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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.

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