Last month, NFPA hosted the Building Safety and Security (BS&S) Workshop, which brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to address targeted violence issues, and to collectively prioritize the next layers of “security safety” to be written into codes, planning documents, and related outreach materials.
Over two days of lively debate and discussion, participants reviewed the current building, life safety, and fire code provisions for elements such as egress and systems design, then identified new solutions, strategies, and building features. They were further asked to identify priority solutions to integrate, balance, and blend security-related goals and objectives into the range of built environment regulations.
While the conversation must continue, and the balance between fire codes and security protocols will continue to evolve, this workshop brought to light a number of important topics:
Moving foward, we will use the full report to advance future editions of NFPA codes and standards, and to further clarify provisions for enhancing the security needs of occupant in the interim. We will also develop resources that highlight existing code requirements and guidelines, while developing additional, longer-term efforts and initiatives.
Please feel free to share your comments and feedback after reviewing the report. I welcome any and all questions and input.
In my recent NFPA Live session I went over the recently issued tentative interim amendments for the 2020 edition of the National Electrical Code. These TIAs have provided more options to comply with the ground-fault protection requirements for marina and boatyard electrical systems.
In the above video I provide a bit of background on the evolution of this requirement. NFPA Live is exclusively for NFPA members, but I'm sharing this excerpt with you. I hope you find some value in it.
Jeff Sargent is a Regional Electrical Code Specialist at NFPA. 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!
With the Fourth of July approaching and the summer months upon us, indulging in barbecues, holiday parties and swimming often top the list of activities to enjoy during the summer season. To help everyone do so safely, NFPA is reminding people about potential summer fire and electrical hazards, and providing tips and recommendations to minimize them.
Fireworks: Fireworks are festive and fun to watch but NFPA recommends that revelers refrain from using consumer fireworks and attend public fireworks displays put on by trained professionals. Did you know that on Independence Day in a typical year, fireworks account for nearly half of all reported U.S. fires, more than any other cause of fire? According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) 2017 Fireworks Annual Report, fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,100 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2016. So this year, reduce your risk for injuries and leave the sparklers, candles and spinners to the professionals!
Grilling fire safety: All types of grills pose a risk for fires and burn injuries. According to NFPA statistics, July is the peak month for grilling fires and roughly 9,600 home grill fires were reported per year. The leading causes of fire were a failure to clean the grill, using the grill too close to something that could burn, and leaving the grill unattended.
The following are tips for grillers:
Electric Shock Drowning (ESD): Electric Shock Drowning happens when marina or onboard electrical systems leak electric current into the water. The current then passes through the body and causes paralysis. When this happens, a person can no longer swim and ultimately drowns. Here are tips for swimmers and boat owners:
Tips for swimmers:
Tips for boat owners:
You can find more information about electrical safety in pools, spas and hot tubs on NFPA’s “electrical safety around water” webpage. Find this and all related summer fire safety-related resources including videos, checklists and tipsheets at www.nfpa.org/publiceducation. Have a safe, fun summer, everyone!
Today’s blog marks the 100th #FireCodefridays post! I started writing about issues related to NFPA 1, Fire Code, back in March of 2016. Thanks to everyone who reads, contributes to, and shares this information!
College campuses are filled with students, staff, and visitors looking for a quick (and delicious!) meal, at all hours of the day. This makes them an ideal location for food trucks and other food vendors to park and serve hungry passersby. While colleges and universities are perhaps busiest during the academic year, they are also hosts to a variety of festivals and other events throughout the summer months that attract food vendors to serve the crowds of people that flock to the campus. Just the other weekend, my alma mater hosted an event to introduce families to engineering and technology, and sure enough on all of the marketing information was a mention of food trucks! We have seen no slowdown in the interest of mobile food vendors and from what I’ve seen, they continue to grow in popularity.
Food truck safety and issues related to temporary and mobile cooking were brought to the Fire Code Technical Committee during the last Code revision cycle, as a topic to consider for possible inclusion in the 2018 edition of the Code. Requirements in new Section 50.7 are based primarily on new provisions from NFPA 96, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations, 2017 edition as well as NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code, 2017 edition. NFPA 96 was the driving force behind the development of new provisions for food trucks and mobile cooking and they serve as the expert source for the details regarding installation and inspection, testing and maintenance for the cooking equipment used on the vehicles and other cooking operations. It should be noted that the 2017 edition of NFPA 96 contains new provisions for mobile and temporary cooking operations in an adoptable Annex B. The NFPA standards development process does not permit another document (NFPA 1) to directly extract from an Annex so users will not see extract notations from NFPA 96. However, the intent of the NFPA 1 committee was to include technical requirements consistent with those from NFPA 96. The technical committees will continue to work together over the next revision cycles to further enhance, improve, and coordinate the provisions. Many additional requirements are also extracted from NFPA 58.
While the Code defers to the expertise of standards such as NFPA 96 and NFPA 58 it also includes requirements that are unique to NFPA 1 and are included only in NFPA 1 based on its scope. Some criteria you will find in new Section 50.7 are as follows:
An approved method of communication to emergency personnel shall be accessible to all employees.
The address of the current operational location is to be posted and accessible to all employees.
Prior to performing mobile or temporary cooking operations, workers are to be trained in emergency response procedures and a refresher training shall be provided every year.
Training must be documented and made available to AHJ.
The safety and enforcement of events with the presence of trucks relies on multiple parties being aware of what requirements are out there related to mobile and temporary cooking equipment. During the summer, college activities could range in size from a few hundred people attending summer classes to a large concert where tens of thousands of people are visiting. Event management and communication amongst staff and authorities is critical. At colleges and universities this may mean event planning staff working with local/campus fire departments or campus safety teams to arrange for a safe presence of food vendors (verifying plans, issuing permits, etc). Inspectors play a critical role in ensuring the safety of campus events.
Along with requirements for food trucks, NFPA 1 also contains requirements for special outdoor events, carnivals and fairs. In section 10.14 of the Code, requirements address permits, life safety evaluations, fire personnel, fire protection systems, electrical safety and communications. Combined with the knowledge and awareness of the provisions in new 50.7, events with food trucks should be safe and fun for all.
