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2017

portable generator

Hurricane Harvey continues to pound areas along the Texas coastline and surrounding towns and cities bringing with it high winds, torrential rain and extreme flooding. In some areas, while residents have not been directly affected by severe floods, power outages are a major concern. Still thousands of others who have left their homes for safer ground because of flooding will eventually return to assess their homes for damage and work on rebuilding their neighborhoods.


When authorities say it’s safe to return home, or if you are one of many residents who are at home but have experienced a power outage, NFPA can assist by providing the following electrical safety tips to help reduce your risk for injury:

  • If your home has experienced flooding, it’s important to keep your power off until a professional electrician has inspected your entire home for safety, including appliances. Water can damage the internal components in electrical appliances like refrigerators, washing machines and dryers, and cause shock and fire hazards. Have a qualified electrician come visit your home and determine what electrical equipment should be replaced and what can be reconditioned.
  • If you smell gas in your home or neighborhood, notify emergency authorities immediately. Do not turn on lights, light matches or engage in any activity that could create a spark.
  • Treat all downed wires as if they are live even if you don’t see any sparks, and especially if there is standing water nearby. Alert authorities immediately if you see downed wires in your area.
  • In the event that electricity may not be available to your home yet and you have not experienced any water in your home, generators are a viable option to power some of your small appliances. However, if used improperly they also pose a fire hazard, risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and electrocution.

 

The following are key guidelines for using a portable generator: 

  • Generators should be operated in well ventilated locations outdoors away from all doors, windows and vent openings.
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
    Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building.
  • Make sure to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for correct placement and mounting height.
  • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is running.
  • Store fuel for the generator in a container that is intended for the purpose and is correctly labeled as such. Store the containers outside of living areas.

 

NFPA’s safety tip sheet on portable generators provides these steps and more to help keep you safe. Find it at www.nfpa.org/generators.

 

For any questions or concerns about your home’s electrical system, contact a qualified electrician who can help, and visit our electrical safety webpage for additional tips and resources.

 

More severe weather safety information is available by visiting NFPA’s severe storm fire safety webpage.

