties and responsibilities specific to the venue’s emergency plan. The crowd management training program should include a clear appreciation of crowd dynamics factors including space, energy, time, and information, as well as specific crowd management techniques, such as metering. Training should involve specific actions necessary during normal and emergency operations, and include an assessment of people-handling capabilities of a space prior to its use, the identification of hazards, an evaluation of projected levels of occupancy, the adequacy of means of ingress and egress and identification of ingress and egress barriers, the processing procedures such as ticket collection, and the expected types of human behavior. Training should also involve the different types of emergency evacuations and, where required by the emergency plan, relocation and shelter-in-place operations, and the challenges associated with each.


The crowd manager does not have to be a dedicated position. For example, in a movie theater, perhaps the ticket-takers and ushers receive crowd manager training and perform the necessary duties during an emergency. Or maybe it’s the security personnel at a baseball stadium. Or perhaps it’s the building services staff at an office building. The Code doesn’t specify who fills the role, as long as the required number of crowd managers are present when the assembly venue is occupied and they have received training acceptable to the AHJ.


If you’re responsible for life safety in any occupancy meeting these criteria, you need to be thinking about your crowd management strategy. Maybe your jurisdiction doesn’t adopt the Life Safety Code. But it really doesn’t matter, because if you don’t have trained crowd managers and something happens, and someone gets hurt, you can bet an attorney will wave a copy of the Life Safety Code, which is a nationally recognized, consensus-based standard, in front of a jury to show that you’re liable. Evaluate your potential exposure, and maybe save a few lives by implementing the Code’s crowd manager provisions.


Thanks for reading. Until next time, stay safe!


Got an idea for a topic for a future #101Wednesdays? Post it in the comments below – I’d love to hear your suggestions!


Did you know NFPA 101 is available to review online for free? Head over to and click on “Free access to the 2015 edition of NFPA 101.”


Follow me on Twitter: @NFPAGregH

Happy National Electrical Safety Month!Burnt outlet

Now that Spring has begun, we can say hello to warmer days, and goodbye to the cold, snowy weather and to the peak period of electrical home fires. NFPA's new Electrical Fires report states that November through January is the peak period for home fires involving electrical failures or malfunctions accounting for 39% of home electrical fires, 40% of deaths, 37% of injuries, and 40% direct property damage from these fires. Home electrical fires also represent 13% of total home fires and 17% of associated civilian deaths. 


Did you know?

50% of deaths associated with electrical fires involving heating, ventilation, and air conditioning were due to fixed or portable space heaters.


Click on the link above to download this report, which includes information on:

  • Item first ignited
  • Type of electrical failure or malfunction
  • Total fires vs. total factors
  • And more!


Let's all remember to think about the dangers of these fires and stay safe by reading our Electrical Fires Safety Tip Sheet and you can learn more about National Electrical Safety Month and what is to come here!

As Electrical Safety Foundation International's (ESFI) National Electrical Safety Month kicks off this first week of May, NFPA is pleased to introduce Brett Brenner, the president of ESFI, as our guest blogger this month. NFPA is an active supporter of ESFI's campaign. Below is Mr. Brenner's post:



ESFI, electrical, electrical safety, electrical safety month



Advances in technology typically signify positive growth and efficiency. With these changes, we must also avidly incorporate changes in our safety regulations.

May is National Electrical Safety Month, and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) continues its annual campaign to inform the public on how to reduce electrical fires and other hazards at home and in the workplace. With this year’s campaign highlighting the importance of adopting the new 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC).

Has your state adopted the new code? ESFI’s "Decoding the NEC to Prevent Shock and Electrocution” edition of Electrical Safety Illustrated provides consumers with a number of industry standard safety upgrades and guidelines to remain on par with the national code, even if your state regulations are several years behind.

In 2015, 134 electrical fatalities occurred, with 60% of those occurring in the Construction industry. ESFI’s Workplace Fatalities and Injuries shows that electrical fatalities have decreased each year since 2003. At work or at home, OSHA and NEC requirements exist to continue reducing the number of these incidents.

Outside, docks and boats can carry sources of electricity as well. A lesser-known hazard, “Electric Shock Drowning” unveils the invisible danger of electrified water in or near marinas. The 2017 National Electrical Code now requires marinas and boatyards to have ground-fault protection to help prevent water electrification.

The NEC has required AFCI protected outlets since 2014. ESFI’s infographic “Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs): Prevent Electrical Fires” explains the importance of these life-saving devices. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that more than 50% of electrical fires that occur every year can be prevented by AFCIs.

This year during National Electrical Safety Month, take the time to inspect your home and work environment for any potential hazards or areas lacking protection. Contact a qualified electrician to ensure your home or workplace is safe and up to code. ESFI’s National Electrical Safety Month resources can help keep yourself, your family, and your coworkers safe. Visit to learn more.

Dallas News photo


A Dallas Fire-Rescue paramedic with 11 years of experience was shot today in an Old East Dallas neighborhood while administering treatment to a gunshot victim. The shooter began firing at the victim, injuring the medic and a bystander in the process. The firefighter/paramedic was taken to Baylor University Medical Center in the back of a police car, and is listed in critical condition. The neighbor is reported as stable. 


The shooting took place around 11:30 a.m. News outlets report that the area where the shooting occurred is one of Dallas' most dangerous neighborhoods. In 2009, a nearby community was named one of the FBI's most dangerous neighborhoods. Last July NFPA, and other leading fire services organizations, decried the ambush that killed five Dallas police officers; and shared civil unrest and active shooter resources. The Dallas massacre prompted local fire officials to provide personnel with ballistic vests and helmets to wear in the field. It is not known if the city's firefighters and paramedics are wearing the protective equipment on a regular basis, or if the medic injured today was wearing safety gear at the time of the shooting.


This story is still developing. Law enforcement authorities have saturated the area, searching for the active shooter who was armed with a rifle.

electrical safety month, electrical safety, tip sheet, ESFI, home electrical safety

It goes without saying that electricity makes our lives easier, but there’s also a good chance that many of us are not really aware of the risks involved.

That’s why NFPA actively supports National Electrical Safety Month, an annual campaign sponsored by Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), which works to raise awareness of potential home electrical hazards and the importance of electrical fire safety, including worker safety, during May. This year’s theme is: Decoding the NEC to Prevent Shock and Electrocution. 

In case you aren't aware of what the NEC is, its "technical" term is NFPA 70: National Electrical Code, and its mission is to provide practical safeguards from the hazards that arise from using electricity. It is the most widely adopted safety code in the U.S. and the world, and the NEC serves as the benchmark for safe electrical installations (that's why NFPA strongly urges residents to use a qualified electrician to do all of their home electrical projects). To learn more, check out ESFI's great infographic that describes the NEC! 

Each week this month our organizations will share resources you can use like infographics, videos, tip sheets and more. The resources are easy to access and they cover a wide range of safety topics that include using electricity outdoors, tips for the home, and important information for industry professionals dedicated to creating a safe working environment.

This week we're highlighting our updated electrical safety tip sheet. It's a reference that includes many action steps you can take now to stay safer in your home.

The more we’re all aware of the risks associated with electricity, the faster we can start putting safety practices into place. Let NFPA and ESFI help. Find information on NFPA’s electrical safety webpage and, and let’s continue our work together to raise awareness about electrical hazards in our homes, schools and communities.

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