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 NFPA has issued the following errata on NFPA 70, National Electrical Code®:
  • NFPA 70, Errata 70-17-6, referencing Article 450.23(A)(2) and (3), of the 2017 edition, issued on July 5, 2018
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. 


Keeping employees safe from electrical hazards is a number one priority in a facility; it is also the law. Developing and implementing an electrical safety program (ESP) is a key step to creating a workplace that doesn’t put employees in harm's way. However, building a program from scratch or rebuilding a flawed program can be quite daunting. To help you, NFPA developed a new workshop that provides you the opportunity to practice many of the steps needed in developing an ESP. The first offering of this application-style workshop is being held in August on the island of Maui in Hawaii and promises to provide attendees with the needed experience to develop effective electrical safety programs in their own facilities.


In my recent NFPA Live session I focused on one of the exercises from this new workshop, which is designed to help you determine if a task is justified to be performed while energized. I received this follow-up question from a member. I hear this question a lot so I’m sharing my answer here with you.


Check out the video to hear the question and response, then get more info and register for this groundbreaking electrical safety training in paradise. I hope you find my response valuable and hope to see you in Hawaii. Mahalo!


Derek Vigstol is an electrical technical lead 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!

Energy Storage Systems (ESS) play an integral role for attaining a resilient and efficient electrical grid - providing a means of storing electrical energy generated from other renewable energy sources. However, ESS pose unique challenges with respect to fire safety. Designing engineered fire suppression and detection systems is currently a challenge for fire protection engineers. 
This year, the Research Foundation is calling for  teams to develop preliminary design concepts which illustrate innovative approaches to fire protection of a case study ESS installation within a high-rise building to meet the general design objective of minimizing loss and preventing re-ignition hazards.   
Design concepts are invited for presentation at the Foundation’s half-day workshop on energy storage system protection in high-rise buildings, September 12th, 2018 in Raleigh, NC. 
Get more details of this design challenge here.
If you are interested in preparing a design concept, please contact no later than July 31, 2018. Design concepts will be requested from interested participants by August 31, 2018.  
The July 2018 issue of NFPA News, our free monthly codes and standards newsletter, is now available.
In this issue you'll find:
  • Proposed TIAs seeking comments on NFPA 10, NFPA 13, NFPA 25, NFPA 68, NFPA 72, NFPA 101, NFPA 1994, NFPA 1999, and NFPA 5000
  • Standards development sessions at the Conference & Expo
  • NFPA 921 public input extended
  • New project being explored on spaceports
  • Committees seeking members
  • Committees 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. 

The NFPA 101 and NFPA 5000 core chapter Technical Committees just finished up their first week of First Draft meetings in Minneapolis, MN. It was a busy week with multiple meetings, lots of discussion and many beneficial code changes that resulted from hours of work contributed by NFPA staff and volunteers. While these meetings were for our Life Safety Code and building code, some of the discussions that arose crossed into the work of the Fire Code, and I was happy to contribute to those discussions.

One topic that arose during discussion related to a building owner’s responsibility to provide technical documentation about products in their building, specifically, existing opening protectives and glazing products, in order for the AHJ to verify compliance. That had me thinking about the provisions in NFPA 1 that specifically state the owner and occupant responsibilities related to the Fire Code.

Users of the Code would go to Chapter 10 for provisions related to a variety of topics; fire drills, emergency action plans, open fires, seasonal buildings, outdoor events, outdoor storage and even children’s play structures. However, at the front of Chapter 10 (Section 10.2) are provisions for the owner and occupant responsibilities, as follows:

  • The owner, operator, or occupant is be responsible for compliance with NFPA 1.


  • They must notify the AHJ prior to a change of occupancy as specified in 4.5.7 and 10.3.4 of NFPA 1.
  • The AHJ is be permitted to require the owner, operator, or occupant to provide tests or test reports, without expense to the AHJ, as proof of compliance with the intent of this Code.
  • The owner, operator, or occupant of a building that is deemed unsafe by the AHJ must abate, through corrective action approved by the AHJ, the condition causing the building to be unsafe either by repair, rehabilitation, demolition, or other corrective action approved by the AHJ.
  • Any person in control of a building or premises must keep records of all maintenance, inspections, and testing of fire protection systems, fire alarm systems, smoke control systems, emergency evacuation and relocation drills, emergency action plans, emergency power, elevators, and other equipment as required by the AHJ.
  • All records required to be kept are to be maintained until their useful life has been served, as required by law, or as required by the AHJ.

As stated in 10.2.1 of the Code, the person responsible for the property is responsible for complying with this Code. The AHJ should work with property owners, operators, and occupants to educate them on the requirements of this Code. This cooperation can help correct violations and prevent the need to issue citations when inspections are conducted. If a violation notice is issued as a result of an inspection, the responsible party should ensure that the violations are corrected as soon as possible after the notice is received. If management takes a proactive approach to fire safety, others in the organization will likely do the same, thus increasing the fire safety of the property and reducing violations.

If the AHJ is not confident of Code compliance (e.g., where a fire protection system is in questionable working order, or a particular interior finish or opening protective lacks documentation of Code compliance), Section 10.2.3 permits the AHJ to require the property owner to conduct the necessary testing or to produce test reports showing that the system or materials in question comply with the Code. The AHJ can require receipt of the documentation on testing and maintenance of fire protection systems after such work has been performed. The cost of such tests or reports is the responsibility of the property owner or agent.

As AHJs, how do you work with building owners or others responsible for properties to help ensure compliance with NFPA 1?

Almost time to board my flight back to Boston. Looking forward to coming back to Minneapolis in a few weeks to continue the work in NFPA 101 and NFPA 5000. I am confident I will learn something about NFPA 1, too.

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

A total of 60 U.S. firefighters died in the line of duty last year, the lowest total since NFPA began tracking the data in 1977. It is the sixth time in the last seven years that the total number of on-duty fatalities was under 70.
Sudden cardiac arrest accounted for nearly half of the total line-of-duty deaths, according to the report. A total of 17 firefighters died on the fireground, the second lowest total in the past 40 years.
The low fatality numbers contrast dramatically to the late 1970s and early 1980s when the number of firefighter deaths averaged close to 150 per year.
For a much more in-depth look at the trends, causes of death, and more statistical analysis read the report summary in the latest issue of NFPA Journal. 
Early bird registration is open until August 28 for the Foundation's 2018 SUPDET® symposium, which will be held at the Embassy Suites Raleigh-Durham-Research Triangle East, Cary, NC from September 11-14, 2018.  This year's symposium will feature over 25 presentations on suppression and detection and signaling research and applications.  
The detection and signaling section will take place September 11-12 and includes research on residential smoke alarms, smart building applications, and more.
The suppression session, which runs from September 13-14, will feature presentations on the latest applications and research on warehouse sprinkler protection, research on the protection of energy storage systems, advancements in gaseous and clean agent systems, and more.
Between the two sessions on the afternoon of September 12 will be a free half-day special event on “Protection of Energy Storage Systems (ESS) in Buildings” that is open to all SUPDET attendees!  Stay tuned for more details on this event.
Don't miss out - register today for the full symposium, or choose either the Suppression Program or the Detection Program.  For additional details and the full program visit:


It is good to hear that this blog is getting those involved with electrical safety to think and talk about what they are doing to protect employees from electrical injury. I have been asked to explain what it means to use the hierarchy of risk controls regardless of a policy requiring the establishment of an electrically safe work condition (ESWC) or permitting justified energized work. How to use the hierarchy is obvious when it comes to justified energized work. However, using the hierarchy when establishing an ESWC is less obvious to many. It should be used the same way regardless of your policy. This comes down to considering the act of establishing an ESWC to be an administrative control to achieve elimination of the hazard. Bear with me and hopefully this will again shed some light on the process. Remember that the act of establishing an ESWC is considered to be energized work.

