For the third year in a row, I got to witness families embracing fire safety at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. NFPA is the official fire safety partner for LEGOLAND® Florida and LEGOLAND® California Resort. We work with the parks to promote fire safety messages to families throughout the year, to salute the nation's firefighters, and to emphasize the Fire Prevention Week theme during the month of October.
Today, we kicked off several weeks of festivities and a celebration of real-life heroes. It never grows old seeing young children’s faces light up when they see local firefighters partaking in the day’s activities; and it reinforces all that NFPA does with outreach and advocacy when parents and grandparents comment how great it is to see their loved ones learning safety tips that they will remember for life.
During the Firefighter Friday event in Winter Haven today, visitors big and small learned about fire alarms from area safety officers, Polk County firefighters and LEGO® City Firefighter Max. They participated in the NFPA Fire Rescue Academy Competition racing each other for bragging rights and prizes. Boys and girls heard what it takes to be a firefighter and took photos with local fire heroes. Despite the Florida heat and humidity, kids helped firefighters find flames throughout LEGO MINILAND USA during a LEGO fire scavenger hunt. Just as families and first responders began to tucker out, they got a little respite in the Fun Town 4D Theatre where they enjoyed a special offering of the LEGO® Movie 4D - A New Adventure and talked with firefighters about this year’s Fire Prevention Theme, “Every second counts, plan two ways out.”
NFPA’s annual partnership with LEGOLAND entails high-visibility fire safety signage, educational videos, branded structures, social media and email outreach, and on-site marketing materials that reinforce the importance of smoke alarms and escape plans. Throughout the year, groups enjoying field trips to both the Florida and Carlsbad, California theme parks receive NFPA’s public education materials. Promotional items are also distributed during LEGOLAND’s popular Brick-or-Treat activities that take place at both destinations on October weekends.
Both NFPA and LEGOLAND share the belief that fire safety is important. Together, we are taking steps to educate and inform families about fire prevention and emergency response, while saluting the amazing work that our first responders do day in and day out to keep us safe.
Fire Chief Raymond Barton of the Flint Fire Department welcomed students to the station in celebration of Fire Prevention Week.
For the 10th year in a row, NFPA teamed up with Domino’s to kick off our joint Fire Prevention Week program promoting the importance of smoke alarms and home fire safety. This year, seventy first graders from Brownell STEM academy were invited to the Flint Fire Department, where they learned about smoke alarms, as well as home escape planning and practice messages in support of this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out,” October 8-14, 2017. The students were also treated to a visit from Sparky the Fire Dog® and a pizza party. The event culminated in a send-off of Flint firefighters and Domino’s, who conducted a smoke alarm check and pizza delivery to a local homeowner, reflecting Domino’s nationwide support of Fire Prevention Week.
A huge thanks to the Flint Fire Department for all their help and enthusiasm in support of this year’s program – it was the first time we worked with them, and they did a fabulous job helping make the day a true success. Thank you, too, to all the local Domino's and fire departments that team up each year to bring the campaign to life in their communities. Participation continues to grow annually, which is a testament to the program's fun, engaging approach to educating communities about smoke alarm safety. We truly appreciate everyone’s support!
Here's a brief refresher on how Domino's Fire Prevention Week program works: Customers who place an order from participating Domino's stores during Fire Prevention Week, October 8-14, are randomly selected to receive their delivery from the local fire department, who will conduct a smoke alarm check in the customer's home. If the smoke alarms in the home are working, the delivery is free. If they're not working, the firefighters will replace the batteries or install fully-functioning alarms.
Before getting into this week’s Fire Code topic I want to highlight my coworker’s latest blog post, Planning for the unthinkable in assembly venues with the Life Safety Code. Greg, a Principal Engineer in the Building Fire Protection and Life Safety Department at NFPA, discusses how the scope and provisions of NFPA 101 apply to the recent tragedy in Las Vegas and how we, as safety professionals, can contribute to occupant safety in the future. I am truly saddened by the events that required such a post be written in the first place, but cannot deny that we, as professionals, need to keep pushing forward and making changes and doing our best to make this world a safer place. Thanks, Greg, for the timely and thoughtful information.
Onto NFPA 1.
Do you ever feel like you are preparing for the holidays months in advance these days? Just the other day I heard a holiday ad on the radio and saw Christmas decorations on display while shopping. Whether we are ready or not, the “holiday season” is here. A common fixture during during fall is the haunted house. Large or small, permanent or temporary, professional or amateur, haunted houses are popping up everywhere, especially in buildings not originally designed to accommodate such use. Unfortunately, haunted houses can cause nightmares for more than just those that attend. Without the proper knowledge and understanding of the codes that apply, haunted houses can be a safety nightmare as well.
Per NFPA 1, Fire Code, a haunted house is considered a special amusement building. By definition, a special amusement building is "a building that is temporary, permanent, or mobile and contains a device or system that conveys passengers or provides a walkway along, around, or over a course in any direction as a form of amusement arranged so that the egress path is not readily apparent due to visual or audio distractions or an intentionally confounded egress path, or is not readily available due to the mode of conveyance through the building or structure." A special amusement building is an assembly occupancy regardless of occupant load.
Haunted houses use special effects, scenery, props, and audio and visual distractions that may cause egress paths to become not obvious. In haunted houses in particular, the presence of combustible materials and special scenery can also contribute to the fuel load should a fire occur. Because of this, the Code requirements are purposely strict to in hopes of avoiding a potentially disastrous fire event.
Code provisions for special amusement buildings are found in Section 20.1.4 of NFPA 1. The Code requirements for haunted houses are summarized below:
Other requirements, not specific just to haunted houses or special amusement buildings, may also apply:
As we move into the Halloween and haunted house season, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun and overlook the safety issues that may arise. Through the provisions in NFPA 1, which can assist fire code officials and inspectors enforce safe haunted houses, and NFPA's halloween resources for consumers, everyone can stay safe this season.
Thank you for reading, stay safe!