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2017

It's the Friday before the long 4th of July holiday weekend; the most festive and celebrated weekend of the summer.  I'm sure that thinking about fire safety may not be the first thing on everyone's mind.

 

 

However, the impacts of NFPA 1, Fire Code, are far reaching this holiday.  As a fire code is an all encompassing document for fire safety, NFPA 1 plays a critical role in protecting people and well as providing requirements to enhance emergency responder safety this 4th.

 

The Code provides the necessary guidance to local Authorities Having Jurisdiction to enforce safety during the many festivities occurring this holiday. Planning a backyard BBQ?  Attending a professional fireworks show? Watching a parade?  Attending a public event?  NFPA 1 affects you this holiday and can keep you safe.

 

Many of my past #FireCodefridays blogs have highlighted provisions in the Code related to summer activities.  Check out these past posts for additional information on July 4th related Code provisions such as grilling safety, sky lanterns, display fireworks and more!

 

  • Display Fireworks
    • Provisions for the storage, use, and handling or explosives, fireworks, and model rocketry are located in Chapter 65.  More specifically, Section 65.2 requires the construction, handling, and use of fireworks intended solely for outdoor display as well as the general conduct and operation of the display to be in compliance with the requirements of NFPA 1123, Code for Fireworks Display, 2014 edition.  In addition, permits are required per Section 1.12 of the Code.
  • Memorial Day Weekend (grills, patio heaters, parade floats, outdoor events)
    • Many summer activities kick off on Memorial day weekend.  Requirements for activities and equipment such as grills, patio heaters, parade floats, and other outdoor events are summarized.
  • Sky Lanterns
    • The use of unmanned, free floating sky lanterns and similar devices utilizing an open flame is prohibited by the Code.  The requirements are addressed in Section 10.10.9.3 under the subsection for open flame devices.
  • Mobile Cooking Operations
    • Chapter 50 of the Code provides requirements for the design, installation, operation, inspection, and maintenance of public and private commercial cooking equipment.  A majority of the requirements in Chapter 50 are extracted from NFPA's expert document on this topic, NFPA 96, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations.  New section 50.7 in the 2018 edition of the Code will address provisions for mobile and temporary cooking equipment, such as food truck, that are very commonly found these days at local fairs and festivities.
  • Grills and Hibachis
    • Requirements for the use of grills, hibachi, and similar devices used for cooking and heating are provided to ensure the safety of occupants and protection of property. Provisions can be found in Section 10.10.6 of the Code.

 

Happy Friday and Happy 4th, and thanks for reading.  Stay safe this long weekend!

On Wednesday, June 28th, in Dorchester, MA a fire ripped through the top floor of a building that was under construction to be condos and apartments. This building was still unoccupied, it was set to open in July, and has 83 units, sprinklers were not yet turned on, which did contribute to the fire getting out of control.

 

With recent fires like this one in Dorchester also occurring in Maplewood, NJ, Raleigh, NC as well as in Overland, KS, there is a need to safeguard against fires during construction. Standards like NFPA 241: Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration and Demolition Operations. NFPA 241 is referenced in both NFPA 1: Fire Code and the International Fire Code.

NFPA 241, in particular, ensures that fire safety standards are maintained throughout the construction, demolition or alteration process. It requires building owners and / or facility managers to create a construction fire safety program and even designate a fire prevention manager, who can oversee all fire-prevention efforts during the construction phase.

 

Here are some of the key considerations in NFPA 241:

  • The development of a program that includes on-site security, fire protection systems, organization and training of a fire brigade, and the establishment of a pre-fire plan with the local fire department.
  • The owner / facility manager is required to appoint a person who is responsible for the fire prevention program and ensure that it is carried out to completion. This individual will have knowledge of the applicable fire protection standards, available fire protection systems, and fire inspection procedures. Where guard service is provided, the fire prevention program manager will be responsible for that guard service. The role entails many other responsibilities including weekly self-inspections and records management, adequate provision of fire protection devices and maintenance of such equipment, proper training in the use of fire protection equipment and the supervision of the permit system.

 

While, the building is not a total loss, and there are plans to rebuild as soon as possible, the financial implications and loss could be reduced with the implementation of NFPA 241.

 

Stay tuned for the launch of NFPA’s Online Learning Modules on NFPA 241, coming in September 2017.

I am weary from answering questions about what I consider to be clear and concise requirements. A majority of these types of questions are posed by someone who has never opened NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrically Safety in the Workplace. If you have not read the standard, how can you expect to apply it to protect your employees from injury? Another type of question deals with the selective application of the requirements. Sometimes a sentence of a requirement is used without the benefit of the additional sentences. Occasionally, the question comes down to why someone can’t use a table, illustration, figure, or exhibit in a standard without following the actual requirements within the standard. This lack of understanding of how to properly apply a standard is not limited to NFPA 70E. It is an epidemic. It seems few have time to read a standard before using it. If they can find a table that seems to work, many just use it.

Luckily, a majority of you do everything possible to prevent electrical injuries within your workplace. Thank you for taking on the responsibility. Without your hard work there would be many more electrical injuries. However, there are many others who may think this subject does not apply to them but, based on the questions I have had to answer; it does. First, answer a few simple questions. Did you have equipment labeled HRC 0 using the 2012 edition? Have you ever completed an incident energy analysis by using PPE categories? Have you used the arc-flash PPE category table without first using risk controls? Have you ever used a table without reading the actual words of the requirement in NFPA 70E?

My experience has shown that several of you have truthfully answered yes to several of these questions. Answering that way means one thing; you are more than likely to be putting your employees at risk. Each yes answer means that you have not followed the minimum requirements of NFPA 70E. The one that is really bothersome is using PPE categories for an incident energy analysis. When it is pointed out that the standard specifically prohibits this the next question typically is; where does it say that? After pointing them to specific places as well as others that address when the tables are permitted to be used, many argue with me. It seems to make sense to them so they will use the tables that way.

Do you know why the standard has that restriction? What is the history of the tables? Do you know how and why the tables were generated? Do you know the conditions used to establish the tables? Do you know if there are any safety issues with ignoring the requirement? I am not going to go into the history of the requirement. All requirements have history. I certainly do not know all of it. What I expect is that the requirement was placed there for safety. The public has accepted the requirement since it was first put in. I am not aware of any standard that can be cherry picked for requirements to apply at leisure. If I don’t know why a requirement is what it is, I am not going to ignore it because the requirement doesn’t make sense to me. Certainly I will not do this when it comes to employee safety.

Several have commented that the tables are used that way (the incorrect way) in the real world. If those people are to be believed, several of you have applied a table in a manner that violates the actual requirement. Using a standard incorrectly because everyone (is it really everyone?) uses it incorrectly is not a good reason to ignore a requirement. If you follow that philosophy, how did your peers chose which requirement to ignore?

Until the words in a standard actually state what you think it says, want it to say, assume that it says, or have been told what it says, stick to the requirement as written. Doing anything otherwise, especially in the case of NFPA 70E, is a dangerous thing.  However, first you have read the words.

Join me for a free webinar on Wednesday, July 12 from 10:00 – 10:30 AM EDT that will help explain a few proposed changes and provide an opportunity for participants to ask question about the revised NFPA 70E.  If you haven't had the chance, there's still time to register

 

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

 

Next time: The hierarchy of risk controls

This past May, I posted about the NFPA 101, Life Safety Code requirements for crowd managers. In today's installment of #101Wednesdays, guest author Robert Solomon discusses the broader subject of crowd management, and how the lack of a comprehensive plan can have tragic consequences as seen in the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster in the UK.

 

The UK Crown Prosecution Service announced today that charges were being brought against six individuals who had various levels of responsibility for crowd and fan safety at the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster in Sheffield, England, where 96 soccer fans died in a crowd crush. Crowd management, stadium design, and response plans have been cited as contributing factors to this disaster.

 

While tragic events in assembly occupancy venues are often equated to fire (e.g., Cocoanut Grove nightclub, USA, 1942, 492 deaths; Bradford City (Valley Parade) Stadium, UK, 1985, 56 deaths; The Station nightclub, USA, 2003, 100 deaths), a surprisingly large number of deaths have occurred in these environments under other than fire circumstances as well.  As discussed in the Hillsborough Stadium case, elements such as overcrowding, lack of crowd management, or both, can lead to a heartbreaking outcome.

 

A 2011 article published in NFPA Journal focused on the importance of having a robust plan in place, coupled with the need for building design features to keep occupants safe and sound in large assembly venues for any number of potentially dangerous circumstances, including non-fire events. Potential changes to NFPA 101 in this area are continuously being studied as the nature, design, and performance characteristics of large assembly occupancies continue to push the limits. These concerns apply equally to indoor and outdoor venues and include considerations well beyond fire.

 

Code requirements for a life safety evaluation (LSE) are provided to facilitate this type of review. The LSE made its first appearance in NFPA 101 in 1988 and it is specifically designed to evaluate a host of situations in assembly occupancies. NFPA 101 defines the LSE as: A written review dealing with the adequacy of life safety features relative to fire, storm, collapse, crowd behavior, and other related safety considerations

 

The parts of the Code that deal with assembly occupancies (Chapter 12, New Assembly Occupancies, and Chapter 13, Existing Assembly Occupancies) prompt these very specialized rules because of the nature of assembly occupancies, which includes large concentrations of people in relatively confined areas. The LSE entails a comprehensive evaluation of each event, including the myriad potential life safety hazards for which the event organizers must be prepared. Over 100 factors must be considered when an LSE is prepared. Those factors fit into one or more broad categories, as shown below from 12.4.1.2 of the 2015 edition of NFPA 101:

 

(1) Nature of the events and the participants and attendees

(2) Access and egress movement, including crowd density problems

(3) Medical emergencies

(4) Fire hazards

(5) Permanent and temporary structural systems

(6) Severe weather conditions

(7) Earthquakes

(8) Civil or other disturbances

(9) Hazardous materials incidents within and near the facility

(10) Relationships among facility management, event participants, emergency response agencies, and others having a role in the events accommodated in the facility

 

The LSE goes on to require a life safety narrative (12.4.1.4.3), a life safety floor plan (12.4.1.4.3), applicable engineering analysis and calculations (12.4.1.4.4), and life safety management documents (12.4.1.5). The LSE is a comprehensive assessment tool that is designed to prevent tragedies similar to that which occurred in Hillsborough from occurring again.

 

Other countries, including the U.S., are not immune from these types of events. In fact, similar tragic outcomes have occurred globally.  The 2012 Fire Protection Research Foundation study, A Literature Review of Emergency and Non-Emergency Events, looked at similar occurrences worldwide not involving a fire where crowd crush and similar crowd dynamics resulted in death, injury, or both. Application of the LSE to these scenarios would have likely resulted in different, less tragic, outcomes in many cases.

 

A documentary of the Sheffield disaster was captured in a 2014 ESPN 30 for 30 film entitled Hillsborough. The director looks at the event from many perspectives, including those of the fans, law enforcement personnel, and the families who lost loved ones on that fateful day. 

 

Robert Solomon, P.E., is division manager, building fire protection and life safety, at NFPA.        

 

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 www.nfpa.org/101 and click on “Free access to the 2015 edition of NFPA 101.”

 

Follow me on Twitter: @NFPAGregH

 

70E, worker safety

In preparation for the release of the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, NFPA is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, July 12 from 10:00 – 10:30 AM EDT that will help explain the proposed changes and provide an opportunity for participants to ask question about the revised code.  

 

If you haven't had the chance, there's still time to register. It's a great opportunity to get a first-hand look at the changes that could impact the industry as a whole, as well as the work you do every day. The webinar, “Proposed Changes to the 2018 Edition of the NFPA 70E,” will feature NFPA’s Chris Coache, senior electrical engineer, and Derek Vigstol, electrical technical lead, who will discuss some of these important proposed changes in the 2018 revision. 

 

Join us, and be among the first to learn about the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E. 

SUPDET 2017/AUBE '17 will take place September 12-14 in College Park, MD, USA.  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 will feature a variety of topics, 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.

 

The combination of these two international conferences continues the tradition of presenting the latest developments in research, technology and applications for the fire protection community.


REGISTER TODAY to receive the early rates, which are effective till 28 July.

 

For additional program, hotel and registration details, visit: www.nfpa.org/2017supdetaube. We hope to see you there!

While many health care facilities across the country are still adjusting to last year’s adoption of the 2012 edition of NFPA 99 by CMS, the code revision process at NFPA has continued. We are now only a short time away from the final approval and issuance of the 2018 edition of the Health Care Facilities Code. These changes may affect health care facilities that start new construction projects in jurisdictions with building codes that reference the 2018 edition. These changes may also come into play through the use of categorical waivers or when a newer edition is adopted by CMS.

 

Join me for a webinar detailing many of these changes on July 20 at 12:30 pm ET.

 

      I will discuss the most noteworthy changes that will be found in the 2018 edition. Topics discussed will include:

  • New language on risk assessments

  • New permissible material for medical gas piping

  • Reorganized electrical systems chapter

  • Revised medical gas storage requirements

  • New chapter on dental gas systems

  • Revised hyperbaric facility requirements

 

In light of a recent series of fires in high-rise buildings with combustible facades, including the Grenfell tower fire, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has initiated a project to develop a fire risk assessment tool for these types of buildings to assist local authorities globally with fire safety in their communities. This project builds on previous NFPA work begun over the past few years, related to growing concerns about fire risks associated with combustible wall insulation components.

 

“NFPA is committed to helping communities respond to current fire threats,” said Jim Pauley, NFPA president, in a news release this morning. “Given several recent tragic high-rise fires, this resource couldn’t be more needed or timely.”


The risk assessment tool will help authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) prioritize mitigation by incorporating a methodology that identifies key variables (such as wall materials, building fire protection systems, etc.). The risk assessment tool helps characterize those variables in terms of risk or mitigation potential, and incorporates them into an engineering-based risk model. The project will be conducted by a global engineering team whose work will be overseen by an advisory panel of global stakeholders and experts. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

 

“The deadly fires that have occurred around the globe reflect a need to recommit and promote a full system of fire prevention, protection and education in order to help save lives and reduce loss,” said Pauley. “At NFPA, we’re doing all we can to support and provide jurisdictions with the tools they need to assess risk and deliver the level of safety people expect and deserve.”

 

These sentiments were reinforced in an Associated Press news story published yesterday, which addressed how building regulations have failed to keep up with changing materials, and that many of the deadly fires that have occurred in the past year reflect insufficient efforts to oversee and inspect building construction.


For more information on this project, contact research@nfpa.org. This release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research and resources, can be found at the NFPA press room.

The National Safety Council recently released it's annual State of Safety report that focused upon three key areas of preventable injuries (and deaths): safety at home, safety at work and safety in transit.  While much of the initial focus and hoopla understandably zeros in on "why did my state get ranked lower than X" (as often happens when someone creates a grading or scoring metric--see the methodology here) the real take away, especially for those in the fire service, is how much we can do to reduce and eliminate preventable injuries and deaths.  The fire service arguably the most well-positioned public safety entity to address many of the leading causes of preventable injuries.  But, the fire service cannot and should not go it alone in trying to reduce these types of preventable injuries.  If there was ever a clarion call for a wholesale adoption of Community Risk Reduction, this is it.  The status quo isn't cutting it.  If we're going to make a significant dent in these numbers we're going to have to focus on and go to where a large number of the identified safety issues reside... homes.  Because, home is where the safety should be.  

