NFPA 1: A look back at 2017 and what’s ahead for 2018 #FireCodeFridays

Blog Post created by kristinbigda Employee on Dec 22, 2017

As I sit here finalizing the remainder of my work for 2017 before the NFPA holiday shutdown, I first can’t believe that the year is coming to a close (didn’t it just start?) and also can’t help but look back on all of the stories and content that impacted NFPA 1 throughout the year. 


Here we are, 42 #FireCodefridays blog posts later. What were people most interested in?  Here is a recap of the most viewed posts from 2017 :


  • Jan 13: Clearance around fire hydrants This post summarizes the requirements for maintaining clearance around fire hydrants. As today is the first day of winter, many of us are impacted by maintaining clearances around hydrants during snowstorms, although this applies to other obstructions as well.  Requirements for clear space around hydrants can be found in the Code in Section 18.5.7.
  • March 3: Where are portable fire extinguishers required? – This blog tops the year with the most views. NFPA 1 contains requirements for both when/where fire extinguishers are required as well as how to install and maintain them.  In Section 13.6 the Code requires portable fire extinguishers in all occupancies except for one- and two- family dwellings.  Don’t forget, this may be more restrictive than another Code such as NFPA 101.  Where you are required to comply with both, the most restrictive applies.  We then rely on NFPA 10 for the details regarding installation (types of extinguishers, installation location, etc.), inspection, testing and maintenance. 
  • March 31: Standardized Fire Service Elevator Keys – Part of NFPA 1’s scope includes, in Section 1.1.1(8) access requirements for fire department operations. Per the Code, all new elevators are required to conform to the Fire Fighters Emergency Operations requirements of ASME A17.1/CSA B44, Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators which includes a provision that elevators must be equipped to operate with a standardized fire service access key.  These keys provide access to the elevators so that the fire service is able to take control of the recalled elevators during an emergency and manually control them to move to the necessary floors for tactical needs. The requirements of 11.3.6 mandate the standardization of fire service elevator keys to reduce the number of keys necessary for accessing elevators in an emergency. Provisions differ slightly for new and existing installations.
  • July 28: Location and placement of portable fire extinguishers – I can’t take credit for this one. While I spent 13 weeks on maternity leave this summer I was fortunate and so very thankful to have contributions from many other NFPA staff experts who work with documents that make up NFPA 1.  And not surprising with the interest in when fire extinguishers are required (see above), a lot of readers also viewed this post.  Here, NFPA’s Brian O’Connor discusses the location and placement of extinguishers as well as the different types of extinguishers. 
  • September 22: Requirements for combustible vegetation – ‘Tis the season for hay bales and corn stalks and corn mazes. In Section 10.13 NFPA 1 contains requirements that address the use of combustible vegetation that may be used as part of seasonal events such as haunted houses.  In any occupancy, limited quantities of combustible vegetation shall be permitted where the AHJ determines that adequate safeguards are provided based on the quantity and nature of the combustible vegetation.  Adequate safeguards might include, but are not limited to, the presence of sprinkler protection and other fire protection systems, limited quantities, moisture content, and placement of the vegetation.


This past fall, the 2018 edition of the Code was finalized and published.  And in the world of code development that means we start up almost immediately with our work on the next edition.  In 2018 the Fire Code Technical Committee will hold two committee meetings where they will work towards the development of the First Draft of the 2021 edition.  You can follow along with the code development process at under the section for ‘next edition’.  There we will post meeting notices, minutes, agendas and ballot results.  The committee has already begun to accumulate potential topics to discuss for the next edition.  These include flammable refrigerants, ozone generation systems, location of portable generators, hazardous waste operations, existing smoke detection systems, tiny houses, addressing security versus life safety, and mobile repeaters for firefighter communications.  With the 2018 edition including large sections of new text on marijuana processing facilities, mobile cooking operations and energy storage systems, I can predict discussions on those topics will continue as well.  It’s shaping up to be an exciting year for the Fire Code and I look forward to continuing these discussions next year.

In closing, thank you, all, for reading Fire Code Fridays. I hope you have benefited from the information.  If you have suggestions, or feedback, or future topics you would like to see highlighted please comment here. Let’s keep the discussion about the Fire Code and fire safety going in 2018.


 A very happy holidays to you all, and a safe and healthy New Year!


 ~Kristin Bigda, NFPA 1 Staff Liaison


 As NFPA will be closed December 23 – January 1, Fire Code Fridays posts will resume on Friday, January 5, 2018.


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