Consider an electrical installation with a step-up transformer (480/2400 volts) being used for a motor installation. An interrupting switch for a motor load is on the secondary. The primary disconnect and overcurrent device is located back at the switchgear. The incident energy at the transformer input terminal is 22 cal/cm2 with an arc-flash boundary out at 12 feet. Your employee will don 25 cal/cm2 PPE. This will require a full hood and arc-rated gloves. She will complete the eight steps in 120.5. She interrupts the motor circuit then opens the breaker in the switchgear. She goes into the transformer enclosure to verify the absence of voltage. The limited approach boundary is at 5 feet because the secondary is exposed. She is within the restricted approach boundary (2 feet, 2 inches) of the secondary terminals  which requires the use of insulated tools and shock PPE rated for 2,400 volts. She will have established an ESWC while being potentially subjected to 2,400 volts and 22 cal/cm2.

If the hierarchy of risk controls was used, here is what the scenario might have been when establishing this EWSC. The overcurrent device is replaced with a current-limiting device with a faster clearing time to lower the incident energy to 8 cal/cm2. The arc-flash boundary has been lowered to 5 feet. There is a viewing window in the motor disconnect to permit visual verification that the load has been isolated. (Yes, this not the disconnect device but it is still used here.) The switchgear is arc-rated so that if an incident occurs when opening the breaker the arc-flash will be directed away from the employee. The input terminals of the transformer are in a separate enclosure allowing the use of shock PPE rated for 480 volts. The limited approach boundary is now at 3 feet 6 inches and the restricted approach boundary is 1 foot. The employee dons 10 cal/cm2 PPE with leather glove protectors and a face shield. She will complete the eight steps of 120.5. She verifies that the contacts isolating the motor load are clear. She opens the breaker in the switchgear then opens the transformer terminal box to verify the absence of voltage. She has also established an ESWC while potentially being subjected to 480 volts and 8 cal/cm2. Other methods might have been used to mitigate the hazard. The point is the hierarchy of risk controls was used to increase safety for the employee rather than solely establishing an ESWC.

Your employee can be injured at 480 volts and 8 cal/cm2 just as she can be injured at 2,400 volts and 22 cal/cm2. However, there is less risk and lower hazard levels in the second scenario. This is why you must consider the hierarchy even when your policy is to establish an ESWC. You may decide not to use some or all other controls but your risk assessment should consider them. There should never be energy present and the voltage measured should always be zero when an ESWC is being properly established. Your employee should truly never be exposed to an electrical hazard.

So why go through these additional steps? I am aware of situations where equipment is labeled with an incident energy higher than what currently available PPE is rated to provide protection from. The apparent “theory” is that since the policy is to eliminate the hazard through an ESWC that the hierarchy need not be used to lower the risk or hazard. Using and wearing inadequately rated PPE might be considered by many to be as irresponsible as not using any PPE. The personal protection your employee is required to use is for no other reason than something unexpected might happen that could injure them. When that does happen isn’t it important to provide, if not at least consider, a higher level of protection for that employee?

Please Note: Any comments, suggested text changes, or technical issues related to NFPA standards posted or raised in this communication are not submissions to the NFPA standards development process and therefore will not be considered by the technical committee(s) responsible for NFPA standards development. To learn how to participate in the NFPA standards development process and submit proposed text for consideration by the responsible technical committee(s), please go to for instructions.

For more information on NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, read my entire NFPA 70E blog series on Xchange

Next time: NFPA 70E First Draft Meeting

While combing through some articles from the 1938 NFPA Quarterly, we recently came across a description of a fire incident that reminded us of an old Agatha Christie novel... with a happy ending. 
  • The Setting: a two-family dwelling in Syracuse, NY
  • The Victims: a family of three (husband, wife and baby)
  • The Villain: a 40-watt, 115-volt electric light bulb
At the start of the tale, we learn that the electric light bulb was located in a coat closet on the first floor of a two-family dwelling. The closet was under the stairway and had little to no head room. “The light fixture was on a wooden strip on the side wall about four feet above the floor and was of the porcelain receptacle type with a pull chain.” There were also clothes hooks on the same wooden strip that held the light.
While going about her daily chores, the wife heard her baby cry from the room in which the closet was located. The mother rushed to the aid of her child and discovered smoke coming from the closet. 
She called her husband, who opened the door, tore out the burning clothes and extinguished the fire with nominal damage. The mother said that the light had probably been burning for half or three-quarters of an hour before the fire was discovered. A heavy plush wrap which showed the most damage apparently had been hung over both the bulb and the hook adjoining it, thereby causing sufficient incased heat to melt the sealing compound at the base, permitting it to flow into the lower portion of the bulb, which was in a horizontal position. The compound then vaporized and ignited, generated sufficient temperature to melt the glass… The only other damage was the burned filament. The bulb was not shorted in the base. The charred wood showed the fire had occurred immediately at the light.
side and bottom views of lightbulb that caused a fire in a closet in 1938
The one factor that prevented this incident from becoming a tragedy was the timing. The fire occurred at 1:30PM while the family was home and alert. If it had happened while the family was out or asleep, the results might have been serious for both this family and the people living on the second floor.
For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives.
Library staff are available to answer reference questions from members and the general public.
The following three proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, and NFPA 20, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection, are being published for public review and comment:
Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the closing dates listed above. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.