Thanks for reading, stay safe!
Don't miss another #FireCodeFridays blog! Get notifications straight to your email inbox by subscribing here! And you can always follow me on Twitter for more updates and fire safety news @KristinB_NFPA.
NFPA 1802, Standard on Two-Way, Portable RF Voice Communications Devices for Use by Emergency Services Personnel in the Hazard Zone, and NFPA 1891, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Hazardous Materials Clothing and Equipment, are seeking public inputs on their preliminary drafts. These preliminary drafts allow the public to review and submit any suggested revisions prior to the publication as First Draft Reports.
NFPA 1802 identifies the operating environment parameters, as well as the minimum requirements for the design, performance, testing, and certification of portable RF voice communications devices (RF devices) and remote speaker microphones (RSMs) for use by emergency services personnel (ESP) within the hazard zone during emergency incident operations without compromising compatibility with field emergency services communications networks.
NFPA 1891 specifies the minimum requirements for the selection, care, and maintenance of hazardous materials, CBRN, and emergency medical operations protective ensembles, ensemble elements, and clothing [i.e., hazardous materials (hazmat) personal protective equipment (PPE)] that are used for protection during hazardous materials emergencies and CBRN terrorism incidents. Also, NFPA 1891 specifies requirements for hazmat PPE manufactured to previous editions of NFPA 1991, NFPA 1992, NFPA 1994, and NFPA 1999.
To view the preliminary drafts and submit pubic inputs for NFPA 1802 and NFPA 1891, go to: https://www.nfpa.org/1802next or https://www.nfpa.org/1891next and select the "Submit a Public Input" link to begin the process. You will be asked to sign-in or create a free online account with NFPA before using this system. If you have any questions when using the online submission system, a chat feature is available; you can email us at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-344-3555.
The closing date for submission of public inputs for both documents is January 3, 2019.
Essential electrical systems are intended to ensure that when facilities lose normal power there is a reliable source of backup power that can quickly restore power to circuits and equipment needed for life safety purposes and those that affect the well-being of patients or are essential to the clinical functionality of the facility.
In my recent NFPA live session I discussed different branches of essential electrical systems, generator requirements, and their required testing and maintenance.
I received this follow-up question from a member. I hear this question a lot so I wanted to share it here. 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 First Draft Report for NFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems, is available. Review the First Draft Report for use as background in the submission of public comments.
To submit a public comment using the online submission system, go directly to the NFPA 855 document information page or use the list of NFPA codes & standards. Once on the NFPA 855 page, select the link "Submit a Public Comment" to begin the process. You will be asked to sign-in or create a free online account with NFPA before using this system. If you have any questions when using the system, a chat feature is available, or email us at mailto:email@example.com or call 1-800-344-3555.
The deadline to submit a public comment through the online system is July 12, 2018.
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.
Upon adjournment of NFPA’s Technical Meeting in Las Vegas, the requirements of NFPA 720, Standard for the Installation of Carbon Monoxide Detection and Warning Equipment are one step closer to issuance by the Standards Council as incorporated into the 2019 edition of NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®. NFPA 720, which has worked to minimize occupant risk to carbon monoxide in homes and other occupancies since it was first issued in 2003, will be withdrawn once the 2019 edition of NFPA 72 is issued by the Standards Council this August.
Several NFPA task groups and technical committees have diligently worked over the past three years to integrate the requirements of NFPA 720 into NFPA 72, with the goal of providing smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm requirements in a single, comprehensive document.
Some 38 states currently adopt or reference NFPA 720, which requires carbon monoxide detection in homes. Some states only require that carbon monoxide alarms be installed in new home construction, while others only require carbon monoxide alarm installations when there is an attached garage or similar construction. Some of these requirements are the result of state statute, while others are amendments to a state’s building code.
All stakeholders who adopt or reference NFPA 720 need to know about the upcoming changes so they can make the necessary adjustments and continue delivering carbon monoxide protection to the states and/or jurisdictions they serve.
Did you know that NFPA has a Women in STEM group? One of our own engineers, Val Ziavras (vboutin ), presented at the NFPA booth on Wednesday about our internal group, our mission, and what kinds of activities we do. One of these activities is the annual Women in STEM (previously Women in Engineering) Reception. Every year this event tries a new format and covers different topics, which seems to gain more interest and set the bar higher for the next one. This year, Val worked with leaders from Jensen Hughes to assemble a panel of women who work in the fire protection field around the world. They called this powerhouse of experience The International View. The panelists were:
[From left to right: Usha Tyson, Julie Brown, and Moriel Kaplan of Jensen Hughes, Birgitte Messerschmidt, Marisol Arrocha, Val Ziavras of NFPA, Shamim Rashid-Sumar, and Ozlem Emgen]
The International View gave audience members (both male and female) the opportunity to hear about the different experiences of women in male-dominated careers in cultures other than our own. They shed light on work-life balance, what it’s like to collaborate with professionals from other countries, if and how the #metoo movement impacted their societies, what kinds of questions they would ask before relocating abroad, and much more. The ongoing Q&A was peppered with a fun audience poll where we took a guess at some eye-opening international statistics. While it was enlightening to hear about our cultural differences, it was also comforting to learn about our similarities. Some commonalities that emerged were that all women were thankful for the use of technology in their lives (thank you, FaceTime!) and that all put their families first when given the chance to move abroad (i.e. making sure they felt safe and had opportunities). My favorite part of the Q&A was hearing about their challenges with working across cultures. The women shared humorous stories about things getting lost in translation, sarcasm falling flat in another country, and the unique obstacle of not being able to understand someone speaking your own language because of accents and dialects.
[A packed room for The International View]
I was grateful to have the following hour to get to know these women better during the networking reception. They are each inspirational in their own way, and as a whole they are so intelligent, driven, selfless, and strong. Hence why they were all my #WomanCrushWednesday! This reception is just one of the things that makes the NFPA Conference and Expo different from other industry events. I hope to see you there next year!