With the issuance of the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, a risk assessment must consider the outcome of human error during the performance of a task. The three most effective controls are less affected by human interaction. Awareness and administrative controls are two controls which rely more heavily on a human for proper implementation. The hierarchy of risk controls is: 
(1) Elimination 
(2) Substitution 
(3) Engineering controls 
(4) Awareness 
(5) Administrative controls 
(6) Personal protective equipment (PPE) 
AWARENESS
Awareness methods often have no impact on the severity of injury and have no impact on the hazard. Each system can require unique awareness devices in order to have the desired impact on risk. This risk control is often the most obvious to employees through the use of warning labels and signs. Placards indicating DANGER or RISK OF SEVERE INJURY rely on the comprehension and training of the employee to limit their exposure to the hazard. The control method could fail due to desensitization from too many warning signs, lack of understanding of provided information and disregard of the provided warning. Fortunately, human nature generally guides people away from things that may harm them.
ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLS 
Administrative controls are typically employed when hazards are not controlled. Much of NFPA 70E Chapter 1 discusses the use of effective administrative controls when energized work is justified. These controls include procedures, employee training, risk assessment, job briefing, auditing, and the use of an energized electrical work permit.  Employee commitment is heavily relied upon under this control method.  Procedures have a great impact on avoiding injury but have a minimal impact on severity of injury. Training has an impact on avoiding injury with regard to the proper interaction and foreseeable inappropriate interaction with the electrical system. It is the correct actions of a human that determine the success of this risk control. 
Administrative controls include one of the most common forms of achieving removal of a hazard. You may have noticed that establishing an electrically safe work condition (ESWC) was not included under the highest level of control – elimination. Establishing an ESWC does not rely on the risk control of elimination; it achieves elimination through the use of administrative controls. Not all administrative controls achieve removal of the hazard or risk.  
The act of establishing the EWSC places an employee at risk of injury from the hazard. Establishing an ESWC through a lockout procedure removes the hazard only if correctly applied. The hazard exists prior to this occurring and after the procedure is reversed so it is not full “elimination” of the hazard. The hazard is only removed for a defined period of time and often at a very specific location. By creating an ESWC, the risks associated with potential electrical hazards have been temporarily reduced to an acceptable level and the electrical hazards have temporarily been effectively removed. Proper training is critical to the implementation of this administrative control. (Refer to my earlier blog on elimination for an understanding of that risk control method.) 
Notice that administrative controls are fifth on the hierarchy of controls list. If establishing an ESWC is the only control method employed without attempting to use the higher control methods, employees may be put at a greater risk of injury than necessary.  Even when the policy is to establish an ESWC, it is necessary to use the other controls to minimize the risk or hazard present for that task.
Human error has a great impact on the effectiveness of this control method. Not considering all hazards and situations, training not being understood, procedures not kept current, and training not consistent with procedures can defeat this control method. However, when all other control methods have been exhausted, the use of an administrative control (electrically safe work condition) provides the last option to remove electrical hazards and increase the safety for an employee working on the electrical equipment. 
Next time: The least effective risk control.
The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF), the research affiliate of NFPA, has released a report on Foam Application for High Hazard Flammable Train (HHFT) Fires for the first responder community. Trains with a continuous block of tank cars loaded with a flammable liquid are typically defined as HHFT. Incidents are low frequency, high consequence response scenarios but given that the transport of crude oil and ethanol by rail allows for greater geographic flexibility and the ability to pivot with market needs, first responders along rail lines need to understand the dynamics of an HHFT derailment.  
When it comes to HHFT fires, fuels can flow, pool, saturate and burn for days. Situations are complex and can quickly evolve into major conflagrations. Heat can also cause thermal stress to surrounding railcars, resulting in heat-induced tears, pressure relief venting, and other causes of tank car failure. 
This FPRF foam application study looked at HHFT fire event data and fire suppression information; and took into account available literature, first responder and technical response, and post-incident analysis. Foam usage information was collected from 12 different HHFT incidents that involved ethanol, crude oil, petroleum, denatured alcohol, and/or a combination of fuels. During the incidents between 7 and 39 cars derailed, and weather conditions ranged from severe cold weather to extreme heat. The foam concentrate usage ran from 0 to 2,520 gallons; 0 to 2,200,000 gallons of water were used. 
The research shows that applying water to cool the involved tank cars is a vital initial tactic and that first responders should only apply foam after railcars have been properly cooled and after a tactical action plan has been developed. The study also concluded that a first responder’s awareness about HHFTs will affect the overall outcome, duration, and severity of an incident; and that proper knowledge of HHFT derailments and incident training will go a long way in helping firefighters respond to the call. 
Class B firefighting foams are the industry standard for fighting liquid-pool-type fires or hazards. First responders typically refer to an area-based method defined in NFPA 11, the Standard for Low-, Medium-, and High-Expansion Foam to calculate foam application rates and the quantities needed. However, considering the complex, three-dimensional, and potentially high obstructed and limited access nature of these fires, questions exist about the values estimated using NFPA 11 foam calculation with these applications. Specifically, three-dimensional flowing fuel fires are extremely challenging to extinguish using solely Class B foams. The report identifies that the values determined using the “area-based” method need to be verified through comparison with actual incident data and applicable research. The data also illustrated that water usage (for cooling) is equally important as foam usage when mitigating these types of incidents. 
The HHFT research project was conducted as a follow-up to an earlier study on “Enhancing Incident Commander Competencies for Management of Incidents Involving Pipeline and Rail Car Spills of Flammable Liquids” that indicated more information was needed on foam usage. That project showed that foam operations typically fell into two different operational environments: to extinguish fire in the early phases of a flammable liquid spill or to control a fire after the size and intensity of the fire have greatly diminished. Relative to HFFT Incidents, there was a lack of research and findings on the quantity of foam and water used during incidents. Until now.  
When it comes to contamination and firefighter cancer, the old adage, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” comes to mind. First, there’s the obvious correlation to what firefighters do – battle smoke and fire. Then there’s the cause and effect logic behind the saying. Contaminants are causing fire organizations to deal with the deadly effects of cancer and other related health issues.
NFPA is focusing much effort on occupational exposure and firefighter health and wellness, including initiatives to raise awareness, analyze data and share best practices that go beyond our codes, standards, and training. NFPA’s research affiliate, the Fire Protection Research Foundation, is currently involved in three projects focused on PPE cleaning, contamination and firefighter cancer. Late last month, more than 60  fire service representatives, researchers, regulators, health and safety officers, Independent Service Providers (ISPs), equipment providers and others gathered in Columbus, Ohio to address contamination and cancer in the fire service. The workshop was part of the one year Campaign for Fire Service Contamination Control research project, which focused on the development of best practices, fire station and equipment design, codes, standards, and resources.
These studies will provide important scientific, medical and educational insights. In the meantime, NFPA has developed a protective hoods safety bulletin, a firefighter safety cancer fact sheet, and a helpful resource page to ensure that the fire service and others are highly aware of contamination and cancer issues.  The technical committee for NFPA 1851 is also working on changes to the code to make cleaning contaminated PPE more clear. Later this fall, the issue of firehouse contamination will also be discussed by representatives from 13 leading fire organizations during the 3rd annual NFPA Responder Forum.  
NFPA is by no means championing these issues alone. Leading organizations including the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, National Fallen Firefighter Foundation, International Association of Fire Fighters, International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Volunteer Fire Council and others are fiercely addressing occupational hazards. On a local level firefighters, fire leaders and elected officials are taking necessary steps to change the culture of the fire service and address equipment, apparatus, and fire station contamination concerns too. Key legislation is also taking shape across the nation. For example, during a recent monthly meeting of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts hosted at NFPA headquarters, members reviewed proposed revisions to state firefighter line of duty disability provisions and voted to support the adoption of new language that would enhance efforts to support firefighters stricken with cancer.
The health and well-being of firefighters should not only matter to those that wear the uniform, but should be of great concern to all taxpayers, community members, and elected officials.
The Richmond-Times Dispatch reports that unpermitted hot work sparked a blaze on the roof of the Westhampton Clubhouse at the Country Club of Virginia. Fire service suppression efforts were delayed when construction workers tried to put out the blaze with a garden hose.  
It’s possible the workers didn’t even know they were performing hot work. Some tradesmen don’t know that the torches and hot tar used during resurfacing can cause roofs to retain considerable heat long after jobs are “completed”. The smoldering effect from hot work can go unnoticed, heat can build up and fires can then flare up.  
NFPA’s hot work program highlights the increased potential for fire on a roofing job, and outlines how to plan and conduct these jobs with safety in mind. For example, NFPA’s training requires a fire watch to remain onsite for at least 2 hours after work has been completed. This 120-minute waiting period is longer than the minimum monitoring time for other types of hot work jobs.  
NFPA developed the hot work training program in collaboration with Boston Fire, The City of Boston Inspectional Services and the Boston Metropolitan District Building Trades Council to train different disciplines in the construction industry about the dangers associated with hot work, including welding, cutting, grinding and roof work. The session covers common fuel and ignition sources, relevant standards, regulations, ordinances, construction team responsibilities, and how to read a hot work permit. More than 16,000 trade members in Greater Boston have taken the mandatory NFPA hot work training to date. 

hurricanes, floods, electrical safety, hurricane harvey

 

Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the Texas coastline last Friday evening bringing with it winds of about 130 mph, torrential rains and significant flooding. Parts of Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley are also expecting heavy rains due to the hurricane this week.

 

As Harvey bears down on the coast, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) is alerting contractors in the area of their “Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment” document aimed specifically at contractors who will be called in to help with the damage assessment once the waters have receded. The guide is free and available for download on NEMA's website.

 

The document provides guidelines on how to handle electrical equipment that has been exposed to water. It's designed for suppliers, installers, inspectors and users of electrical products, and outlines items that require complete replacement or those that can be reconditioned by a trained professional. Such equipment includes:

* Electrical distribution equipment

* Motor circuits

* Power equipment

* Transformers

* Wire, cable and flexible cords

* Wiring devices

* GFCIs and surge protectors

* Lighting fixtures and ballasts,

* Motors and electronic products

 

According to NEMA, field representatives have reached out Texas officials, local contractors and building officials to offer this guidance during the clean-up to help ensure that electrical safety remains a top priority during the initial assessment and cleanup of flooded communities. NEMA also recommends that inspectors, suppliers and others contact the original manufacturer of the equipment if there are questions and/or a need for specific recommendations. 

 

Industry professionals looking for electrical information related to NFPA 70 (National Electrical Code) can find it on NFPA's  NEC webpage. Additional information on electrical worker safety (NFPA 70E) is also available.  