 

From Overdose To Fires, States Aren't Doing Enough Protect Residents, Council Says : NPR 

On April 5, 2017, the NFPA Standards Council approved a new standard for Facilities Safety Director Professional Qualifications and placed it in the Annual 2019 cycle. 

The document covers the duties, requirements, and competencies required of facility safety directors for structures having an occupant load of greater than 500 in all occupancies except for industrial occupancies.

 

The closing date for submitting public inputs is July 28, 2017 which is just a month away! 

 

You can see the draft and submit your Public Inputs online by clicking here.

There is increasing concern in public safety and public health communities about the potential exposure of first responders to fentanyl, a powerful synthetic drug with health effects ranging from drowsiness to respiratory failure.   Fentanyl can be taken into the body through different routes, including inhalation, ingestion, and dermal absorption, depending on the situation and the form of drug.  Because of the hazards of fentanyl and its serious health concerns, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed recommendations for safe work practices and the use of appropriate personal protective equipment for activities in which fentanyl or its analogs may be present. 

 

In a recent blog, NIOSH provides more details on fentanyl and exposure risks for first responders and provides links to its interim recommendations for law enforcement when dealing with fentanyl. The NIOSH blog also encourages the first responder community to offer comments related to fentanyl. 

 

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has also prepared a briefing guide for first responders.

 

NFPA has seen a flurry of activity from first responders regarding exposure to fentanyl and carfentanil, and posted a blog warning about the health and safety risks to first responders when the NIOSH recommendations first came out. While NFPA has no official guidance to offer at this time, several documents or standards may be useful for first responders in taking precautionary measures.  These include:

 

  • nfpa.org/472 - Standard for Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents
  • nfpa.org/473 - Standard for Competencies for EMS Personnel Responding to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents
  • nfpa.org/1500 - Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program
  • nfpa.org/1989 - Standard on Breathing Air Quality for Emergency Services Respiratory Protection
  • nfpa.org/1999 - Standard on Protective Clothing and Ensembles for Emergency Medical Operations

 

Earlier this year, NFPA Journal® also reported on first responders grappling with the opioid crisis in their cover story "Chasing a Killer."

 

Less than two years ago, NFPA hired its first full time data scientist. Dr. Nathaniel Lin came armed with an impressive skill set, strong professional achievements, and a great deal of passion for data analytics.Since then, NFPA has invested in additional staff, infrastructure, and has spent much of the last two years cultivating collaborative relationships so that, together with our stakeholders and like-minded organizations, we can develop a data analytics framework that will benefit fire departments and enforcement communities.

It is refreshing to see the number of fire departments and associations around the world who share NFPA's commitment to capturing, sharing and applying data to reinforce collective wisdom.


The world's largest Data Analytics Club heard about NFPA's efforts to aggregate and apply data so that firefighters and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) can tackle challenges and develop solutions in their communities. NFPA's data lead Nathaniel Lin was invited to talk about the organization's work on the #FutureofData Podcast, a show geared toward senior executives responsible for data-driven products, services and companies.  Learn about Lin's background and NFPA's journey to improve fire safety with data analytics, by accessing the podcast here.

Grenfell Tower Fire in London

Getty Images

 

The Grenfell Tower fire in London has been a horrific fire tragedy.  With a loss of 79 lives thus far, it is one of the most tragic fires to occur in the UK in recent decades.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims as well to the first responders involved in the very difficult recovery operations.  We have reached out to the UK to offer NFPA’s support and assistance in any way needed.

 

News stories have talked about the flammability of exterior cladding, the lack of fire sprinklers and the notion of “shelter in place” amongst other subjects. On its own, it is a horrendous tragedy.  In combination with other recent events, some disturbing trends emerge which could set fire safety back for decades.

 

For example, in less than one year we saw 36 people perish in the Oakland Ghost Ship fire, a former warehouse being used as living and entertainment space. The fire raised questions about appropriate permitting for its use, code enforcement, lack of fire alarms and the role of occupants in understanding the impact of their surroundings on their own personal safety. We saw a fire at a packaging factory in Bangladesh that killed 23 in a building with woefully inadequate fire protection.  We saw a wildfire in Tennessee burn over 17,000 acres of land and kill 14 people, prompting questions about pre-planning, building in the urban interface to withstand wildfire, fire service ability to respond to an event of this magnitude and public awareness around this growing threat. Another raging wildfire in Portugal claimed the lives of 62 people, many burned in their cars as they attempted to flee, raising similar questions about planning and preparedness.  We saw a six-year-old girl die in Connecticut when a fire ripped through the recently constructed house that, if it had been built to meet the national codes, would have had a home fire sprinkler and likely a much different outcome.

 

Each of these incidents is an individual tragedy. Taken together, they depict a larger global problem warranting action. Looked at in their entirety, they are a collective example of how, either intentionally or accidentally, the fire prevention and protection system has been broken. A system that the public believes exists and counts on for their safety.  A system that, through complacency, bad policy and placing economics of construction over safety, has let the public down.

 

Where have we gone astray? In each of these scenarios as well as many more not mentioned we can point to one or more factors:

 

•    the use of outdated codes and standards
•    acceptance of reduced safety requirements to save money
•    ignoring referenced standards within a code
•    lack of education around the application of the codes and standards
•    reduced enforcement
•    a public unaware of the dangers of fire

 

When government and other entities don’t adopt or designers don’t use the latest versions of codes and standards, they lose the benefit of the latest technology, research and collective wisdom related to fire, electrical and life safety.  

 

When policy makers decide to remove life safety and property protection provisions from codes, they have substituted politics for technical requirements that were determined after extensive input from across the spectrum of knowledgeable people.

 

When users fail to review and follow standards that are referenced in the codes, they aren’t ensuring the right practices and products are used in the right situations, increasing vulnerability to disaster.  

 

When the professionals involved in design, installation, enforcement and maintenance have not kept up to date on the latest requirements they can end up applying products improperly leading to catastrophic results.  

 

When jurisdictions, under fiscal pressures or lack of understanding of the importance, reduce enforcement efforts, they place their communities at risk as buildings deteriorate, change ownership or type of use.  

 

And when the public takes safety for granted and is uneducated about fire risks, their improper or uneducated actions can place them in peril.

 

The system the public relies on for managing fire safety is broken and a single solution isn’t the answer.  It will take a systems approach to fix it.  At NFPA, we are focused on looking at the entire system and working with everyone involved to fill the gaps.

 

We may not be able to prevent every tragedy from occurring, but by recommitting to and promoting a full system of fire prevention, protection and education, we can help save lives and reduce loss. That is the story that should consume the news of the day.

 

Jim Pauley

President and CEO

NFPA

automatic sprinkler plans review, NFPA 13

Are you a project manager responsible for reviewing and approving plans, or an engineer or designer who needs to ensure sprinkler system plans are ready for submission to AHJs? If so, then you know there’s a lot riding on the accuracy and timeliness of these plans. So how can you best tackle these day-to-day challenges and put your best foot forward with every project?


NFPA’s latest two-day class and workshop can help you build upon your on-the-job expertise with additional training that shows you how to avoid the pitfalls of poor planning and provides you with the necessary tools to help you save time and avoid costly and potentially dangerous errors and omissions.


The training, "Automatic Sprinkler Systems Plans Review Two-Day Training and Workshop," goes beyond the usual “lecture” style format and instead focuses on practical, hands-on learning where participants will be able to review plans and calculations, identify deficiencies and document findings. Based on NFPA 13: Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, the workshop covers such topics as:


• Regulatory requirements for plans and calculations submittals
• Blueprint reading skills
• Sprinkler specifications
• An 8-step process for hydraulic calculations review
• An 8-step process for sprinkler plans review


We invite you to join us July 13 – 14 in Cranston, Rhode Island for this unique training experience. At NFPA, we’re devoted to helping you do your job better throughout your entire career. Find out more, and register on NFPA’s training page.

Reports from two literature review studies published from the Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF). Both these reports focused on compiling information from the currently available literature on the respective topics.  

Click here for more research report from FPRF. 

Hello – Happy Friday!  Today’s post comes to you from Tracy Vecchiarelli, Senior Fire Protection Engineer in the Building Fire Protection and Life Safety Department, at NFPA.  Special thanks to Tracy for her contribution to this blog while I am out on maternity leave, and discussing one of the many subjects addressed in the Fire Code.

 

NFPA 1 isn’t a document I work with a lot, so when Kristin asked me to write a guest post for her Fire Code Fridays blog, I was a little intimidated. Luckily, NFPA 1 includes literally HUNDREDS of referenced standards, a few of which I know pretty well- like NFPA 220, Standard on Types of Building Construction.

 

NFPA 220 is referenced in Chapter 12 of the Code. In addition, scattered through NFPA 1 are requirements related to construction type. Many of these are special exemptions depending on the construction type. For example in Chapter 28 (Marinas and Boatyards), if you have Type I or Type II construction (and no combustible contents) you are not required to provide an automatic fire-extinguishing system. NFPA 1 can also point out required construction types, for example in Chapter 21 (Airports and Heliports), airport terminals are required to be Type I, Type II or Type IV.

 

NFPA 220 is the document that defines these types of construction. NFPA has 5 construction “Types” and 10 variations of those types, depending on the rating of specific construction elements. See below for an explanation and an example of NFPA’s construction types.

 

 

There is also a helpful table within NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code (Annex A.7.2.1.1) that compares the construction type labels used by NFPA, UBC, B/NBC, SBC and the IBC (See below).

 

 

Thanks for reading.  Happy Friday, stay safe!

 

(you can follow both Tracy (@TracyNFPA) and I (@KristinB_NFPA) for additional fire safety information.)

Do you work in healthcare, education or in an industrial facility? If your job requires to manage and / or maintain square footage of a facility, the NFPA would like the opportunity to learn more from you. The NFPA is committed to learning and understanding from stakeholders, like facility maintenance personnel, building owners, safety managers and the like. If you are interested in working more closely with the NFPA, please reach out to Lauren D’Angelo, Segment Director for Facility Managers, at ldangelo@nfpa.org.

 

   Your employee trusts that you are committed to ensuring their safety. They do not expect to be injured while they are at work. Your roll in meeting this expectation should not be taken lightly. Your commitment to electrical safety will go a long way to getting every one of them home each day. Let’s look at some things that could affect your employees trust based on what NFPA 70E® is trying to accomplish.

 

   Beyond the expectation that you will properly train and qualify employees for any assigned task, NFPA 70E requires a lot of you. Go under the assumption that there is justification for energized work to be conducted. What do you do? Most of the requirements apply if there is shock or arc-flash hazard. Someone must determine this fact. Your own company may do this or it may hire one out of the vast number of companies that claim to be able to do this. You must be competent in being able to determine who is capable of doing a proper risk assessment. You could go with the lowest bidder, most local company, best presentation, longest history, or any other criterion. Your employee will trust that whomever you selected to perform the assessment was competent.

 

   You may have jumped the starting gun by going right into that first step. What happens if your company has never conducted equipment maintenance? Without maintenance even normal operation of the equipment may be putting your employees at risk of an injury. A risk assessment is not done correctly if equipment maintenance has not been addressed. Your employee expects that their interaction with electrical equipment will not harm them. Your employee will trust that the protection techniques that they rely upon to minimize their injury in an incident are not based on the clearing time of a circuit breaker not operated in many years and never maintained.

 

   Your employee will trust that the risk assessment was not a one-time-and-done evaluation but that you have properly used the hierarchy of risk controls to minimize the electrical hazard and the risk of injury as much as possible. Your employee will trust that you have not automatically defaulted to the lowest level of risk control. Personal protective equipment should never be the first or only protection scheme that you utilize. Your employee will trust that you have done everything possible to protect them.

 

   Your employee will trust that you have kept all pertinent information on the equipment label updated. They will expect that the information provided is correct when they are assigned an energized task on that equipment a few years later. They will trust that you made sure that a transformer was not swapped out for a more efficient one or that the upstream breaker was not replaced with something different. Your employee will trust that the label information is correct since they will be the one to suffer a greater injury if it is not.

 

   Your employee will trust that you will provide them with the appropriate protective equipment. They will trust that you have verified that the protective equipment indeed complies with the applicable standard. They will trust that they have not been given knock-off, counterfeit, or sub-standard equipment because it was less expensive than conforming equipment. Your employee will trust that when it comes to their protection that money is no object.

 

   Your employee will trust that you have proper documentation of the risk assessment, complete and current work procedures, and a work permit that defines the hazards, risks and assigned task. Without clear direction, an employee will be improvising their actions in the field. Human error is a major cause of electrical incidents and your employee will trust that you minimize the possibility of an error through a proper electrical safety program and training.

 

   When your employee is schedule for the task, they will trust that you are concerned for their safety. If the task cannot be conducted safely, if the work permit or job briefing are lacking, if the employee feels that they are unqualified or fatigued, or if they express any safety concern, your employee will trust that you will consider these issues above all else. They will trust that they are the most important asset within your company.

 

   When it comes to performing justified energized electrical work your employee needs to trust you. If an employee is injured because they were compelled to work, they were not properly equipped or qualified, or finance took priority over their safety, employee trust will quickly fade. The work environment has taken a bad turn if the next employee goes into a task expecting to be harmed. It is the employee’s life that is at stake when they put their trust in you during justified energized electrical work. You must earn and keep that trust.

 

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

 

Next time: Who needs to read the words that are included in a standard?

NFPA has released a free 1st Responder Connection App for firefighters, EMS, command staff, wildland fire personnel, public educators and AHJs that offers in-the-palm-of-your-hand access to best practices, safety tips, and relevant emergency response content.

 

Conversations with fire leaders and first responders over the past year consistently pointed to the need for easy digital access, via smartphone devices, to NFPA resources, interactive tools, and training that will help stakeholders stay current in their roles. The NFPA 1st Responder Connection App covers topics including: 

 

• Emerging issues – energy storage, alternative fuel vehicles and civil unrest
• Public and worker safety – new fire hazards and confined space 
• Firefighter occupational health and wellness – contamination, cancer and cardiac issues
• Firefighting technology and data – unmanned aerial systems, smart cities, biometrics and fire department tools
• Educational tools – safety bulletins, tip sheets, training and at-risk audience engagement
• Wildfire prevention and response – community mitigation, home ignition zone and trends
• Standards and research – code enforcement, guidelines and reports


The NFPA 1st Responder Connection App puts prevention, education and response tools in the hands of emergency responders so that they can continue to perform at a high level and meet the changing needs of society. Much like the industry it serves, the NFPA 1st Responder Connection App will continue to evolve and address new fire problems, hazards and solutions.

 

Free download of the 1st Responder Connection App is available via Apple or Android today.

On this day, ninety-five years ago, the Arverne Conflagration was started by a carelessly thrown cigarette or match -- razing 13.5 acres of the Roackaways summer resort during a period of less than five hours. 

 

Arverne Conflagration June 15, 1922

Pictured: Ruins of the Israel Orphan Asylum, which was in the path of the flames on June 15, 1922.

All of the children were safely removed.