[Just some of NFPA's Women in Engineering]
Today’s post is from NFPA staff, Jacqueline Wilmot (@JWilmot_NFPA). Jacqueline is a Fire Protection Engineer in the Building and Life Safety Department where she serves as Staff Liaison to multiple NFPA Technical Committees, including Commissioning and Integrated Testing responsible for the development of NFPA 3 and NFPA 4. Most recently, Jacqueline co-presented an education session, along with NFPA's Shawn Mahoney, at NFPA’s Conference and Expo on integrated system testing (session T23, handouts are available to download if you attended the conference!) Special thanks to Jacqueline for her contribution!
With the latest edition of NFPA 1 (2018) referencing NFPA 4, Standard for the Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing (2018) it is important to recognize what this standard addresses. The most common misconception about integrated system testing is that it is already being done. Many people assume that when they enter a building, all the fire protection and life safety systems have been tested. This is true, individually. The fire protection and life safety systems that are installed in a building are required to pass an acceptance test in accordance with the corresponding design and installation standard in order for the owner to receive a certificate of occupancy (C of O). What many people may have not considered is that most fire protection and life safety systems in today’s world are designed to work together.
However, reference to NFPA 4 in multiple NFPA and ICC codes is working to change all that: the 2018 editions of NFPA 1, NFPA 101, and NFPA 5000 all include a reference to NFPA 4. The latest edition of NFPA 101 now requires where two or more fire protection or life safety systems are integrated, and where required by chapters 11 through 43 in NFPA 101, integrated system testing must be conducted to verify the proper operation and function of such systems in accordance with NFPA 4. NFPA 1 extracts this language from NFPA 101 into Section 13.1.3.
NFPA 4 does not provide a prescriptive lists of test scenarios, or testing frequencies based on the occupancy classification or the types of systems installed inside a facility. Since the level of testing varies from one building to another, NFPA 4 provides a protocol that will verify the integrated fire protection and life safety systems perform as intended.
The major items outlined in NFPA 4 include identifying the people on an integrated system testing team who are responsible for writing the test plan, developing test scenarios and test frequencies, and documenting this information in a final test report to submit to the owner.
TEST TEAM: The standard outlines who could be on the integrated system testing team and lists the required qualifications and responsibilities associated with the specific position on the team.
TEST PLANS: The required test plans are project dependent and will vary in length, but 11 specific items are required to be included in the test plan in accordance with NFPA 4. The concept of writing a test plan is to have a document which the Integrated Test Team can use to conduct the test without having to ask any questions.
TEST SCENARIOS: The test scenarios required by NFPA 4 are not prescriptive to the type of system, but are very common scenarios to conduct for most buildings and require events and combination of events, including but not limited to the loss of normal power, water flow, and presence of smoke. The scalability of a project, the number of systems installed in a facility, the complexity of those systems, the number of zones for each system, and several other factors need to be analyzed to determine how integrated system testing will be conducted and which scenarios will make sense to test.
TESTING FREQUENCIES: Typically testing is required when (1) a new system is installed and integrated into an existing system, (2) existing systems are modified to become part of an integrated system, or (3) changes are made for an individual system that is part of an integrated system. It’s important to recognize the purpose of this testing is not to require testing every time a strobe is replaced, but rather to test the portions of the integrated system that are affected by the modification.
AHJs needs to be involved early in the process to communicate the types of scenarios they would like included in the test plan. For example, if a recent tragedy occurred, the AHJ might want to make sure that if this incident happened again, all the systems would perform in accordance with their intended design criteria. If an AHJ does not feel comfortable reviewing the test plans, a third party review, also known as an Integrated Testing Agent (ITa) can be hired. It would be prudent for the AHJ to accompany the ITa, if possible, to continue learning from an expert who knows the systems.
For more information on NFPA 4, please visit www.nfpa.org/4
Thanks again to Jacqueline for this post.
Don't miss another #FireCodeFridays blog! Get notifications straight to your email inbox by subscribing here! And you can always follow me on Twitter for more updates and fire safety news @KristinB_NFPA.
The June 2018 issue of NFPA News, our free monthly codes and standards newsletter, is now available.
In this issue:
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.
During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Las Vegas, the following action has taken place on NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.
NFPA 72 was passed with 5 amending motions. NFPA 72 COMPLETED.
During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Las Vegas, the following action has taken place on NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems
NFPA 110 was passed with 2 amending motions. NFPA 110 COMPLETED.
During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Las Vegas, the following action has taken place on NFPA 1730, Standard on Organization and Deployment of Fire Prevention Inspection and Code Enforcement, Plan Review, Investigation, and Public Education Operations
NFPA 1730 was passed with 1 amending motions. NFPA 1730 COMPLETED.
During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Las Vegas, the following action has taken place on NFPA 1001, Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications
NFPA 1001 was passed with 2 amending motions. NFPA 1001 COMPLETED.
During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Las Vegas, the following action has taken place on NFPA 1981, Standard on Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for Emergency Services
NFPA 1981 was passed with 0 amending motions. NFPA 1981 COMPLETED.
During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Las Vegas, the following action has taken place on NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One-and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes
NFPA 13D was passed with 1 amending motions. NFPA 13D COMPLETED.
During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Las Vegas, the following action has taken place on NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems
NFPA 13 was passed with 6 amending motions. NFPA 13 COMPLETED.
During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Las Vegas, the following action has taken place on NFPA 101A, Guide on Alternative Approaches to Life Safety
NFPA 101A was passed with 0 amending motions. NFPA 101A COMPLETED.
During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Las Vegas, the following action has taken place on NFPA 289, Standard Method of Fire Test for Individual Fuel Packages
NFPA 289 was passed with 1 amending motions. NFPA 289 COMPLETED.
During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Las Vegas, the following action has taken place on NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations
NFPA 241 was passed with 0 amending motions. NFPA 241 COMPLETED
During today's NFPA Technical Meeting in Las Vegas, the following action has taken place on NFPA 400, Hazardous Materials Code
NFPA 400 was passed with 0 amending motions. NFPA 400 COMPLETED.
NFPA's 2018 Conference & Expo in Las Vegas officially wraps up today with our Technical Meeting, This is where members get to consider and vote on proposed changes to NFPA codes and standards.