 

Image: weather.com

 

When: Thursday, September 7, 12:30-2:00 pm ET 
Presenters:  
  • Keith E. Pardoe, Pardoe Consulting LLC
  • Drew Martin, Arup
Swinging fire doors are critical components of maintaining building compartmentation. The ability for swinging fire doors to resist the passage of fire and smoke and to comply with the applicable standards are affected by the gap sizes around a fire door (i.e. between the frame and the hinge side(s) of the door, between the latch side(s) of the door, between the frame and the top of the door, and between the bottom of the door and floor). Hence these gap sizes are regulated. NFPA 80 currently allows a maximum bottom gap of 3/4” and a maximum of 1/8” for the perimeter of the swinging fire doors. The clearance under swinging fire doors is frequently found to be greater than the maximum allowable gap size currently allowed by NFPA 80.   The upcoming webinar, "Influence of Gap Size around Swinging Doors on Fire and Smoke Development," will address the performance of the clearance dimension around single- and double-egress swinging fire-rated wood and steel doors on fire development and smoke movement in an NFPA 252, Standard Methods of Fire Tests of Door Assemblies, furnace environment. You can read more about a related Fire Protection Research Foundation project here.     
About the speakers:
Keith E. Pardoe is the president of Pardoe Consulting, LLC. Keith began his career in the architectural/commercial door and hardware industry in the mid-1980s working for door and hardware distributors and earned his Architectural Hardware Consultant (AHC) and Certified Door Consultant (CDC) certification from the Door and Hardware Institute (DHI). He also earned Construction Documents Technologist (CDT) credential from the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). He was also responsible for overseeing the development and administration of many DHI certification and education programs. He has received the Distinguished Honors (DAHC) award in recognition of the technical expertise. Over the years Keith has participated in the development of the codes and standards that affect swinging fire and egress door assemblies. Most notably, NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, and NFPA 105, Standard for Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives—publications of the National Fire Protection Association. His contributions to these publications included many proposals for the inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire and egress door assemblies. 
Drew Martin is a Fire Consultant in Arup’s San Francisco office. He works with the fire group on code analysis, fire modeling for smoke control applications, human behavior and egress analysis. Drew brings a variety of new and advanced tools related to modeling and risk assessment for commercial and residential buildings as well as fire related research. Prior to joining Arup, Drew worked for AKF Group, National Park Service, and as a researcher for Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Drew’s worked as a code consultant for AKF Group developing an expertise in the Building code (IBC) and the Massachusetts suite of codes. The national Park Service allowed for performance based work on historical buildings within strict budgetary constraints.  

 

These were the words of Captain Peter Berger of Hallandale Beach Fire Rescue as he spoke to a full house of fire service industry leaders — along with his partner Captain Greg Moulin of DFW Airport Fire Services — on the topic of Cancer in the Fire Service: A Public Policy Risk Analysis at the 2017 NFPA Conference & Expo in Boston. New evidence suggests that cancer is overtaking heart attack as the number one killer of fire fighters in the United States, and as Berger explained, reports of cancer in the fire service are growing due to exposure to carcinogenic by-products of combustion. Captain Berger and Captain Moulin presented some compelling data on this important issue. 

 

 

cancer overtaking heart attack as highest risk of death for firefighters

 

Captain Berger warned that there is no escaping the reality of this situation. Instead, what needs to happen is the "the 3 A's."

 

Awareness, acceptance, and action

 

The high rate of cancer among fire fighters, as both Berger and Moulin explained, was due to three routes of exposure:


- Ingestion

- Inhalation
- Absorption 

 

The ingestion of contaminates is due in large part by the handling of saturated PPE gear and then eating or drinking without first going through decontamination.

 

On the topic of "absorption," Captain Moulin stressed that the adage of "the darker your PPE the more manly you are" needs to stop. Proper care and maintenance of your PPE needs to be a priority. Some of the recommended changes he recommended includes regular inspections, including pass/fail inspection checklist, using an extractor or dedicated washer for PPE cleaning, and retiring your PPE after 10 years.

 

 

Exposures through inhalation as Berger explained is one that in many cases is preventable through strict PPE policy. Berger provided a number of examples of risky practices that are far too commonplace. Among those mentioned is the exposure to diesel fumes. These fumes pose a risk at the fire scene as well as at the fire house where the engines are stored, many times alongside PPE gear. Berger even shared this startling photo of the air scrubber filters from his own firehouse.

diesel exhaust benzene inhalation risk for firefighters


Captain Berger's heartfelt message was clear: "Let's act smarter so we can make the change happen and get home safe to our families." The changes that Berger and Moulin are suggesting include department policy changes, but perhaps more importantly, a change in attitude. These changes include:


- Complete buy-in is needed from top to bottom.
- Dark soiled gear is not cool.
- Clean gear is smart.
- We need to treat all fire scenes as hazmat scenes.
- Overhaul with PPE is always needed!

 

In addition to these preventative practices, screenings for cancer needs to be part of the yearly practice.

 

The full audio from this session is available here. And special thanks to Captain Berger and Captain Moulin for agreeing to share their slides with us here as well. For more on the work Berger and Moulin are doing on this topic, visit the Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation website.

 

Did you know that NFPA Conference & Expo attendees and NFPA members get full access to all the 2017 NFPA C&E education session audio & video files? Browse the full list of education sessions - with attached audio/video - here.

If you’re 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, then you know there’s a lot riding on the accuracy and timeliness of these plans. So, how then do you best tackle these day-to-day challenges and put your best foot forward with every project? NFPA’s "Automatic Sprinkler Systems Plans Review Two-Day Training and Workshop," that’s how!

 

If you’ve never taken one of our training classes before, the workshop will 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 the necessary tools to help you save time and avoid costly and potentially dangerous errors and omissions. But don’t take our word for it. In the following video, two participants tell us in their own words how the training provided them with the necessary information, tools and tips that in turn gave them the confidence they needed going forward to review plans and approve them accurately.

 


As an added benefit, you’ll notice that this training goes beyond the usual “lecture” style format. It actually focuses on practical, hands-on learning where you’ll 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 focuses on:

 

* Blueprint reading skills

* Regulatory requirements for plans and calculations submittals
* Sprinkler specifications
* An 8-step process for hydraulic calculations review 
* An 8-step process for sprinkler plans review


We invite you to join us September 28 – 29, 2017 for this unique training experience. NFPA is devoted to helping you do your job better throughout your entire career. So come find out more, and register on NFPA's training page.  