 

An investigation by the city fire marshal indicated that on June 15, 1922, men working on the Hotel Nautilus had been smoking and that a small fire started on the roof of the one-story section directly below the area the men were smoking. Hotel employees and others were unsuccessful in their attempts to extinguish the flames and the fire department was called. By the time the first company arrived the large frame building was burning on all three floors. There were two hydrants located opposite the hotel, however they were unable to be used due to the heat. The fire started at 5:15 PM and by 6:00 PM, it had reached such a size that it was impossible for arriving apparatus to pass along the Boulevard at the extreme leeward side of the fire.

 

From the NFPA Quarterly v.16, no. 1, 1922:

 

"The fire burnt itself out, as beyond the Rockaway Beach Boulevard and the Long Island Railroad tracks there were only a few buildings, most of which were destroyed. The flying brands even ignited a barge in the Bay more than half a mile away. A total of 141 boarding houses, hotels, private homes and bungalows were destroyed with an estimated loss of approximately $2,000,000.

 

Few features of prominence were brought out in this conflagration other than the known conflagration hazard of wooden shingle roofs. That it was not of more serious consequence was due to the general character of summer resort places, which extend along the seashore and are of narrow width, which, with the prevailing direction of the wind from the ocean usually limits the fire to a swath across the occupied area instead of lengthwise. A shifting wind to a direction parallel to the ocean front would have involved the entire area and, due to the fact that all this section is surrounded by water, there would have been considerable loss of life. It is evident from this and other fires in frame summer resort sections that the wooden shingle roofs must be eliminated before such districts can be considered as reasonable safe as places for congregation of large crowds. The magnitude of the original fire is an argument against the present practice in seasdhore resorts of constructing extensive hotels of frame, as even without the shingle roofs, a number of buildings directly exposed by the hotel would have become involved."

 

 

For more information regarding this 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.


Early this morning, as members of Congress practiced for an upcoming charity baseball game at a ballfield in Alexandria, Virginia, an active shooter fired between 50 and 100 rounds from a semi-automatic weapon, according to ABC News. Anthony Scalise (R-Louisiana), a congressional staffer and two Capitol Hill police officers were injured in the incident.

 

News reports say the attack sent people scrambling for cover. Scalise, who was shot in the hip, according an National Public Radio (NPR) report earlier this morning, is in stable condition. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told CNN "it would have been a massacre" without police protection. "Nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill police," Paul said.


Coincidentally, a team of experts is gathering at NFPA headquarters today to develop NFPA 3000, Standard for Preparedness and Response to Active Shooter and/or Hostile Events. The Technical Committee is chaired by Richard Serino, recently retired COO of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), former Chief of Boston EMS, and current faculty member at Harvard University. He is joined by representatives from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), International Association of Police Chiefs (IACP), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), National Association of EMTs (NAEMT), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), EMS Labor Alliance, hospital officials, facility managers, private security authorities, university personnel, and others.

 

“We have seen far too many of these hate crimes in recent years in places like London, Paris, San Bernardino, Boston, Sandy Hook, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech and Charleston. These tragedies highlight a need for first responders, emergency personnel, facility managers, hospital officials, and community members to have information when terror attacks occur,” said NFPA President Jim Pauley in a press release sent out yesterday about the new active shooter Standard. Today, Pauley added Virginia to the list of hostile events prompting the need for the Standard.

 

NFPA 3000 will give authorities a resource to reference in the event of a terror or active shooter incident, and is expected to be completed by early 2018. The public then will have the opportunity to offer Public Inputs through NFPA’s technical process. You can follow the development of NFPA 3000 by requesting email updates.

Photo courtesy of CNN

 

According to an NBC News report, 12 people have died and 78 people were injured at Grenfell Tower, a high-rise residential building in West London, England, after a fire broke out at the 24-story apartment “block” early Wednesday morning. The cause of the fire, which reportedly spread quite rapidly, has not yet been determined; additional fatalities are expected.


More than 250 firefighters and 40 fire trucks were on-scene, battling the fire through the night, and it has yet to be fully extinguished. NBC reports that Grenfell Tower has approximately 130 units; a BBC News article noted that the tower houses between 400 and 600 people.


“In my 29 years of being a firefighter, I have never, ever seen anything of this scale,” said London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton. “This is a major fire that’s affected all floors of the 24-story structure from the second floor upwards.”


A New York Times article reports that Grenfell Tower was constructed in 1974, and underwent a $12.8 million renovation that was completed last year, which included the installation of insulated exterior cladding and replacement windows. Whether those features contributed to the fire's quick spread has yet to be determined. Exterior cladding has been a contributing factor to high-rise fires in Dubai, including The Address Hotel fire that occurred on New Year's Eve in 2015.

 

NFPA offers a wealth of resources on high-rise building fires, including statistical reports, investigation reports, emergency evacuation planning guides and more.

70E, worker safety

In preparation for the release of the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace we’re hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, July 12 from 10:00 – 10:30 AM EDT that will help explain the proposed changes and provide an opportunity for participants to ask question about the revised code.

Whether you’re an electrician, electrical engineer, contractor, facility manager, property owner, building manager or a safety engineer responsible for electrical safety in your workplace, this is a chance to get a first-hand look at the proposed changes that could impact the industry as a whole, as well as the work you do every day.

 

The webinar, “Proposed Changes to the 2018 Edition of the NFPA 70E,” will feature NFPA’s Chris Coache, senior electrical engineer, and Derek Vigstol, electrical technical lead, who will discuss some of these important proposed changes in the 2018 revision. They include:

• Risk assessment procedure; the hierarchy of risk controls and human error
• Establishing an electrically-safe work condition that includes Lockout/Tagout principles and procedures
• Estimate of the likelihood of occurrence of an arc flash incident for AC and DC systems
• Selection of arc-rated clothing and other personal protective equipment (PPE) using the incident energy analysis method

 

This event will fill up quickly and we don't want you to be left out. Be among the first to learn more about the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E and register for the webinar today!

During the 2017 Conference & Expo in Boston, the Standards Quest took participants through a journey of the Standards Development Process.  Participants answered questions on the Public Input, Public Comment, Technical Meeting (NITMAM), and Standards Council Issuance stages of the process and collected a prize once the Quest was conquered.

 

We would like to thank everyone who participated to make this journey an absolute success!  A special thank you, as well, to those of you who conquered the Quest and joined us for the finale at the Standards Showcase!  Your patience as we drew the raffle for the four Standards Quest conquerors as winners of Kindle Fires was much appreciated.

 

Congratulations to the final two winners randomly drawn:

  • Tony O'Brien, Cisco
  • Eddie Alday, HQA Field Operations SC&SB

 

Again, thank you to everyone who participated in Standards Quest!  We hope to see you all next year in Las Vegas as the Quest continues...

Today marks the one year anniversary of the attack at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.  At the NFPA, we honor the 49 innocent individuals that were taken that day by marking this week as the beginning of the development of NFPA 3000: Standard for Preparedness and Response to Active Shooter and/or Hostile Events

 

The Pulse incident, along with several others throughout the past year, highlight a need for first responders, emergency managers, facilities, hospitals, and communities as a whole to be on the same page when these incidents occur.  The resilience displayed in places like Orlando, Boston, London, Connecticut, and many others show that we as a community can and must work together to ensure that we never allow terror or evil to win.  NFPA 3000 will give communities a resource to be prepared in the event that the unthinkable happens.

 

The process of developing NFPA 3000 began with a request by Fire Chief Otto Drozd III from Orange County Florida in October of 2016.  Since then, we have sought public comment and committee applications to form a Technical Committee to develop the Standard.  In just four short months we received over 100 positive comments and committee applications.  In April of 2017, the NFPA Standards Council unanimously approved the new Standard and Technical Committee.

 

The Technical Committee is chaired by Richard Serino, recently retired COO of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, former Chief of Boston EMS, and current faculty member at Harvard University.  The Committee has representatives from the DHS, DOJ, FBI, International Association of Police Chiefs, International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Association of EMTs, IAFF, EMS Labor Alliance, Hospitals, Facility Managers, Private Security, Universities, and more.  This broad group collectively brings over 200 years of experience to the table, many of which include experience responding to active shooter/hostile incidents.

 

On June 9, 2017 Chief Drozd authored an editorial in the Orlando Sentinel highlighting his reasons for requesting that the Standard be developed.  One important issue that he points out is that there are numerous guidance documents from individual organizations, but currently no consensus standard.  He also speaks to the inspiration he felt in the aftermath of the Pulse attack and his motivation for wanting a tool for others to use so that more lives can be saved in the future.  We honor those that were lost at the Pulse with this work and hope that others may live on thanks to the lessons learned and their memories.  As Chief Drozd says, “So that Others May Live.” 

 

The NFPA and the Technical Committee need the help of the public to make this the best standard it can be.  Anyone can come to a meeting or make inputs and comments to the draft once it is posted.  If you would like to know more and follow along with the development of NFPA 3000, please go to www.nfpa.org/3000 and then click "receive email alerts" to receive updates on the development process as they are posted.  Its a big world, let's protect it together!

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 1951, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Technical Rescue Incidents, NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, NFPA 1977, Standard on Protective Clothing and Equipment for Wildland Fire Fighting, NFPA 1992, Standard on Liquid Splash-Protective Ensembles and Clothing for Hazardous Materials Emergencies, NFPA 1994, Standard on Protective Ensembles for First Responders to CBRN Terrorism Incidents, and NFPA 1999, Standard on Protective Clothing and Ensembles for Emergency Medical Operations, are being published for public review and comment:

 

 

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.

The “Fire Service Safety Stand Down Quiz” Sweepstakes is back as part of the annual Safety Stand Down campaign! The sweepstakes is hosted by NFPA along with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), and consists of an interactive online quiz that emphasizes the importance of the 2017 Safety Stand Down theme, “Mayday, Self Rescue & Rapid Intervention.” 

 

The NFPA, IAFC and NVFC are asking career firefighters, volunteer firefighters, EMTs and other fire service personnel to take the 2017 quiz, which will be available June 12 through June 24 at www.nfpa.org/fireservicequiz. The quiz contains 17 questions related to “Mayday” situations and the response tactics required when rescuing a trapped firefighter.

 

Everyone who completes the quiz will be automatically entered into the sweepstakes; 200 randomly selected participants will win a specially designed challenge coin commemorating this year’s Safety Stand Down theme.

 

Safety Stand Down is a joint initiative of the IAFC and NVFC. Formerly called International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week, the educational and awareness initiative takes place June 18-24. With this year’s theme, members of the fire and emergency services are encouraged to review self-rescue strategies and protocol for rescuing trapped firefighters that week. This year’s campaign and training refreshers apply to chiefs, incident commanders, company officers, and firefighters.

 

 

Test your knowledge today at www.nfpa.org/fireservicequiz.

Bigglestone AwardLast week, we wrote a news release on the awards for contributions in fire and life safety at the NFPA Conference and Expo held in Boston, MA. Among those awards, the Fire Protection Research Foundation presented The Harry C. Bigglestone Award to the paper appearing in Fire Technology that best represents excellence in the communication of fire protection concepts. The winning paper was chosen from a pool of more than 100 eligible papers, and included a framed certificate and a $5,000 cash prize.

 

This year’s Bigglestone Award was for the paper: “Assessing the Verification and Validation of Building Fire Evacuation Models” authored by the team of Enrico Ronchi, Erica D. Kuligowski, Daniel Nilsson, Richard D. Peacock, and Paul A. Reneke. This paper discusses the tests, which are included in a Technical Note developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). 

 

Lead author, Enrico Ronchi, an associate senior lecturer in evacuation modelling in the Department of Fire Safety Engineering at Lund University in Sweden, accepted this year's Bigglestone Award on behalf of his co-authors.

 

According to NFPA’s Fourth Needs Assessment Survey, nearly all (99%) of the U.S. population is covered by at least one prevention and educational program. However, many fire departments don’t have the resources to deliver a wide range of prevention and education programs to their communities.


Following is a list of prevention and education programs and the percentage of U.S. populations not covered by them:
•    Wildfire safety program based on a national model – 84%
•    Home fire sprinkler education – 74%
•    Car seat installation – 70%
•    Older adult fire safety program based on a national model – 6%
•    Home safety visits – 54%
•    Youth firesetter program – 48%
•    Cardiopulmonary resuscitation instruction – 42%
•    Free installation of home smoke alarms 37%
•    Free distribution of home smoke alarms – 33%
•    School fire safety education program based on a national model curriculum – 32%
•    Fire Prevention Week activities – 14%

 

At next Wednesday’s free webinar, “The Current Status of Community Risk Reduction Activities in Local Fire Departments,” 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EST, NFPA’s Hylton Haynes, senior research analysts, will review community risk reduction findings from the latest U.S. Needs Assessment survey. He’ll be joined by Chelsea Robadeau, associate engineer of technical services, who will talk about tools and resources fire departments can use to strengthen their community risk reduction efforts. These include the new, upcoming NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development; NFPA’s free public education programs and resources; and our recent data analytics efforts, which can help fire departments perform their roles more efficiently and effectively.

Hello – Happy Friday!  Today’s post comes to you from Val Boutin, Fire Protection Engineer in the Building Fire Protection and Life Safety Department, at NFPA.  Special thanks to Val for her contribution to this blog while I am out on maternity leave, and discussing one of the many subjects addressed in the Fire Code.

 

Everyone seems to get excited when they find out a movie or TV show is going to be filmed locally. Maybe you will catch a glimpse of your favorite actor or appear as an extra! But, how do we ensure these production areas are safe?  What types of fire protection features are required in an approved production facility? Of course NFPA 1, Fire Code, has you covered.

 

Chapter 32 of the Code contains requirements for soundstages, approved production facilities, and production locations. Section 32.4 applies to soundstages and approved production facilities while section 32.5 applies to production locations.  A majority of the requirements in chapter 32 are directly extracted from NFPA 140, Standard on Motion Picture and Television Production Studio Soundstages, Approved Production Facilities, and Production Locations. Soundstages and approved production facilities are buildings (new or existing) or portions of buildings (new or existing) used for the production of motion pictures, television, or commercials. A production location is any site other than a soundstage or an approved production facility, used for the production of motion pictures, television, or commercials.

 

The fire protection requirements (32.4.11) for soundstages and approved production facilities can be broken down into two main categories: extinguishment and fire alarm.

   Extinguishment: Automatic sprinkler systems in new and existing soundstages and approved production facilities need    to be maintained in accordance with NFPA 25.  New soundstages and approved production facilities shall be equipped    with an approved, supervised automatic sprinkler system in accordance with NFPA 13. There are two major exceptions    allowed. If approved mitigation is provided, or if the building sprinkler system meets the design criteria for Extra Hazard,    Group 2, then the requirements of NFPA 13 prohibiting obstruction to sprinkler discharge are not applicable. Soundstages    and approved production facilities are not your typical buildings; often sets change just for one scene. Many walls and     ceilings are only temporary so trying to account for all obstruction would be impractical. It would require constant    re-evaluation and redesigning of the sprinkler system. Suggested mitigation techniques include:

  • Installing smoke or heat detectors underneath solid or hard ceilings that have an area of more than 600 sq ft. and a height of more than 3 feet. The detectors should be spaced according to manufacturer’s guidelines. The entire system (including the alarm panel) should be considered portable because it is intended to be reinstalled when platforms or sets change. The system should alarm at a constantly attended location- locally or at an approved and listed central, proprietary, or remote station service. 
  • Using approved and listed fire retardants on the underside of combustible platforms
  • Using approved and listed fire retardants on scenery, props, framework and deck of combustible platforms, and hard-ceilings of combustible sets
  • Providing a fire watch when the set isn’t in use
  • Not storing combustible materials under any platforms and regularly inspecting those areas

   In addition, portable fire extinguishers need to be installed and maintained in accordance with NFPA 10.

