Skip navigation
All Places > NFPA Today > Blog > 2017 > June > 02

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. 

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: