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The Report of the Motions Committee addresses eight Annual 2018 NFPA Standards with Certified Amending Motions eligible for presentation and action at the NFPA Technical Meeting in Las Vegas on Thursday, June 14, 2018:
  • NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems
  • NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes
  • NFPA 51B, Standard for Fire Prevention During Welding, Cutting, and Other Hot Work
  • NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code
  • NFPA 101A, Guide on Alternative Approaches to Life Safety
  • NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power System
  • NFPA 400, Hazardous Materials Code
  • NFPA 1730, Standard on Organization and Deployment of Fire Prevention Inspection and Code Enforcement, Plan Review, Investigation, and Public Education Operations
The report also identifies a list of 20 additional standards that have been determined by the Motions Committee to be consent standards and shall be forwarded to the Standards Council for balloting. In accordance with 1.6.2(a) of the Regulations, a 15-day appeal period follows the publication date of this report in which one may file an appeal related to the issuance of the Consent Standards listed below. The filing deadline for such appeal is April 7, 2018.
  • NFPA 13R, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Low-Rise Residential Occupancies
  • NFPA 20, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection
  • NFPA 24, Standard for the Installation of Private Fire Service Mains and Their Appurtenances
  • NFPA 30B, Code for the Manufacture and Storage of Aerosol Products
  • NFPA 40, Standard for the Storage and Handling of Cellulose Nitrate Film
  • NFPA 77, Recommended Practice on Static Electricity
  • NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives
  • NFPA 86, Standard for Ovens and Furnaces
  • NFPA 88A, Standard for Parking Structures
  • NFPA 105, Standard for Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives
  • NFPA 150, Standard on Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities
  • NFPA 291, Recommended Practice for Fire Flow Testing and Marking of Hydrants
  • NFPA 306, Standard for the Control of Gas Hazards on Vessels
  • NFPA 484, Standard for Combustible Metals
  • NFPA 652, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust
  • NFPA 750, Standard on Water Mist Fire Protection Systems
  • NFPA 1221, Standard for the Installation, Maintenance, and Use of Emergency Services Communications Systems
  • NFPA 1852, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)
  • NFPA 1917, Standard for Automotive Ambulances
  • NFPA 1989, Standard on Breathing Air Quality for Emergency Services Respiratory Protection
The anticipated issuance date for these Consent Standards is April 23, 2018.
The Technical Meeting agenda which incorporates both the Fall 2017 and Annual 2018 Motions Committee Reports will be posted at a later date. The agenda will include the order in which the Standards will be presented.

On March 29, 1917 “two fires of suspicious origin” broke out at separate ends of the Brooklyn Public Library-Pacific Branch. The fire in the right wing of the building died out. However, the fire in the left wing of the building grew substantially before anyone noticed. 



In the end, the interior of the building was destroyed, several thousand books were ruined due to smoke and water, and the damage was estimated to be $30,000-$50,000. Looking at Brooklyn Public Library Board Proceedings from 1917-1919, it’s evident it took the library two years to replace their building, furnishings, and collection.



From the NFPA Quarterly vol.10, no.4, 1917:

“Tarpaulins were stretched in hopes of being able to save some of the books in the burning portion of the building, and thirty firemen on the main floor had a narrow escape when three balconies collapsed simultaneously. The blaze was under control after two hours’ work.

More interesting, however, to our members than the details of the fire will be the accompanying photographs for which we are indebted to the courtesy of Mr. F. J. T. Stewart. In Mr. Stewart’s own words they ‘show how a public library should not be constructed.’ Large spaces between partitions were used as ducts for pipes, vents, etc., and formed a flue of liberal size directly connecting the cellar with a large combustible attic. The result was that when the fire occurred in the cellar it immediately communicated to the attic causing the roof to collapse, and involving heavy damage to the entire building with the exception of the masonry walls.”

~ Written by Jenny DeRocher, Simmons College '18 MLIS Candidate,

For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives.

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.