 

Fire Alarm System: This section provides alternative means to notify occupants on the soundstage in the event of an emergency situation. It prevents the disturbance of videotaping, filming, or broadcasting of programs from false alarms. With the permission of the AHJ, fire alarm system notification appliances within soundstages and approved production facilities may be deactivated during videotaping, filming, or broadcasting of programs if all of the following are met:

  • In the event of alarm system activation, notification appliances shall activate at a location that is constantly attended during videotaping, filming, or broadcasting of programs.
  • Communication means shall be provided between the constantly attended location and the fire command center for the building (where one is provided) and with the occupants of the soundstage to initiate emergency action.
  • A visual signal at an approved location shall remain illuminated while notification appliances on the soundstage are deactivated.
  • The visual signal shall have a sign saying “When Illuminated, Soundstage Fire Alarm System Notification Appliances Are Deactivated.”

 

The requirements in Chapter 32 work to accommodate the special needs of soundstages and approved production facilities without sacrificing life safety.

 

Thanks for reading!  Happy Friday, stay safe!

 

(you can follow both Val (@ValBoutin_NFPA) and I (@KristinB_NFPA) for additional fire safety information.)

During the NFPA Technical Meeting (Tech Session) held on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, thirteen NFPA Standards were presented for floor action to the NFPA membership. 

Read the final results of the floor action on these NFPA Standards:

 

  • NFPA 37, Standard for the Installation and Use of Stationary Combustion Engines and Gas Turbines
  • 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

 

Any appeal based upon Technical Meeting actions, must be filed with the Standards Council by June 27, 2017 (20 days following the adjournment of the Technical Meeting).  An appeal for any amendment passed at this meeting which fails Technical Committee ballot, shall be filed no later than five (5) days after publication of the Technical Committee ballot results in accordance with Section 4.2.6 of the Regulations.  Typically, results of amendment ballots are published within 20 days of the Technical Meeting adjournment.

 

The Standards Council’s decision on issuance is based upon the entire record before it, including the discussion and resulting votes at the Technical Meeting.  The Standards Council will meet on August 15-17, 2017 to make those decisions.

Foundation Medal 2017

This past week at the NFPA Conference and Expo in Boston, MA, the Fire Protection Research Foundation awarded the Research Foundation Medal, recognizing the research project completed in the prior year that best exemplifies the Fire Protection Research Foundation‘s (1) fire safety mission, (2) technical challenges overcome, and (3) collaborative approach to execution that is the hallmark of all Foundation projects.

 

There were 15 eligible projects in 2016, and the recipient is included in a noteworthy outreach messaging effort that includes multiple communications directed at the specific stakeholder audiences.

 

This year’s Foundation Medal Project is “Lithium Ion Batteries Hazard and Use Assessment—Phase 3”, with full scale test work conducted at FM Global at their West Gloucester facility under the direction of Benjamin Ditch, and the final report authored by Thomas Long Jr. and Andrew Blum of Exponent, Inc., made possible through funding from the Foundation’s Property Insurance Research Group (PIRG). This research project is the third phase in a project aimed at developing a guidance protocol for fire protection of lithium-ion batteries for storage. The report seeks to provide technical data to NFPA 13 to fill the knowledge gap in understanding if lithium-ion batteries in storage require different storage. 

The Foundation Medal was presented to Benjamin Ditch of FM Global on behalf of all those involved in the project. 

The Senate Rules Committee met Wednesday and confirmed Dennis Mathisen as California State Fire Marshal for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Earlier this year, the Roseville resident was appointed by Governor Edmund Brown. Mathisen was with the Roseville Fire Department before joining CalFire; he also served as a Regional Sprinkler Specialist for NFPA. 

 

Mathisen has enjoyed a well-rounded career in the fire service, addressing fire operations, communications, fire investigations and prevention. He is well-versed in the adoption and enforcement of codes and standards, wildland-urban interface issues, engineering, public education and community outreach.

 

He has a strong handle on California's fire topics, and also monitors and engages in emerging issues nationally. Mathisen's leadership will help guide California into the future as different fire challenges and new technology continue to impact the fire service. Throughout his career, Mathisen has demonstrated both his ability to step up and lead, and sit at the table and collaborate.

 

Historically, NFPA has offered considerable support and assistance to CalFire and the state fire marshal. NFPA looks forward to working with Dennis Mathisen on initiatives and strategies that will continue to benefit the citizens of California.

 

A well attended event on Tuesday afternoon at NFPA Conference sponsored by Jensen Hughes focused on discussing the challenges for women in STEM careers.  

 

Research shows that many women leave STEM in their 30s and 40s for a number of reasons, including raising families or caring for aging parents. This program focused on educating the audience the challenges for women in STEM of achieving a balance between work and life, while informing managers on how to provide better support in order to retain valuable talent.  

 

Using an interactive game show type format, statistics surrounding this issue were highlighted and the three panelists with varying levels of experience and diverse backgrounds - Amy Murdock, Jen Hoyt, and Jenny Nelson - answered questions on how they have overcome challenges in their own careers and gave advice for those in the audience.  Following the panel session, industry professionals continued the discussion in a networking event.

 

As NFPA Journal® reported earlier this year in their cover story "Chasing a Killer," the nation and our first responders are grappling with an opioid crisis. On Tuesday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released a roll call video and guidelines for firefighters, EMS professionals and police officers regarding the handling of powerful opiates like fentanyl, which are up to 50 times more potent than heroin. The news comes just as the New England media reports that carfentanil, a drug that’s 10,000 times stronger than morphine, has arrived in Massachusetts joining New Hampshire and a dozen other states across the country dealing with the lethal substance. 

 

During the announcement, Acting DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg stated that Fentanyl: A Brief Guide for First Responders” should be required reading. He added, “Something that looks like heroin could be pure fentanyl—assume the worst. Don’t touch these substances or their wrappings without the proper personal protective equipment.”

 

This week, Massachusetts State Police also announced that carfentanil, an extremely lethal synthetic opioid never before seen in the Bay State, had arrived. The drug is used to sedate elephants. It can be absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled. If a firefighter, paramedic or law enforcement authority comes in contact with an amount as small as a penny, it could be fatal.

 

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein with the U.S. Justice Department participated in the DEA announcement explaining that "the Department of Justice is approaching this crisis with all-hands-on deck. We need to use all the tools available to us: prevention, treatment and prosecution." He offered staggering statistics and the following drug-related data during his remarks:

  • In 2015, more than 52,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses – 1,000 dead every week. More than 33,000 people died from heroin, fentanyl and other opioid drugs.
  • The preliminary numbers for 2016 show an increase to almost 60,000 deaths. That will be the largest annual increase in American history.
  • For Americans under the age of 50, drug overdoses now are the leading cause of death.

 

  • Law enforcement officers and medical professionals are struggling to deal with opioids in every state.
  • The crisis is not limited to any region of the country.
  • Heroin and fentanyl-related deaths are still increasing across the United States - particularly in the Northeast and Midwest.

 

"The opioid epidemic nationwide has caused havoc and heartbreak for our children, friends and neighbors. Any fentanyl exposure can kill innocent law enforcement, first responders and the public. As we continue to fight this epidemic, it is critical that we provide every tool necessary to educate the public and law enforcement about the dangers of fentanyl and its deadly consequences,” Rosenstein said during the DEA media event.

Dr. Michael Hamrock is a primary care physician for Boston firefighters, and an internal medicine and addiction specialist at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in the Brighton section of Boston. Prior to his career in medicine, Hamrock was a firefighter and medical examiner for the Boston Fire Department (BFD).

 

Earlier this week, Hamrock shared his unique perspective during a session entitled, “Promoting a Culture of Safety and Fitness: Preventing Cancer, Heart Disease, and Injuries in Boston Firefighters” at the NFPA Conference & Expo. He spoke about cancer, heart disease, physical and mental health injuries; and efforts underway by BFD’s Safety, Health, and Wellness Division to establish a culture of safety and fitness.

 

“The status quo of a high number of injuries, cancer, and heart disease is no longer acceptable in the fire service. More than ever before, fire officers must be more accountable for the health and safety of those under their command,” Hamrock said.

 

In Boston each year, there are 1100 injuries occurring in a 1450 member force. On average 8% of the BFD workforce are on injured leave with approximately 150 shoulder injuries per year. Each medical incident typically costs $35,000. Additionally, Boston firefighters experience about 18 cardiac events. They learn about 20 cancer diagnoses per year, at an average cost of $250,000. Acute coronary incidents occur 2.5 times more within BFD than with local residents, and cancer rates among the city’s firefighters are two times higher than those of the general population. Since 1990, there have been more than 190 BFD cancer deaths.


To ensure optimal health and safety in your department, Dr. Hamrock recommends the following ten tips:

 

  1. Require confidential and comprehensive annual firefighter physicals for early detection of heart issues and high risk cancers associated with the job. Beginning at age 40, have personnel get an exercise stress echo exam every three years.
  2. Train at least one firefighter on each group in every firehouse on the 02X Human Performance Train the Trainer Program. O2X is a new concept, based on proven results from Navy Special Warfare. It covers firefighter health risks, nutrition, mental performance, injury causation, prevention and involves a physical workout strategy.
  3. Make hydration a priority. Encourage consumption of 64 ounces of water per day and be sure to establish a dedicated crew on scene to hydrate all members. Allow time for firefighters to cool down before returning to the fire.
  4. Emphasize lifestyle changes and an expectation that all members of the department be healthy and fit throughout their careers. Officers and O2X peer trainers should function like coaches and encourage self-care habits.
  5. Educate for safety. Officers should drill groups like professional athletes; enforce SCBA compliance to prevent inhalation of toxic chemicals; foster communication; address denial behavior; and stress the importance of smoking cessation.
  6. Train like professional athletes. Schedule 45 minutes of cross training activity in the firehouse per shift, and encourage 45 minutes of fitness training four times per week to reduce issues related to blood pressure, cholesterol, weight gain and diabetes. 
  7. Champion nutrition, focusing on the importance of proteins, good fats, vitamins and minerals. Promote healthy cooking and avoid junk foods. Hamrock says, “a typical firehouse meal is like Thanksgiving with 3500 calories. Most firefighters gain 20 pounds in their first year – equivalent to a half hour air bottle.”
  8. Proactively tackle substance abuse and mental health issues. A firefighter with untreated mental health or substance problems is a real hazard. Don’t be afraid to ask about anxiety, depression, PTSD or drug usage; and take note of any self-medication to cope with trauma. Avoid enabling behavior, and remember that excessive alcohol use has direct toxic effects on the heart.
  9. Conduct an After Action Review (AAR) where fire officers sit down with their group at the kitchen table to discuss each call, lessons learned, and any injuries that may have occurred.
  10. Promote a culture of safety and fitness with strong and consistent management and labor leadership, emphasizing that firefighters are “tactical athletes”. Foster accountability at all levels.

 

Dr. Hamrock is on the Board of Advisors of the Last Call Foundation and works closely with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network to establish guidelines for primary care providers for comprehensive firefighter physical exams.

As the 2017 NFPA Conference & Expo comes to a close, #TBT again takes a look back at the early days of the National Fire Protection Association and annual meetings of years past. This week's image is from the 1910 NFPA annual meeting in Chicago. Even then the efforts and growth of the organization was celebrated and commented upon.

 

NFPA members during a tour of Underwriters Laboratories, May 1910

Members of National Fire Protection Association at Underwriters' Laboratories, May 18th, 1910.

 

From the NFPA Quarterly v.4, no. 1, 1910:

 

"This year's annual meeting... reflected in its character and interest the wider influence of the Association evoked by its larger activities. The general atmosphere of the sessions, the character of the special contributions, and the nature of the discussion and debate, were all indicative of the emergence of our organization into its proper field of distinct and positive public consideration. The representation of active members was unusually adequate, and the general attendance exceeded that of any previous meeting in Chicago. The presentation of the loving cup to President Goddard, and Mr. Merrill's happy speech in connection therewith, was a pleasant incident; and the election of the latter as Mr. Goddard's successor gave much satisfaction to the members. Mr. Phillips' re-election as chairman of the the Executive Committee was accompanied by many expressions of appreciation of the exceptional character of his service. The visit to the Laboratories was as thoroughly enjoyed by the old members as by the new, and the afternoon's relaxation from the regular sessions was agreeable to all. The appointments of the Hotel La Salle were ample and comfortable, and all those who attended the meeting realized that they had been present at a notable gathering."

 

For more information regarding this 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.

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Boston, the following action has taken place on NFPA 1, Fire Code

 

  • 1-1 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 13, including any Related Portions of First Revision No. 112 passed.
  • 1-2 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 63 failed.
  • 1-3 Motion to Reject an identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 50 was not pursued.
  • 1-4 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 28 passed.
  • 1-5 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 29 passed.

 

NFPA 1 was passed with three amending motions. NFPA 1 COMPLETED.

 

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Boston, the following action has taken place on NFPA 5000®, Building Construction and Safety Code®

 

  • 5000-1 Motion to Accept Committee Comment No. 1002 passed.
  • 5000-2 Motion to Accept Committee Comment No. 1001 failed.
  • 5000-3 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 3004 was not pursued.
  • 5000-4 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 3005 was not pursued.
  • 5000-5 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 5000 was not pursued .
  • 5000-6 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 5006 was not pursued.
  • 5000-7 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 2502, including any Related Portions of First Revision No. 2501 was not pursued.
  • 5000-8 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 7009 was not pursued .
  • 5000-9 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 7010 was not pursued.
  • 5000-10 Motion to Reject Second Correlating Revision No. 35 passed.
  • 5000-11 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 7513 failed.
  • 5000-12 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 68 failed.
  • 5000-13 Motion to Reject Second Correlating Revision No. 38, including any Related Portions of First Revision No. 1502 was not pursued.
  • A follow-up motion was made to return NFPA 5000 to the committee for further processing - failed.

 

NFPA 5000 was passed with two amending motions. NFPA 5000 COMPLETED.