Electric shock drowning (ESD) and the efforts to mitigate hazards associated with electrical equipment in and around bodies of water is a high visibility topic on NFPA’s radar screen.
The recent release of the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s second project on electrical hazards in the marina and boatyard environment, Marina Risk Reduction, provides a comprehensive approach to identifying the potential hazards and developing strategies to eliminate the hazard or reduce the risk associated with the hazard. As a member of the Project Technical Panel, I think I echo the sentiments of the entire team in saying that the project authors, Dr. Brian Meacham and Woojung Park of Worcester Polytechnic Institute did an outstanding piece of work on this extremely important topic. If you've got a minute, listen to Casey Grant, executive director of the Research Foundation, who provides a great overview of the report in this short video below.
The old adage that water and electricity don’t mix are certainly words to live by, however, we cannot always avoid the mixing of the two, and let’s face it, their interface is necessary. Whether it is a water pump, a boat hoist, a shore power connection to watercraft or an underwater power cable, the fact is water and electricity are co-mingling every day. So the challenge becomes how to accomplish this interface safely and avoid ESD tragedies. Certainly requirements in documents such as NFPA 70: National Electrical Code, NFPA 303: Fire Protection Standard for Marinas and Boatyards and NFPA 302: Fire Protection Standard for Pleasure and Commercial Motor Craft. are great benchmarks for safe installations of electrical equipment on shore and in water craft. Article 555 on marinas and boatyards of the NEC has received a lot of attention over the last three revision cycles and requirements have been added to raise the level of safety in those environments. The 2017 NEC now extends the requirements of Article 555 to private boat docks and piers at one-, two- and multi-family dwellings. The electrons do not know whether they are at a one-family dwelling or a large commercial marina!
Another member of the FPRF Project Technical Panel, Donny Cook, the chief electrical inspector for Shelby County Alabama and a member of NFPA’s Board of Directors, invited me to accompany him along with representatives from Alabama Power, Schneider Electric and the Shelby County Sheriff’s department (to run interference for us) on an information-gathering trip on the Coosa River in Shelby County. Two recent electric shock drowning incidents on Lake Tuscaloosa in a nearby county have led to a heightened awareness of this problem with many of the involved stakeholders. The water level of the Coosa River is controlled by Alabama Power and it is a huge reservoir dotted with hundreds of private homes and camps, the majority of which have a dock or pier.
The day in the hot Alabama sun (tough on a northern guy) was spent checking for the presence of voltage in the water adjacent to docks. From our vantage point in boats it was evident that most of the docks and piers were supplied by some level of electric power.
electric shock drowning, nfpa 70, NEC
The wiring was in various states of repair. Some of it appeared to have been professionally installed and there was some that I will call “camp wiring.” Such wiring is generally not installed by a professional, is done without permits and inspection, and is typically not NEC compliant. Although the Alabama Power representatives did not find any locations where the voltage in the water raised their level of concern, the fact remains that there is electrical infrastructure near and in that body of water, and the condition of that infrastructure was alarming in some cases. (See picture below.)
electric shock drowning, nfpa 70, NEC
The other observation that resonates with me and I think a huge piece of this puzzle is, maintenance or the lack thereof. A perfectly code-compliant installation is never safer than the day it is installed, particularly in an environment that subjects the equipment to harsh conditions. Accidents, of course, are never planned; they are a confluence of conditions that under the right timing and circumstances manifest into the hazard. I observed several “accidents waiting to happen” during our day on the water that could be mitigated with a little bit of maintenance (See picture below).
electric shock drowning, nfpa 70, NEC
The Marina Risk Reduction report sheds a much needed light on this issue. We are already talking about how it can be used by various stakeholder groups from enforcers to contractors to the property owners themselves to mitigate hazards and reduce the risk of exposure to potentially lethal levels of electric current where they recreate.
Additional information about ESD, the NEC and related codes can be found on NFPA's website.

“Do we really need another standard on confined spaces?” That’s the question I get asked most often in response to NFPA 350, Guide for Confined Space Entry and Work. My answer is a definitive “yes,” and here’s why: Fatalities continue to occur in confined spaces each year, despite regulations.  Virtually all of the fatalities could have been prevented by following the regulations and using the “how-to” provisions provided in NFPA 350.
I recently wrote the article, "Why Use NFPA 350," for the August 2017 issue of Occupational Health and Safety magazine (see image above), which provides a substantive overview of what’s covered in the guide.  The article explains gaps in existing regulations and how NFPA 350 fills in those gaps with information needed to safely enter and work in confined spaces.  If you have any comments or questions about the article, feel free to share them here.
Also, here's an NFPA 350 fact sheet, which defines what confined spaces are, along with the associated hazards and how to maximize safety for people working in them.
This photograph was taken in the Summer of 1933.
From Volunteer Firemen, vol. 1, no. 3, 1933:
"The trailer of this tank truck overturned and took fire when the truck skidded on the wet pavement of a Los Angeles suburb. Tank and trailer together contained 6,205 gallons of gasoline. The potential hazard to any property near the burning wreck of a tank truck is shown by this picture."
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 research questions from members and the general public.
In a #101Wednesdays post this past January, I discussed the Life Safety Code requirements for inspection of egress doors for life safety, and I touched on a bit of confusion created by the language in the 2012 edition and its adoption by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for health care occupancies with regard to inspection of fire and smoke doors. In short, the language was formatted in such a way as to be easily misconstrued. While the language was clarified for the 2015 edition of NFPA 101, that didn’t do much to help the thousands of health care facilities (e.g., hospitals and nursing homes) mandated to comply with the 2012 edition via the CMS adoption. Staff from NFPA’s technical services division reached out to CMS and, through a series of meetings and conversations, was able relay the Code’s intent, resulting in a July 28, 2017 memorandum from CMS to the state survey agency directors clarifying the requirements for fire and smoke door annual testing. The memorandum (17-38-LSC) is summarized by CMS as follows:
· In health care occupancies, fire door assemblies are required to be annually inspected and tested in accordance with the 2010 edition of NFPA 80, Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives.
· In health care occupancies, non-rated doors assemblies including corridor doors to patient care rooms and smoke barrier doors are not subject to the annual inspection and testing requirements of either NFPA 80 or NFPA 105, Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives.
· Non-rated doors should be routinely inspected as part of the facility maintenance program.
· Full compliance with the annual fire door assembly inspection and testing in accordance with 2010 NFPA 80 is required by January 1, 2018.
· Life Safety Code deficiencies associated with the annual inspection and testing of fire doors should be cited under K211–Means of Egress-General.
It was great to see this cooperative effort between NFPA and CMS lead to the relatively speedy issuance of this memorandum. Many facilities subject to CMS regulation and the public will benefit from this consistent, well-defined door inspection requirements. Kudos to all who worked hard to get this done! Thanks for reading, and as always, 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

wildfire community project, campus fire safety, wildfire safety, wildfire community preparedness day, takeaction

 

There is so much good going on at the college and university level now-a-days, and community service projects top that list. Projects are wide and varied ranging from helping homeless people with a meal, helping young readers learn to read, cleaning up trash along a river front, and working at the local food pantry. It’s speculator to see young adults contributing to local community life.

