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February 19, 2018 Previous day Next day

 

Our hearts are heavy as details emerge from Parkland, Florida about yet another active shooting incident in our country. While the refrain, “when will it end?” has been uttered by politicians, pundits, and the public since a 19-old pulled the fire alarm at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida school and killed 17 members of an unsuspecting community, NFPA has been focused on another question, “how can we help?”

 

NFPA can’t prevent these tragedies, but we do think there is more to be done in how they are responded to. NFPA has sped up its typical standards development process to develop the world’s first standard to help communities prepare, respond and rebound from hostile events. NFPA 3000™ Standard for Preparedness and Response to Active Shooter and/or Hostile Events, slated to be available as early as this April, is being developed by a technical committee comprised of representatives from FEMA, DHS, the FBI, the fire service, law enforcement, emergency medicine, hospitals, facilities, the government, and public education.

 

While no standard or code in the world can prevent horrific attacks from occurring in the future, NFPA 3000™ is intended to make communities better-equipped to deal with such tragedies by providing guidelines for cooperative planning, integrated response, and whole community recovery. The document will hold policymakers and authorities accountable for cross-collaboration, enforcement, and public outreach; while emphasizing Run. Hide. Fight. and Stop the Bleed - key messages to minimize loss at the hands of perpetrators.

 

FBI statistics tell the story of the disproportionate number of active shooter and hostile events in the United States; and underscore the need for guidance for communities. NFPA 3000™ and efforts to make Active Shooter Hostile Event Response (ASHER™) programs mandatory will go a long way in helping cities, towns and jurisdictions establish safe infrastructures. But it’s going to take buy-in, practice, and coordination from policymakers, first responders, skilled professionals, code enforcers, and the general public. Without such an ecosystem, we will not only fail our citizens, but all those that have lost their lives in these tragedies.

 

The deadline to submit public input on NFPA 3000, Standard for Preparedness and Response to Active Shooter and/or Hostile Events is this Friday, February 23 at 5:00p.m. (EST).

ESS
In mid-February, about 50 people across a spectrum of industries met in Denver to discuss some of the potentially fraught aspects of the surging world of energy storage systems (ESS) for first responders, authorities having jurisdictions (AHJs) and others. How should fire departments handle an ESS on fire? What gaps in training exist? What questions should AHJ’s be asking in the permitting process?
NFPA posed these questions and others to the AHJs, responders, inspectors, facilities managers, and others gathered in Denver in an intensive day-long summit. The aim of the day was to get a better handle on what issues professionals are facing in the field as this technology quickly spreads. The information gathered will aid NFPA in developing updated training on ESS and photovoltaic panels for first responders, and could also inform the development of the new NFPA 855, Installation of Energy Storage Systems.
“These guys started talking and just didn’t want to leave—it was a very successful day,” said Andrew Klock, a senior project manager at NFPA who is working to develop the training. “I thought the conversations were very revealing.” 
More information is crucial as larger and more powerful battery systems continue to be installed in greater numbers across the world—in homes, office buildings, businesses, in industrial parks, and more. 
The summit, training, and new standard development, are only a few of the several things NFPA is doing to address safety for this still-emerging technology. A more in-depth article on this topic will appear in the May/June, 2018 issue of NFPA Journal
NFPA Journal has published several feature stories on ESS, including my 2016 story “Power Packed.” For the article, I travelled to Silicon Valley to meet with representatives from Tesla, one of the world’s leading producers of ESS, to discuss the company’s vision for transforming the electrical grid. I also met with leaders at the Fire Department of New York, who are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of big batteries installed all across the city.  
Later in 2016, I conducted a long form interview with battery researcher David Rosewater who tests battery systems large and small at the Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico. Rosewater, who is on the NFPA 855 technical committee, shared his thoughts about how technology is evolving, and how the new standard is needed to keep residents, installers, inspectors, and first responders safe. 
Look for another detailed update on ESS in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal.

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