The NFPA membership took to the floor today at the Annual Technical Meeting (aka the "Tech Session") to debate certified amending motions (CAMs) on numerous codes and standards, including NFPA 101. (The motions can be found in the Tech Session agenda here.) Here are the results of the voting:

  • CAM 101-1: FAILED - Physical violence mitigation objective remains in Ch. 4.
  • CAM 101-2: FAILED - Smoke detection for shutters in smoke partitions remains as published in 8.4.3.6 of the NFPA 101 second draft.
  • CAM 101-3: PASSED - Provision allowing two releasing operations for existing educational occupancy door locks to prevent unwanted entry in 15.2.2.2.4 deleted.
  • CAM 101-4: PASSED - Provision restricting existing educational occupancy door locks to prevent unwanted entry to one operation added to 15.2.2.2.4 (subject to technical committee/correlating committee ballot).
  • CAM 101-5: PASSED - Provision allowing two releasing operations for existing day-care occupancy door locks to prevent unwanted entry in 17.2.2.2.6 deleted.
  • CAM 101-6: PASSED - Provision allowing two releasing operations for existing business occupancy door locks to prevent unwanted entry in 39.2.2.2.2 deleted.
  • CAM 101-7: PASSED - Provision restricting existing business occupancy door locks to prevent unwanted entry to one operation added to 39.2.2.2.2 (subject to technical committee/correlating committee ballot).
  • CAM 101-8: FAILED - Maintains new provision for 40,000 sq-ft smoke compartments in new hospitals.
  • CAM 101-9: FAILED - Maintains new provision for 40,000 sq-ft smoke compartments in existing hospitals.
  • CAM 101-10: PASSED - Revises occupant load factor for business use from 100 sq-ft per person to 150 sq-ft per person in new business occupancies (subject to technical committee/correlating committee ballot).
  • CAM 101-11: PASSED - Adds new occupant load factors of 15 sq-ft per person and 30 sq-ft per person for collaboration rooms of varying sizes in new business occupancies (subject to technical committee/correlating committee ballot).
  • CAM 101-12: PASSED - Revises occupant load factor for business use from 100 sq-ft per person to 150 sq-ft per person in existing business occupancies (subject to technical committee/correlating committee ballot).
  • CAM 101-13: PASSED - Adds new occupant load factors of 15 sq-ft per person and 30 sq-ft per person for collaboration rooms of varying sizes in existing business occupancies (subject to technical committee/correlating committee ballot).
  • CAM 101-14: PASSED - Deletes new requirement for risk analysis for mass notification systems in new business occupancies that require a fire alarm system.
  • CAMs 101-15 through 101-25: NOT PURSUED - Maintains requirements for testing of integrated fire protection and life safety systems as published in the NFPA 101 second draft.

 

Note that where amendments delete new text, they will still be balloted by the technical committee and correlating committee. However, regardless of the ballots, the net result is the same: the text returns to that in the previous (2015) edition. So where an amendment passed deleting new text, we know the net result is previous edition text, no matter which way the balloting goes.

 

It was great to watch firsthand such an important aspect of the NFPA standards development process. Voices were heard, and the direction of NFPA 101 was definitely influenced here in Boston. I'd like to personally thank Standards Council Member Bonnie Manley, who served as Presiding Officer for the NFPA 101 portion of the Tech Session, NFPA 101 Correlating Committee Chair Bill Koffel, who managed the correlating and technical committee positions, and the following technical committee chairs and members who represented (or were ready to represent) their respective committees on the various issues: Vic Dubrowski, Jim Lathrop, Joe Jardin, Howard Hopper, Amy Murdock, Mike Crowley, and Dave Collins. These dedicated volunteers, and the NFPA members who attended the session, are the ones who make the system work. THANK YOU!

(If you ever wondered, this is the view from the platform... Looking good NFPA!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you found this special edition of #101Wednesdays to be informative, and that I'll see you all again next week when I return with our "regularly scheduled programming." Until then, 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 www.nfpa.org/101 and click on “Free access to the 2015 edition of NFPA 101.”

 

Follow me on Twitter: @NFPAGregH

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Boston, the following action has taken place on NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®

 

  • 101-1 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 3011 failed.
  • 101-2 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 2509 failed.
  • 101-3 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Correlating Revision No. 30, including any Related Portions of First Revision No. 2002 passed.
  • 101-4 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 185 passed.
  • 101-5 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Correlating Revision No. 32 passed.
  • 101-6 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Correlating Revision No. 50 passed.
  • 101-7 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 192 passed.
  • 101-8 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 111 failed.
  • 101-9 Motion to Reject Second Correlating Revision No. 34, including any Related Portions of First Revision No. 3508 failed
  • 101-10 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 161 passed.
  • 101-11 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 161 passed.
  • 101-12 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 166 passed.
  • 101-13 Motion to Accept an Identifiable Part of Public Comment No. 166 passed.
  • 101-14 Motion to Reject Second Correlating Revision No. 60 passed.
  • 101-15 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 3007 was not pursued.
  • 101-16 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 2009 was not pursued.
  • 101-17 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 2010 was not pursued.
  • 101-18 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 4019 was not pursued.
  • 101-19 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 4020 was not pursued.
  • 101-20 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 4021 was not pursued.
  • 101-21 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 4022 was not pursued.
  • 101-22 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 6016 was not pursued.
  • 101-23 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 6017 was not pursued.
  • 101-24 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 5505 was not pursued.
  • 101-25 Motion to Reject Second Correlating Revision No. 24, including any Related Portions of First Revision No. 1007 was not pursued.
  • With the passage of motions 101-10 and 101-12, a follow up motion was made to move the text to Table 7.3.1.2 - passed.
  • With the passage of motions 101-11 and 101-13, a follow up motion was made to move the text to Table 7.3.1.2 - passed.

 

NFPA 101 was passed with 12 amending motions. NFPA 101 COMPLETED.

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Boston, the following action has taken place on NFPA 730, Guide for Premises Security

 

  • 730-1 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 16 failed. 

 

NFPA 730 was passed with no amending motions. NFPA 730 COMPLETED.

Charles R. Wright of Omaha, NE, receives NFPA's Special Achievement Award from Standards Council chair Kerry Bell.


Every year, NFPA's Standards Council recognizes individuals for outstanding service to the organization in the development of codes and standards. This morning at the Technical Meeting in Boston, awards were presented to 17 individuals.

 

The Standards Council presented its Special Achievement Award to Charles Wright, who was recognized for his active role with the Hazardous Materials Response Personnel committee project. He is one of the original members of the Committee and has served in a variety of capacities during his membership over the last 30 years, including Secretary and Task Group Leader for multiple Committee projects.

 

Mr. Wright served as the Task Group Leader for the development of NFPA 1072, Standard for Hazardous Materials/ Weapons of Mass Destruction Emergency Response Personnel Professional Qualifications. He was also honored for his leadership, dedication and collective contributions to the hazardous materials emergency response and training communities over the last 50+ years. He has has come to be known as the "Father of the APIE (Analyze, Plan, Implement, Evaluate) Process”: the organizational framework for NFPA 472, 473 and 1072.

 

The following individuals received Committee Service Awards for their dedication to NFPA's standards development process:


Mark W. Allen
Beacon Medaes, Rock Hill, S.C.
Health Care Facilities Technical Committee on Piping Systems (1986 – present)

 

Richard H. Barton
N. Hunt Moore & Associates, Inc., Collierville, Tenn.
Technical Committee on Solvent Extraction Plants (1997 – present; Chair since 2006)

 

Armand V. Brandao
FM Approvals, Norwood, Mass.
Technical Committees on:

  • Gaseous Fire Extinguishing Systems (2007 – 2014)
  • Foam (2007 – 2012)
  • Water Additives for Fire Control and Vapor Mitigation (2003 – present; Chair since 2006)
  • National Fuel Gas Code (1992 – 1996)

 

Michael A. Crowley
JENSEN HUGHES, Houston, Tex.
Correlating Committee on Health Care Facilities (2012 as Chair – present)
Technical Committees on:

  • Alternative Approaches to Life Safety (2014 – present)
  • Health Care Facilities – Fundamentals (1996 – present; Chair 1999 – 2012)

Building Code and Safety to Life Technical Committees on:

  • Means of Egress (2004 – present)
  • Health Care Facilities (1985 – present)

 

John J. Foley, III
JENSEN HUGHES, Atlanta, Ga.
Correlating Committee on Flammable and Combustible Liquids (2006 – present)
Flammable and Combustible Liquids Technical Committees on:

  • Fundamentals (2004 – present)
  • Tank Storage and Piping Systems (1996 – present)
  • Storage and Warehousing of Containers and Portable Tanks (1992 – present)

 

Stephen J. King
Babylon, N.Y.
Correlating Committee on Fire and Emergency Services Protective Clothing and Equipment (2006 – present)
Fire and Emergency Services protective Clothing and Equipment Technical Committees on:

  • Structural and Proximity Fire Fighting Protective Clothing and Equipment (1997 – present; Chair since 2006)
  • Respiratory Protection Equipment (1997 – 2008)
  • Special Operations Protective Clothing and Equipment (1997 – 2003)

 

John Lake
City of Gainesville, Gainesville, Fla.
Technical Committees on:

  • Manufactured Housing (2006 as Chair – present)
  • Fire Code (2004 – present)
  • Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Systems (2000 – present)

Building Code and Safety to Life Technical Committee on Assembly Occupancies (2003 – present)
Automatic Sprinkler Systems Technical Committee on Private Water Supply Piping Systems (2001 – present)

 

John A. LeBlanc
FM Global, Norwood, Mass.
Correlating Committees on:

  • Combustible Dusts (2015 – present)
  • Automatic Sprinkler Systems (2013 – present)
  • Flammable and Combustible Liquids (2005 – present)

Technical Committees on:

  • Hazardous Chemicals (2016 – present)
  • Explosion Protection Systems (2009 – present)
  • Finishing Processes (2009 – present)
  • Aerosol Products (1992 – present)

Flammable and Combustible Liquids Technical Committees on:

  • Fundamentals (2005 – present; Chair 2005 – 2006)
  • Operations (1997 – present)
  • Storage and Warehousing of Containers and Portable Tanks (1992 – present; Chair since 2006)

 

Alan Lipschultz
HealthCare Technology Consulting LLC, North Bethesda, Md.
Health Care Facilities Technical Committee on Medical Equipment (1977 – present; Chair 2007 – 2015)

 

David B. Mohile
Medical Engineering Services, LLC, Inwood, W.Va.
Health Care Facilities Technical Committee on Piping Systems (1989 – present; Chair 2002 – 2012)

 

Gregory G. Noll
Hildebrand & Noll Associates Inc., Lancaster, Pa.
Correlating Committee on Professional Qualifications (2012 – present)
Professional Qualifications Technical Committee on Industrial Fire Brigade Personnel Professional Qualifications (1997 – 2009)
Technical Committee on Hazardous Materials Response Personnel (1986 – present, Chair since 2007)

 

Alfredo M. Ramirez
UL LLC, Northbrook, Ill.
Correlating Committee on Flammable and Combustible Liquids (2004 – present)
Technical Committees on:

  • Fire Doors and Windows (2015 – present)
  • National Electrical Code Panel 1 (2005 – 2008)
  • Automotive and Marine Service Stations (2004 – present; Chair since 2007)
  • Uniform Fire Code (2003 – 2006)

Flammable and Combustible Liquids Technical Committees on:

  • Storage and Warehousing of Containers and Portable Tanks (2013 – present)
  • Fundamentals (2004 – present)
  • Operations (2004 – present)
  • Tank Storage and Piping Systems (2004 – present)

 

John L. Ritzmann
Consultant, Alexandria, Va.
Technical Committees on:

  • LP-Gases at Utility Gas Plants (1993 – 2016; Chair 2005 – 2012)
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gases (1992 – 2001)

 

Robert B. Sheffield
International ATMO, Inc., San Antonio, Tex.
Correlating Committee on Health Care Facilities (2012 – 2014)
Health Care Facilities Technical Committee on Hyperbaric and Hypobaric Facilities (1997 – present; Chair 2007 – 2014)

 

Walter N. Vernon, IV
Mazzetti, San Francisco, Calif.
Correlating Committee on Health Care Facilities (2012 – 2014)
Technical Committees on:

  • National Electrical Code Pane 15 (2016 – present)
  • National Electrical Code Panel 17 (2000 – 2002)
  • Health Care Facilities Technical Committee on Electrical Systems (1992 – present; Chair 2007 – 2014)

 

Christopher J. Wieczorek
FM Global, Norwood, Mass.
Correlating Committee on Flammable and Combustible Liquids (2006 – present)
Flammable and Combustible Liquids Technical Committees on:

  • Fundamentals (2005 as Chair – present)
  • Storage and Warehousing of Containers and Portable Tanks (2005 – present)

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Boston, the following action has taken place on NFPA 285, Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load-Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components

 

  • 285-1 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 3, including any Related Portions of First Revision No. 8 failed.

 

NFPA 285 was passed with no amending motions. NFPA 285 COMPLETED.

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Boston, the following action has taken place on NFPA 2112, Standard on Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire

 

  • 2112-1 Motion to Reject Second Revision Nos. 76 and 52 failed.

 

NFPA 2112 was passed with no amending motions. NFPA 2112 COMPLETED.

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Boston, the following action has taken place on NFPA 1951, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Technical Rescue

 

  • 1951-1 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 66 passed.
  • 1951-2 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 67 not pursued.
  • 1951-3 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 68 not pursued .
  • 1951-4 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 58 not pursued.
  • 1951-5 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 59 not pursued.
  • 1951-6 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 80 not pursued.
  • With the passage of 1951-1 a follow-up motion was made to return NFPA 1951 to the committee for further processing - passed.

 

NFPA 1951 was passed with two amending motions. NFPA 1951 COMPLETED.

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Boston, the following action has taken place on NFPA 1403, Standard on Live Fire Training Evolutions

 

  • 1403-1 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 7 failed.

 

NFPA 1403 was passed with no amending motions. NFPA 1403 COMPLETED.

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Boston, the following action has taken place on NFPA 1144, Standard for Reducing Structure Ignition Hazards from Wildland Fire

 

  • 1144-1 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 18, including any Related portions of First Revision No. 2 passed.

 

NFPA 1144 was passed with one amending motion. NFPA 1144 COMPLETED.

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Boston, the following action has taken place on NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code

 

  • 99-1 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 79 passed.
  • 99-2 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 306 passed.
  • 99-3 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 305 passed.
  • 99-4 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Revision No. 305 passed.
  • 99-5 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 107, including any Related Portions of First Revision No. 109 failed.
  • 99-6 Motion to Reject an Identifiable Part of Second Correlating Revision No. 10 failed.

 

NFPA 99 was passed with four amending motions. NFPA 99 COMPLETED.

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Boston, the following action has taken place on NFPA 59, Utility LP-Gas Plant Code

 

  • 59-1 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 17 failed.

 

NFPA 59 was passed with no amending motions. NFPA 59 COMPLETED.

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Boston, the following action has taken place on NFPA 54, National Fuel Gas Code

 

  • 54-1 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 94 passed.
  • 54-2 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 84 failed.
  • 54-3 Motion to Accept Public Comment Nos. 93, 89 and 86 failed.
  • 54-4 Motion to Accept Public Comment Nos. 90, 82 and 85 failed.
  • 54-5 Motion to Accept Public Comment Nos. 81 and 83 failed.
  • 54-6 Motion to Accept Public Comment No. 87 failed.
  • 54-7 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 12 failed.

 

NFPA 54 was passed with one amending motion. NFPA 54 COMPLETED.

During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Boston, the following action has taken place on NFPA 37, Standard for the Installation and Use of Stationary Combustion Engines and Gas Turbines

 

  • 37-1 Motion to Reject Second Revision No. 16 failed.

 

NFPA 37 was passed with no amending motions. NFPA 37 COMPLETED.

At today's NFPA Technical Meeting (Tech Session) in Boston, NFPA members are considering changes to the following 13 documents: 

  • NFPA 37, Standard for the Installation and Use of Stationary Combustion Engines and Gas Turbines
  • 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

 

Stay tuned for the final results on each document.