 

When it comes to this same community spirit, NFPA has a couple of campaigns that university staff, fraternities, sororities, clubs, classes, or teams can easily get involved in. The projects focus on wildfire safety and with a little tweaking, young people can easily fit these programs into community life projects. Adopting a service project such as these creates a positive influence in the community and stretches both staff and student goals, interests and abilities while at the same time making the community safer.

 

If your college or university lies in or near a high-risk wildfire area, do your part by helping prepare the campus and its surrounding community before the fire threatens your school and surrounding neighborhoods.

 

The first is NFPA’s TakeAction campaign, which provides resources and projects that benefit young adults, their families and neighbors. Project ideas include:

 

The second is Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, a campaign that provides an opportunity for community residents to come together to participate in risk reduction and wildfire preparedness activities that help make their communities safer from brush, grass and forest fires. Typically this day is the first weekend in May but communities have been known to work on projects at other times of the year, like during the fall months or at the start of the new year. Grant funding is available to those organizations or communities that meet the criteria, and students and campus staff can promote their project and get recognition for all of their hard work, too. Many tools and resources are available to make outreach fast and easy. These include:

 

  • The Wildfire Community Preparedness Day logo, which, along with your organization’s name can be applied to t-shirts, on posters, and more.
  • The hashtag #WildfirePrepDay, which can highlight your project on Twitter. You can also post your project and photos on Facebook.
  • The Wildfire Community Preparedness web banner can be added to your website or event’s landing page; you can also order a large banner to hang outside at your event.

 

And this is just the beginning. NFPA has a number of great resources and project ideas for students and staff that can help reduce a wildland fire’s enormous disruption. For more information please visit the TakeAction and Wildfire Community Preparedness Day websites and find your inspiration!


The hierarchy of risk controls is required to be implemented, in descending order, whenever it is necessary to protect an employee from the risk of injury associated with the use of electricity. Elimination, the most effective control, was discussed in the prior blog. The next control that must be implemented is substitution followed by engineering controls. These two controls are more effective than the remaining three since they are less affected by human interaction. The hierarchy of risk controls is:
(1) Elimination
(2) Substitution
(3) Engineering controls
(4) Awareness
(5) Administrative controls
(6) Personal protective equipment (PPE)
SUBSTITUTION
Substitution is often more applicable in the design stage. This does not mean that substitution cannot be employed at a later date. For example, installing a remote racking system is a substitution method that could be employed during equipment installation or may be installed subsequently. In this context, the remote racking system may lower the risk of injury to the employee rather than have an effect on the hazard that the employee will be subjected to. Substitution could also be utilizing a faster acting overcurrent device or opting for components that limit the available fault current. Arc-rated equipment could be employed to lower the risk of injury to an employee.
This control method could fail for the same reasons as those used for elimination. Equipment could be constructed incorrectly or the equipment procurement process could deviate from the specified equipment. Incorrect or insufficient maintenance could defeat this control method. Substandard or counterfeit equipment must be avoided. However, removing the reliance on the actions of an employee for the creation of a safe work environment increases the probability of success.
ENGINEERING CONTROLS
Engineering controls often take the form of guards and barriers to reduce the probability of an injury. Zone-selective interlocking or differential relaying can reduce the incident energy. These methods are also not infallible. Guards may be removed to make performance of tasks or equipment operation easier. Barriers may be moved to provide greater access. Defeating this control often takes conscious human effort. Still, preventing access to a potential hazard greatly decreases the likelihood that an injury will occur.
Next time: Awareness and administrative controls. 

               

Please note that the live stream of the NFPA Standards Council hearings has experienced unforeseen issues. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your interest.  

View the preliminary Hearings/Appeals schedule and agenda

 

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Have you ever wondered what goes on during Appeals heard by the Standards Council?  Curious about what is being challenged in a standard that you work with daily?  Want to learn more about how a standard continues through the development process after the Technical Meeting?  Well, here is your chance!

 

In an effort to better serve and engage our stakeholders in the NFPA standards development process, we are pleased to announce that the Standards Council will be video streaming all hearings of Appeals LIVE on Tuesday, August 15th.   This insider’s look at the fourth stage of the NFPA process will be available at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLeN9hRYGTQ beginning at 8:30 a.m. on August 15th.  Hearings are scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m.  View the preliminary Hearings/Appeals schedule

 

So, whether you’re just curious about the Appeals process or want to hear the debated issues, tune in.

It's time for a flashback Friday! I am out of the office for a couple more Fridays, returning from maternity leave at the end of August.  In the past months, at least two major fires have occurred in the greater Boston area in buildings under construction.  In light of these fires in the news over the past months involving buildings under construction, I have copied below some information on a topic that I highlighted in a blog last July about provisions in NFPA 1 related to safeguarding construction, alteration, and demolition operations and the reference to NFPA 241. For additional information on recent fires in apartment buildings under construction check out this blog.

 

Chapter 16 of NFPA 1, Fire Code, requires structures undergoing construction, alteration, or demolition operations to comply with NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations. NFPA 241 provides measures for preventing or minimizing fire damage during construction, alteration, and demolition operations. (The fire department and other fire protection authorities also should be consulted for guidance.)

 

The requirements of NFPA 241 cover issues such as the location and use of temporary construction for offices, storage, and equipment enclosures; control of processes and hazards such as hot work; temporary heating and fuel storage; and waste disposal. The general requirements also cover temporary wiring and lighting, site security, access for fire fighting, and on-site provision of first aid fire-fighting equipment.

 

Extensive details from NFPA 241 are included, as extracts, in Chapter 16 of NFPA 1.  NFPA 1, 2015 edition, extracts from NFPA 241, 2013 edition.

 

In addition to compliance with NFPA 241, Chapter 16 contains some additional, NFPA 1 specific, provisions:

  • A fire protection plan must be establishes where required by the AHJ. (A fire safety program helps control fires and emergencies that may occur during construction or demolition operations by early planning and implementation of safety measures.)
  • Fire department access roads in accordance with Section 18.2.3 of NFPA 1 must be provided at the start of a project and maintained throughout construction. This ensures adequate access for the fire department should a fire or emergency occur.

 

Construction and demolition operations can be dangerous, and history has shown us that major fires and property damage can occur, if the proper safety measures are not followed.  NFPA 1, through NFPA 241, offer the provisions necessary to ensure safe construction and building demolitions.

 

For additional information, check out this article from the Jan/Feb 2015 NFPA Journal about the recent uptick in huge fires at residential complexes under construction, and how NFPA 241 can protect these buildings from loss.

