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2018
Since 1997, the Research Foundation has organized SUPDET®, an annual symposium which brings together leading experts in the field of fire protection engineering for the purpose of sharing recent research and development on techniques used for fire suppression, detection, and signaling. These events are generally attended by a variety of fire protection professionals, such as engineers, researchers, insurers, designers, manufacturers, installers, and AHJs.  
Due to the impact of Hurricane Florence on North Carolina the week of SUPDET 2018, portions of the SUPDET program were cancelled.  The Foundation has set up webinars to cover the cancelled sessions.  This includes the Suppression Program as well as the ESS Design Challenge Workshop.  Below are the dates and registration details for all three webinars.    
All three webinars are free and open to anyone interested in attending (thank you to our sponsors: Gentex, Siemens, Victaulic, Viking, and Zurich).    
• Register for free to attend webinars on Storage Protection and Special Suppression Applications, on Thursday, November 1, 2018.
• Register for free to attend webinars on Gaseous and Clean Agents, on Thursday, November 15, 2018
• Register for free to attend webinars on Energy Storage System Workshop, on Friday, November 30, 2018.

 

Fire potential during construction is inherently high, and NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations, provides measures for preventing or minimizing fire damage to structures. Construction or demolition contractors, insurance professionals, risk managers, fire service professionals, building owners, and building engineers reference NFPA 241 to avoid fire dangers on the job.

 

In my recent NFPA Live session I discussed the changes to the 2019 edition and reviewed the fire prevention program manager roles and responsibilities. I received this follow-up question from a member. I hear this question a lot so I wanted to share 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!

You won’t find too many emergency responder organizations convening on the gutsy topics being discussed at this week’s 4th NFPA Responder Forum in Alabama.

 

During his opening remarks today, NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley told the crowd of more than 130 attendees from 15 leading first responder organizations that when he first heard about this year’s plans to tackle the issues of bullying, hazing, racial bias, cultural acceptance, and gender equality during the 3-day program – his first reaction was, “that’s an ambitious agenda.”

 

Since its debut in 2015, the Responder Forum has taken on new risks and zeroed in on the emerging challenges that emergency responders are facing on the front line. Previous Forums have covered smart firefighting, civil unrest, drones, contamination control, energy storage systems, active shooters, and occupational health and safety – all timely topics that either put people and property at risk or provide solutions to address long-standing issues.

 

This year the Forum is taking things a little further.

 

The firefighters, chiefs, marshals, trainers, investigators, EMS professionals and others in attendance have been recognized as forward-thinkers, and as such are considering content that some might find unfamiliar and uncomfortable. They are answering important questions such as – what is the modern day emergency response community doing to protect our firefighters, police and EMS professionals in the spaces where they work, day in and day out? What are we doing to ensure that the perception of the “brotherhood” that is so often touted by first responders, is in fact, relevant for all?

Pauley told the scholarship candidates, “It is up to all of us to ensure that each man and woman that dons the uniform feels that leadership has their back in the station, around the kitchen table, in the apparatus, and .”

 

Day 1 included presentations designed to help the attendees and the larger emergency response community take o difficult topics.

 

  • USFA Deputy Fire Administrator Denis Onieal acknowledged and explained why the topics of inclusion, hazing, bullying, and LGBTQ awareness are complicated. The well-known fire authority referenced the New York Times best-seller, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance in his remarks. He asked attendees “to resist the urge to be more tribal; to avoid retreating to comfortable corners.”
  • NFPA Director of Internal Communications Mike Hazell asked the up-and-comers to take notice of behaviors, to emphasize the impact they are having in the workplace, and to have bold, thorough conversations with all personnel. 
  • Casey Grant, Executive Director of the Fire Protection Research Foundation, spoke about the value that the Responder Forum has in the research community. Grant said, “Sharing your voices and stories is hugely important” as he and others look to provide behavioral benchmarks and best practices.
  • Sara Janke, PhD, Director & Principal Investigator for the Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research then entertained and enlightened the crowd with first responder statistics and stereotype observations. Janke said, “If firefighters are not motivated to report and rarely report, it is the equivalent of a “green light” for perpetrators within that culture.”
  • Next, NFPA’s Senior Director of Public Education Andrea Vastis highlighted how stereotypes and unintentional bias can impact our behaviors. Vastis’ presentation drew spirited comments and questions from the audience, and prompted many follow up conversations after she left the stage.
  • Finally, it was time for Ali Rothrock to share her powerful story. A volunteer firefighter, EMT, author (Where Hope Lives), mental health advocate and post-traumatic author from Pennsylvania, Rothrock silenced the audience as she recounted the physical, sexual and mental abuse that she experienced at a young age in firehouses. Her journey nearly broke her until she sought help for PTSD and began her new mission of helping others heal from harrowing events.

As promised, today’s Responder Forum was groundbreaking in a number of ways, but the hard work begins when these leaders break into work groups tomorrow and ultimately return to their respective stations to champion change.

 

Read about Day 2 of the Responder Forum

Read about Day 3 of the Responder Forum

 

#NFPAResponderForum

On the final day of the Responder Forum, it was time for participants to highlight key takeaways from their breakout groups and ask the difficult questions that will help fire, EMS and police organizations become more culturally aware.