As the old adage goes, "It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt." 
Truer words were never spoken when it comes to April Fools' Day, which can be fun, mean, or downright dangerous depending on who's pulling the gag. While we know that nobody reading this blog would ever dream of doing the latter, plenty of people in this wild world certainly have, and we've got proof. Here are a few pranks that turned out a bit different than they were originally intended. 
Hamper Hijinks
It started with the pop of a single April Fools' firecracker. It ended with significant smoke and fire damage to at least one apartment and the evacuation of the entire complex.
According to the news website MLive, on April 1, 2015, a resident of the Campus West Apartments in Allendale Township, Michigan, tossed a firecracker into a laundry hamper as a joke. Within moments, smoke began billowing from the hamper, filling the apartment and prompting residents to evacuate the unit as well as the complex. The fire department was called, and by the time crews arrived there were smoke and flames billowing from the apartment. Crews from two neighboring communities were called to help fight the blaze. No injuries or deaths were reported.
Residents of the apartment where the fire originated may have been able to douse the flames in the early moments of the fire, but the unit was not equipped with a fire extinguisher. According to MLive, fire officials said there was no fire extinguisher inside the apartment due to a code exception for townhouse structures.
Potent Pepper
An 1839 Baltimore Sun article tells the first-person account of an unnamed narrator who filled a pepper shaker with gunpowder, then requested that his cook "keep up a good fire, and give me a beef bone for breakfast." 
The cook peppered the bone over the gridiron, which resulted in a welter of mini explosions. Frightened, the cook dropped the entire pepper castor into the fire. The resulting explosion blew up the boiler, scalded a cat and three kittens, and sent the porter "with a live coal in his eye, dancing about, blind with rage." 
The unknown author ends the piece by glibly noting that he "never laughed so much in my life."
Aggrieved Over Aliens
On October 30, 1938, Halloween eve, Orson Welles narrated a radio adaptation of H.G Wells' novel "War of the Worlds," about a Martian invasion of Earth. The urgency of the documentary-style broadcast convinced plenty of listeners—though many were later loathe to admit it—that the planet was under attack by ruthless aliens. Won't get fooled again, everyone said. 
Apparently the lesson wasn't learned, because on April 1, 2010, a Jordanian newspaper ran a bogus front-page article about a UFO landing near the desert town of Jafr. The mayor of the town wasn't in on the joke, though, and took the story all too seriously. According to an article in The Telegraph, the mayor canceled schools, sent in soldiers, and almost evacuated the town's 13,000 residents. When he found out it was all a prank, he threatened to sue the paper.
In case you're wondering, as I was, neither NFPA 1600, Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity/Continuity of Operations Programs, nor NFPA 1616, Mass Evacuation, Sheltering, and Re-entry Programs, makes mention of alien invasions.
Just last week the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Policy Institute released a report on Wide Variations in State Adoption of the NEC® Reveal Neglect of Electrical Safety. Rather than “neglect” though, perhaps “actively opposing” would be a better way to state it. Or, at least, this might better capture the statements and actions of some in the Kentucky legislature which recently passed a bill to open the gates to removing safety requirements from the state adopted National Electrical Code® (NEC). 
“[There’s] nothing in this bill that’s going to be a detriment to somebody’s safety,” stated Senator Jared Carpenter during a floor debate right after he offered that when a GFCI tripped in the bathroom of a tenant using a curling iron in one of his apartment buildings, he had electricians remove the device to make things “more efficient.” With this bill, rather than ensure the Kentucky Electrical Code protects people from shocks caused by faulty appliances through adhering to the NEC, Senator Carpenter and the other backers of HB 100 in the Kentucky legislature, are opening the door to potentially deadly shortcuts. Advances like GFCIs, which in 2003 the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission found could address nearly half of all home electrocutions in the U.S., are exactly the types of provisions that should remain in the code. (Hear Senator Carpenter address the Kentucky legislature in this short video clip below.)
This is a perfect, and unfortunate, example of politicians’ lack of education on codes leading to decisions with real safety consequences. It’s also examples like these that motivated the Policy Institute to look at state NEC adoption across the U.S. After reviewing the length of time it takes states to adopt the latest version of each NEC update and the practices used to promulgate those adoptions, as well as commissioning surveys and interviews with individuals recently responsible for NEC adoptions, several findings emerged:
  • Observers reported that the adoption process is under heavier political scrutiny, leading to delays and decisions motivated by factors other than safety concerns. In addition, members of promulgating boards worry increasingly about the political influence on such boards and board members.
  • Electrical regulatory boards tend to promote more prompt and consistent adoptions. States without such boards were twice as likely to skip a cycle of the NEC. States with electrical boards adopted each update cycle in about half the time.
  • Prioritizing the NEC is important. States that adopt all construction-related codes at once tend to take twice as long to adopt the latest NEC updates, leaving residents of their states well behind the national standard for safe electrical design, installation, and maintenance.
  • The cost of compliance is often considered in isolation, without any consideration of the benefits of advancing safety, and enabling new technology, and is often the sole driver in code adoption discussions.
The NEC is an important tool to help states advance electrical safety. In addition to educating policymakers on the role of the NEC in promoting electrical safety and on the independent, expert-driven process under which it is developed, the report offers several recommendations to policymakers. High among these recommendations is to steer special interests seeking changes to the NEC to the national-level development process, which is open to anyone to participate rather than making decisions to amend out important safety provisions. The report also encourages states to establish or maintain an electrical board, relying on further expertise for technical matters, and to adopt new updates to the NEC as soon as each one is available, rather than waiting to adopt the NEC with other construction codes.
The legislators in Kentucky should know that 65 percent of U.S. residents trust their policymakers not to remove code requirements, according to an independent survey commissioned by the Policy Institute last summer. They should also know that 81 percent feel policymakers should view keeping fire and electrical safety codes up-to-date as a priority. Data analyzed by NFPA reveals that each year, there are over 61,000 fires of electrical origin that kill roughly 432 people and cause over $2 billion in damage. Policymakers should move to embrace the safety advances available in new versions of the NEC rather than neglecting—or opposing—them. 
To learn more, check out (and download for free) the full Wide Variations in State Adoption of the NEC® Reveal Neglect of Electrical Safety report, a report summary, and an infographic highlighting the making of the 2017 NEC, by visiting .


Shutting off the electric supply to a building in the event of a fire or other emergency has been a problem that has plagued firefighters for many years. As they attempt to put out a fire and rescue occupants, electrical systems pose significant line-of-duty hazards. In many instances, when a house is fully involved and the fire does not present a rescue situation, fire departments will rely on the electric utility to arrive and shut off the power supply to the building, a delay that often results in a total loss. Firefighters have argued that they could work safer and be more effective if they could simply turn off a building’s electric supply themselves.

To address this issue, electrical experts put the subject on the table at the recent first draft meeting of the 2020 NFPA 70: National Electrical Code, along with other topics that point to evolving technology and building practices that can help improve safety.

Learn more about this issue in my recent In Compliance column in the March/April 2018 issue of NFPA Journal where I discuss some of these key topics as well as a handful of proposed revisions such as Article 230 of the NEC, in greater detail. 

The following two proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 22, Standard for Water Tanks for Private Fire Protection; and NFPA 70, National Electrical Code, are being published for public review and comment:
  • NFPA 22, proposed TIA No. 1358, referencing 15.2.1,, 16.4.4, 16.5.1, and 16.5.10 of the 2018 edition, closing date: 5/17/2018
  • NFPA 70, proposed TIA No. 1357, referencing 695.14(F) and 700.10(D)(3), 2017 edition, closing date: 5/17/2018
Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the May 17, 2018 closing date. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.


In my recent NFPA Live session I answered a few of the most popular questions about NFPA 285, Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load-Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components , including when a building requires NFPA 285 compliance. I also discussed some of the revisions being presented at the next Fire Test Committee meeting.


During the live event I received this follow-up question from an NFPA member. I'm now sharing it with you. I hope you find some value in it.


For more on the topic of understanding and managing the fire hazards of exterior walls containing combustible components visit


Tracy Vecchiarelli is a Senior Fire Protection Engineer at NFPA as well as the staff liaison for NFPA 285. NFPA Live is an interactive video series in which members of NFPA staff address some of the most frequent topics they receive through the Member's Only Technical Question service. If you are currently an NFPA Member you can view the entire video by following this link. If you're not currently a member, join today!

CNN photo


A deadly fire at a four-story mall in Kemerovo, Russia has not only shaken officials and residents in the Siberian city but has raised the ire of fire and life safety advocates around the globe due to serious lapses in fire safety protocol.


The death toll from Sunday’s horrific fire at the Winter Cherry Mall currently stands at 64, with ten victims at the hospital and another ten unaccounted for. An entire class of schoolchildren died as they celebrated the beginning of school break with classmates; making futile calls to loved ones in their final minutes. The incident is the 8th deadliest fire in a retail property since 1970.

Russia's Investigative Committee found “serious violations" at the mall including blocked fire exits and disconnected smoke alarms. Additionally, mall management has been criticized for not providing evacuation support or guidance. Movie-goers reportedly learned about the fire when a man burst into the theater yelling “fire”. Officials have detained employees of the fire alarm company; and are looking to speak with a security guard who turned off the public address system.

Witnesses described a very chaotic scenario with occupants scrambling to escape heavy smoke and flames in dimly lit spaces. According to CNN, the fire began in a movie theater on the shopping center’s top floor. Flammable thermal insulation in the building is believed to have contributed to rapid fire spread and intense heat. Rescue attempts were thwarted when the fourth floor collapsed.