Kevin Quinn, chair of the National Volunteer Fire Council, shares his personal experience about the vital importance of annual physical exams.

 

Fitness and nutrition have always been a priority to Kevin Quinn, chair of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and the recently retired deputy fire chief of the Union Fire District in South Kingston, Rhode Island. He’s fit and active in his personal life, and consistently implemented those priority within his department. So when Quinn had his annual firefighter physical last August, he was pretty surprised to learn that he needed quadruple bypass surgery.


“The fire service saved my life,” said Quinn at a presentation at today’s health and safety forum, which focused on the health issues facing firefighters and the efforts underway to address them. Quinn says that by getting an annual medical exam and detecting his cardiac issues early, he was able to get the treatment he needed to be alive and healthy today.


Todd LeDuc, assistant chief of technical services at the Broward County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office, reinforced the extreme importance of annual physicals for firefighters, pinpointing the high level of physical fitness firefighters need to do their jobs safely. “Firefighters need to perform as high-performance, tactical athletes,” said LeDuc. More precisely, they need to perform at 12.6 “mets”. That means they need to be physically fit enough to run at 6.5 miles per hour at a 4.6 incline on a treadmill. In reality, studies show that firefighters are more obese than the rest of the population, with the average firefighter gaining three pounds per year.

Todd LeDuc, assistant chief of technical services at the Broward County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office, reinforced the extreme importance of annual physicals for firefighters.


LeDuc went on to address other risk factors firefighters face, including exposure to toxins and chemicals, and increased risk to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “Firefighters have lots of stressors that they often struggle to cope with, which sets them up for excess risk,” said Le Duc, noting that rates of binge drinking are much higher among firefighters compared to the rest of the population.

 

In the end, both Quinn and LeDuc’s main message focused on the importance of firefighters doing all they can to stay healthy, with annual exams serving as a key way to identify health issues early and treat them effectively.

 

“This issue is consuming the fire service,” Boston Fire (BFD) Commissioner Joe Finn told a crowd of more than 200 firefighters, fire leaders and EMS professionals in attendance at the First Responder Health Forum at NFPA Conference & Expo®  in Boston today. 


Finn spoke about his department’s efforts to engage all who will listen about the topic of firefighter cancer. He shared with the vested audience Boston’s efforts to stop the surge in firefighter cancer in his city and nationally. Finn estimates that 67% of BFD will have a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. On average the Commissioner receives word about a cancer diagnosis every 2-3 weeks. “In May alone, we had two diagnoses.” 


The Boston fire leader told first responders in the room that “this job comes with a level of personal responsibility."  And he was direct and clear when he stated ”it is incumbent upon management and labor to make a difference.” 


Over the past three years, with the support of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, IAFF's Rich Paris, local department brass, and his line firefighters, Finn has put a full court press on to educate brethren, policy makers, and the general public about the toll that cancer is taking within the ranks of his department. He showed BFD’s video about cancer during his opening remarks, pausing to let the names of all those who have succumbed to cancer scroll slowly up the screen at the end. Midway through his session, he ran a BFD follow up video about accountability on the job; and he ended his presentation with a clip from Good Morning America showing how little time it takes for fires to flashover today due to synthetics and new design.


Boston is working hard to update its firehouses – some of which date back to the Civil War. On average, Boston firehouses are 76 years old. Thanks to a $500 thousand investment this year by Mayor Walsh and another $500 available if needed, efforts are currently underway to remove carcinogens in the city’s firehouses. Each structure is being deep-cleaned, fire groups are temporarily being relocated, and soft goods such as beds and living space furniture are being replaced. Finn believes the efforts will go a long way. Boston has also installed industrial cleaning machinery so that firefighters can clean their PPE after each fire. The Last Call Foundation and the Gary Sinise Foundation graciously underwrote these costs.

 

Finn and BFD are certainly not alone in their efforts to combat cancer in the fire service. They recognize there have been mistakes made in their department and in other jurisdictions across the country when it comes to firefighter health and wellness. Finn, his leadership team, those on the front line, union officials and even the Hub's impressive medical and research community are coming together to change culture and cancer outcomes in Boston and beyond.

 

On the 70th anniversary of the Cocoanut Grove fire a few years back, three survivors told NFPA their stories. Ann Marie Gallagher was a 16-year-old girl from New Hampshire who was in Boston with her family, and was one of the survivors who we featured in the video above. Her parents, her boyfriend, and his father were among the 492 people the fire killed. Today's Boston Globe shares Ann Marie's story as she recently passed away on May 24th at age 90 from complications of a fall. 

 

Also today, during NFPA Conference & Expo, Casey Grant led an education session on the unsolved mystery of the Cocoanut Grove fire to a jam-packed room of intrigued attendees. Casey shared information on how fast the fire spread through the entire building, some of the existing theories on it's ignition source, and the fire modeling exercises that students from Worcester Polytechnic University have conducted over the last several years to piece together information from the historic fire that has been helping to determine what happened, and what may or may not have made a difference that night. all of the information Casey has been able to collect and synthesize can be found on a newly created website, www.cocoanutgrovefire.org for others to review. He keeps an open call for missing data that will help complete the picture as well. 

 

Download Casey's slide presentation (PDF) from the Conference website. 

 

 

AT the first session this morning, Steve Griffith and Jack Lyons from NEMA reviewed the Association's strategic initiatives related to the internet of things. Steve showed the projected growth of interconnected devices to 40 billion by 2019. He focused on the architectural structure of IoT - describing system networks, technology protocols and relevant standards for various markets. The list of IoT applications in the home is growing rapidly- think appliance and HVAC controls and lighting- including your living room curtains control. My sense from listening to the presentation is that the commercial and associated standards development that are behind this movement are much deeper than I had thought. Jack then connected this to our world of fire and electrical codes. He painted the picture of a lighting device as an energy saving system, a fire detector, a motion sensor to support evacuation strategies and a communicator. This opens up so many opportunities to increase safety - if we can connect this capability to other safety systems. This is our challenge going forward- to enable this communication through standards. 

 

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) leaders signed an MOU today with the Korea Fire Institute (KFI) at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Boston.


KFI is a national safety authority responsible for the firefighting industry, related businesses and overseas partnerships under the laws of the Ministry of Public Safety and Security in Korea. Their efforts center around the fire protection industry, the fire profession, the approval and inspection of fire protection products, flame retardant performance testing, and safe management of hazmat.


NFPA will collaborate with KFI as they look to improve fire, electrical and life safety standards in their country. The agreement allows KFI to tap into NFPA’s extensive research, best practices, lessons learned, and public education resources. The non-profit organization plans to introduce new training programs, promote the use of NFPA codes and standards, and work with the Association to strengthen their safety practices.


Joining forces with global connections like KFI allows NFPA to share the collective wisdom gleaned over the last hundred years; and to learn from international authorities about challenges and solutions in their corner of the world.

Dolly Hulin, life safety education division chief for the Thomasville, NC, Fire Department, recieved NFPA's 2017 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year during NFPA's Conference & Expo in Boston.

 

"Dolly is known for using innovative techniques and her own creativity to present NFPA fire and burn safety messages to the evergrowing and changing demographics within Thomasville," said NFPA Board member Kwame Cooper as he presented the award to Ms. Hulin.

 

Ms. Hulin has been exclusively using NFPA programs and materials since 2005. She calls NFPA the “one-stop-shop” for all of her fire department’s education and prevention efforts. She is known for her extraordinary commitment to fire and burn prevention education and her outreach efforts include Safety Fest, an event she created to raise awareness during Fire Prevention Week. The event is attended by more than 20 area agencies and hundreds of residents. 

Long-time public education advocate Patricia Mieszala of California received a special award from NFPA's Education Section during the NFPA Conference & Expo in Boston.

 

"Once in a great while someone comes along with great vision and perseverance that can change and inspire future colleagues and generations," said Section chair Lynn Schofield as he presented the award to Ms. Mieszala. "She became actively involved in NFPA public education outreach as a Learn Not to Burn and Risk Watch Regional coordinator, as well as youth fire setting intervention and public fire and life safety education."

 

Matt Klaus, NFPA’s principal fire protection engineer, and John Johnson, manager of training services at Johnson Controls, showed NFPA Conference and Expo attendees how to test, install and maintain a sprinkler system using a 10' stainless steel, fully operational and self-contained suppression system. Together, Klaus and Johnson discussed how to take the system apart and inspect it.

 

Klaus noted that professionals need different information about the system based upon their job responsibilities. For example, facility managers who are around the system every day need a general understanding of how they work to ensure that they’re running properly. Inspectors who check the system annually need an in-depth knowledge of the system, and may need to take them apart to “figure it all out.” Authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) need to know how to reset the power, shut lights off and ensure full flow.

 

Our NFPA 25 Inspection Testing and Maintenance of Water Based Fire Protection System 3-Day Training is a 3-day course that combines hands-on training in a lab setting with classroom learning hosted by NFPA’s Matt Klaus or other NFPA-approved instructors. Students will be able to review the 2017 Edition of NFPA 25, chapter-by- chapter with an expert NFPA instructor then apply what they’ve learned on actual equipment.

 

Upcoming trainings are planned for this July. (They sell out quickly, so if you're interested, sign up asap!)

 

Throughout the year, we communicate the many ways that NFPA is collaborating with stakeholders around the globe. We highlight NFPA’s efforts to share the expertise, resources and best practices that have been cultivated over the course of a century; and we report on the innovators who are addressing safety challenges in new, unique ways that may benefit others in our world.


This week, the organization’s international reach is on full display, in their own backyard, at the Association’s annual Conference & Expo (C&) at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Delegates from more than 20 countries have descended; invaluable learning is underway; and collaboration with authorities is in full swing. It’s exciting to see the international reach of NFPA everywhere you turn at C&E.


Attendees from the far reaches are engaging, listening, learning and sharing experiences from their countries. They are participating in educational sessions, perusing the Expo floor, and absorbing as much as they can to take back to their own jurisdictions. They represent the needs of fire professionals, the government, code enforcers, electrical engineers, contractors, builders, designers, facility managers, and public education specialists. No matter where they hail from – they are all hungry for information and knowledge.

 

Close to 200 attendees from nearly two dozen countries in Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, Europe, Canada, and Australia also convened today at an international stakeholder appreciation breakfast. They mingled, celebrated their diversity, and shared perspective. Throughout the remainder of the conference, NFPA President Jim Pauley and others will conduct private meetings with different delegations to determine how the Association can lend support to and learn from foreign counterparts.

Many experienced, well-regarded fire protection professionals are assembling this week at NFPA’s Conference & Expo (C&E) in Boston. There is no shortage of expertise, insight and passion among the thousands gathered here. In addition to the wisdom being shared by industry experts via more than 120 educational sessions, the impressive work being done by today’s rising stars is also on display.

 

Each year, NFPA’s Research Section sponsors a student poster session, inviting budding fire protection engineers and other young innovators to submit their work for review and then attend C&E to showcase their research to like-minded professionals at NFPA’s premier fire and electrical safety conference. The following students, universities and projects presented at a special NFPA member reception:

 

  • Anurag Jha, University of North Carolina at Charlotte (MS) - Impact of Fixed Firefighting Systems in Road Tunnel Resilience
  • Vineet Madasseri Payyappalli, SUNY Buffalo (PhD) - Predictive Risk Analytics, Estimating Effectiveness of Investment, and Optimal Resource Allocation for Fire Protection
  • Nicholas Traina, U of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign (PhD) - Effect of Firefighter Water Application on Occupant Burn Risk and Tenability
  • Zachary Green, Oklahoma State University (BS) - Effectiveness of Hotel Fire Alarms for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired
  • Young-Geun You, Worcester Polytechnic University (PhD) - Development of a Novel Model to Determine the Optimum Building Insulation Systems to Achieve Fire Safety in Sustainable Buildings Using Multiple-Criteria Decision Analysis
  • Katie Dzierwa, Case Western Reserve University (BS) - Assessment of Devices for Use in Atmospheres of Increased Burning Rate
  • Hang Yi, Oklahoma State University (PhD) - Evaluation of LPG Pool Fire Heat Flux
  • Alexandra Thompson, Oklahoma State University (BS) - Emergency Generator Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance (ITM)
  • James Whitcomb, Oklahoma State University (BS) - The Development of a Long-Term Corrosion Experiment
  • Alexander Ing, Worcester Polytechnic University (BS/MS) - Design of Small-Scale Furnace for Fire Resistance Testing of Building Construction Materials

NFPA’s Research Section is thrilled to share these students’ work, and to reinforce the efforts of aspiring fire protection engineer trailblazers. Since 1988, the Section has brought together individuals involved in or interested in fire safety, fire science, fire codes and standards, fire protection, and related areas of research. Representatives facilitate communication between researchers and practitioners, helping to identify what users need, what researchers have available, and what general strategies will lead to increased use of valid research.

 

Congratulations to the 2017 student research winners.

Matt Hinds-Aldrich, Rita Fahy and myself presented a review of NFPA's review of the international fire data scene at the NFPA conference this morning. As part of our work for our own project to develop a National Fire Daya System here in the U.S., we've conducted an international survey of best practices, participated in the Ibternational Standards Organization's survey and met with some of the leaders in fire data around the world. The presentation this morning shared lessons learned around simplicity of data entry, training of data enterers and most importantly the need to provide immediate incentives and feedback to those at the local level who are the key to data quality. As we broaden our data interests beyond incident related data, we have much to learn from the British and Australians about their systems for fire prevention related data collection. 

Audience members from around the world emphasized the need for a broad global dialogue on these topics as NFPA moves forward with our data initiatives. We are listening. 

NFPA's Rita Fahy discusses findings from this year's firefighter fatalities report while addressing some of the report's limitations in capturing the full firefighter fatality problem.

 

At today's session, "Firefighter Fatalities and Injuries: Understanding the Problem," Rita Fahy, NFPA’s manager of fire databases and systems, covered findings from NFPA's annual U.S. Firefighter Fatalities report, released today. According to the report, a total of 69 U.S. firefighter fatalities while on duty in 2016. This represents the fifth time in the past six years that the total number of deaths has been below 70.

 

“When NFPA began reporting on firefighter deaths 40 years ago, the annual average was close to 150 fatalities per year. Over the past five years (between 2012 and 2016), the annual average has dropped to less than half that at 73 deaths, so we’ve clearly seen a significant decline in on-duty firefighter fatality rates over time,” said Fahy.

 

Of the 69 firefighter fatalities, 39 were volunteer firefighters, 19 were career firefighters, eight were employees of federal land management agencies, one was a contractor with a state land management agency, one was a member of a facility fire brigade and one was a prison inmate.

 

Although the largest share of deaths usually occur at the scene of fires, in 2016 the largest share of deaths (a total of 17) occurred while firefighters were responding to and returning from alarms. The next largest share of fatalities (a total of 15) occurred while firefighters were operating at fires. By far, this number reflects the lowest number of fire ground deaths since NFPA began conducting the annual study in 1977. It also represents the third consecutive year that the total has been below 25 deaths.

 

Overexertion, stress and medical issues accounted for by far the largest share of on-duty firefighter deaths. Of the 29 deaths in this category, 26 were classified as sudden cardiac deaths (usually heart attacks) and one to a stroke. The 26 on-duty cardiac deaths represent the lowest total since the study began in 1977. Cardiac-related events accounted for 39 percent of the deaths in 2016, and 42 percent over the past 10 years.  There were also two on-duty suicide deaths (one by gunshot and the other by hanging), which fall under this category.