Before the meeting started, NFPA honored 17 individuals for outstanding service to NFPA and the development of codes and standards.
Download the agenda for the Technical Meeting which includes a list of all Certified Amending Motions for each document that will be presented.
The following is the order of NFPA documents to be presented for action:
A disastrous fire occurred in McPherson, Kansas on the night of June 13, 1933, completely destroying a theatre, lumber yard and a mercantile building. The circumstances surrounding the fire and its development are of particular interest to volunteer fire departments and those in rural areas.
At 10:20pm on night of June 13, 1933, a taxi-driver noticed a fire had started in a commercial truck that was being stored in the local lumber yard. On the day of the fire, all but two members of the McPherson volunteer fire department were out of town attending a training.
There were no fire extinguishers in the vicinity of the fire to prevent the fire from spreading. While the fire station was located across the street from the lumber yard, the two remaining firefighters were unable to operate the pumper. Local people volunteered to help but did not have firefighting experience.
From NFPA’s Volunteer Firemen v.1, no.1, 1933:
“When it appeared the fire was out of control requests were made to the cities of Lindsborg, 14 miles distant, and Hutchinson, 34 miles distant. The former responded with a 750-gallon pumper and three volunteer firemen, and the latter city sent a company of four men and a 750-gallon pumper. Hose streams, six from pumpers and three direct from hydrants, were used on the fire.
Long before this outside help had arrived the fire had spread to near-by buildings an area of about 42,000 square feet was burned over.
Undoubtedly if more of the members of the local volunteer fire department had been in the city the fire would have been controlled before it gained much headway. The loss would have been unquestionably greater had it not been for the able assistance rendered by the Lindsborg and Hutchinson fire departments. Hydrants and hose threads in these cities were all standardized, so there was no delay in getting into service once they arrived.”
For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives.
We house all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic. Library staff are available to answer research questions from members and the general public.
Staying up-to-speed on new hazards, changing technologies, best practices, and the codes that ensure safety, can be a full-time job for those that work in the building, life safety, and emergency response realm.
To help authorities and practitioners keep informed about the codes in effect in any given state, county or city, NFPA has developed CodeFinder™, a new interactive online tool that identifies the NFPA codes and standards that are being used around the world. The new web-based resource also includes information on the NFPA codes referenced within International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and International Code Council (ICC) codes. Referenced documents are considered part of those codes, and should be enforced for complete compliance and optimal safety.
CodeFinder features available data for U.S. states, cities with more than a quarter million in population, and counties with over one million in population (or the largest municipalities in the state). It also contains information for Canadian provinces and territories, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Some users may want to use the tool’s color-coded mapping, convenient hovering feature or filtering mechanism to find current codes; while others might opt for searching by topic or the most frequently used NFPA codes and standards. There is even a place for code information to be input, if the information is not already included within CodeFinder.
President Jim Pauley stressed the importance of current code usage during his remarks at NFPA’s Conference and Expo this week. “Codes and standards are developed by experts from around the globe to ensure a minimum level of safety. They incorporate learnings from new research, case studies, loss experience, and innovation,” Pauley said. “CodeFinder helps our stakeholders apply the most recent safety benchmarks, and ensures that people and property get the level of protection that they expect and deserve.”
CodeFinder was designed to be informational and educational. It will continue to improve with information and input from a wide spectrum of professionals. Try out NFPA’s new code-finding tool at https://codefinder.nfpa.org, and let us know what you think via the comment feature below.
No matter where we live in the world, when it comes to fire prevention and protection in our homes and in public spaces, safety is not something we can (or should) take for granted. Recent headlines have told the story too many times of a safety system gone wrong: the London Grenfell Tower apartment building fire and the Oakland, California Ghost Ship fire - both examples of horrible tragedies that ultimately exposed a lapse in applying a code(s), enforcement, awareness and/or education around fire safety. These examples and many others signal that unless we all work together on this problem, these tragedies will continue to occur.
In Tuesday’s session, “Prioritizing Fire Prevention & Protection Through the Lens of a Safety Ecosystem” at NFPA’s Conference & Expo, Guy Colonna, NFPA Senior Director of Engineering, spoke about this safety ecosystem concept and what it means not only for NFPA but for organizations across the globe. Colonna’s presentation comes on the heels of the conference’s Opening General Session, where NFPA president Jim Pauley spoke at length about the need to focus on collective action and to create a fully functioning fire and life safety system.
“The NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem is made up of eight key elements that play a critical role in protecting people and property,” said Colonna. “We identified eight because, keeping people and property safe from fire and related hazards is not the work of any one stakeholder or element of this system; it takes all of us working together and practicing it every day no matter what our role.”
The challenge is how can we plan, manage, build, and operate safe structures while at the same time meet the needs of everyone involved. It starts, he says, with understanding how important our work is to the people who depend on us.
Colonna asked members of the audience to consider his/her role in a project. He went on to ask them to consider the stakeholders involved and their interactions with them – what is their role and responsibility in the project? Then he asked, what happens if these stakeholders are not involved in discussions and decisions, or what if an identified role or function for one of these stakeholders does not exist in their jurisdiction. “Time after time, when we have seen incidents involving fire, electrical or related hazards,” he says, “we can trace the cause of those situations to a breakdown in the safety ecosystem. Now is the time to understand the role we play and to work together to achieve our vision to eliminate death, injury, property and economic loss from fire, electrical and related hazards.”
As we participate, support and promote the Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem going forward, says Colonna, NFPA pledges to work with everyone involved in the system and to be a source of information and knowledge for all. Stay tuned for more information about the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem and visit our website for resources at www.nfpa.org/ecosystem.
First responders, facility managers, AHJs, designers, and members of the building community packed the NFPA Energy & Solar Safety Training for the Fire Service at NFPA’s Conference & Expo pilot session in Las Vegas. Although NFPA’s new training is geared toward educating first responders and keeping them safe as innovative technologies emerge, it is clear that a myriad of professionals have a vested interest in learning about the potential hazards associated with ESS, photovoltaics (PV), and other alternative power sources.