The shopping center opened in 2013 in a former confectionery factory, and is a magnet for families and youths because of its retail stores, theater, bowling alley, skating rink, children's center, and petting zoo. In addition to the dozens of human casualties, an estimated 200 animals perished. More than 800 firefighters fought the blaze for 12 hours.

hurricanes, drones
Over six months after Hurricane Harvey rammed into the Texas coast and dumped more than 50 inches of rain on parts of Houston, the country's fourth-largest city is still recovering. 
Earlier this month, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Houston City Council authorized a request to spend $2 million on dozens of new high-water rescue vehicles and boats for the city's fire department. A week later, the newspaper, in collaboration with the Associated Press, ran a two-part investigative feature on the impact of the petrochemical spills that resulted from the storm. Both the need for water-rescue equipment and the issue of petrochemical spills were covered by NFPA Journal in a comprehensive package of hurricane-related stories called "Storm Season" that ran in our November/December 2017 issue. Journal Now
In an interview for a Q&A in the package called "Chief Concerns," Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña stressed the need for more equipment to respond to storms like Harvey. "The biggest gap was the amount of equipment that we were able to muster. We needed boats, high-water vehicles, those types of things," he told Journal Executive Editor Scott Sutherland and Associate Editor Jesse Roman.
In one of the articles I wrote, "In Harm's Way," about the Arkema chemical plant fires and other issues with the petrochemical industry during Harvey, experts called for more information to be incorporated into codes like NFPA 400, Hazardous Materials Code, to address the threat of extreme weather to petrochemical facilities. Many of these facilities dot the Gulf Coast, which is frequently struck by powerful storms. At the time I was working on my article, the Associated Press had identified about two dozen spills. The new Chronicle/AP report, however, found more than 100, many of which were never reported or had been downplayed in their severity. 
Read the first part of the Houston Chronicle/AP investigative feature here, and the second part, which focuses on the Arkema plant, here

On March 22, a dry goods store in Augusta, Georgia caught fire sometime between 6 p.m., when the owner locked up, and 6:20 p.m., when the first fire alarm came in. Igniting on the first floor, the fire “shot up a light shaft, mushroomed on the fifth floor, and was leaping in flame into the air through [the] light and elevator shaft and fifth floor windows when the fire department arrived” (NFPA Augusta Conflagration bulletin). More than 10 hours later, the fire, aided by the wind, had spread over a one-quarter square mile and destroyed 682 buildings for a total property loss of about $4.25 million.



Over the course of a 24-hour period, three cities across the Unites States suffered serious fires. The common denominators in each conflagration were dry, hot, and windy conditions combined with the fact that all three cities were saturated with wood-framed buildings that had wooden shingles. In Augusta, several additional factors were at play. The city was a key commercial center for the cotton industry, and when the warehouses ran out of storage room, cotton was often stored in the city streets. Not only did all this cotton in the streets add fuel to the fire, but it impeded responders to the fire and blocked hydrants. During the fire, Augusta also faced the problems of low water pressure and hydrant hook ups that were incompatible with hoses from visiting fire departments. The Augusta conflagration bulletin offered this vivid description of the scene during the fire:

“Augusta, Georgia, with her streets chocked with inflammable cotton in violation of her own ordinances, -- and her roofs covered with wooden shingles in conformance with them; her valiant fire department crippled with insufficient and obsolete pumping engines in a city of such water-wasters that a hose stream without a pumping engine is impotent, made her contribution of over four million dollars on March 22nd to the ash heap of the nation.”

(NFPA Augusta Conflagration bulletin )

Before the fire, the city's regulations on shingle roofs were inconsistent. An ordinance banning shingle roofs citywide was enacted in 1908, after repeated urging from the fire chief. But the ordinance was changed in 1914 to allow shingle roofs except in the area bounded by the river. The area where shingle roofs were prohibited was reduced in 1916, just six weeks before the fire. Weeks after the fire, a comprehensive building code was adopted that banned shingle roofs citywide once again. In addition, the fire led city officials to buy new pumping engines, lay an additional water main, and improve water pressure through the installation of water meters.


Resources cited:


  • National Fire Protection Association. Augusta, Georgia Conflagration March 22-23, 1916. Boston: NFPA, 1916


Written by Laurel Wilson, Digitization & Processing Intern, 2016
For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives.
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.

