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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.

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