Getty Images

Last week, nearly two dozen people were injured when what was described as "a lava bomb" collided with a tour boat in Hawaii. Lava flowing into the ocean exploded, sending large, heavy chunks of hot rock into the air, some of which crashed through the roof of a nearby tour boat, which was intentionally bringing passengers close to where lava meets the sea, according to USA Today.  
Scientists say the eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, which have been occurring since May, could go on for months or even years longer. NFPA Journal detailed the early months of the devastation in "Kilauea Calamity," the lead article of the July/August issue's Dispatches section. 
Primarily, the article focuses on how one power plant on Hawaii Island narrowly evaded disaster as a wall of lava encroached on its 11 geothermal wells in June. The efforts to keep the wells safe showed elements of what documents like NFPA 1600, Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity/Continuity of Operations Programs, address. "At least one part of NFPA 1600, which advises facility managers to have vendors available to provide parts on relatively short notice, was displayed by Hawaii emergency management officials and [power plant] staff," the article reads. "They had to quickly retrieve the parts to cap the wells from offsite—the final step in securing them—and they were able to do so before the lava got too close."
Read the full article at
Imagine you're the owner of an industrial facility in your community. You run a clean shop, your employees are happy, and in all of your years of business operations, you've never once had a fire or any kind of emergency incident. But as we all know, things can happen. And if something goes wrong, having an emergency response plan in place - a plan that's thorough, communicated, and rehearsed - is one of the most concrete ways to ensure that you and your company can recover from an adverse event.
"You have to have a plan before an emergency happens," was the theme of a presentation at the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas that focused on the development and application of pre-incident planning at industrial facilities. 
"Pre-planning is the cornerstone of business continuity," said John Welling, PE, director of EHS & Emergency Services at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. During his presentation, Mr. Welling, who previously served as chair of the NFPA Technical Committee responsible for NFPA 1620, Standard for Pre-Incident Planning, and who has been an NFPA member for 37 years, said pre-planning allows for businesses and emergency responders from all disciplines to create a solid base of information so that they can respond to a facility quickly, understand the hazards, mitigate the situation, and get out of the facility quickly so it can return to normal operations.
NFPA 1620 has its roots in the 1980s when a series of warehouse fires led to the development of a "recommended practice" (NFPA 1420) to help warehouse facility managers plan for and manage emergency incidents. After a scope expansion to include other types of buildings in 1998, the document was totally revised and re-launched in 2010 as NFPA 1620 which provides criteria for developing pre-incident plans to help responders manage emergencies and maximize protection for occupants, responding personnel, property, and the environment. 
Mr. Welling said he is surprised by the number of businesses who still do not have a comprehensive plan in place.
"The bottom line is that businesses have to answer to our people - our employees, our neighbors, our shareholders," said Mr. Welling. "No company wants to be tried in the court of public opinion. That's why we invest in advance planning. We spend a lot of time, effort, and money to be prepared."
How do you decide what goes into your pre-incident plan? Mr. Welling said to consider "everything and everyone" and any issue that has potential for having an adverse impact on your operation and community. "The list is endless, but you don't want your documentation to be so voluminous that nobody reads it," he said. "The plan has be functional, easy to use, easily tested, easily updated, and managed.' All of Bristol-Myers Squibb's plans are also available online.
A pre-incident plan needs to be customized and created with input from all internal and external stakeholders. "It can't be one person sitting in their office who creates a pre-incident plan," said Mr. Welling. "You need to include local fire, police, and other local emergency service providers, environmental health and safety specialists, and plant operation managers. Throughout the year, we review with them our plan, what resources we have, and what resources they have. The first time we all get together should not be at an incident." 
One Bristol-Myers Squibb facility stores nearly 40,000 different kinds of chemicals, so Mr. Welling's team worked with local emergency responders to detail how responding units need to consider tactics to protect themselves, employees, and the property. 
Mr. Welling said building relationships with all plan stakeholders is key to making sure it is a living, dynamic roadmap.
During the presentation at NFPA's Conference & Expo, Greg Jakubowski, PE, Chief Engineer at Fire Planning Associates, and current chair of the NFPA 1620 Technical Committee, provided an overview of important changes that are being proposed for the 2020 edition of the standard. Among the recommended changes are new sections on alternative energy sources, emergency power supplies, security systems, buildings under construction, and preplanning for the safety of transportation systems. In addition, there is an effort to get NFPA 1620 referenced in more of the nearly 70 NFPA codes and standards that refer to pre-incident planning concepts.
The first draft report of the 2020 edition of NFPA 1620 is expected to be available in September. 
Did you know that NFPA Conference & Expo attendees and NFPA members get full access to ALL the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo education session audio & video files? Browse the full list of education sessions here.] If you're not currently an NFPA member, join today!

NFPA appointed Andrea Vastis as senior director of Public Education, responsible for overseeing NFPA’s well-respected home fire education and wildfire programs.


Vastis joins us from CVS Health, where she oversaw product development and promoted the role of the pharmacist in the healthcare industry. She spent six years as an assistant professor and program coordinator for Community Health Education at Rhode Island College, and orchestrated educational outreach for the Rhode Island Department of Health and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. Her ability to oversee strategic, purposeful planning, and management of interdisciplinary teams make her a great fit to lead NFPA’s well-known public education and wildfire mitigation advocacy teams.


“The energy, insight and expertise that Andrea brings to the table is exactly what NFPA is seeking to further our efforts to reach the public with lifesaving information.” NFPA Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy Lorraine Carli said. “The public is more complacent about fire and overloaded with lots of messages in lots of formats, it is critical that we develop innovative strategies and collaborate with others to deliver fire safety messages that resonate with the public and proactively reduce risk.”


Vastis is currently overseeing this year’s Fire Prevention Week, the theme of which is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.” The campaign works to educate individuals and communities about three basic, but essential, steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of having a fire – and to escape safely in the event of one. Vastis will also direct NFPA’s wildfire efforts including NFPA's Firewise USA® program which teaches people how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together and take action to prevent losses.


“NFPA is the go-to authority for fire and life safety educational content, tools, and resources. I am excited to work with the public education and wildfire teams and organizations that share NFPA’s mission so that we can collectively save lives and reduce loss,” Vastis said. “My primary goal is to “engage, inform, and activate the public.”

NFPA hosted the Building Safety and Security Workshop on May 10-11, bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders to help prioritize the next layers of “security safety” to be written into codes, planning documents, and related outreach materials.

In my recent NFPA Live webinar, I provided a synopsis of the workshop report, which brought to light a number of topics:


  • The built environment requires changes in both the short- and long-term, from ensuring that buildings use approved hardware (such as proper door locking mechanisms) to strategies on how to better integrate built-in alarms and related systems for both fire and target violence events.
  • Raised awareness is needed around current codes and standards, while attention must be given to the enhancement of existing codes to incorporate provisions that specifically address security.
  • Smart building integration is a key to ensuring building safety and security.
  • Education for building occupants will strengthen their ability to think clearly and make potentially life-saving decisions during an emergency situation.


During the presentation, I received this frequently asked question from a member. I'm sharing it here 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!

Of all the new and exciting things going on at NFPA recently, one of the things that has me most excited is the new types of training being developed and the new places training is being held. With a background in the training world prior to coming on board here at NFPA, I tend to get nearly as excited about new electrical safety training as my daughter does on that final day of the school year in mid-June. This year I have had the pleasure of being a part of the team that developed the first offering of a new workshop format for NFPA electrical safety training.
This particular workshop is just a taste of the direction in which future NFPA electrical trainings could be headed. The workshop is Developing an Electrical Safety Program Based on NFPA 70E and has been a joint effort in development between NFPA and Mr. SeaRay Beltran (picture at right). With facility managers, building owners, safety directors, and anyone else responsible for electrical safety in the workplace in mind, we developed a one-day workshop that walks participants through many of the activities necessary in the development of an electrical safety program. This workshop is a departure from traditional electrical safety training because very little time is spent on the content of NFPA 70E® and almost all of the time is focused on practicing the process of developing and electrical safety program. As much as I like to hear the sound of my own voice, standing in front of a class and rattling off requirements from 70E seem a bit counter-productive.
Throughout my career I have been through class after class where the instructor stood in front of the class and poured out a wealth of knowledge hoping that a good amount would stick. However, statistics show that only about 5% of information delivered in the straight lecture format is retained, whereas, practice by doing has around a 75% retention rate. That is why I am so excited about this class! Participants start out by having the stage set of how a breakdown in safety has landed them as the new facilities director for a fictitious university and now they are tasked with developing a new electrical safety program that will not repeat the previous program’s mistakes. They’ll start by examining the old plan to identify what went wrong and then determine who needs to be a part of the team to develop the new plan. From there, participants walk through the process of determining what safety controls must be a part of the program and what procedures must be developed as part of the process. We’ll walk through a risk assessment, how to determine whether or not energized work is justified, and it will all culminate in the capstone project that has participants work on their own to develop the program for the on-campus hospital.
The combination of doing the work with guidance from NFPA experts will give the participants the tools they need to go back to their place of business and develop a solid program of their own. Another highlight of this one-day workshop is the fact that we have the opportunity to offer the first one in SeaRay’s home state of Hawaii, on the island of Maui! This brings NFPA electrical training to the Hawaiian Islands and gives local folks the opportunity to take our training in their own backyard, however, this doesn’t mean that it’s only open to Hawaiians. By all means feel free to join us no matter where you are at.
To piggy back on the opportunity to bring the workshop to Hawaii, NFPA has also decided to offer our standard 2-day NFPA 70E® Classroom training with certificate of educational achievement in the two days prior to the workshop. So for those who need to get up to speed with all of the requirements of the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E before going through the workshop, the option is there for a full 70E seminar ending with how to develop an electrical safety program. Then, after the dust clears, you’re still in Hawaii! It’s a win-win, NFPA 70E and Maui. How does electrical safety training get any better?