When I was assigned as the staff liaison for NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®, I was also assigned the daunting task of developing a handbook. The NFPA 70E handbook had been out for several editions with each previous editor adding their own style and addressing what they felt needed clarification. I was now able to add my own viewpoint but I could only address concerns that I had. I also used information received from you as part of being an NFPA member which gave you the ability to ask me questions. What I think was needed may not be what you really wanted. I did not want to go off on a tangent but felt that the employee who was risking their life while performing electrical work was not adequately addressed. That became the theme for the 2018 edition commentary.
It is always a loaded prospect to solicit information for the public but the readers of this blog are kindred spirits. We all want to save lives and prevent injuries.  
So, if you have seen a 2018 handbook, please help make the 2021 edition better. Of the things I tried were they helpful? Here are some features and my reason for including them. 
- Commentary throughout handbook revised to be applicable to understanding and aid in implementing the requirement  
- Overall new format of standard text and commentary text in black while clearly distinguishing between the two 
- Summary of technical changes to provide a quick overview of changes right up front. This was not intended to be detailed but to allow you to follow the revision process  
- The story of Steve and Dela Lenz moved up front to personalize the hazards of working live and illustrate the need for proper risk assessment  
- Worker alert feature in margin to provide specific information for employee put at risk without having to search the whole standard 
- OSHA connection feature in margin to summarize some pertinent OSHA regulations that correlate with NFPA 70E  
- Case studies that were revamped to address employer and employee actions as well as include more detail of my analysis of incident 
- Risk assessment flow chart to provide an example of a simple step through the risk assessment process  
- Flow chart for conducting electrical work as a simple example of the thought process necessary when determining electrical safety for employee  
- Exhibit with traits of a qualified person to address qualified persons questions and to aid in determining qualification of worker 
- Supplement with NEC requirements separated for employee, employer and system designer based on visibility to each  
I also kept a few things that I was considering on removing.  Should these be kept?  
- Supplement with preventative maintenance program with excerpts NFPA 70B sections regarding maintenance program  
- Supplement with a sample test and inspection procedure illustrating the detail that may be necessary to address concerns properly  
This request is so that I can get a quick idea for how you, the users of the NFPA 70E handbook, felt about the changes. Please add comments (feel free to add until October 2018) to elaborate on what you would like to see in the next edition. By providing insight to me on what you in the field need explained, I will be able to develop a handbook that helps you understand how to increase the chances that you return home after a day’s work. 
For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on Xchange.  
Next time: A very troubling trend
The First Draft Reports for NFPA Standards in the Annual 2019 revision cycle are available.  Review the First Draft Reports for use as background in the submission of public comments. The deadline to submit a public comment through the online system on any of these Standards is May 9, 2018. These proposed NFPA Standards with First Draft Reports in the Annual 2019 revision cycle are as follows:
  • NFPA 2, Hydrogen Technologies Code
  • NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems
  • NFPA 55, Compressed Gases and Cryogenic Fluids Code
  • NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code
  • NFPA 130, Standard for Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems
  • NFPA 302, Fire Protection Standard for Pleasure and Commercial Motor Craft
  • NFPA 405, Standard for the Recurring Proficiency of Airport Fire Fighters
  • NFPA 412, Standard for Evaluating Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Foam Equipment
  • NFPA 414, Standard for Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Vehicles
  • NFPA 502, Standard for Road Tunnels, Bridges, and Other Limited Access Highways
  • NFPA 556, Guide on Methods for Evaluating Fire Hazard to Occupants of Passenger Road Vehicles
  • NFPA 557, Standard for Determination of Fire Loads for Use in Structural Fire Protection Design
  • NFPA 654, Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids
  • NFPA 780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems
  • NFPA 820, Standard for Fire Protection in Wastewater Treatment and Collection Facilities
  • NFPA 1082, Standard for Facilities Safety Director Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development
  • NFPA 1452,  Guide for Training Fire Service Personnel to Conduct Community Risk Reduction
  • NFPA 1710, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments
  • NFPA 1720, Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations and Special Operations to the Public by Volunteer Fire Departments
  • NFPA 1877, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Wildland Fire Fighting Clothing and Equipment
  • NFPA 1936,Standard on Powered Rescue Tools
  • NFPA 1961, Standard on Fire Hose
  • NFPA 2113, Standard on Selection, Care, Use, and Maintenance of Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Short-Duration Thermal Exposures from Fire  
Please note: NFPA 1961 moved from the Annual 2018 to the Annual 2019 revision cycle during the Second Draft stage and will not reopen for public comments. 
If you have any questions when using the online submission system to submit a public comment, a chat feature is available or contact us by email or phone at 1-800-344-3555. 
The First Draft Report serves as documentation of the Input Stage and is published for public review and comment. The First Draft Report contains a compilation of the First Draft of the NFPA Standard, First Revisions, Public Input, Committee Input, Committee Statements, and Ballot Results and Statements. Where applicable, the First Draft Report also contains First Correlating Revisions, Correlating Notes, and Correlating Input.
Read NFPA Journal’s detailed feature on the impending change to flammable refrigerants, what it means, and what’s being done.
What if most refrigerators, air conditioners, and commercial cooling cases were filled with propane, or some other flammable material? How would it impact safety and fire protection during installation, maintenance, or especially during a fire? 
Those questions, far from being hypotheticals, are what researchers have been hustling to answer. 
In 2016, nearly 200 nations agreed to phase out what had until then been the most widely used type of refrigerant—the substances that circulate through cooling systems to absorb heat and cooling the air—because of the compounds’ very high global warming impact. The perfect replacement, however, has not been easy to find. Some are too toxic, others inefficient. The most promising alternatives are a group of compounds that are at least slightly flammable, or in some cases highly flammable. One of the most popular proposed refrigerant alternatives is a substance called R-290 propane, which is favored by some large supermarket retailers for its environmentally friendly qualities and its cooling efficiencies. 
In November, the Fire Protection Research Foundation published a study assessing the risks of using R-290 in refrigeration used in commercial retail and kitchen settings. The study assessed how flammability risks change when different quantities, or charge sizes, of R-290 are used in appliances. It also looked at possible ways to limit those risks, and variables that might impact potential explosions. On Thursday, March 22 at 12:30 p.m., the Fire Protection Research Foundation will present a webinar on the findings of this study. The instructor, Scott G. Davis, was the report’s lead author. 
Currently, flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants like R-290 are limited to a charge size of 150 grams in commercial refrigerators, or about half a cup of liquid; roughly enough to run a small beverage cooler at a supermarket checkout line. Big retailers such as Target, among others, which helped fund the FPRF study, have expressed a desire to increase those charge limits to run larger coolers if it is deemed safe. 
The FPRF study, conducted by Gexcon US, used both full-scale testing and computer models to assess risks of R-290 refrigerants. After various simulations, researchers found that charge size, location of the condensing unit, and whether the condensing fan is running or not, are all factors in how often an ignition occurred during a refrigerant leak. Not surprisingly, as more R-290 leaked into the space surrounding the cooler, ignition became more likely, but as the size of the room increased, ignition risk was reduced. 
Based on those findings, researchers set to work assessing the likelihood of a fire event in several simulated scenarios, and found that big box stores’ big sizes could help limit fire ignition potential during a refrigerant leak. For example, based on simulations, a leaky refrigeration case with 150 grams of R-290 located in a 441-square-foot kitchen was more likely to ignite than a 1,000-gram charge of R-290 located inside a 9,040 square-foot store, the study found. The former scenario is allowed by current regulation, while the latter is not. In addition to being smaller in volume, kitchens have more ignition sources than stores, which also increased ignition risk, the study found. 
The researchers also made several recommendations based on risk factors they found during testing, including: limiting charge size based on the volume of the room where the unit is located; continuously running the condenser fan during a leak; designing refrigeration units with top-mounted condensers; and that equipment within a closed refrigerator cabinet be designed and rated for use in explosive atmospheres. 
Areas that warrant further investigation include efforts to establish risk acceptance criteria, as well as collecting more refrigerant leak frequency data, the study found.
Last year, NFPA Journal published a detailed report on the impending change to flammable refrigerants, what it means, and what’s being done. To learn much more on this topic, read the article.
In 1995, launched as a small online bookstore. Today, its stock shares sell at a higher price than Google's. The retail giant and technology company is poised to become even bigger and more successful in the coming years. 
A critical part of Amazon's business is its fulfillment centers—massive warehouses scattered across the globe that receive, store, and ship products. These products can be anything from books to laptops to cans of lighter fluid. How does the company keep these items and facilities safe from fire and other hazards? Amazon's North American Director of Health and Safety Paul Pace answered this and other questions in an interview with NFPA Journal for the March/April edition of Perspectives, "Prime Protection."
Pace provides intriguing insights into one of the world's largest operations. I was surprised to learn, for example, that Amazon stores products in its warehouses by size, not by risk or any other quality. Read the full article here.

This week, we remember the 1899 St. Patrick's Day tragedy known as the Windsor Hotel Fire.



As the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade passed by the Windsor Hotel on March 17, 1899, the curtains of the hotel’s front parlor windows ignited when a lit match was thrown into the street. This fire would become—at the time—the deadliest hotel fire to date in the U.S. with forty-five people dead.