 

Fahy points out that while the annual report shows a steady decline in on-duty firefighter fatalities, a full picture of the firefighter fatality problem would include, besides these deaths that result from injuries while on duty, those that may occur years later due to long-term exposures to carcinogens, as well as physical and emotional stress and strain. The existing methodology also doesn’t capture firefighter suicide, which is a growing concern within the fire service.

 

“While the annual report accurately reflects steadily declining rates among on-duty firefighters, it doesn’t capture many of the deaths that occur off duty but that are ultimately the result of on-duty activities,” said Fahy.

 

Congratulations to Matthew Campbell for winning our annual National Anthem contest, and being the featured performer during the General Session of the 2017 Conference & Expo in Boston..

 

Matthew was born on an Air Force base in Goldsboro, NC. He enjoyed being the entertainer of the family from an early age. He was raised around many genres of music ranging from gospel to rock and roll. He works at Murrell Burglar Alarms as an installation technician, and has proudly served the company for 10 years. He also enjoys singing at local events and leading worship at his church. Matthew lives in Tennessee with his wife, Brandi, and their two children.

NFPA's Annual Conference & Expo is taking place in Boston -- and NFPA members can watch live live stream bonus presentations featuring an array of NFPA experts.

 

Members: whether you've joined us here in Boston -- or are working at your desk, please join us online for these special free live presentations today.

 

Monday, June 5
(All times ET)

11:00 AM
NFPA 855: Stationary Energy Storage Systems
Brian O'Connor, NFPA Technical Staff

 

11:30 AM
Effective Development of Electrical Safety Programs
Derek Vigstol, NFPA Technical Staff

 

12:00 PM
NFPA's Disability Access Review & Advisory Committee
Allan Fraser, NFPA Technical Staff

 

12:30 PM
Day in the life as NFPA’s Facility Manager
Kevin Carr, NFPA Staff

 

1:00 PM
New Standard on Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)
Michael Wixted & Curt Floyd, NFPA Technical Staff

 

1:30 PM
Training & Certification: What You Want to Know
Dennis DiMambro & Leon Katcharian, NFPA Staff

 

2:00 PM
NFPA Xchange: Connecting with Peers Worldwide
Kyla Caponigro, NFPA Staff

2:30 PM
ITM of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems
Matt Klaus, NFPA Technical Staff

Jim Pauley speaks at the General Session of the 2017 NFPA Conference & Expo in Boston.

 

One hundred and twenty years ago, our efforts to keeping the world safe from fire looked very different than it does today.

 

During his remarks at the General Session at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Boston on Sunday, June 4, NFPA President Jim Pauley welcomed attendees to Boston, where NFPA was founded in 1896.

 

“We sit a short walk from the original headquarters of NFPA,” he said. “Picture this – it is the late 1890’s, most buildings are wooden industrial structures containing a variety of commodities. A fire breaks out and quickly stretches for blocks, consuming everything in its path. Horse-led fire apparatus fills the streets. Getting water on these fires is not an easy task.  The losses are enormous.”

 

Mr. Pauley noted that while some of the buildings in Boston had sprinklers at the time, not all of them were effective due to the inconsistent ways there were installed. With growing frustration that there must be a better way to save lives and property from fire, a small group of insurance executives gathered to discuss how to standardize our efforts.

 

Those discussions led to the development of NFPA’s first standard, Rules and Regulations for Sprinkler Equipment Automatic and Open Systems, and marked the beginning of NFPA’s work to revolutionize fire, life and electrical safety.

 

But NFPA did not do it alone, said Mr. Pauley. “We did it with people just like all of you – engineers, contractors, installers, designers, builders, electricians, fire fighters who joined with us to make that small world safer. All of them worked with us to create a new level of fire safety. All of them helped to revolutionize fire and life safety.”

 

Despite our collective accomplishments, we all know our work is not done. Mr. Pauley said today, the world is much bigger place: buildings are taller, our challenges are greater, and the demands for our talents and expertise are constant.

 

“While the times have changed, NFPA’s commitment is exactly the same and fueled exactly the same way – by our quest to make your job easier, our quest to help you be more effective,” said Mr. Pauley. “Because when you do your job well; when you are able to be more effective; together we save lives.”

 

How are we moving forward? Mr. Pauley said the key is talking to and listening to the needs of our members, customers, and partners – and then delivering solutions.

 


Mr. Pauley announced the development of a new NFPA mobile app that will allow first responders access to some of the most relevant knowledge and information available. He also discussed responding to calls for training in different formats, and the move away from traditional code-based training to role-based training.

 

“We focused on giving you opportunities to carry-out the same physical activities of your job with hands on experience for inspection, testing, and maintenance on fire suppression systems,” he said.

 

Mr. Pauley noted that NFPA’s new hot work training program, created after the deaths of two Boston firefighters, has already been completed by more than 14,000 workers.

 

Understanding our stakeholder’s need for better data, NFPA is working to develop a flexible platform to capture and process data from fire departments across the country, new artificial intelligence tools to guide inspection prioritization, and GIS-based programs to help fire departments visualize their existing data.

 

Mr. Pauley said that NFPA is also heeding the call for more information on important emerging issues.

 

 

How do we all stay connected during these times of rapid change? Mr. Pauley noted that NFPA Xchange™, an online community where users can network with their peers and NFPA staff, has more than 30,000 (and growing) registered users. And real-time connections are happening by the minute with our more than 250,000 fans on Facebook and 55,000 followers on Twitter.

 

“As we engage more and more with all of you, we are having greater impact,” he said. “That impact can be seen across the globe.”

 

From our efforts in Bangladesh to help stem factory fires, to our work in the Middle East to help protect some of the world’s tallest buildings, to our efforts to promote requirements for home fire sprinklers, to our work to lead change in the wildland urban interface --  all of this activity brings us closer to our vision of eliminating loss.

 

“Just like that group of individuals in 1896, we are being bolder than before, we are working smarter,” said Mr. Pauley. “Together, we are leading in fire, life and electrical safety. Thank you for your part in it. The world needs us more than ever we still can’t do it alone. The more we do together the more we accomplish. It’s a big world. Let’s protect it together.”

 

Read the full transcript of Jim Pauley's remarks.

NFPA's Karen Berard-Reed leads lively discussion on building community partnerships at today's Spotlight on Public Education session.

 

At this morning’s Spotlight on Public Education, Karen Berard-Reed, senior project manager for NFPA's public education division, hosted “Lone Ranger or Justice League? Building Partnerships for Risk Reduction Efforts,” which addressed strategies for building strong community partnerships.


Berard-Reed noted important factors to consider when reaching out to potential partners: Do your homework and choose organizations whose goals align with yours. Provide details about what you're asking them to do, but be clear about how your partnership will benefit them as well. “Partnerships are a two-way street,” said Berard-Reed. “You can’t simply ask for what you want an organization to give you. You need to spell out how working with you will support their efforts, too.”


She also noted that by getting to know your partners and learning about them, you can develop strong relationships that make the work you do together fun. “When you really get to know your community partners, working with them won’t even feel like work,” Berard-Reed said.


The session included lively and interactive conversation among attendees, who shared their perspectives and experiences on selecting community partners and techniques for building lasting relationships. 

Erin Baumgartner of MIT's Senseable City Lab speaking Sunday at the NFPA Conference & Expo General Session in Boston. 

 

As billions of Internet-connected devices from cell phones to sensors flood our world with data, the question “what are we supposed to do with it all?” keeps all sorts of really smart people across the globe very busy. Sunday, two of those people shared their answers to that all-important question at the 2017 NFPA Conference & Expo General Session in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

Keynote speakers Erin Baumgartner, assistant director of MIT’s Senseable City Lab, and Tom Koulopoulos, CEO and founder of the Delphi Group, came at the question in complementary ways. Baumgartner, who’s lab comes up with innovative ways to use data to make cities “smarter, safer, greener and more pleasurable to live in,” she said, shared some mind-boggling examples of the types of insights big data can unlock in the real world. Koulopoulos, who spoke next, talked of what needs to happen in order to integrate the use of these powerful data insights and technologies into our everyday lives.

 

Watch Erin Baumgartner's keynote presentation at the 2017 NFPA Conference & Expo

 

“There has been a global boom of growth in the stuff that talks to the Internet,” said Baumgartner, citing a Cisco figure that by 2020 there will be 30 billion connected devices worldwide. “That represents an enormous challenge, but also huge opportunities. … This is the data we like to swim around in to figure out how our cities can be better.”

 

Her lab at MIT embedded sensors to track thousands of pieces of trash to find out where it goes, and found huge inefficiencies; mapped millions of taxi rides in New York City and elsewhere, finding that 90 percent of rides are shareable with minimal disruption to passengers; and has even designed sewer robots to dig around under the streets of Cambridge, Mass. to take readings that may be able to track public health trends.

 

While Baumgartner’s presentation zeroed in on specific examples of big data’s tantalizing possibilities, Koulopoulos’s talk took a big picture view of how this global movement may be integrated into solutions for the real world.

 

 

Tom Koulopoulos, CEO and Founder of the Delphi Group, speaks at the 2017 NFPA Conference & Expo General Session in Boston on Sunday.

 

Successful innovations change human behavior over time and seamlessly integrate into people’s lives, Koulopoulos said, citing video games, social media, and smartphones as examples. Big data solutions for the fire service and fire protection professionals will have to have a similar evolution, he argued.

 

“All of these devices cannot be layered onto what is already a difficult job,” he said. “You need to ask the question: does this simplify the task? We cannot feed all of this information to firefighters or we’ll overwhelm them, not make things easier.”

 

The solution is to funnel more complex data up to some other system that simplifies it to the most important small, usable bites that can then be fed to the end user.

 

“All progress is complex before it’s simple,” he said. “The task is not technology, it is fundamentally changing behavior. I hope you’re up to it.”

The recipients of the Philip J. DiNenno Prize pose with Linda DiNenno and NFPA Chair Randy Tucker.

 

Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus (VESDA) is the technical achievement to receive this year’s Philip J. DiNenno Prize during the NFPA Conference & Expo in Boston. The award was presented to David Packham, John Petersen, and Martin Cole, with special commendation given to deceased co-inventor and advocate Len Gibson.

 

VESDA technology and its pre-eminent role in the global introduction of aspirated smoke detection or ASD has led to a major impact on public safety.

 

The prestigious DiNenno Prize recognizes groundbreaking innovations that have had a significant impact in the building, fire and electrical safety fields. The prize is named for the late Philip J. DiNenno, the greatly respected former CEO of Hughes Associates, in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to fire safety.

The VESDA innovation transformed the fire detection and alarm industry and inspired a whole new aspirated smoke detection area of technology. The installation of VESDA in telecommunication facilities, telephone exchanges, data centers, high technology manufacturing, industrial control rooms and other related facilities has had a significant impact on asset protection and business continuity. In addition, the very early smoke detection by VESDA provides life safety protection for employees working in these buildings.

 

The DiNenno Prize was established in 2014 following DiNenno’s passing in 2013. A prize committee considers nominations submitted from around the world. More information can be found at www.nfpa.org/dinenno.

 

Ann Jones received the 2017 James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal for her lifelong devotion to fire safety and having an influential role in the passage of a nationwide requirement for residential sprinklers.

 

The James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal was established in honor of Jim Shannon, who served as NFPA president for 12 years, beginning in 2002. Mr. Shannon was a vocal advocate for home fire sprinklers and intensified NFPA’s efforts in support of requirements for this technology.

 

In 2007, Ms. Jones headed a legislative proposal that would give Wales authority to ensure that all new homes are fitted with automatic fire sprinklers. She worked diligently to get cross-party support for sprinklers, sought out skeptical legislators, educated them on safety benefits, and won over the fire and rescue service with her enthusiasm and belief. The sprinkler law passed in 2011, making Wales the first country to pass a nationwide requirement and providing a model for all jurisdictions to follow.

 

Ms. Jones is from Rhyl, a town on the northern coast of Wales. She worked for more than three decades in the Rhyl Fire Service emergency call center, skillfully handling emergencies with compassion and composure. Over the years, Jones also held a number of key leadership positions with the Fire Brigades Union, was a town councilor, county councilor, and town mayor. In addition, she has been a member of the National Assembly for Wales since 1999, and currently serves as the presiding officer. 

 

Ann Jones of Wales received the Shannon Advocacy Medal during NFPA's Conference & Expo in Boston.

Ken Isman receives the NFPA Standards Medal from Kerry Bell, (left) Chair of the NFPA Standards Council and Principal Engineer at UL, and NFPA President Jim Pauley.

 

This year’s recipient of the NFPA Standards Medal is Kenneth E. Isman, a clinical professor in Fire Protection Engineering at the University of Maryland.

 

Over the years, Mr. Isman has served on the building code/safety to life, fire pumps, water cooling towers, water tanks, and sprinkler committees, and was a member of the NFPA Standards Council for seven years. Today, he continues to serve on the NFPA 101, 5000, 20, 13, 13D, and 13R committees.

 

He has contributed significantly to the handbooks for NFPA 13, 13D, and 13R, and played an integral role in creating the first edition of NFPA 25. In addition, he was a contributor to the Fire Pump Handbook and the Fire Protection Research Foundation High Volume/Low Speed Fans and Sprinkler Operation project. Mr. Isman incorporates 22 NFPA codes into his course curricula at the University of Maryland.

 

This award recognizes and honors outstanding contributions to fire safety, and the development of NFPA codes and standards. This award is the most distinguished award given by the NFPA Standards Council.

The winner of the 2016 Industrial Fire Protection Section Fire Prevention Week Award is Siemens Building Technologies for their exceptional Fire Prevention Week program.

 

Siemens partnered with Marvel Comics to script, design, and produce a digital and printed quad-fold comic poster. The comic illustrates how an emergency voice communication system can help spur building occupants to action. The storyline focuses on Siemens’ intelligent voice communication system and features popular Marvel Comic characters such as Iron Man and Captain America.

 

During Fire Prevention Week 2016, Siemens distributed the comic strip and related materials in high traffic zones throughout their six buildings at corporate headquarters and 104 field offices, local schools, and fire departments.

 

This award, presented during NFPA's Conference & Expo, recognizes businesses that promote fire and related safety messages to their employees and communities during Fire Prevention Week.

 

NFPA recently announced the theme of the 2017 Fire Prevention Week campaign, "Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!", which focuses on the importance of home escape planning and practice.

The 2017 Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal was awarded to “Lithium-Ion Batteries Hazard and Use Assessment – Phase 3: Sprinkler Protection Criteria for Lithium Ion Batteries Stored in Cartons” during the NFPA Conference & Expo in Boston.

 

The research project is the third phase in a project aimed at developing a guidance protocol for fire protection of lithium-ion batteries for storage. The reports seeks to provide technical data to NFPA 13 to fill the knowledge gap in understanding if lithium-ion batteries in storage require different storage. The research was made possible by a group of primary and contributing sponsors, contractors, and a technical panel.

 

The award was presented to Benjamin Ditch of FM Global, who is the project contractor, on behalf of all those involved in the project.