NFPA collaborated with fire and life safety officials in two high-risk states this week to raise awareness of fire safety best practices and persistent community hazards. Fire safety summits were held in both Mississippi and Alabama, two Southern states that respectively had the first and fourth highest fire death rates per million population from 2011 to 2015 in the country, according to a 2017 NFPA research report.


The “Fire Is Everyone’s Fight™: MS Community Risk Reduction Summit” in Pearl, Mississippi was hosted by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Mississippi Fire Chief’s Association, State Farm Insurance, Vision 20/20, and NFPA staff. Nearly 100 public educators, code enforcers, and safety personnel attended the full day program. 


Mississippi has the unfortunate title of being the highest-fire-risk state in the country with 57 unintentional residential fire deaths in 2017, and 42 fatalities so far in 2018. In 19 of these cases, smoke alarms were lacking. During the Mississippi session, the State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney highlighted the importance of smoke alarms, saying, “Any fire death is a death too many, people need to take extra fire safety precautions when it comes to protecting their homes and family. I believe this training will help accomplish our goal of reducing fire deaths in Mississippi.”


 Alabama is another state with significant fire deaths. This trend prompted the Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office, Alabama Fire Chiefs Association, City of Hoover Fire Department, Alabama Fire College and NFPA to host a third fire safety summit in Hoover this week. The “Turn Your Attention to Fire Prevention” program brought together over 130 fire prevention advocates.


Alabama experienced a particularly devastating year in 2010 when 122 people perished in fires. While the number of lives lost to fire in Alabama dropped to 79 in 2017, the state average has been approximately 90 in recent years – far too many.


For more than 120 years, NFPA has worked to make the world a safer place by educating audiences about how and why fires start. Our website is filled with consumer-friendly fact sheets on a wide range of timely and important topics that will help to keep you, your family, and your neighbors safe from fire and related hazards. Throughout the year, NFPA helps you and your community stay safe through partnerships like those experienced this week in Mississippi and Alabama.

The casino resorts of Macau, in China, are among the world’s largest assembly spaces: more than 10 million square feet, in some cases.


Those facilities include hundreds of zones and tens of thousands of safety devices such as fire alarms, all of which must be evaluated as part of the commissioning and testing process for new buildings. The challenges associated with making sure those systems work as designed, and that the systems are able to communicate with each other in an emergency, expand as buildings grow from big to bigger to gargantuan.


Those challenges and how they are being met are the focus of “Managing Magnitude,” the cover story in the July/August NFPA Journal. Authors Robert Keough and David LeBlanc of Jensen Hughes share their experiences with an array of casino resorts in Macau and offer readers a handful of takeaways that can be applied to the commissioning and testing process for many types of “megaoccupancies.”


Keough and LeBlanc point to NFPA 3, Commissioning of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems, and NFPA 4, Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing, as valuable tools to help fire commissioning agents manage the complex processes of commissioning and testing.


“Through our work in Macau we have identified important ground rules for each of the four project phases—planning, design, construction, and occupancy—that can help stakeholders avoid common mistakes related to commissioning,” they write. “With the trend of building big being embraced around the world, anyone involved in the commissioning process is urged to consider a handful of key practices that can effectively shape expectations and streamline the steps necessary to getting a facility up and running, on time and on budget.”

Nine-fold. That’s how great the increase was in residential battery energy storage system (ESS) installations from Q1 2017 to Q1 2018, according to PV Magazine. Homeowners are not the only ones going gaga over green technology. State officials and business leaders are also embracing the battery energy storage and solar systems that are revolutionizing our nation’s electrical infrastructure. All this innovation, however, can bring new hazards that emergency responders need to be well-versed on.


To address potential fire and life safety issues that may occur with solar and ESS technology in both housing and commercial settings, NFPA has updated and expanded its Energy Storage and Solar Safety Training for the fire service, with funding from FEMA. In 2015, FEMA funded NFPA’s initial efforts to develop first-of-its-kind ESS classroom training program for the fire service, and recently provided a second round of funding to update and expand the content with solar safety information and the latest in storage research findings.


The instructor-led course explores terminology, basic electrical theory, types of PV installations, battery chemistries (lead acid, lithium-ion, sodium sulfur, and flow batteries), as well as common applications they will be found in. Detailed guidance on handling failure modes and potential hazards associated with these technologies are covered, including pre-incident planning, systems shutdown, battery thermal runaway and re-ignition, ventilation, and other emergency response procedures. Fire service training officers are encouraged to participate in the training, then host classes locally to address the knowledge gaps surrounding alternative energy technology for first responders, AHJs and others in their area.


“We are increasingly seeing more high power battery energy storage systems comprised of hundreds or even thousands of smaller battery cells in our communities. These units connect together to create a much larger power supply capability, and are cropping up in large outdoor shipping containers, inside commercial buildings, at multi-family dwellings, and in residential homes,” NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley said recently. “Our first responders and enforcers need to know about hazards including electrical shock, batteries exploding or reigniting, HAZMAT issues, and flammable toxic off-gassing so that they can keep themselves and others from harm.”


NFPA has been addressing the topics of ESS and solar safety for years via relevant educational sessions, research and content. NFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems, is slated to be released in 2020 and will help create more stringent ESS requirements nationally. The proposed standard will work alongside the new NEC Article 706. There were nearly 600 public inputs submitted on NFPA 855 last fall and more than 800 public comments were received during a recent comment phase, underscoring the strong interest in energy capture, distribution and storage.


For more information on the enhanced ESS and solar classroom training, contact NFPA. FEMA funds have also been earmarked to update NFPA’s self-paced online training with interactive 3D modeling, videos and quick reference materials by the beginning of 2019.

NFPA Regional Director Russ Sanders was honored with the 2018 Everett Hudiburg Award by the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) Executive Board. The prestigious award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the training of firefighters, and is named after IFSTA publications Editor Everett Hudiburg. Sanders accepted the distinguished honor at the 2018 IFSTA Validation Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma this past weekend.

   As NFPA’s regional manager for the central states, Sanders represents NFPA in Illinois,    Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Additionally,    he is the executive director of NFPA's Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, and serves as    the President of the United States Delegation to the International Association of Fire and    Rescue Services, an organization that represents fire professionals in more than 50    countries.


   The University of Louisville alumnus is well-known for being a subject matter expert (SME)    for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and their partner organizations and educational institutions, on structural firefighting and high-rise firefighting scientific research projects.. This work has guided response training and deployment decisions for fire departments throughout the United States. Prior to joining NFPA, Sanders was Chief of the Louisville Fire Department in Louisville, Kentucky.


On behalf of NFPA’s staff, heartfelt congratulations to Sanders for being recognized for his    unwavering commitment to improving and expanding training, and the enforcement of codes    and    performance standards.   


IFSTA could not have picked a better guy!    


Michael Crowley, Vice President of Development and healthcare practice leader for Jensen Hughes, and 38 year NFPA member, presented this popular topic to a packed room at the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas last month. Crowley is a passionate leader in the healthcare industry and currently serves as the Chair of the Health Care Facilities—Correlating Committee for NFPA 99.

Setting the stage of this session, Crowley compared the recorded health care facility fire losses from 1980 to 2014. Crowley explained, "The Life Safety Code has defined Fire Safety in healthcare since the late 1960’s. The adoption of the Life Safety Code by the precursor of Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) launched it as the premier healthcare fire and life safety document. The modification made over the years identified life safety and healthcare functional issues. These issues were addressed in the Life Safety Code and the positive performance are reflected in the recent Fire Record reports."