The perpetrator who threw the match immediately fled the hotel without giving alarm. By the time the fire was discovered by a waiter, the entire parlor was in flames.

From the NFPA Quarterly vol.23, no.3, 1930:

“Unaided he made a brave effort to subdue the fire, but it was apparent that more help was needed. The St. Patrick’s Day parade was passing at the time. The streets were lined with spectators and guarded by policemen, interested onlookers were leaning out of the windows of the hotel itself, and strains of many brass bands deadened all other sound. As the head waiter, calling “Fire,” ran into the street and endeavored to reach an alarm box, which, unfortunately, was situated on the other side of Fifth Avenue, he was prevented from crossing by a puzzled policeman, who could not understand the excited man’s incoherent explanations above the din of the music.


The smoke and flames soon told their own story…”


Written by Jenny DeRocher, Simmons College '18 MLIS Candidate.


For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives.


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.

The 2018 edition of 70E is now available and NFPA has developed a five-part video series featuring our technical experts who can help explain some of the changes. In our fifth and final video, Chris Coache, NFPA’s senior electrical engineer, and Derek Vigstol, NFPA’s electrical technical lead, discuss Personal Protective Equipment (or PPE).


According to Chris, you’ll notice the change in how NFPA addresses PPE from the 2015 edition to this current edition. What you’ll discover is, in the 2015 edition where PPE “shall conform to the standards listed in Table 130.7(C)(14)”; in the 2018 edition it now states, “PPE shall now conform to applicable state, federal, or local codes and standards.”


Another change focuses on labels. Just reading a label and taking it at face value, Chris says, is not enough. Employers should consider teaching employees and/or the purchasing staff what to look for in a label (meaning: deciphering whether the gear is genuine or a knock-off). Ask yourself: do you have the confidence to know which standard is applicable to your gear? Are you secure in your knowledge that the gear has conformed to rigorous testing and has met the necessary requirements for safety?


At the end of the day, Derek says, we all want to do our job safely and return home. Understanding how to put practice into action when it comes to PPE is paramount if our goal is to see zero injuries on the job. What it all comes down to, they say, is education, training and understanding human error.


Learn more about the Standards for Personal Protective Equipment and get the full explanation from Chris below. (NOTE: This clip is part of a pre-recorded full webinar presented in July 2017).    



At NFPA our goal is to provide you with everything you need to take your electrical safety skills to the next level. Find this information and additional resources related to 70E including articles, blog series, a fact sheet, trainings, products and more, at     

Traditional fluorocarbon-based refrigerants has become a concern due to their potential environmental impact. Hydrocarbons, such as propane (R-290), are viable refrigerant working fluids with zero ozone depleting potential and minimal global warming potential. Propane (R-290) is an ASHRAE class A3 refrigerant and the current barrier to more widespread application of such refrigerants is their flammability. While fundamental flammability characteristics are well established for most hydrocarbons, there is a need to assess the risks associated with their use as refrigerants and evaluate methods to mitigate such risks. 
This webinar will discuss the recent Fire Protection Research Foundation project report, "Evaluation of the Fire Hazard of ASHRAE Class A3 Refrigerants in Commercial Refrigeration Applications". The specific objectives of the study were to: (1) assess the flammability risk versus charge size; and (2) develop recommendations on how to prevent or mitigate the risks when using Propane (R-290) in commercial retail and kitchen applications. The full final report is available from the FPRF website.
When: Thursday, March 22, 12:30-2:00 pm EST
Presenter: Scott G. Davis, Ph.D., P.E., CFEI, Gexcon US
Dr. Scott Davis is the President at GexCon US and specializes in the engineering analysis and testing of combustion, thermal, and fluid processes. Dr. Davis is responsible for fire and explosion related activities, which include post-incident investigative work, worldwide training and experimentation, as well as performing risk assessments and safety studies for offshore and floating oil & gas installations, petrochemical facilities, and various other industries. He also works with companies addressing the technical aspects of product recalls as well as interacting with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). He serves on the committees responsible for NFPA 720 Standard for the Installation of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detection and Warning Equipment, Combustible Dusts and Metal Dusts, and has served on that for NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations.
Back in February, when I first read headlines that The Boring Company, which is run by high-profile California businessman Elon Musk, was selling flamethrowers to anyone who could fork over $500, I sent my colleagues at NFPA Journal an email about it. "Seems highly dangerous," I wrote. I was honestly surprised that a company could be doing this. 
Then I spoke with a Boring Company representative and learned that selling devices like this is perfectly legal in 49 states. Not only that, but in 48 of those states it's also legal to sell devices capable of shooting flames much farther than the Musk device can. A Google search revealed that what Musk's company was selling—a gun-shaped device that emits a roughly two-foot flame—looks tame compared to others that are for sale online. One company from Arizona, for example, sells flamethrowers that can shoot a stream of burning liquid up to 30 feet. 
Still, the Musk flamethrowers ruffled feathers and drew criticism from some people in California, which experienced its deadliest wildfires ever in recent months. Read my article about the controversial business move in "'A Super Terrible Idea'"—Musk's words, not mine—in the new edition of NFPA Journal

One of the best parts of my job is having the opportunity to connect with different fire protection and life safety professionals from all over the world.

Last month, I was fortunate enough to attend NFPA’s Women in Engineering event at the SFPE Conference in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. There, I met a remarkable young student architect named Nasrin Sadat who shared the powerful reason behind her college thesis on high-rise residential tower fire safety. Her story will stick with me forever.

Most of us remember where we were and what we were doing on the morning of September 11th, 2001, but do you remember where you were on June 14, 2017 when the Grenfell Tower in West London burned, killing 72 people? Nasrin remembers the events of that horrible day all too well, and shared her and her fiancé’s life-changing experience with me.

But first a little about Nasrin. She lives with her parents and younger brother in a small town in The Netherlands, and is studying architecture at The Hague University. Born in Afghanistan in the late 1990s, Nasrin and her family fled her troubled homeland in the early 2000s to escape escalating occupation by the Taliban.

The Sadat family had relatives in The Netherlands so they headed there as refugees. They began their new life as a family grounded in strong values and committed to preserving their reputable heritage.

Last year on June 14th, Nasrin was sleeping soundly at home, when fire began to consume the Grenfell Towers hundreds of miles away in West London. The college student’s phone began to vibrate and ring incessantly. Her fiancé Farhad Neda was desperately trying to reach her from the 23rd floor of the Grenfell Tower, where he lived with his disabled mother, Flora and his father, Saber.

Initially, Farhad wanted Nasrin to know that the building was on fire. But, as the fire quickly spread and smoke relentlessly billowed into their flat, Nasrin’s fiancé didn’t think they were going to make it out of the building alive. He was calling and texting Nasrin to say goodbye.