Utility companies, business owners, and consumers are increasingly drawn to energy storage technology for a variety of reasons including:
This keen interest prompted NFPA to take steps to update its three year old ESS training for first responders. The new module, which will debut later this summer, was funded by FEMA (they also provided support back in 2015 when NFPA first introduced ESS training to help the nation’s 1.1 million firefighters mitigate risk and respond to hazards).
Ron Butler, a former Detroit firefighter and president of Energy Storage Safety Products International, conducted the four-hour session beginning with an introduction to ESS and solar energy, an overview of key terminology, and some basic electrical information. He then spoke about different energy storage systems including lead acid, lithium ion, sodium sulfur and flow battery before explaining various PV technology such as monocrystalline, polycrystalline (mono/poly SI), thin film amorphous and concentrated PV cell (CVP) systems. Once the audience had a sense of the new and varied technology being used today in commercial and residential settings, Butler used videos, animation, case studies and best practices to demonstrate the ways that the fire service should handle failure modes and respond to dangerous incidents. This part of the training was highly interactive with audience members providing input and asking questions about pre-incident planning, thermal runaway, re-ignition, ventilation, air quality, emergency response, and disconnecting strategies.
NFPA’s updated ESS and Solar training helps practitioners properly identify the presence of PV and battery energy storage systems. Those that take the training will emerge with an understanding of the different types of battery chemistries and their related hazards; how to implement proper response procedures based on the type of incident; an understanding of the two common applications for energy storage systems and four types of energy storage systems; and knowledge about pairing photovoltaic (PV) systems and energy storage systems (ESS).
As was evidenced during the training rebirth in Vegas, NFPA’s updated ESS and solar training for the fire service provides a strong educational overview of today’s alternative fuel technology, proper mitigation practices, and the best ways to respond to fire and life safety hazards that often come with innovation.
At Las Vegas conference, NFPA president outlines eight elements of the Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem that must work in harmony to protect people and property.
In the year since NFPA president Jim Pauley spoke to attendees at our 2017 Conference & Expo in Boston, Grenfell Tower in London went up in flames, killing 71 people and injuring many more. We also witnessed more than five dozen deaths as wildfires spread through Portugal, a tragic example of the wildfire story playing out all across the globe. Last July, three people died in a high-rise fire in an unsprinklered apartment building in Hawaii. And last fall at the Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, nearly 60 people including 12 off-duty firefighters, lost their lives in the deadliest mass shooting event in the United States.
Mr. Pauley said that these incidents and others that played out on the world stage in the past 12 months beg the questions: How are these events possible in this day and age, and what is it that we need to be doing?
"Each of these events is a tragedy on its own," said Mr. Pauley. "Taken together, they represent a catastrophic failure of what I call the 'Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem'. We are backsliding when we need to be forging ahead."
The good news: the number of fires is declining. But statistically, if you have a fire in your home, you are more likely to die today than you were 20 years ago. We do have many of the tools we need to prevent damaging fires – sprinklers, smoke alarms, codes, and enforcement. But they are being met with resistance -- underused, ignored, or allowed to become outdated.
"We have failed to connect the dots," said Mr. Pauley. While everyone is so focused on particular aspects of incidents, collectively, we have forgotten that safety is a system – not a singular action, piece of equipment, or event.
"From NFPA's perspective, the full Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem includes eight elements that play a critical role in protecting people and property," said Mr. Pauley. "Time after time when we have seen calamities, we can trace the cause of those situations to a breakdown in one or more of the elements of the ecosystem."
Element 1 of the Ecosystem is government responsibility. Federal, state and local elected officials must create a regulatory environment where laws, policies, and spending priorities are dictated by public safety needs, not by special interests. "That is their job, to protect their citizens," he said. "And citizens expect them to do it."
To help educate and support policy makers, NFPA launched the Fire and Life Safety Policy Institute. The Institute studies a wide range of issues and provide information and guidance on the best approaches to improve safety for the citizens they serve. The Institute has already shed light on some serious issues including the gap between public expectations of safety and the reality of timely code use.
Element 2 focuses on the development and use of current codes. "Safety codes developed by experts from all over the world, many of you in this room, ensure minimum levels of safety," said Mr. Pauley. "The current editions of codes and standards incorporate learnings from recent research, technology advances, case studies, loss experience, and proven best practices."
Element 3 addresses the issue of reference standards. "We all talk about the use of the 'code itself' – the building code, life safety code, electrical code," said Mr. Pauley. "But we have to spend more time talking about the importance of the referenced codes and standards as well."
To support Elements 2 and 3, Mr. Pauley announced the launch of NFPA CodeFinder™, an online portal that showcases a map of the key codes and standards used in North America and around the world, as well as insights into the reference standards that relate to the particular codes. CodeFinder also offers a place for users to provide NFPA with information about code use if it is not already in the tool.
Element 4 of the Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem ensures that safety is prioritized. "Whether we are talking about using and enforcing codes, training workers, or choosing products, safety must be top of mind," said Mr. Pauley. "Uninformed decisions to simply cut costs can lead to disastrous and expensive consequences. Even in an anti-regulatory and cost-cutting environment, life safety measures should never be disregarded to save a few dollars."
Element 5 focuses on maintaining a skilled workforce, as employers in many trades are struggling to find competent staff.
Element 6 of the Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem deals with code compliance. "Whether a house or a new office building, the places people live and work are only as safe as the construction and code compliance in place," said. Mr. Pauley.
"Without sufficient resources to ensure construction and maintenance meet code requirements, communities are missing a critical step in the safety ecosystem."
Compliance is integral throughout the entire lifecycle of a building – every phase from planning and zoning through demolition. Mr. Pauley noted that NFPA has assembled an enforcers forum whose members represent the spectrum of a building's compliance issues who are having great conversations about how to better work with developers, owners and facility managers. In addition, NFPA just launched a new Member Section to give electrical inspection members a specific place to gather and take action.
Element 7 address preparedness and emergency response. Because first responders are on the front line for offense and defense for fires, car crashes, medical emergencies, natural disasters, and man-made catastrophic events, they must be well-trained, well-resourced, and well-prepared.