 

Happy Friday! Thanks for reading, stay safe!

Road Tunnel
Road tunnels are common place across North America and the world, providing the necessary path through mountains and under water. NFPA 502, Standard for Road Tunnels, Bridge, and Other Limited Access Highways, provides fire protection and life safety requirements for these structures which can cause unique challenges for safety because of constraints on ventilation and egress. Many tunnels in North America utilize passive protection methods for resistance to the effects of fire, typically provided by thicker layers of concrete. An alternate to this passive protection is a reactive system including fixed fire fighting (suppression) and ventilation components.
The Research Foundation has published a report by researchers at the University of Carolina at Charlotte that reviewed the impact of fixed fire fighting systems in road tunnels. Information was gathered on technical research from around the world and synthesized with an economic analysis of fire protection and life safety in road tunnels. The work from this project was basis for Anurag Jha’s Master of Science in Fire Protection & Administration thesis.

The NFPA Conference & Expo is a one-of-kind event focusing on fire, electrical, and life safety, bringing together thousands of professionals, experts, and vendors. Here’s what you’ll find at the 2018 Conference & Expo:


• 5,000+ attendees, from building managers and contractors to public fire service and enforcement agencies
• Over 350+ vendors
• More than 100 Education Sessions

 

If you’re passionate about fire, electrical, and life safety and are interested in delivering a dynamic and engaging presentation at the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo, we want to hear from you!  We’re particularly interested in sessions that address the following topic areas:


• Community Risk Reduction
• Electrical Installation and Safety
• Emerging Issues
• Fire Fighter Health and Safety
• Chemical and Industrial Hazards
• Advances in Technology
• Insurance Industry Concerns
• Suppression Systems and Methods
• Energy Storage Systems/Photovoltaics
• Hospitality Industry Concerns
• Fire Alarm and Signaling Systems

 

Join us June 11-14 in Las Vegas, NV, and share your knowledge, experiences, and expertise!

Submit your proposal by September 25th!

Brown-Camp Hardware Company store in Des Moines, Iowa

On the night of August 11, 1918 at 8:40 PM, the night-watchman and sales manager of the Brown-Camp Hardware Company store in Des Moines, Iowa heard something that sounded like an explosion at the rear of the building. Upon inspection, they discovered that the rear portion of the building (outside the office) was filled with smoke which seemed to be coming from through one of the upper floors. The fire was under control and confined to the building within seven hours of the first alarm.

 

From the NFPA Quarterly v.11, no.3, 1918:

 

“The cause of the fire is not known. It is thought to have started on the second or third floor, at the east side. The stock carried at this point consisted of cases of loaded shells and of mixed paints in sealed cans. It is thought that the fire was of incendiary origin though there is no tangible evidence obtainable at this time to support this theory. The only employee in the building during the afternoon of Saturday, the day of the fire, resigned his position on the following Monday.

 

The complete destruction of all floors above the grade makes any investigation impossible.”

 

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 research questions from members and the general public.

 

Jim Pauley and other NFPA representatives are meeting with key stakeholders in Costa Rica this week, as the country looks to update the National Electrical Code® (NEC®).

 

On Sunday, Pauley met with Costa Rica’s President Luis Guillermo Solis and members of the fire service. Today, Pauley spoke with members of the engineering, electrical and enforcement communities during the 4th edition of VIED, a life and property protection congress hosted by CIEMI, The College of Electrical, Mechanical and Industrial Engineers that regulates the professional practices of engineers. The NFPA president was part of a distinguished panel with Olga Caledonia, Division Manager for NFPA’s International Operations, Marco Calvo, President of CIEMI, Carolina Vasquez with the Ministry of Science and Technology, Carlos Mora from the Ministry of Economy, Architect Abel Castro from CFIA,  Olman Vargas from CFIA, and Hector Chavez, General Director Costa Rica Fire Department.  

 

Pauley applauded local authorities’ commitment to building a safe infrastructure saying, "As safety-conscious practitioners, we can’t approach code awareness slowly or simply stick to what we know. If we do, technology and progress will outpace us." 

 

NFPA has been working with Latin America-based stakeholders for decades. Unlike the US where codes have been taking shape for more than 120 years, Latin America has had to absorb and adopt critical benchmarks at a much faster pace. The first edition of the NEC was published in Spanish in 1927 – thirty years after the NEC debuted in 1897. Costa Rica is looking to adopt the 2014 version of the NEC now, and Mexico will do the same later this year. Going forward, NFPA is looking to close the gap between code cycles so that translated versions of the NEC are simultaneously available in English and Spanish.

 

Prior to taking the helm at NFPA three years ago, Pauley worked in the electrical engineering industry for thirty years. During his remarks, he spoke about increased connectivity these days and the new challenges associated with emerging technologies. He emphasized the importance of staying up-to-date on codes, standards and training as the world embraces new energy sources and becomes reliant on electrical connectivity. "Like you, I’ve rolled up my sleeves to fix components, managed contractors, met with code enforcers, and responded to new professional requirements and industry changes. I understand where you are coming from. What’s more, I understand where the industry is going," Pauley said.

 

Some topics being explored this week weren’t even on the code radar ten years ago, including photovoltaics, electric vehicles, and energy storage. These green solutions provide new opportunities and new hazards for the electrical, engineering, enforcement and fire communities. Staying up to date on safety practices associated with solar energy, hydro fuel, wind turbines, and energy storage as Costa Rica works toward being the first country in the world using 100% renewable energies is critical.

 

"The beauty of the NEC is that it represents the most current collective wisdom of many so that people and property can be safe from fire and electrical hazards," Pauley said. "As our world continues to change, there is one thing that remains the same - residents and the business community rely on us to champion safety."