Farhad’s mother suffers from a muscular disease and is unable to walk on her own so walking down 23 flights of stairs was going to be difficult, if not impossible. Throughout the ordeal, Farhad was in contact with a friend who was outside the building near first responders. He asked the friend to talk with the first responders and let him know what to do. The 24-year old was told to stay put because help was on the way and if the fire brigade could not reach the Nedas, they could go to the roof where helicopters would be rescuing residents.

Anxious about the smoke in their apartment, and with no sign of first responders or helicopters, Farhad decided they needed to escape via the stairs. He left the apartment with his mother, while his father stayed behind to help others. Farhad’s dad promised to follow them soon and meet them outside.

During their descent dark smoke filled the stairwell, making it difficult to escape. They were choking and stumbling over the bodies of those overcome by smoke. It took them about 20 minutes to descend 23 flights of stairs – stopping once along the way to suck in clean air via an air pocket.

Once outside, Farhad spoke to Nasir and recounted everything that was unfolding at Grenfell. She boarded the first available flight to London.

Farhad and his mother were put into induced comas to recover from all the smoke that they inhaled during their quest for survival. Nasrin spent months in London helping her fiancé and his mother recover.

Farhad and Flora were the only survivors from floor 23. Saber, Farhad’s dad, never met them outside.
As a student of architecture, Nasrin is well-versed on building design, construction techniques and code regulations. She knew that the events that took place at Grenfell Tower on June 14th, should never have occurred. When she returned to school in September she decided to do her senior thesis on high-rise residential tower fire safety with Grenfell Tower as the basis of her research. Her work is centered around 5 main questions:

· How can the escape concept ''stay put'' in residential towers work properly?
· How can the applied materials used in the Grenfell Tower facade be used safely for residential towers?
· How can the staircases in high-rise buildings contribute to the fire safety of residential towers?
· How can the smoke control system in residential towers work properly?
· How can quality assessment strategies employed during the construction process guarantee that the fire safety of residential towers will be adequate?

Nasrin’s final paper will result in an assessment of the fire safety measures at Grenfell Tower; and provide a comparison of the fire and life safety regulations applied in Dutch high-rise buildings.

The research being undertaken by Nasrin is not simple, but in the course of our brief meeting I came away with the sense that this young women is up for any challenge. She has the support of her mentor and manager at her internship at DGMR Engineering in The Netherlands - and of course, encouragement from her fiancé and his mother.

I was awed by this young women’s spirit and intelligence, and saddened by the tragedy that spurred her thesis decision. And yet, I was very proud to share with her the many ways that NFPA is also addressing high-rise building fire and life safety with risk assessment tools, videos, resources and via NFPA 285 and NFPA 5000. We share Nasrin’s passion for keeping residents of high-rise buildings safer from harm.

I look forward to reading and sharing Nasrin’s report in June when it is complete. In the meantime, learn more about Farhad and Flora’s unforgettable journey on June 14th and in the days since, as reported during this compelling news interview.

The March 2018 issue of NFPA News, our free monthly codes and standards newsletter, is now available.
NFPA News March 2018In this issue:
  • New project being explored on spaceports
  • Proposed Tentative Interim Amendments seeking comments on NFPA 30B and NFPA 72
  • Formal interpretation Issued on NFPA 130
  • News in brief
  • Committees seeking members
  • Standards seeking public input and public comment
  • Committee meetings calendar 
Subscribe today! NFPA News is a free, monthly codes and standards newsletter that includes special announcements, notification of public input and comment closing dates, requests for comments, notices on the availability of Standards Council minutes, and other important news about NFPA’s standards development process. 

Today we are highlighting an image from our archives demonstrating one form of public education relating to electrical hazards in the early 1900’s.



On the board pictured above, right and wrong ways of treating electricity, along with their results were displayed.


The top left section of the board showed equipment that were known to be ignition sources in factories and homes, because elementary safeguards had been neglected at the time.

Below the board there would be a display showing both the correct and incorrect types of wiring equipment, as well as a collection of apparatus dating from 1878 to 1927.

Viewers came away from such displays with a better understanding of “The march of knowledge in the control of the silent servant who noiselessly does man’s bidding at the touch of a button.”

For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives.

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.