In May, NFPA issued NFPA 3000™ (PS), Standard for an Active Shooter / Hostile Event Response Program, to help communities holistically deal with the fast-growing number of mass casualty incidents. The document is the first of its kind and provides unified planning, response and recovery guidance, as well as civilian and responder safety considerations. "Our work in this area represents NFPA’s growing significance in the full range of safety issues beyond fire," said Mr. Pauley. "We go where our first responder go." (See overview of NFPA 3000 resources and training.)
Element 8 of the Fire and Life Safety addresses the need for an informed public.
Mr. Pauley also announced the kick-off of a new project that combines public education and state-of-the-art technology to drive home critical safety lessons for all ages.
"NFPA has signed on to be the title sponsor for the 'NFPA HEROES Experience' a new attraction at the National Center for Fire and Life Safety," he said. "To be located in Alabama, the NFPA HEROES Experience will immerse visitors in authentic stories, exhibits and experiences that dramatize the importance of preventative fire and life safety measures. Think Disney meets fire and life safety. This will be unlike anything that has ever been done in fire prevention education.
It will impact not only Alabama but the rest of the country and the world."
Mr. Pauley closed his remarks by encouraging attendees think about their role in the Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem. "What more can you be doing to better protect people and property?" he asked. "What more can we do together?
Mr. Pauley said there is not a single answer to safety. "We may not be able to prevent every tragedy from occurring, but by recommitting to and promoting the full safety ecosystem of prevention, protection and education, we can further our work to help save lives and reduce loss. It’s a big world, let’s protect it together. This is not a slogan. It is a call to action. That ladies and gentlemen is the focus of your association."
Watch the full video of Mr. Pauley's presentation.
Randy Tucker, who just completed his two-year term as Chair of NFPA's Board of Directors, was honored for his service to the Association during the General Session of the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. Mr. Tucker, owner/consultant of Tucker Consulting Associates in Houston, was feted for his "great sense of business judgment, and his passion for fire protection." "He helps those of us on the Board figure out how to bring those two things together," said new chair Keith Williams of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
During the General Session of the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, several new members were elected to the Board of Directors. Association members elected Brion Callori, Martha Connors, Reginald D. Freeman, William J. Fries, and Louis Paulson, to the Board. More details about our new Board members. Three Board members, John D. Bonney, R. David Paulison, and Michael Wallace, were each re-elected second three-year term.
What does it take to protect the world today? In the video below, some members of NFPA's Board of Directors, including new Chair Keith Williams, Amy Acton, Immediate Past Chair Randy Tucker, and former Chair Ernest Grant talk about the safety challenges of our rapidly changing world.
Keller Rinaudo, a robotics innovator and founder of Zipline, speaking at the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Monday.
In a world changing at warp-speed, what opportunities exist for life safety professionals willing to think outside the box? Both keynote addresses delivered at the opening day of the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas asked this question and answered it in different and enlightening ways.
Self-described futurist, trends, and innovation expert Jim Carroll, whose talk was entitled, “The Future Belongs to Those who are Fast,” began by asking the audience to consider just how quickly the world is evolving.
“We are in a situation where 65 percent of young children today will work in careers that do not yet exist,” he told the audience inside a ballroom in Mandalay Bay conference center. His prediction for those involved in fire safety and response: “You will see more change in the next 10 years in this industry than you have seen in the last 50.”
These changes provide both opportunity and challenges, he said. The rapid advance of technology such as data analytics and connected devices are already helping to make responders more efficient and reveal previously hidden opportunities. But other advancements are challenging our ability to keep up, and these uncertainties can invite risk.
“How do we deal with a world where we don’t know what risk comes next?” he said, adding that education to stay current on new systems is crucial. “The future is coming at you at a staggering speed and intensity, it’s up to you to align yourselves in a world where the future belongs those fast. You need to think big, start small, and you need to scale fast.”
The next speaker was Keller Rinaudo, a robotics and healthcare innovator who founded a company called Zipline in 2014. The company uses battery-powered autonomous aircraft to deliver critical medical supplies like blood to healthcare professionals and patients in some of the most remote parts of the world including Rwanda and Ghana.
“Blood is an incredibly crucial product, but it’s hard in terms of logistics—it doesn’t last long, and there are all different blood types, and you’re not sure what you’ll need before you need it.”
Zipline’s autonomous aircraft delivery technology allows the Rwandan government to keep blood banks centralized, then Zipline delivers it on demand to hospitals in remote areas of a country in minutes. The autonomous aircraft drops the blood via parachute at the front door, and doctors get a text message a minute before to alert them their package has arrived. The technology has cut blood waste to zero—which is unprecedented even in developed countries, he said—because remote hospitals don’t need to keep excessive amounts of perishable blood in storage. “We did that while also increasing access to blood products by 175 percent,” he said. “That shouldn’t even be possible.”
According to Rinaudo, his innovation shows the opportunity that our ever-changing world has for solving complex issues that did not before have a clear solution. Autonomous delivery technology, for instance, could help emergency responders deliver critical supplies to isolated people cut off by floods or other natural disasters quickly, without having to risk responder lives. Emergency medical technicians could also one day send life-saving medicine and supplies ahead of an ambulance to increase a victim’s chance at survival.
“This technology has the long-term potential to provide universal access to healthcare for every human on the planet,” he said. “That’s what’s possible from a technological perspective today.”
Bill Koffel (right) accepts the NFPA Standards Medal from Kerry M. Bell of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., who is Chair of the NFPA Standards Council.
Bill Koffel, founder and president of Koffel Associates, a fire protection and safety engineering design and consulting firm, was honored at NFPA's Conference & Expo in Las Vegas with the NFPA Standards Medal.
Mr. Koffel, an NFPA member since 1979, has participated on 27 different NFPA Technical Committees. He chairs three NFPA Technical Committees, and recently chaired the Correlating Committee for NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® for nine years. Mr. Koffel has also taken on the role as an educator, producing over 60 technical presentations and publications, and taught classes on various NFPA codes including NFPA 101, NFPA 13, and NFPA 25.
The NFPA Standards Medal recognizes outstanding contributions to fire safety, and the development of NFPA codes and standards.