Heath Care Fire Data Comparison


Some of the major Life Safety Code changes that were introduced during this time period include:

  • Mandatory automatic sprinklers for new healthcare facilities and new and existing nursing homes.
  • The creation of suites in healthcare occupancies
  • Designation of hazardous areas
  • Quick response sprinkler requirements 


While the positive impact of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code® is clear, Crowley stressed to the audience that the healthcare industry continues to evolve and so must the code. New patient care options, design trends, more stringent smoking regulations, and a host of new technologies are just some of the topics that will spark code change discussions for the 2021 edition. To stay updated on the document's progress or to become involved visit


Did you know that NFPA Conference & Expo attendees and NFPA members get full access to ALL the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo education session audio & video files? Browse the full list of education sessions here. If you're not currently an NFPA member, join today!

I'm often perplexed at what is the most effective method of improving the safety of electrical installations around the world. Should we focus on providing the installation community with better tools, assistance and guidance on installing electrical equipment or should we focus on supporting the inspection community and rely on the AHJ community to ensure that installations are safe upon completion? To me it's a little bit of a chicken and egg paradox. On one hand, better and more thorough enforcement of Code requirements will lead to more installations that meet or exceed the requirements of NFPA 70: National Electrical Code (NEC). But on the flip side, if we focus on helping the installation community, it leads to compliant installations long before the AHJ ever steps foot on a job site.

Each approach presents its own unique set of pros and cons. For instance, creating a culture where inspection is less needed due to better installations opens the door down the road for installers to cut corners where they know inspectors won't look. It also allows government officials to use a "lack of citations" as fuel for discussions around manpower. If a jurisdiction is seriously looking at cutting staff salaries to meet budget constraints, they might look upon this as an opportunity to cover larger territories with less inspectors; after all, the electricians in the area must really know what they are doing when inspectors rarely cite NEC® violations. I think for now the answer lies somewhere in the middle between the two extremes: provide tools, training, and solutions that set installers up to be able to install electrical system while reducing the friction that exists when referencing the NEC. At the same time, provide the inspection community with guidance and training on how to perform electrical inspections and needed guidance on professional qualifications for electrical inspectors.

NFPA has been busy over the last year developing two new documents to provide this needed guidance. NFPA 1078: Standard for Electrical Inspector Professional Qualifications and NFPA 78: Guide on Electrical Inspections were created in response to a call for help from the inspection community. Recently, NFPA’s Jeff Sargent discussed the development of these documents during an NFPA Live Member’s Only event. Here is the portion of the video where he breaks it down.



Simultaneously, NFPA has been busy putting together a plan for how to reduce friction between the NEC and its users. As we all know, the book itself can be difficult to read and understand. Providing training and products that offer a better explanation of code requirements and how to apply provisions of the NEC has been a core focus of NFPA lately. Tools and solutions that both save time and present needed information to the installation community at the time that they need it will work two-fold in improving electrical safety. By making both the installer’s job easier and more efficient, they are able to serve more clients while fostering a better understanding of NEC requirements. When more jobs are being completed by qualified personnel and being completed in compliance with the NEC, the safety of our installations increases significantly.


It is an exciting time here at NFPA as we focus on transitioning a 120-year-old standards development organization to a modern-day information and knowledge provider committed to improving the safety ecosystem and eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards.

This week we look back at another vintage NFPA poster from 70 years ago. The drawings may seem quaint and nostalgic, but this message from 1948 remains significant today. 

According to NFPA, between 2011 and 2015, local fire departments responded to an average of 4,300 fires per year in one- or two-family homes that were caused by outside or open burning of waste or debris.

For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives. We house all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic, that you're able to search.  
Library staff is also available to answer reference questions from members and the general public.
According to a recent study, an estimated 2,400 emergency medical technicians were sent to the hospital in 2012 from injuries suffered from on-the-job violence. Let that sink in. While that seems like a lot—nearly seven injuries per day that were serious enough to warrant hospital visits—the actual number is likely much higher, reports our “First Responder” columnist John Montes.
In his most recent column in the July/August issue of NFPA Journal, “The 400 Blows,” Montes draws from his 18 years as an EMT to explain why assaults against responders on the job go largely unreported.
“During my career, I was assaulted several hundred times but only reported about 15 incidents—mostly because I suffered some form of injury—and only went to court six times when charges were pressed,” Montes writes. The reasons were numerous, from peer pressure to act tough, to empathy for victims, he says.
Learn much more about this problem and what can be done by reading Montes’s column in the latest issue of NFPA Journal.

During the First Draft Meeting for the 2016 edition of NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems the Correlating Committee for NFPA 13 instructed all Sprinkler Technical Committees to develop a plan for streamlining the standard to make it easier to follow; indicating that there are redundancies throughout the standard that have increased the length of the document without adding clarification of the requirements. Since that time a reformatting task group has been diligently working to completely reformat NFPA 13 to follow the logic behind designing a sprinkler system.


In my recent NFPA live session I discussed many of these formatting changes. I received this follow-up question from a member. I'm sharing it here with you. I hope you find some value in it.


I'll also be offering a full webinar tomorrow, Thursday, July 19, 2018 at 1:00-2:00 pm EDT on NFPA 13, 2016-2019 Changes. This webinar is open for free to all who register. Be sure to join me!


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!

Walk down a hallway in an office building, hospital, or other commercial property with suspended ceilings, and you’ll likely see sprinklers protecting the occupied space below.
But are sprinklers needed for the space above?
That’s the question Matt Klaus, technical services lead for fire protection engineering at NFPA, addresses in his “In Compliance” article in the new July/August issue of NFPA Journal. 
NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems, provides a list of concealed spaces above drop ceilings that do not require sprinklers. But the most common arrangement on that list, Klaus writes, is also the one that raises the most questions.
Klaus takes a closer look at the concept of “minimal combustible loading” and other points related to the question of sprinkler protection in concealed spaces. 

Today’s post is from NFPA staff member, Jennifer Sisco. Jen is a Fire Protection Engineer in the Building and Life Safety Department where she serves as Staff Liaison to multiple NFPA Technical Committees, including Smoke Management systems responsible for the development of NFPA 92. Special thanks to Jen for her contribution!



This Friday Code Friday is all about Smoke Control Systems. Unfortunately, they will not help you when the smoke from your campfire keeps changing in your direction, but they are important building fire protection systems which have unique testing and inspection requirements.

Section 11.8 of the Code addresses smoke control systems. It should be noted that Section 11.8 does not require smoke control systems but mandates that, where such systems are installed for Code compliance, an approved maintenance and testing program must be provided to ensure operational integrity. A smoke control system dedicated to emergency use only will not be subject to dialed use, and therefore, maintenance and testing of smoke control systems are necessary.

Per Section 11.8, newly installed smoke-control systems are required to be inspected by the AHJ and tested in accordance with the criteria established in the approved design documents, NFPA 92, Standard for Smoke Control Systems, and NFPA 204, Standard for Smoke and Heat Venting. NFPA 92 applies to the design, installation, acceptance testing, operation, and ongoing periodic testing of smoke control systems. It incorporates methods for applying engineering calculations and reference models to provide a designer with the tools to develop smoke control system designs. NFPA 204 applies to the design of venting systems for the emergency venting of products of combustion from fires in buildings. NFPA 1, 2018 edition, references NFPA 92 2015 edition and NFPA 204, 2015 edition. The smoke control system’s performance objectives and acceptance criteria should be approved by the AHJ prior to its installation. In some cases, the code mandating the system specifies the performance objectives. For example, in accordance with NFPA 101®, atria require an engineering analysis to demonstrate that smoke will be managed for the time necessary to evacuate the building.