My father was an old school electrician taught through the old methods before OSHA and electrical safety was on anyone’s radar. He passed his knowledge onto me. I learned about different types of wiring methods and different voltages. I understood what a fuse and circuit breaker did. I could strip Type AC cable. His training included testing for the presence of AC voltage by touching conductors with his fingers. This required knowing the expected circuit voltage before attempting. Even though I had seen him use insulated gloves for other equipment, he did not use them when working around the house. I, however, was not allowed to test for AC voltage because I was too small. You needed to be full grown to handle the shock. For low voltage DC control circuits, the presence of voltage was determined by tasting. I was taught to make sure that the two conductor ends didn’t touch each other because that could burn my tongue. 
For the younger crowd, touching energized conductors was not only considered to be an acceptable method of determining the presence of voltage, it was specifically taught as part of electrician training. Test by touch was not considered to be a “shock”, “near miss”, or “near death” situation. It just was. Electricians were willfully exposing themselves to a potential electrocution rather than using a meter. Tarry thee not amongst those who engage in intentional shocks for they are surely non-believers and are not long for this world. Back then every work day in the United States more than two employees were killed by contact with electricity. Even as a kid I knew electricians who had been electrocuted. I assisted my father for several years. There was no energized equipment safety training other than knowing if there was voltage present or not. Therein lies my tale. 
I was a budding engineer who built all kinds of Rube Goldberg devices. One day I was making a model car and decided to give it working headlights. I took apart two flashlights to get the bulbs. I then put the headlights into the model with a wire run into the trunk where a single AAA battery would be installed to power the lights. A quick check with the battery proved that everything worked. It was then that the greatest idea crossed my pre-teen mind. If the lights were powered with more than 1½ volts they would be brighter. The car could then be used as my bedroom lamp. So, I found an old vacuum cleaner cord in the basement. I drilled a hole in the model, pulled the cord into the trunk and twisted the conductors to the wire I used for the headlights. I put a wire nut over the twisted conductors. When I plugged it in nothing happened. 
It didn’t cross my mind to unplug the car. I had seen my father work bare handed on energized 120 volt circuits more times than I could count. When I opened the trunk I noticed that the conductors were disconnected. I held the two wires in one hand and twisted them back together with the other hand. For a brief instant, the headlights were very bright. My forearm muscles twitched and tingled. The small lamps exploded. I was startled and scared at what had just happened.  
I had my first “near death” electrical experience at twelve. Call these incidents what they are. A GFCI protective device would not have saved my life. I missed being electrocuted most likely because the lamps blew. As I write this I can still feel the sensation of the current in my arm. It was well beyond the situation of a child being electrocuted by sticking a paperclip into a receptacle. I knew what I was doing. For all the training my father had given me, how not to become a fatality was not really part of it. Maybe that incident subconsciously led me to the career path I have chosen.      
Although my children help me just as I helped my father, they have never seen me work on an energized circuit. They also know why that is the case because, when it comes to electrical safety, ignorance is a very dangerous thing. 
For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on Xchange.  
Next time: Help me help you.
NFPA has issued the following errata on NFPA 20, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection; NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code; NFPA 68, Standard on Explosion Protection by Deflagration Venting; and NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code:
  • NFPA 20, Errata 20-16-2, referencing of the 2016 edition
  • NFPA 30, Errata 30-18-1, referencing Figures 16.4.1(a) and 16.4.1(b) of the 2018 edition
  • NFPA 68, Errata 68-18-2, referencing 8.3.4 of the 2018 edition
  • NFPA 72, Errata 72-16-1, referencing Table item 22(b) and and (5) of the 2016 edition
An errata is a correction issued to an NFPA Standard, published in NFPA News, Codes Online, and included in any further distribution of the document.
The NFPA Standards Council is in receipt of a New Project Initiation Request for the development of an ANSI Accredited Standard to establish requirements for spaceports.  Specifically, it is anticipated and requested that standards be established to provide guidance on the construction and operation of facilities used to house; maintain; and deploy rockets (solid and liquid), space planes, and other similar craft.  Another aspect of standards development proposed is addressing static stands used for testing and the development of rockets and space planes, among others.  If standards development is approved by the Standards Council, the standard may additionally address related topics as the Standards Council directs.  
To assist the Standards Council in evaluating the proposal for new standards, NFPA is currently soliciting comments to gauge whether support exists for spaceport standards development.  NFPA specifically seeks input on the following:
  1. Are you, or your organization, in favor of the development of a new standard establishing standards for spaceports, including guidelines for construction and operation of related facilities’ static stands, and other associated needs for spaceports?   
  2. Please state your reason(s) for supporting or opposing the proposed spaceport standards development.
Please submit comments in support or opposition to standards development on spaceports by June 1, 2018.
Additionally, NFPA would like to know if you or your organization is interested in applying for membership on the Technical Committee if standards development is approved by the Standards Council?  If you are interested in participating in standards development as a technical committee member, please submit an application in addition to your comments. Submit online application*
*Note:  Applications being accepted for purposes of documenting applicant interest in committee participation.  Acceptance of applications by NFPA does not guaranty or imply the Standards Council will ultimately approve standards development activity on this subject matter.
Jim Pauley and CFBVRA President Carlos Alfonso, flanked by OBA's president, Carlos Ferlise, and CFBVRA's secretary, Ariel Alejo, at the signing of the MOU between NFPA and CFPVRA.

As part of NFPA’s continued efforts on contaminants that are causing fire organizations to deal with the deadly effects of cancer and other related health issues, and as the Argentinian fire service has begun to address the issue, NFPA’s President Jim Pauley and Olga Caledonia, NFPA’s Director of International Development, visited Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 5 and 6, to meet with the
Consejo de Federaciones de Bomberos Voluntarios de la República Argentina (Council of Volunteer Firefighter Federations of the Republic of Argentina or CFBVRA), the Organización de Bomberos Americanos (Organization of American Firefighters or OBA) and the Undersecretary of Emergencies of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, to discuss 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.
Prior to their two days of meetings with the various fire service institutions, Jim and Olga met with the board of directors of NFPA’s local chapter. Established in 2004, the Chapter is a networking group of NFPA members, who work to support NFPA’s mission through local initiatives, including participating in code making committees and organizing short one-day conferences around the country addressing a variety of fire and life safety topics.
In Argentina, 95% of the fire service is a volunteer corps, and CFBVRA is the operational arm of Civil Defense representing the National System of Volunteer Firefighters (SNBV), a network that includes the National Firefighter Academy, 26 federations with their provincial training schools, and 900 fire stations with a total of 43,000 firefighters. Additionally, CFBVRA administers RUBA (Registro Único de Bomberos de Argentina) the national reporting system that compiles and administers statistical information provided by SNBV to uniformly report on the full range of their activities including human resources, materials and services rendered; and the Fundación Bomberos de Argentina (Firefighter Foundation or FBA) the organization dedicated to the creation of programs and activities for firefighter wellbeing, in additional to supporting the Academy with educational programs.
During their meetings with CFBVRA, Jim remarked that as fire organizations are working hard to change firefighter culture and alter occupational cancer outcomes, NFPA is helping to spread the word, to analyze data, and to share best practices from a variety of sources, while our research affiliate, the Fire Protection Research Foundation has been looking at PPE cleaning, contamination and firefighter cancer, as part of a larger Campaign for Fire Service Contamination Control research project. These studies will provide important scientific, medical and educational insights. NFPA has also generated safety bulletins, fact sheets, NFPA Journal articles, webinars, and countless blogs to help departments engage audiences, some of which have already been translated into Spanish and shared with the Fundación.
After their meeting with CFBVRA officials, Jim and Olga met with Carlos Alberto Alvarez, Director for Emergency Planning and Fire Service Coordination and the sub-secretary, Nestor A. Nicolas. Their teams oversee the career fire service of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, and with recent changes is administrative legislation they are looking to further discuss areas of collaboration with NFPA. Historically (since the early 1800s), career firefighters were part of the Argentinian Federal Police, however, as of February 1, 2017, the Cuerpo de Bomberos de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (City of Buenos Aires Fire Department) was transferred from the police to the Ministry of Justice and Safety, under the Sub-secretary of Emergencies. As part of this change, and to better serve the community, the Bomberos de la Ciudad, have created the Professional Education and Training Academy, with a cadet school, being this the first time they will have a professional development institute for those wishing to enter the Fire Department. 
To conclude their trip, Jim and Olga met with FBA, which included a visit to the first volunteer fire station in the country. In 1884, motivated by the destructive fires in the predominantly Italian immigrant port neighborhood of La Boca, where the majority of homes were built with wood and zinc from the shipyards, local residents founded the first volunteer firefighter association and station with the moto “Volere e Potere”, which in Genoese means “where there is a will there is a way”.
Jim Pauley and Olga Caledonia meet with the Argentina NFPA Chapter.
At first glance, it might seem that the commercial space industry and craft distilling wouldn't have much in common. But they share at least one big need: to varying degrees, both industries are looking for more comprehensive, easy-to-use guidance on safety practices, and both may benefit from the consensus codes and standards development expertise offered by NFPA.
Both topics are featured in the March/April issue of NFPA Journal, available online now.
Our cover story, "Lift-Off," by Journal associate editor Jesse Roman, looks at the nation's burgeoning private space industry and its need for infrastructure, including launch facilities. Guidance on building and maintaining such facilities, however, as well as implementing safety programs, can be hard to come by and in some cases may be contradictory, which is why NASA has asked NFPA to consider a new standard for spaceports. 
Similarly, guidance exists in various forms for distilleries, but it tends to be oriented toward larger, industrial-scale producers with their own safety professionals to oversee operations. In our story "Small Scale, High Proof," staff writer Angelo Verzoni looks at the industry's smaller producers, whose numbers have swelled to more than 1,000 nationwide thanks to the boom in craft distilling. Public safety officials, though, warn that some of those producers may not be adequately addressing safety issues, and are calling for NFPA to consider guidance designed for this rapidly growing market segment. 
Elsewhere in the issue, we consider the national fire safety discussion sparked by the hit TV series "This Is Us"; how Amazon addresses fire safety in its scores of very large warehouses around the country; new-generation smoke alarms that can distinguish between burning toast and burning furniture; and much more.
The following two proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 30B, Code for the Manufacture and Storage of Aerosol Products and NFPA 90A, Standard for the Installation of Air-Conditioning and Ventilating Systems, are being published for public review and comment:    
  • NFPA 30B, proposed TIA No. 1359, referencing various sections in Chapter 6 and 7 of the proposed 2019 edition, closing date: 4/12/2018
  • NFPA 90A, proposed TIA No. 1360, referencing, 2018 edition, closing date: 5/17/2018  
Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the closing dates listed. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.
Today marks the 114th anniversary of the Lakeview School Fire in Collinwood, Ohio.
A tragic fire occurred on March 4th, 1908 at the Lakeview School in Collinwood, Ohio. The fire occurred during the school day between 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM, and it resulted with the deaths of 173 students and 2 teachers.
Ohio Fire
The janitor ran to ring the bell to sound the fire alarm after he was alerted by one of the students using the restroom in the basement. Unfortunately, many of the students thought that it was just a drill, which led to the chaos when they discovered that it was indeed real. The probable cause of the fire was that the steam heating pipes were too close to the wooden structure of the building and the pipes ignited the dry wood above.
The fire incident at Collinwood was indeed sobering and it led to "a higher level of scrutiny of school systems everywhere resulted, with an increase in fire drills and a reassessment of school building design" (NFPA Journal, 72). This incident certainly helped propel the standards for fire safety and exits in schools, including the Life Safety Code which was "first published in 1912 as Exit Drills in Factories, Schools, Department stores, and Theaters" (NFPA Journal, 72). In the case of this fire incident, the children and teachers knew the fire drill and had practiced it many times, but it wasn't until the fire that they were able to see the improper egress and complications that came with the buildings construction. 
  • NFPA Journal 2008 Vol. 108, No.5:  Grant, Casey C. "The Lakeview School Fire Collinwood's Hardest Lesson.” 
  • NFPA Quarterly 102 no. 5, 64-72.
For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives.
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.
NFPA has issued the following formal interpretation on NFPA 130, Standard for Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems:
Formal Interpretations are for the purpose of providing formal explanations of the meaning or intent of the Technical Committee on any specific provision or provisions of any NFPA Standard in accordance with Section 6 of the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards.