Jim Dalton (right) accepts the Shannon Advocacy Medal from Immediate Past NFPA Chair Randy Tucker.
Jim Dalton, a well-known and respected advocate for fire safety, received the 2018 James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas in recognition for his career-long commitment and passion.
Mr. Dalton began his journey as a volunteer firefighter in Maryland before spending more than 25 years as a career He became a pivotal public safety leader advocating for smoke alarms, fire sprinklers, and other lifesaving systems on a local, state and national level. When his county passed the most comprehensive smoke alarm law in the country, Mr. Dalton traveled the nation helping other jurisdictions to implement similar strategies.
Mr. Dalton was instrumental in pursuing the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act after The Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island killed 100. He worked for 15 years to ultimately secure passage as part of the tax reform measures signed into law. The bill provides incentives to small businesses who install sprinklers.
He has been active with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the U.S. Fire Administration, the International Society of Fire Service Instructors, and the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA). Mr. Dalton was the founding representative from NFSA to the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition from 1997 until 2009. He also served as NFSA’s representative to The Congressional Fire Services Institute National Advisory Committee and currently serves as Chair of that committee.
The Shannon Advocacy Medal was established in honor of former NFPA President Jim Shannon who was known for his tireless advocacy. Mr. Shannon led NFPA efforts to promote key changes to reduce fire loss, and was a vocal advocate for home fire sprinklers.
The latest statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show that if you have a reported fire in your home, you are more likely to die today than you were a few decades ago. This startling statistic helped shape this year’s Fire Prevention Week™ theme: "Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware - fire can happen anywhere.TM" Fire Prevention Week takes place October 7-13, 2018.
Through three simple calls-to-action, "Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware - fire can happen anywhere." identifies basic but essential ways people can reduce their risk to fire and be prepared in the event of one:
These Fire Prevention Week messages apply to virtually all locations, but NFPA is continuing its focus on home fire safety, as the majority of U.S. fire deaths (four out of five) occur in homes each year. In fact, the fire death rate (per 1000 home fires reported to the fire department) was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 1980.
“Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – fire can happen anywhere.” works to remind the public that fires can and do still happen – at home, as well as other locations - and that there are simple but vitally important steps people can take to remain safe.
As the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, NFPA works with local fire departments throughout North America to promote the campaign in their communities and reaches out to the public directly to encourage everyone to take action to be safe. For more information about this year’s “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – fire can happen anywhere.” campaign, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.
Denise Hynes, public educator for Toronto Fire Services, was recognized at NFPA's Conference & Expo in Las Vegas for her passion and enthusiasm in teaching safety to her community.
Ms. Hynes, who has used NFPA educational materials since 2002, has developed a variety of programs including training for more than 700 home health staff and coordinating the delivery of 24 presentations on Remembering When (TM) for older adults who live in high-rise buildings. She also coordinated a partnership with COSTI Immigration Services to design fire and life safety materials translated into Arabic, for Syrians who had recently come to Canada. Ms. Hynes also worked with the "Famous People Players" theater company to develop a fire safety week theatrical presentation featuring Sparky the Fire Dog®.
Ms. Hynes was presented her "Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year" award by NFPA Board Member William Stewart of William A. Stewart Consulting Services in Toronto.
Mark Fessenden, director of Industry Relations at Johnson Controls, was honored during a reception at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas for his role in driving the 2017 Fire Prevention Week campaign at his company and throughout his community of Marinette, WI.
Mr. Fessenden, who is active on several NFPA Technical Committees, was recognized by NFPA's Industrial Fire Protection Section, for leading a safety campaign that was co-sponsored by local Boy Scout Troop 1902 and supported by the local fire department. Community youth were participated in a variety of safety activities including fire extinguisher training using a simulator, testing and changing batteries in smoke alarms, and creating evacuation plans.
Mr. Fessenden was presented his award by Jeff Foisel of Dow Corning, chair of NFPA's Industrial Fire Protection Section.
During a reception at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, a project that describes a novel framework for modeling wildfire urban evacuations was awarded the 2018 Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal.
The project, “e-Sanctuary: Open Multi-Physics Framework for Modelling Wildfire Urban Evaluation,” argues that an integrated approach requires consideration and integration of all three important components of Wildfire Urban Interface (WUI) evacuation: fire spread, pedestrian movement, and traffic movement. The report includes a systematic review of each model component, and the key features needed for the integration into a comprehensive toolkit.
The award recognizes a Fire Protection Research Foundation project that best exemplifies the Foundation’s fire safety mission, technical challenges overcome, and collaborative approach.
The project was made possible by funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and was led by Enrico Ronchi (Lund University, Sweden), Guillermo Rein (Imperial College of London), and Steven Gwynne (National Research Council of Canada). Mr. Gwynne accepted the award on behalf of all those involved in the project.
The award was presented by Casey Grant, executive director of the Fire Protection Research Foundation..
The 2018 Harry C. Bigglestone Award was presented to a quartet of authors whose paper, “An Unbiased Method for Probabilistic Fire Safety Engineers, Requiring a Limited Number of Model Evaluations” was featured in Fire Technology.
The paper, authored by Ruben Van Coile (Ghent University, Belgium and University of Edinburgh, UK), Georgios P. Balamenos (Rice University, Texas), Manesh D. Pandey (Waterloo University, Canada), and Robby Caspeele (Ghent University, Belgium), provides a computationally efficient methodology for application to structural fire safety. Results of this work can be applied with existing models and calculation tools, and allows for a parallelization of model evaluations.
The Bigglestone Award is given annually to the paper appearing in Fire Technology that best represents excellence in the communication of fire protection concepts. The award is accompanied by a $5,000 prize.
Lead author Ruben Van Coile was presented the award by Casey Grant, executive director of the Fire Protection Research Foundation.
We've returned to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas for NFPA's Conference & Expo. Attendees, exhibitors, and NFPA staff are here preparing for the week ahead, as we host one of the world’s biggest and most comprehensive fire, electrical, and life safety events.