 

The Research Foundation Medal recognizes the Fire Protection Research Foundation project completed in the previous year that best exemplifies the Foundation’s fire safety mission, committee to overcome technical challenges, and the collaborative approach to execution that is the hallmark of all Foundation projects.

The Harry C. Bigglestone award is given annually at NFPA's Confernce & Expo to the paper appearing in Fire Technology that best represents excellence in the communication of fire protection concepts.

 

The 2017 Bigglestone Award was awarded to Enrico Ronchi, Erica D. Kuligowski, Daniel Nilsson, Richard D. Peacock, and Paul A. Reneke, for their paper entitled “Assessing the Verification and Validation of Building Fire Evacuation Models.”

 

This paper is intended to open a discussion on the main issues associated with the definition of a standard procedure for the verification and validation of building fire evacuation models, including the definition of the acceptance criteria of a standard verification and validation protocol. The winning paper was chosen from a pool of over 100 eligible papers.

 

Lead author Enrico Ronchi, an associate senior lecturer in evacuation modelling in the Department of Fire Safety Engineering at Lund University (Sweden), accepted the award on behalf of his co-authors.

 

This award honors the memory of Harry Bigglestone, who served as a trustee of the Fire Protection Research Foundation, and who was a fellow and past president of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. The award is accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize.

Three days of knowledge sharing are on tap for attendees at this year’s NFPA Conference & Expo, promised NFPA Chair Randy Tucker of The Woodlands, TX, who welcomed attendees to Boston for NFPA’s 121st annual meeting.

 

“In an era where things move at lightning speed individuals and organizations need to keep pace to remain relevant,” he said. “Everything you see and hear over the next few days will be concrete examples of how NFPA is doing just that.”

 

Mr. Tucker said he is proud of all that NFPA and its members, supporters, and friends have accomplished, and even prouder of the work that has been done in the last three years under the leadership of president Jim Pauley.

 

“We’ve done this while managing our resources to sustain this critical organization,” he said. “Everything we do is aimed at our singular focus: eliminate the fire problem throughout the world. Thank you for the roles you will play in making this vision a reality.”

Russell Leavitt, Chair of NFPA's Governance and Nominating Committee, presides over the election of new board members.

 

Jim Sullivan, Jeff Cash, and Roger Montembeault were elected to the NFPA board of directors during today's association’s annual Conference & Expo in Boston. The three-year term for each member takes effect upon the close of the conference.

 

Jim Sullivan is the president of IDG International Publishing Services, where he previously served as vice president of licensing, and as director of finance and administration. In 2013, he was elected a board member of FIPP, a network for global media that represents content-rich companies and individuals involved in the creation, publishing and/or sharing of quality content.

 

Jeff Cash is the fire chief and emergency manager for the City of Cherryville, North Carolina, Fire Department. He has been a member of the department since 1981, previously serving as a firefighter, driver engineer, captain and training officer. Cash serves as deputy executive director of the North Carolina Fire Chiefs Association, and as past president of the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association and the Western North Carolina Firemen’s Association. He also serves on the executive committee of the National Volunteer Fire Council, and is a member of the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Officer Professional Qualifications.

 

Roger Montembeault is the consultant/owner of The Montembeault Group, Inc. He has previously served as president/owner of Flotronix Corporation; executive vice president of General Signal Corporation; vice president of sales and marketing for Peerless Pump Co.; and general manager for Goulds Pumps. Montembeault is currently a member of the NFPA Task Group on Connectivity (NFPA 20), and is a member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE).

 

Two board members, Russ Leavitt and Eric Rosenbaum, were re-elected to a second term. Kwame Cooper, a retiring member of the board, was previously elected to serve as the assistant treasurer.


NFPA President Jim Pauley (center) met with the Board of Directors of Organizión Bomberos Americanos (OBA) today at NFPA's Conference & Expo (C&E).  

 

Eight Latin American countries were represented: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, and Uruguay.

 

OBA celebrated its 10th anniversary as the leading Latin America fire service organization last year. 

 

Are you heading to Boston this weekend (or maybe you are already here...welcome!) for the annual NFPA Conference & Expo?  We are excited to be hosting the conference in NFPA’s backyard and home state.  There will be A LOT going on at the conference including informative educational sessions and the Association Technical Meeting where the NFPA membership will vote on certified amending motions presented on NFPA 1.  I have put together a list of everything you won’t want to miss if you are looking for information about, or in some way related to, content in NFPA 1, Fire Code or for inspectors and fire code officials.

 

 

EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS:

Sun, Jun 4, 2017 - 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM

S05 - New HVAC Refrigerants and the Fire Challenges They Present

 

Sun, Jun 4, 2017 - 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

S28 - NFPA 72®, NFPA 1221, and Two-Way Radio Communications Enhancement Systems

 

Mon, Jun 5, 2017 - 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM

M02 - Energy Storage Systems: Preparing to Deal with the Hazards

 

Mon, Jun 5, 2017 - 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

M45 - Energy Storage Systems: Emerging Technology and Safety-Related Issues

 

Mon, Jun 5, 2017 - 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM

M07 - NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®: Proposed Changes

 

Mon, Jun 5, 2017 - 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM

M08 - NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code: Proposed Changes Impacting Combustible Liquid Storage in Composite IBCs

 

Mon, Jun 5, 2017 - 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM

M21 - College Campus Safety: A Case Study in Balancing Fire Code Application and Security Needs

 

Mon, Jun 5, 2017 - 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM

M82 - Artificial Trees and Fire Performance

 

Tue, Jun 6, 2017 - 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM

T12 - Marijuana Grow Facilities -- an AHJ Perspective

 

Tue, Jun 6, 2017 - 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM

 

Tue, Jun 6, 2017 - 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
The NFPA Technical Meeting will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Under the NFPA rules, only Certified Amending Motions (with valid sign-in) and proper follow-up motions will be presented.  There will be 13 NFPA codes and standards presented at this year's technical meeting.  NFPA 1 will be the last document to be addressed on Wednesday.  You can view the meeting agenda and the certified amending motions for NFPA 1 here. Successful motions presented to NFPA 1 will be then voted on by the Technical Committee and may result in final changes to the Code before publication of the 2018 edition this fall.

 

Enjoy your time at what's sure to be a fantastic Conference!

 

Happy Friday, stay safe!

“Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out™” has been announced as the official theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, October 8-14, 2017! This year’s focus on home fire escape planning and practice comes as the result of a recent survey we commissioned, which showed that nearly half of all Americans have not developed a home fire escape plan. Of those that have, one-quarter have never practiced it.


“Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out” works to better educate the public about just how quickly today’s home fires can spread, and how little time they may have to escape safely. It also works to teach the public what a home escape plan entails, and the value of practicing it twice a year.


These potentially life-saving messages are more important than ever. The synthetic fibers used in modern home furnishings, along with the fact that newer homes tend to be built with more open spaces and unprotected lightweight construction, all contribute to an increased rate at which fire burns. Experts say you could have less than two minutes to escape a home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds.


For more information about Fire Prevention Week and this year’s campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out,” visit firepreventionweek.org.

ESS el

For those of you who are unfamiliar, energy storage systems (ESS) are devices that can store energy for use as electrical energy at a later time. They are used in residential, commercial and utility applications listed below. These storage systems are important because they provide resiliency and reliability to our aging electrical grid system.


The most popular form of ESS are batteries and in particular, rechargeable lithium ion batteries. Other types of ESS include the following:
1. Flywheels
2. Pumped Hydro
3. Ultra Capacitors
4. Compressed Air
5. Thermal Storage (molten salts)


But I will concentrate on batteries for this article. Lithium Ion batteries are commonplace in today’s consumer electronics, usually found in your laptops, phones and even electric and hybrid vehicles. They are used in such a variety of applications because of their high energy density.


What do we use Energy Storage Systems for?
One huge application of Energy Storage Systems is to supplement renewable energy such as solar panels or wind turbines. The use of ESS allows any excess unused power generated to be stored for later use. This is important because it means you can use electricity from renewable power generation methods any time and not just when the sun it out or when the wind is blowing. Estimates have shown that residential solar systems will regularly include energy storage in the future.

 

When looking at what drives most industries forward one word comes to mind, money, and ESS is no different. A big driver of recent ESS installations is the cost saving benefit. For those of you who are unaware, electric companies vary their rates throughout the day based on demand. ESS allows a user to shift where their electricity comes from by drawing power from the system during the higher cost daytime hours then recharging during the lower cost nighttime hours. This way you are always paying the lower rate for electricity.


One last application is using ESS for Backup Power, which is a power supply used to provide alternating current power to a load for some period of time in the event of a power failure. This is often used in hospitals, data centers and homes.

 

ESS Hazards
So that was a little background as to what ESS are and how they are used, but along with this great technology comes some unique hazards. They are as follows:

 

1. Thermal Runaway. Thermal Runaway is a term used to describe the rapid and uncontrolled release of heat energy from a battery cell. Thermal runaway occurs when a battery creates more heat than it can dissipate which can result in a battery fire or explosion. Due to the configuration of batteries thermal runaway can often spread to adjacent cells, batteries and materials, causing fire to spread rapidly. Also, these ESS are often incased in many layers of protection and the visible signs of thermal runaway can be hidden in its early stages.


2. Stranded Energy. Something that is particularly tricky about Energy Storage Systems is that they often do not dissipate all of their energy when they are involved in a fire. This can be dangerous for the first responders who are navigating a fire scene. Once the fire is out that doesn’t mean the shock hazard is gone.


3. Re-ignition. ESS has an uncanny ability to reignite after the fire is thought to be extinguished. This is because of the stranded energy not dissipating in a fire, it can be cooled and the fire thought to be extinguished but if it doesn’t completely stop thermal runaway then the temperature will continue to increase and can reignite hours or even days later.


4. Off-Gassing. While involved in a fire, battery energy storage systems often let off different flammable and toxic gasses. These are dangerous while both fighting the fire and while cleaning up afterwards. Different ventilation techniques must be considered when installing these systems.


5. Toxic Runoff. Along with toxic gasses, while a first responder is trying to control the fire with their hose, water can create a toxic runoff that can effect surrounding areas. This is still a challenging problem to solve with no clear answer.


6. Lack of Information. There are a limited number of publicly available information on how these ESS behave in a fire. The industry is looking to the future for more large scale fire tests to be conducted.


7. Variety of Types. There are many different types, sizes and chemistries of energy storage systems that it is hard to have a “one size fits all” approach to fire safety.

 

Extinguishment
One popular myth about extinguishment is that you cannot put out a lithium ion battery fire with water. This conclusion is usually jumped to because pure lithium metal is reactive with water. Lithium ion batteries, however, do not have pure lithium in them but instead are made with lithium salts that can be safely extinguished with water.


The unique hazards listed above can make extinguishment of Energy Storage Systems quite difficult. A recent study by DNVGL and Con Edison recommend a two-tiered approach to fire extinguishment with a total flooding gaseous agent to control a fire early on that is followed up by ventilation and copious amounts of water being added to the fire if the fire gets too hot for the gaseous system to cool.


With the advancement of technology and the creativity of applications I do not see ESS going away anytime soon. With ESS here to stay the NFPA is working on the development of a Standard to address many of these safety issues, NFPA 855: Standard on the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems.


If you need more information on regulations regarding ESS you can look into NFPA 70: National Electrical Code (NEC), Article 706, NFPA 1: Fire Code, Chapter 52 or our ESS resource page www.nfpa.org/ESS

There is a week to go before the proposals are due for an experienced vendor interested in partnering with NFPA to build a prototype of the new National Fire Data System.  If you haven't read the RfP it is available here along with more information about the NFDS project.  We received several questions seeking clarification from interested parties and the questions and answers are provided here in the attached RfP Appendix. 

My last blog posed the question whether a second-degree burn should be considered an acceptable employee injury. Why 1.2 cal/cm2 was selected as the point when the arc-flash hazard needed to be addressed was also covered. NFPA 70E® still applies where the incident energy is below this level but does not require arc-flash PPE to be worn. When HRC 0 was removed from the standard in 2015 it caused a lot of concern for the standard users. Many of you felt that left no guidelines on what was required to be worn when applying NFPA 70E. You felt your employee could wear whatever they wanted and you could not prevent it. I will attempt to address why this should not have caused as big of a concern as it did.

HRC 0 was not arc-flash PPE. HRC 0 was essentially what an employee should wear for every day work clothes. It required non-melting materials, long sleeve shirts, and long pants. It also required that you make a selection for safety glasses, hearing protection and heavy duty leather gloves. Remember, a second-degree burn is acceptable so no arc-rating was necessary. The specification was that clothes not melt onto the employee during an incident at lower incident energies. What should be done now that HRC 0 is gone?

You should be aware of 130.7 Personal and Other Protective Equipment. If NFPA 70E is being used because there is an electrical hazard then 130.7 applies. Section 130.7 clearly requires that employees working in areas where electrical hazards are present be provided with, and use, protective equipment that is designed and constructed for the specific part of the body to be protected and for the work to be performed. Notice that this statement is not for a specific incident energy or voltage level. You do not have to use the minimum 1.2 cal/cm2 requirement of the standard. You could consider a burn hazard to be anything over the potential of a first-degree burn. You could consider that any work conducted on energized equipment regardless of voltage or incident energy requires nonflammable clothing. If you are protecting you employee from whatever you consider to be a hazard, you have the ability to require that they be protected from that hazard.

Further along in 130.7(C)(12) there is another statement that is not tied to incident energy. It states that clothing and other apparel that do not meet an arc-rating must be made of non-melting or flammability rated material. That alone should cover a major part of the concerns about the removal of HRC 0. Are long sleeve shirts and long pants necessary? That is a decision that you as the employer should be making. It is not truly an electrical safety issue if an employee does not wear eye or hearing protection for these conditions. Steel toed shoes and hard hats are also not electrical safety issues. Does that mean if this protection were necessary for another reason that you as the employer would not require its use? Even if a standard provides no guidance on the issue, you as the employer still need to have some policies in place to address general work apparel. NFPA 70E only covers limited conditions. What protection is necessary for other conditions is something that you always had to determine.

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

 

Next time: Have you earned your employee’s trust?

This Sunday marks the beginning of NFPA's 2017 Conference & Exposition here in Boston. As mentioned in yesterday's 101wednesdays post by Greg Harrington, one of the most important parts of C&E is the annual technical meeting. In honor of this event, we have decided to take a look back at one of the early annual meetings from NFPA's history.

 

Fire boat exhibition during NFPA Annual Meeting in New York, May 26, 1909

Pictured here: Members of the National Fire Protection Association on board the New York Fire Boat
James Duane, watching exhibition of Fire Boat Thomas Willett, Hudson River, on May 26, 1909.

 

From the NFPA Quarterly v.3, no. 1, 1909:

 

"There are many points in fire protection engineering of especial value to certain  individual members who hesitate to project the same into any formal discussion. To such as these the intermissions and the social functions, affording opportunity for individual conversations have a value all their own. The May meeting was full of such opportunities, not the least of which was the dinner generously given to our entire visiting membership by the Insurance Society of New York, at which there was much good fellowship and some very good speaking by the officers and members of both organizations. The exhibitions the following- day of the high pressure pumping system and its water-throwing at Gansevoort Square, and the fire boats in the North River, afforded another diversion replete with interesting educational suggestions."

 

For more information regarding this 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.

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