In addition to the initial inspection and testing, smoke control systems are required to be operationally tested on an approved schedule, per NFPA 1, Section; which NFPA 92, Section 8.6 clarifies is annually for dedicated systems, and semi-annually for non-dedicated systems.

Smoke control systems fall into one or two categories, as outlined in NFPA 92, Section 4.2: Smoke Containment Systems or Smoke Management Systems. Smoke containment systems are designed to either contain smoke to a given zone or keep smoke from entering a given zone through the use of differential pressure. Examples of these systems include zoned smoke control, and pressurization systems for stairwells, elevators, vestibules, or smoke refuge areas. Smoke management systems are designed to maintain tenable conditions, set forth in the design, for large-volume spaces through the use of both natural and mechanical ventilation and air movement. Examples of these systems include atrium and mall smoke control systems.

Smoke control systems can include many components including: initiating devices, fans, dampers, vents, controls, smoke barriers, fire stopping, doors, and windows. Each of these components is required to be inspected, tested, and maintained as part of the smoke control system. Therefore, it is important to understand the individual components of a given system. It is the responsibility of the owner/occupant to retain records pertaining to inspection, testing, and maintenance of the systems per NFPA 1, Section 10.2.5.

Smoke control systems are a significant part of life safety, and therefore any time that a system is impaired for more than four hours, the authority having jurisdiction is required to be notified. The AHJ has the authority to require the building to be evacuated or provided with an approved fire watch for the duration of the impairment per NFPA 1, Sections 11.8.4 and 11.8.5.


Thanks, again, to Jen for contributing to this blog. And thanks to all 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


This is the third in a series of three videos featuring the personal stories of NFPA 3000 technical committee members. Watch the first here and the second here.

Craig Cooper had never seen anything like it before. It was "surreal," he told me in June. 
As a special operations battalion chief for Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, Cooper responded on the night of October 1 to the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, where a gunman perched on the 32nd floor of the hotel had unleashed a storm of bullets on some 20,000 people attending an outdoor music festival on the ground below. The gunman killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more before taking his own life in what became the deadliest mass shooting in American history. 
Coincidentally, Cooper had been working on the development of NFPA 3000™ (PS), Standard for an Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program, at the time of the incident, and was able to bring the lessons he learned responding to and recovering from that shooting to the table in shaping the groundbreaking provisional standard. He is one of three NFPA 3000 technical committee members who are the subjects of a documentary-style video series called "The stories that shaped NFPA 3000." 
"If we had had a document like 3000 prior to the event, what would  that have changed? I don't know. It's hard to say," Cooper says in the video. "But will it help us moving forward? Absolutely." 
Learn more about NFPA 3000 at

We know that summer vacation brings with it lots of travel for some people. So we thought this week would be a good time to remind you to have safe and exciting adventures!

According to NFPA, 173,000 highway vehicle fires occurred in the US during 2016 resulting in 206 civilian fire deaths and 1,075 civilian fire injuries.

There wasn’t much that could be done when an oil truck collided with a passenger car while both were crossing the Atlantic Street Bridge in Compton, CA on July 15, 1935.


The above photo shows the oil truck on the left in flames and the bridge structure on the right.


The truck ran off the bridge, catching fire and burning down the structure. Several men narrowly escaped death as one suffered severe burns.


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 Research Library & Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic.


Library staff are available to answer reference questions from members and the general public.

Wildland fire shelters are used by firefighters as a last line of defense when trapped by an approaching wildfire. As new and advanced materials become available, these shelters could provide significant performance improvements. This webinar will present the North Carolina State University research project that has provided advanced fire shelter material options as well as an enhanced technical basis for evaluating fire shelter material alternatives.
The project has developed advanced, wildland fire shelters that use novel, heat-resistant fabric technologies to improve protective insulation and compares the performance of the advanced prototypes with what's currently used via lab tests and prescribed burns. The webinar will also discuss thermal exposure conditions to which fire shelters are exposed to in wildland fires; state-of-the-art fire blocking materials that can improve shelter thermal protective performance; the connection between lab tests and shelter performance in wildland fires; and the many factors that go into determining the performance of fire shelters for wildland firefighters.
Visit for more upcoming NFPA webinars and archives. 
When: Wednesday, July 18, 12:30-2:00 p.m. ET



John Morton-Aslanis is a research associate with North Carolina State University. He leads the Thermal Testing Laboratory at the Thermal Protection and Comfort Center of North Carolina State University. John is a member of the task groups for the flash fire manikin standards of NFPA 2112, ASTM F1930, and ISO-13506. He has been involved in research projects ranging from improving the current wildland firefighter shelter to developing flash fire test apparatus and methods for the protection of the hands and head. John received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington in 2001. 
Dr. Roger L. Barker is a Burlington Distinguished Professor in the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry, and Science at North Carolina State University and the Director of the Center for Research on Textile Protection and Comfort. He is internationally recognized for his work in the field of thermal protective clothing and comfort and heat stress in clothing systems. Barker has published many technical papers on the subject of the effects of intense heat exposures on fabric materials, including exposures to flash fire, molten metal, hot surface contact, and radiant energy. He was chair of the 1984 ASTM International Symposium on the Performance of Protective Clothing. He is an active participant in several NFPA committees, which are involved in the development of standards for the performance of protective clothing. Barker holds a Ph.D., in Textile and Polymer Science from Clemson University. He has positions at Cornell and Clemson Universities. His industrial experience includes work as a physicist in spun bonded fabrics research.
The First Draft Report for NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code®, 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 70 document information page. Once on the NFPA 70 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 contact us by email or phone at 1-800-344-3555.
The deadline to submit a public comment through the online system is August 30, 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.

A new law that requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and maintain a registry to collect data on firefighter cancer was signed yesterday by President Trump.


The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act calls for the collection of voluntary data including whether a firefighter is a career professional or volunteer, years on the job, the number of calls responded to, and incident type so that researchers can better understand the impact of smoke inhalation and other job-related dangers that may lead to cancer.


According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), firefighters face a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths, compared to the general population in the United States. The hope is that the new Firefighter Cancer Registry data will influence firefighter protocol, inform medical research and enhance treatment for firefighters battling the dreaded disease.


The CDC is charged with stimulating participation in the voluntary registry, developing guidance for state agencies, and ensuring that once the information is collected it is made public and available for research purposes. The federal registry will electronically connect to state-based registries to glean local cancer diagnosis, pathological, and treatment details.


Firefighter contamination and occupational cancer have been organizational priorities for NFPA for many years. NFPA and its affiliate, the Fire Protection Research Foundation, have partnered with international fire groups, academic institutions, healthcare leaders, like-minded organizations and others to conduct research, identify safety gaps, develop best practices and educate audiences about the cancer risks that exist on the fire ground, and in firehouses, gear and apparatus. NFPA research reports, editorial content, fact sheets, safety bulletins, and workshops have helped to inform firefighters, their families, and community leaders about cancer in the fire service - and keep this important issue top of mind.


The campaign for the Firefighter Cancer Registry began in February 2017 when Buffalo area state representative Chris Collins proposed a bill to capture firefighter demographic information and exposure data.


After the announcement from the White House, Collins told Buffalo News, "We currently have a lack of information about how being exposed to certain fires will impact a firefighter's health, and this is a common-sense way to collect that data to improve protocols and equipment. I express my deepest gratitude for our nation's firefighters and first responders, and take pride in knowing that this registry could lead to reforms that will save lives." 