In our Expo hall, which will open for business on Monday, June 11 at 2:45 pm, the space is buzzing with forklifts, ladders, packing crates, rolls of carpet, and hundreds of exhibitors preparing their booths. Hard to believe that this all comes together in the next 24 hours!
The NFPA Expo brings to life the products and services needed to meet and maintain compliance with codes and standards in the design, construction and operation of buildings and facilities of every kind. Attendees can evaluate thousands of products over the next three days. In addition, by visiting the NFPA booth, they can meet staff and learn more about the many services, products, and programs we have to offer.
Monday: 2:45-6:00 pm
Tuesday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Wednesday: 10:00 am - 2:30 pm
We want to take a moment as NFPA Conference & Expo kicks off, to thank all of our generous sponsors who helped make this week's event happen. If you are an attendee, you won't want to miss stopping by these sponsors' booths in the Expo hall to see all of the new things they are up to!
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A lot of people know what referenced standards are but lack the detailed understanding of their impact on almost every job they do and the role they play in keeping buildings, occupants, and contents safe. Whether you’re an architect, a contractor, an AHJ, or a facility manager, referenced standards are very likely something you need to be aware of and comply with.
Once an NFPA or ICC code is adopted by an AHJ, the referenced standards within that code are a legally enforceable part of it, and complying with them is not optional. You must know what each reference is looking for, how it is to be applied, and who has the responsibility for ensuring compliance.
Many NFPA and ICC codes reference standards from other documents (even documents produced by other organizations). NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, NFPA 1, Fire Code, the International Building Code®, (IBC®), and the International Fire Code® (IFC®) all have a chapter dedicated to listing referenced standards by organization, document title, and edition year. The International Building Code® (IBC®) alone references 400 documents!
This new fact sheet describes referenced standards in detail and discusses the roles and responsibilities AHJs and others play in following and enforcing them. It's designed to provide the information you need to increase the chance that your work will be done in a code-compliant manner, the first time around. Additionally, we have a number of classes that provide detailed training on some of these referenced standards; many of them are conveniently offered online.
I encourage you to reach out to the NFPA with any questions, and to work with others in your community to ensure that everyone has a better understanding of how these referenced standards apply locally.
It’s a big world. Let’s protect it together.™
The young New York student firefighters seen in the photograph above hold out a net as one of their colleagues leaps into it from a “burning” building.
All student firefighters were provided rigorous training at the fire department’s college before they were sent out to their first real alarm.
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 conference has a decidedly forward-looking bent, tackling myriad emerging issues important to fire safety professionals, from the emergence of energy storage systems and the legal marijuana industry to tall wooden buildings, combustible exterior cladding, big data, and even the (not too far off) emergence of flying vehicles. The May/June issue of NFPA Journal is chock full of detailed articles exploring some of these and many other of the conference’s most anticipated events and topics.
The feature “Future Now” in the new issue details many of these emerging issues and the related education sessions, as well as the keynote talk from futurist Jim Carroll, entitled “The Future Belongs to Those who are Fast.” You will also find features on the fast-moving world of energy storage systems, a detailed article on the new provisional standard NFPA 3000™ (PS), Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program, as well as updates on changes to several NFPA codes and standards.
Be sure to check back to this blog regularly next week for ongoing coverage and photos from the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, happening June 11-14.
An important issue has arisen with NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace® and what it takes to establish an electrically safe work condition (ESWC). There have been some misinterpretations of the content. The issue revolves around the hierarchy of risk controls, the act of establishing an ESWC and a properly established EWSC. The words are carefully chosen and it is troubling that they are being misunderstood. If I have made an error in my presentations, in NFPA 70E®, Handbook for Electrical Safety in the Workplace® or in this blog that a properly established ESWC has not removed the hazard, I apologize for that. However, I am not aware of any instance where this has occurred and would gladly welcome any feedback. The following statements from those forums agree with industry’s view that a properly established ESWC has removed the hazard:
How you look at the hierarchy is a safety issue. If you believe the act of establishing an ESWC is an elimination control there would be no need to exhaust time or money in an attempt to use substitution, engineering, awareness, administrative or PPE as a control function since the hazard has been eliminated. Step 1: ESWC. Done. However, I don’t see it that way since the act of establishing an ESWC and a properly established ESWC are two separate concepts. The act of establishing an ESWC relies on awareness, administrative, and PPE controls to achieve elimination. The hazard is not suddenly eliminated. An ESWC does not exist until all eight steps of 120.5 have been completed. With electrical safety do not treat this as a trivial matter. What seems to be misunderstood is the applicability of the required hierarchy of risk controls. The following statements help clarify the issue:
There is a safety concern which clearly indicates that the hazard is not eliminated during the act of establishing an ESWC. Additional statements regarding this follow:
The chosen words convey the fact that the act of establishing an ESWC is not elimination of the hazard. The act of establishing an ESWC relies on awareness, administrative, and PPE controls not on elimination. These are numbers four (4), five (5) and six (6) on the hierarchy. Once the EWSC has been properly established, elimination of the hazard has been achieved. Equipment in an ESWC has had the hazards removed. The chosen words consistently convey this fact.
The fact is that the primary work procedure must be to establish an EWSC. Consider what the employee must do before they are permitted to remove their PPE (time when the hazard has been eliminated). If the act of establishing an ESWC was elimination of the hazard, there would be no need for an energized work permit, training, safe work procedures, or the donning of PPE. It is often difficult to see things differently than what is currently considered. In my mind, the act of establishing an ESWC was an elimination control until this specific hierarchy of risk controls became a requirement. The hierarchy has helped clarify the difference between the act of establishing and a properly established EWSC.
This should help clarify the difference between the risk control of elimination and the risk controls of awareness, administrative, and PPE necessary to establish an ESWC. It is equally important for safety to make a distinction between the act of establishing an ESWC and the result of a properly established ESWC. When you think of them as the separate issues that they are, it allows the hierarchy to be implemented to increase electrical safety. This should clarify my position on the issue of an electrically safe work condition. I am not aware that any of my statements are incorrect based on the requirements in NFPA 70E. Please quote me correctly. This is not semantics. This is employee safety.
For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on Xchange.
Next time: Outsourcing your risk assessments.