CAL FIRE, wildfire hazards, C&E2017, embers
As most of us know, states across the U.S. can no longer rely on a defined fire season. This sobering truth is especially evident in California where the fire season is 70 days longer than it was 40 years ago, and fire ignitions in the state have greatly increased in the last few years (in 2016, fire ignitions were greater than the 5-year average).
And while these stats are staggering, in California there has been a dramatic increase in prevention activities over recent years, including defensible space inspections, public education efforts and vegetation treatment projects funded by grants. So why are an alarming number of structures still being destroyed by wildfires?
That’s the question Dave Shew, Staff Chief for CAL FIRE, Planning and Risk Analysis Department, Office of the State Fire Marshall, posed to a packed room for his session: “Structure Loss in the WUI: Why do Losses Continue to Rise Despite Increased Prevention Efforts?” at NFPA’s 2017 Conference & Expo in June. It's also the subject of a recent NFPA Journal article, "Structure Survival," where Shew is interviewed.
While Shew made it clear in his session that the answer doesn’t consist of one "silver bullet,” the keys to resolving the challenge, he says, are tied to embers and communities working more closely together on solutions. Here, Shew explains that there is more than one way to tackle the wildfire problem.
To this end, Shew says that wildfire safety advocates still have a lot of work to do when it comes to educating the public about the dangers of embers and the impact they have on the survivability of a home during a fire. "We have to get better at talking to the public," he says.
One way to do that is for communities to collaborate with their local fire departments. Shew believes the next paradigm shift in the fire service will see firefighters taking a more active role in talking to homeowners about wildfire risk. Shew told the audience he knows this concept doesn’t make him a popular guy in the office. “My colleagues in the fire service get mad at me every time I mention it,” he says. Still, Shew explains his reasoning behind why firefighters need to get more involved with the public when it comes to wildfire education.
In all honesty, you can’t help but get caught up in Shew’s passion and determination when it comes to wildfire safety. From the positive reaction of the audience (many stayed long after the presentation was over to ask questions) it was clear they did, too. We don't want you to miss this presentation, so we've included the full audio version of his talk for you to listen to. And if you find inspiration or have thoughts to share after you’ve tuned in, we’d love to hear from you.
Did you know that NFPA Conference & Expo attendees and NFPA members get full access to all the 2017 NFPA C&E education session audio & video files? Browse the full list of education sessions to find the attached audio/video you'd like to view.
The NFPA Standards Council considered the issuance of a proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) on the 2017 edition of NFPA 70, National Electrical Code. This TIA was issued by the Council on July 18, 2017:
  • NFPA 70, TIA 17-5, referencing 220.12, Exception No. 2
Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) are amendments to an NFPA Standard processed in accordance with Section 5 of the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards. They have not gone through the entire standards development process of being published in a First Draft Report and Second Draft Report for review and comment. TIAs are effective only between editions of the Standard. A TIA automatically becomes a public input for the next edition of the Standard, as such is then subject to all of the procedures of the standards development process. TIAs are published in NFPA News, NFCSS, and any further distribution of the Standard after being issued by the Standards Council.

Chief Hector Chavez, General Director of the Costa Rica Fire Department, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis and NFPA President Jim Pauley

 

NFPA President Jim Pauley joined with Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis yesterday to accept the delivery of 16 fire trucks, 4 motorcycles and 4 ATVs as the fire department celebrates 152 years of providing emergency response to the people of Costa Rica. It was a grand gesture for an international fire services organization that is dedicated to top notch prevention and response.

 

Pauley was in Costa Rica to meet with members of the Confederation of Central American Fire Departments, and unveil a new fire services manual that will help command staff, firefighters, and the enforcement community reduce death and destruction due to fire and related hazards. NFPA collaborated with Costa Rican fire leaders on the development of the best practices document.

 

During his remarks, Pauley thanked the attendees for all that they do to keep people and property safe; and emphasized the importance of keeping up on emerging technology since Costa Rica is particularly interested in green energy.

 

"The information provided in this new fire manual is only good if you put it into practice," Pauley said. "Take the time to read it, update department protocol, share it with your colleagues, and hold others accountable for following these guidelines."

 

Later this week, Pauley and members of NFPA's staff will meet with members of the electrical, engineering and enforcement communities in Costa Rica.

The National photo

 

Here we go again. Once more a Middle East skyscraper has erupted into flames. The BBC reports that, for the second time in a little more than two years, the Torch Towers in Dubai caught fire. According to Dubai Civil Defence, there were no casualties and 475 people were safely evacuated from the 86-story hi-rise.  

Since early 2015, NFPA has reported on several fires in Middle East hi-rise buildings and provided input to media outlets looking for code information and best practices.  

 

Each of these fires remind us of the importance of codes, standards, safety guidelines and enforcement.  NFPA is working with authorities in the Middle East to ensure optimal safety in the Persian Gulf, and earlier this year formed a Middle East Advisory Committee to reduce loss of life and property.

Hello – Happy Friday! Today’s post comes to you from Eric Nette, Engineer in the Industrial and Chemical Engineering Department, at NFPA. Special thanks to Eric for his contribution to this blog while I am out on maternity leave, and discussing one of the many important subjects addressed in the Fire Code.

 

Good morning! This week on Fire Code Fridays we will be discussing Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LP-Gas) and the newest edition of NFPA 58. A commonly used LP-Gas would be propane. NFPA 1 states:

69.1.1.1 The storage, use, and handling of liquefied petroleum gases (LP-Gas) shall comply with the requirements of this chapter; NFPA 58 and Sections 60.1 through 60.4 of this Code.

 

This makes it very important to stay up to date on your ancillary codes. NFPA 58 was revised last year to the 2017 edition of the code. This edition has several exciting and significant changes. I will try to summarize one of the more important changes, but it’s important to look into the new code to determine if any pertinent changes have occurred for your applications.

 

Some of the new items added to NFPA 58. 2017, were skid tanks and porta-pacs (a restructure of portable storage containers and portable container classification), changes to the requirements for vehicle barrier protection, and the allowances for containers less than 2 lbs. water capacity. More information on NFPA 58 can be found at www.nfpa.org/58 and a new food truck handout can be found at www.nfpa.org/foodtrucksafety. The food truck handout now includes a cross section of requirements/recommendations from 4 NFPA standards, including NFPA 58, with exact references on where each is found in each document. Additional requirements from NFPA 58, 2017 edition, will be extracted from NFPA 58 into the new section on portable cooking equipment in Section 50.7.

There is one major technical change to NFPA 58, 2017 edition, that although not included in NFPA 1 2018 edition directly, is important for users of NFPA 58 outside the scope of the Fire Code, to be aware of. NFPA 58 has in the past excluded containers in all transportation situations and deferred to the corresponding transportation authorities (DOT, FAA, Coast Guard, etc.). In this edition the committee struggled with allowing the filling of hot air balloon containers. These containers posed a challenge as they are widely filled safely by properly trained filling personnel but were completely unrecognized by NFPA 58. Several hot air balloon festivals were experiencing issues attaining filling services because propane suppliers did not want to accidentally violate the code.

Hot air balloon containers operate in a very different environment than that experienced by gas grill containers. Due to this operation the containers must be able to expel bursts of LP-Gas at a higher than normal altitude to operate the burner. The pilots depend on the burner to operate and steer the hot air balloon. Regular containers utilize an “Excess Flow Valve” that automatically operates if a large flow rate is experienced on the outlet of the container. This is a safety mechanism that is installed for those cases in which a line could break and expel a large flow rate of LP-Gas at once. Hot air balloon containers cannot utilize these valves without triggering them and accidentally turning off their burner mid-flight.