Wisconsin State Capitol fire


In the early winter morning of February 27, 1904 the Wisconsin State Capitol was devastated by fire, which started when a newly installed “highly varnished ceiling of yellow pine” was too near a gas jet. The fire began in the south wing on the second floor, which in the end was destroyed.

From the NFPA Quarterly, v.24, no.4, 1931:
“The Capitol building was a large structure approximately 225 x 400 feet arranged in the form of a Greek cross with corridors extending from a rotunda in the center. These corridors, high and fairly narrow, acted like flues, for flames appeared simultaneously from windows at the extreme north and south ends. The building was old, having been erected in 1839 with various subsequent additions. Its original cost was $900,000…The loss was estimated at $275,000.”
It is said that Madison and Milwaukee firefighters worked for 18 hours to kill the fire. Thankfully, the Governor at the time—Robert M. La Follette—was present and able to personally save most of the state records, correspondence files, and the law library. Two years later in 1906, construction for the current capitol began and the fire-damaged building was demolished.
This is not a unique story—many State Capitol buildings were ruined with fire in the early 20th century. Thankfully, no lives were lost and most of the valuable records were saved in this fire, which was not the story for others, like the New York State Capitol fire in 1911.
~ Written by Jenny DeRocher, Simmons College '18 MLIS Candidate, 
For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives.
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.

Health care facilities typically house an array of gases--oxygen, helium, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, for example--that are stored in cylinders and serve a variety of medical purposes. As with other medical gas equipment, there are potential hazards associated with these cylinders. Fires and explosions can be exacerbated by its contents, and physical damage to the cylinders may lead to mechanical problems.

NFPA's new fact sheet highlights these hazards and how NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code, safeguards the storage of medical gas cylinders. It lists safety precautions for handling cylinders and related NFPA resources tied to NFPA 99.

Download the new fact sheet and share with colleagues responsible for maintaining or inspecting health care facilities.


I will admit that Chapter 4 of NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems provides very little in the way of “meaty” requirements. It does however deal with one of the fundamental requirements that very few people pay attention to: the owner's certificate. This document sets up the entire design for the contractor and the approval/plan review foundation for the AHJ, however it is ignored by most.

During my recent NFPA Live presentation I looked at the criticality of this document in terms of getting a project started as well as playing a role in the management of change throughout the building’s lifecycle.

I received this follow-up questions from a member. I'm now sharing it with you. I hope you find some value in it.


NFPA Live is an interactive video series in which members of NFPA staff address some of the most frequent topics they receive through the Member's Only Technical Question service. If you are currently an NFPA Member you can view the entire video by following this link. If you're not currently a member, join today!


The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for the 2016 edition of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, are being published for public review and comment:



Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the March 22, 2018 closing date. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council before the closing date.

Whiskey ages in wood barrels at Boston Harbor Distillery in Dorchester 

It's hard to keep up with the number of craft distilleries opening across the country. Every time I visit my hometown, near Portland, Maine, it seems as though there's yet another business churning out bottles of gin, whiskey, vodka, rum, you name it. 
This got me and the rest of the NFPA Journal team wondering how these facilities are being protected from fire and other hazards. As it turns out, in some cases the answer is that they're not. 
My latest Journal feature story, "Small Scale, High Proof," explores the burgeoning craft distilling industry in the United States, highlighting the growing concerns over a lack of information specific to distilleries within commonly adopted codes and standards. 
Change is on the way, though. With over 1,000 craft distilleries scattered across the United States and many more in the works, organizations like NFPA and the International Code Council are mulling ways to address the issue. "AHJs need something in a code to help them know what to look for and what hazards are being presented," one fire protection engineer from California told me. 
Read the full story hereand keep an eye out for the rest of the March/April issue of NFPA Journal coming soon online.

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