Well-played and well-said, Mr. Collins. NFPA and the global fire community thank you for leading the charge to protect those who protect us.




When it comes to having you work on electrical equipment there are essentially four choices your employer could make. The first is to design or substitute out electrical hazards so that you are not exposed to voltages above 50 volts or incident energies above 1.2 cal/cm2. The second is to follow NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace® and establish an electrically safe work condition (ESWC). The third is to properly justify the need for the work to be conducted while energized then follow the requirements of NFPA 70E. The fourth is to conduct unjustified energized work. Here are some of the outcomes I have been made aware of when an employee was working under each situation.  
The first option. Unfortunately, this is not something that can occur with a majority of electrical equipment. I have never heard of an employee being injured by electricity when there were no electrical hazards present for the given situation. However, with the shock hazard being above 50 volts there are circumstances that a shock hazard could exist in other circuits that I have not had to deal with. I am aware of situations where energy levels below the arc-flash hazard of 1.2 cal/cm2 have caused minor burn injuries to employees who were not wearing a long sleeve shirt or gloves. With the use of correct equipment and clothing there should be no injuries under this option regardless of low voltage or incident energy levels. A secondary method of eliminating electrical hazards is through an ESWC. I have never heard of an employee suffering an electrical injury when working on equipment placed into an ESWC.
The second option. The best outcome is that no employee was subjected to a shock or arc-flash incident while establishing an ESWC. The procedure went smoothly and the equipment was put into an ESWC. On the other end of this is that something went wrong while establishing the ESWC. However, with everything else being in accordance with NFPA 70E, the employee suffered no injury and in other cases a minor injury. Once an ESWC was established, no employee has been injured.
The third option. In many cases, a qualified worker was not injured while performing justified energized work. Things begin to go downhill from here. There is potential for an incident even when all the protections required by NFPA 70E have been done correctly. One outcome involves an incident occurring during the task but the equipment and protective devices provided protection for the employee. After this, the best outcome of an incident was that the PPE fully protected the employee from physical injury. The next best outcome was that the PPE performed as designed and limited the injury to one of lesser severity.
The fourth option. This one is wide open since it does not follow NFPA 70E or OSHA regulations. At extreme end of this option is there is absolutely no attempt at safety. Employees have worked bare handed on energized electrical equipment without an injury while other employees have been killed. Sometimes under this option there is a perceived safety culture. When you don’t follow industry standards while suggesting that safety is a concern many things can go wrong. Even when an employee wears PPE in accordance with the equipment label, severe injuries and fatalities have occurred when everyone has assumed that everything is being done correctly. Equipment has been improperly labeled or inappropriate PPE has been specified. Cutbacks on maintenance or components have made even normal operation a risk. Deaths and injuries have occurred when the safe practices have slowly eroded such as when short cuts are taken because nothing happened to the employee the last time. Employers have supplied the worker with sub-standard, counterfeit, or inappropriate PPE. These pseudo safety cultures are arguably the worst of all since there was an assumption that safety was a concern when it actually was not. 
Unjustified energized work, poor work practices, improper or lack of training, etc. generate the highest employee injury and fatality rates. Wouldn’t you rather do everything possible to increase the odds that you will be returning home at the end of the day? Other than eliminating the hazards or after an ESWC has been properly established, there is a risk of injury to you, the employee. When you are conducting justified energized electrical work you are finding ways to minimize that possibility. What you and your employer do, and how you and why you do it does matter when you are at risk. Choose the safe way to do something. If you work in a facility as in the fourth option, it is only a matter of time before you or someone you know will be added to the injury or fatality statistics.
For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on Xchange
Next time: Using the hierarchy of risk controls when establishing an electrically safe work condition.

Many fire protection and life safety systems are designed to operate together in order to allow occupants to safely escape from a fire or other emergency. For example, if a sprinkler system activates in an office building, it’s expected that the notification appliances activate, magnetic door holders release and the elevator recalls to the appropriate floor. While integrated system testing confirms the “handshake” between these individual systems, this type of testing has not been mandated by any building code until now.


Not familiar with NFPA 4?:

nfpa 4 - jacqueline wilmontNFPA 4, Standard for the Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing, is a standard that was first issued in 2015, and provides the minimum requirements for testing new or existing integrated fire protection and life safety systems where such testing is required by the design documents, commissioning plan, governing laws, codes, regulations, or standards. This does not replace acceptance testing. Acceptance testing must still be conducted to test the performance of the individual system; integrated system testing follows acceptance testing to confirm the handshake between two or more integrated systems.


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 fire protection and life safety systems installed in their facility have been tested to not only work individually, but also in conjunction with one another. While building owners can’t receive the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) without performing acceptance testing to confirm compliance with local ordinances, codes and standards, it is likely that integrated system testing has not been conducted.


NFPA 4 now referenced in multiple NFPA and ICC codes:

NFPA 1, Fire Code, NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, and NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code, all include a reference in their latest editions to NFPA 4. The 2018 editions of NFPA 101 and NFPA 5000 require where two or more fire protection or life safety systems are integrated, testing must be completed to verify proper operation and functions of such systems.. Where two or more integrated systems are located within a high-rise building, or include a smoke control system, NFPA 101 and NFPA 5000 require that integrated system testing must be completed in accordance with NFPA 4 when integrated system testing is required by other sections of the code at intervals not exceeding 10 years unless otherwise specified in a test plan. (See TIA 18-2 and TIA 18-3). The Fire Code extracts the language from NFPA 101.

In addition, the 2018 editions of the International Fire Code and International Building Code include a requirement to verify the operation and function of any two or more integrated fire protection or life safety systems. When these integrated fire protection or life safety systems are located in a High-rise building or include a smoke control system, the integrated testing must be completed per NFPA 4 at intervals not exceeding 10 years unless otherwise specified in a test plan.



The five major items outlined in NFPA 4 include identifying the people on an integrated system testing team who are responsible for writing and executing the test plan, developing test scenarios and test frequencies, and documenting this information in a final test report to submit to the owner. Join Shawn Mahoney and me in San Francisco, CA on July 19th or in Charlotte, NC on September 13th for the 1-day NFPA 4 Fundamentals Program which takes a deeper dive into applying the concepts in NFPA 4!

For more information on NFPA 4, please visit

The Cotai Strip in Macau, China, is home to a bevy of immense resort casinos that are among the world’s large assembly occupancies, some covering more than 10 million square feet.
As experts will tell you, as buildings grow, so do the commissioning and testing challenges.
That’s the focus of “MEGA,” the cover story in the July/August issue of NFPA Journal. The article offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at commissioning these megaoccupancies, and provides readers with an assortment of key takeaways. 
“These project can include over 100 peer-to-peer fire detection and alarm panels with hundreds of auxiliary power supplies monitoring and controlling more than 10,000 devices,” write the authors, Robert Keough and David LeBlanc of Jensen Hughes. “Those devices, in turn, are integrated with over 100 sprinkler system zones, alternate suppression systems, elevator controllers, and more than 50 (each) smoke control and access control systems. This does not include the number of generators monitored, shutters and door closers controlled, and a variety of other emergency control functions associated with mega-integrated systems.”

Elsewhere in the issue, associate editor Jesse Roman offers an update on the
North American cannabis industry and the concerns it’s raising among the fire service, inspectors, and others. Staff writer Angelo Verzoni includes a story on safety concerns surrounding Airbnb rentals, and how the rapidly expanding types of occupancies used for the service are creating regulatory and inspectional challenges. 
The issue also includes an overview of the 2017 U.S. Firefighter Fatalities Report.