Under compression LP-Gas converts itself into a liquid. This is why sometimes when you turn on your gas grill cylinder it will get cold. For the LP-Gas to leave the cylinder it must convert from a liquid to a gas, which requires heat energy from its surroundings (called the autorefrigeration reaction). At higher than normal altitudes the environment around the containers is much cooler than it would be on the ground. Therefore the containers must be heavily insulated. The containers are inspected yearly by the federal aviation administration (FAA), but NFPA 58 requires regular cylinders to have all of their insulation/wrappings removed prior to filling to verify the lack of corrosion on the container. Corrosion on the cylinder has led to several incidents in the past (the most recent being the food truck explosion in Philadelphia). Removing these wrappings on a hot air balloon container can take up to an hour.

 

The NFPA 58 technical committee removed hot air balloon containers from the exclusions of the scope. The FAA regulations were also added to the list of container requirements, and their inclusion in the pilots log was added for filling requirements. These containers were excluded from the requirement for removing the wrappings/insulation for every fill and the pilot/crew are now allowed to assist in filling operations. The pilot/crew license requires training with LP-Gas filling. The refresher training for these licenses occurs at shorter intervals than required by NFPA 58 for regular filling operations. Again, the provisions for hot air balloons are excluded from NFPA 1 as they are outside the scope of a Fire Code. However, the provisions are important to understand for those jurisdictions who utilize NFPA 58 or may be trying to further understand the comprehensive set of changes to the newest edition of this Code.

Thanks again, Eric! Happy Friday, stay safe!

tool to help decode exterior wall requirements

The tragic fire that occurred in London represents the latest in a series of high-rise fires that have occurred worldwide over the past decade - from Melbourne to Jakarta to Berlin to Las Vegas. All of these fires involved high-rise buildings with exterior wall coverings or insulation that include combustibles, like MCMs, HPLs, EIFS, or foamed plastic insulation.

 

NFPA 285, Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components, provides a straightforward test method for evaluating these walls. The issue is determining when NFPA 285 applies... because it can get complicated.

 

With that understanding, NFPA has developed a free, interactive online tool to understand the code requirements for exterior walls containing combustible components, whether you follow NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code® or the ICC’s International Building Code (IBC).


The tool helps navigate code requirements quickly and easily, asking a series of questions about the building’s construction type and height, along with the specific features of the combustible components. Based on the selections made, the tool will lead to the appropriate code section within the 2015 edition of NFPA 5000 or the 2015 edition of IBC. There are also pop-ups within the tool to provide additional information, diagrams and videos. Here's a brief overview of how it works:

 

 

Check out our new landing page for a wide range of information and resources on exterior walls containing combustible materials, including the new NFPA 285 tool at nfpa.org/exteriorwalls.

marine chemist, award, LNG

 

Last week, NFPA attended the 59th Annual Marine Chemist Association (MCA) Seminar in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it? In actuality, Albuquerque provided a central meeting spot between the coastlines. The group was able to hear speakers from a number of stakeholders including NFPA, OSHA and the U.S. Coast Guard.

 

For their service to the Marine Field Service Program, the MCA awarded Larry Russell, NFPA Principal Chemical/Marine Specialist and Jill McGovern, NFPA Marine Chemist Project Administrator at the event.

 

Coincidentally, the meeting location happened to be near Sandia National Laboratories. Dr. C. LaFleur and Dr. G. Gran from Sandia spoke on the future of hydrogen as marine cargo and as a fuel source. As the demand for alternative fuels, notably liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hydrogen, continues to grow, it will directly impact the maritime industry and global consumers.

 

History

NFPA has been associated with the marine industry since the early 1900s. In 1963, the NFPA Marine Field Service was created to manage the Marine Chemist Program.

 

So back to the story…what is a marine chemist? A marine chemist is an individual who is certified by the NFPA Marine Chemist Qualification Board (MCQB) and is qualified to issue these certificates in compliance with NFPA 306 Standard for the Control of Gas Hazards on Vessels, OSHA and the US Coast Guard. Please check out Jill McGovern’s blogs to find out more about marine chemists and their role on the qualification board.

 

For more information on LNG and hydrogen applications, please reference NFPA 59A Standard for the Production, Storage, and Handling of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and NFPA 2 Hydrogen Technologies Code.

 

Photo (left to right): Larry Russell (NFPA), Jill McGovern (NFPA), Don Raffo (MCA)

female firefighter injuries reportA new NFPA report on female firefighter injuries finds that in the five-year period from 2010 to 2014, female firefighters in the U.S. experienced an estimated 1,260 injuries on the fireground each year. While women now comprise approximately 7% of the firefighting workforce, according to NFPA’s most recent "U.S. Fire Department Profile" by Hylton Haynes and Gary Stein, there has been little research to date that specifically focuses on female firefighter injuries. A key goal of the report is to begin describing the injury problem for women firefighters by quantifying the number of injuries and examining key incident details.
Here are findings from the report:
  • Career firefighters accounted for 65% of the female firefighter injuries and volunteers for the remaining 35%.
  • Overall, 31% of injuries resulted in lost work time.
  • The leading cause of injury was over-exertion or strain for both career (23% of injuries) and volunteer (30%) firefighters, followed by exposure to hazard (17% career; 22% volunteer), and slip or trip (16% of injuries for both affiliations).
  • The vast majority of injuries occurred while fighting structure fires.
  • Volunteer firefighter injuries were more likely to occur at natural vegetation fires (14%) than those of career firefighters (3%).
  • The leading month for injuries was July.
With a baseline of injuries and injury incident information now established, the task moving forward will be to monitor trends, make efforts to examine data in more detail, and disseminate information to partners who can use data to plan and implement intervention initiatives that address the principal sources of female firefighter injury.
People frequently ask NFPA about regional differences in the fire problem, and one way to answer that question is with NFPA’s recently published U.S. Fire Death Rates by State Report. This report combines death certificate data with other data sources to explain how the fire death problem varies across time and geography. It also includes information about how risk factors and demographic variables relate to fire deaths. These are important issues to understand as we continue the work of eliminating fire deaths.
In addition to the report, we’ve also included an interactive fire death by state data visualization tool on the report website that allows users to select national and state data to compare to each other, and over time. If you visit the site, you can pick up to three states (or two states and the national data) to compare, and download a report.
We hope to include these types of tools with our reports in the future, so please feel free to give us feedback on what would be useful to you.

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