This week marks the anniversary of the Hartford Circus Fire on July 6, 1944. So we thought we would repost a previous #TBT blog.


The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Combined Shows, billed as "The Greatest Show on Earth," arrived in Hartford, CT on July 5, 1944, a day before the fire. The oval-shaped circus tent, made of canvas, was approximately 425 ft. x 180 ft. and covered an area of 74,000 square feet. The tent had a seating capacity of 9,048 people: 6,048 in the reserved grandstand seats and 3,000 in the general admission bleacher seats. Attendance on the afternoon of the fire was just under 6,800. The circus had over 1,000 employees, but it's unclear how many of them were inside the tent when it caught fire. Reports  estimate that roughly 7,000 people were inside the tent when fire broke out. There were nine exits from the tent, but except for the main entrance and bandstand on the opposite end, the exits were narrow aisles in between the stands used primarily by performers. Additionally, when the fire started, two of the exits were blocked by cage runways, called "chutes" in the circus industry, used to bring the animals to the stage.  


Flames consume the "Big Top" during the Hartford Circus Fire - July 6, 1944

People flee as flames consume the "Big Top" during a performance outside of Hartford on July 6, 1944.




The fire was first discovered about 2:40 p.m., 40 minutes into the 2:00 matinee. The fire began on or near the ground 20 or so feet to the right of the main entrance, between the main tent and a small canvas enclosure directly behind it that was the men's toilet.  Reportedly, most of the crowd made no effort to leave in the first few minutes after the fire was spotted. According to the NFPA Quarterly v.38, n.1, "it is said that at the outset the crowd viewed the fire incredulously, thought it part of the show, or believed it to be an incipient fire that would quickly be controlled"


As the animals were being led through the chutes at the end of their act, cries of "Fire" rang out from the general admission bleachers to the right of the main entrance, directly in front of the where the fire had started. It was at this time when people began to take the fire seriously, as flames burned slowly up the canvas wall to the tent's top and then shot rapidly to the opposite corner of the top. 


Diagram of Hartford Circus Fire - July 6, 1944

Diagram of the Hartford Circus Fire, July 6, 1944. There were 167 confirmed fatalities.


Most people in the front and back few rows were able to escape-- those in the front rushed directly to an exit, and those in the back jumped 10-12 feet to the ground and escaped under the canvas walls. But many people in the middle rows stumbled and fell because of loose folding chairs scattered about in the mad dash by those in the rows ahead of them. Some who fell were trampled to death, and a few people were killed by the collapse of the poles holding the tent up or from the burning tent falling on top of them. However, the majority of those who died were people sitting along the left hand wall from the main entrance. Two of the three exit aisles on this side were blocked by the animal chute cages. The steps that went over the chutes quickly proved inadequate, and attempts to climb over the chutes were largely futile. People began to pile up against the sides of the chutes, where most of the bodies were found. In all, 167 people died in the fire, and many hundred were injured, some hospitalized for months.



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 Research Library & Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic.

Library staff are available to answer reference questions from members and the general public.


Special thanks to Laurel Wilson for her work in researching and writing this synopsis of the Hartford Circus Fire.

The second of three training courses developed to educate communities on NFPA 3000TM (PS), Standard for an Active Shooter / Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program is now available. NFPA 3000 provides unified planning, response and recovery guidance to help different authorities integrate and minimize harm if a mass casualty event occurs in their city or town.


The three-part NFPA 3000 online, self-paced training series covers key elements of the standard, including:


  • Whole Community – proactively collaborate with a cross-section of leaders to reduce risk and optimize safety
  • Unified Command – work together to identify scenarios, authorities, roles, responsibilities, and communication with all key stakeholders involved in the process
  • Integrated Response – incorporate the organizational operations and objectives of agencies, and practice integrated response together as a cohesive, well-connected unit
  • Planned Recovery – establish a resiliency strategy (immediate, early, and long-term) that is well-defined and turn-key for implementation


On May 1, the first 2-hour training course debuted along with the new standard. It focused on three components - “Program Overview”, “Risk Assessment” and “Program Development”. The new Respond course highlights “Incident Response” and “Public Education and Information”; and builds on the lessons learned during the Plan training. The new modules underscore the benefits of communicating and practicing procedures with other agencies; methods for notifying first responders and the community if an ASHER event happens; and the development of targeted public information and training programs to minimize chaos.

Throughout the development process for NFPA 3000, Technical Committee (TC) members tied to hostile events in Boston, Wisconsin, Orlando, Sandy Hook, and Las Vegas emphasized the importance of working together to save lives and reduce angst. They echoed the sentiments of their fellow TC members from law enforcement, the fire service, emergency medical services, hospitals, emergency management, security, private business, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Justice, in stressing that, “the days of working in silos are gone”.

Later this summer, the final NFPA 3000 training course will be available. In addition to qualifying for CEUs, those that complete NFPA 3000 online training will receive a badge after each of the three courses (Plan, Respond and Recover), as well as a Program Specialist Badge for completing all of the courses. More importantly, those that take the comprehensive online learning courses, will be better equipped to protect citizens and first responders if a perpetrator strikes.

It’s not often a massive industry emerges seemingly overnight, but that’s what’s happened with legal marijuana. In just a few short years, the drug has gone from total prohibition to a thriving legal industry in states across the nation. The staggering growth has led some analysts to predict that, in less than a decade, the American public will spend more money on marijuana products than on chocolate—more than $24 billion annually.


As the industry expands to more states and countries—the Canadian parliament voted to legalize cannabis nationally this past June—companies and investors are building millions of square feet of pot growing and processing facilities. Suddenly, fire officials from Newfoundland to California are being asked to oversee the build-out and operation of a new massive and unfamiliar industry—they face steep learning curves and many unknowns.


The feature article “The New Face of Pot,” in the new July/August issue of NFPA Journal, dives into some of the unique fire safety challenges of the marijuana industry and what lessons can be learned from Denver, the city that has all but pioneered the regulation of industrial marijuana facilities. For the article, I met with government officials, equipment manufacturers, growers, regulators, fire inspectors, engineers, industry groups, and more. They paint a picture of an industry in constant motion, always advancing, as regulators struggle to stay a step or two behind.


In addition to the feature, please read my interview with Molly Duplechian, Denver’s deputy director of policy and administration, who has led the city’s government in dealing with the regulatory and policymaking challenges of the emerging pot industry. Also, read “NFPA 420?” about one Denver firefighter’s push to create a new NFPA standard to address the unique challenges of the marijuana industry.


For much more, including maps, videos, my previous feature story, “Welcome to the Jungle,” and a whole lot of other resources, visit

THC-A crystaliine, above, which can be 99.9 percent pure THC, is one of the hottest products in Colorado's thriving marijuana market

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®; and NFPA 5000®, Building Construction and Safety Code®, are being published for public review and comment:
  • NFPA 101, proposed TIA No. 1298, referencing of the 2018 edition
  • NFPA 101, proposed TIA No. 1311, referencing, A., A., A. and A. of the 2018 edition
  • NFPA 101, proposed TIA No. 1312, referencing, A., A., and A. of the 2018 edition
  • NFPA 101, proposed TIA No. 1313, referencing, A., and A. of the 2018 edition
  • NFPA 101, proposed TIA No. 1314, referencing, A., and A. of the 2018 edition
  • NFPA 5000, proposed TIA No. 1379, referencing of the 2018 edition
  • NFPA 5000, proposed TIA No. 1380, referencing, A., and A. of the 2018 edition
  • NFPA 5000, proposed TIA No. 1381, referencing, A., A. of the 2018 edition
Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the August 3, 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.

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