 

Attendees from 15 diverse responder organizations worked together to identify best practices and the honest questions that need to be answered if equity is going to be achieved and awareness is going to be prioritized

 

Here’s a snapshot of the suggestions and considerations that the teams presented on. All proceedings from the Forum will be shared at a later date in a separate blog:

 

  • We need to educate ourselves, internally and externally by making sure that we interact with our colleagues and our residents – and take time to get to know the people around us
  • It's important that we meet people where they are. For instance, in Palo Alto, California – the fire service in that affluent city inserts notifications about risks and seasonal challenges in library books because more than 50% of their calls involve the elderly. Palo Alto is home to five libraries widely used by senior residents. Officials have also tapped into Whole Foods to get safety messages to the area’s older audience. In the Detroit area, a fire department established 501C status so that they could support their community. They fundraise and then engage with residents of all ages via Christmas programs, backpack distributions, and neighborhood events. This goodwill goes a long way when emergency responders need support from the community.
  • Departments must have a defined code of ethics/conduct that makes the standard of behavior clear. This way leadership and rank and file requirements can be defined and communicated.

 

Here are some of the queries from the group that will unearth answers as first responders look to establish equity in their stations and establish rapport with area residents:

 

  • Why isn’t bullying and hazing being reported? Is it because the leader will brush it off or has an environment of intimidation been adopted?
  • Are you using observations from the field or current events to foster discussions in your station?
  • When was the last time you showed up in your community when things went right, not just when things went wrong?
  • Does everyone have a seat at the table - or just a select few?
  • Are you encouraging and creating educational opportunities that will result in changing behaviors of unconscious bias?
  • Do your recruitment efforts reflect the community; and does your community see emergency response as a relatable, attainable, viable career option?
  • Does your department have a policy on the use and maintenance of social media, as it relates to community engagement?

 

Earlier in the day, the audience heard from a local firefighter who championed a community engagement strategy that is being considered in many jurisdictions throughout the country. Ben Thompson of Birmingham Fire & Rescue spoke about his city’s C.A.R.E.S (Community Assistance, Referral and Education Services) program which is taking proactive steps to serve patients who frequently call 911 for non-emergent complaints. Time spent helping the elderly may preclude departments from providing life-saving medical evaluations, treatment and transport, so Birmingham Fire & Rescue Fire partnered with social workers to develop a “Prevention through Intervention” home-visiting program for recently discharged heart-failure and COPD patients. This para-medicine initiative is a great example of an emergency response organization connecting with a certain market segment and community partners to add value in a way that is relevant today.

 

The final day of meetings in Alabama featured leaders at all levels rolling up their sleeves, asking difficult questions, listening to different perspectives, and redefining the perception of first responders - both internally and externally.
Preparing modern fire, EMS and law enforcement personnel to address challenges, on the front line and in the places that they work, is exactly what the NFPA Responder Forum is all about.

 

Read about Day 1 of the Responder Forum

Read about Day 2 of the Responder Forum

 

#NFPAResponderForum

The NFPA Headquarters in Quincy, Massachusetts welcomes many visitors from all over the world. In the main lobby resides a beautiful antique fire engine that always attracts attention.
This hand-pump fire engine was built by the Hunneman Company (started by one of Paul Revere’s apprentices) for the Houghs Neck Fire Station in Quincy, Massachusetts. It was delivered  on July 16, 1844.
Hunneman No. 244 “Granite” No.2 at NFPA Headquarters in Quincy, MA
The town of Quincy donated the engine to the National Fire Protection Association in 1981, when the organization made Quincy its new home.
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.


Katie Cornhill wants you to know something: She's still a "badass."

That's what the former Royal Marine and current United Kingdom fire officer told attendees of the 2018 NFPA Responder Forum in Birmingham, Alabama, on Tuesday, garnering laughs from the crowd of more than 130 people. Cornhill is the subject of a “Perspectives” interview in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.
Cornhill, a group manager at the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, identifies as a non-cisgendered female—some people mistakenly identify her as a transgender female. She says she was assigned the incorrect male gender at birth and lived the first 39 years of her life, including six years as a commando in the very masculine Royal Marines, hiding her true identify from everyone except her ex-wife, brother, and a few close friends. Twelve years ago, Cornhill says, she decided it was time to finally start living her life as the person she had always been since the day she was conceived, and six years ago, she came out to her department. Since then, she's become a champion of inclusion in the fire service. 
"We need to be truly inclusive leaders and do all that we can every day to make our archaic institutional cultures move forward," Cornhill said at the forum. "The world would be a better place and it would be a safer and happier place if everyone could truly be themselves." Cornhill's talk was one of a number of presentations at this year's forum that tackled fire service personnel issues like bullying, hazing, racial bias, cultural acceptance, and gender equality in the fire service
Last month, Cornhill shared more about her personal journey with my colleague Jesse Roman. His interview with her will appear in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal. "I think every fire and rescue service is populated with individuals who are not out to their colleagues," Cornhill told Roman. "That is in terms of both sexual identity and gender identity. I think that what every fire and rescue service needs to do—we are not there, and nowhere near it—is to create an environment where we embrace diversity so people can truly feel like they can be themselves." 

Read the full story here.

Nick Gabrielle of Russell Phillips & Associates reinforces the importance of healthcare facilities planning ahead in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency situation that may require evacuation.

 

During natural disasters and other emergency situations, healthcare facilities may need to decide whether residents should stay put or be evacuated to another facility. While there is no silver bullet answer or easy “if then” algorithm for making that decision, advance planning is essential to effectively keeping people safe.


At NFPA’s 2018 C&E in Las Vegas this past June, co-presenters Nick Gabrielle and David Hood of Russell Phillips & Associates, provided stories and lessons learned from past incidents, highlighting the critical value of planning ahead. While facilities need to be flexible and dynamic in the event of an evacuation, the planning process should include these steps and strategies:

 

  • Identify your facility’s vulnerabilities and create a plan ahead of time for how they would be handled in a crisis. Get local emergency management facilities involved - let them know about your vulnerabilities and start those conversations early.
  • Establish staff’s roles and responsibilities in an evacuation, along with a command system that they are familiar with and will know how to execute/implement.
  • Prepare for who will take medical records, medications, and equipment, and develop a system to track where they go.
  • Develop relationships and MOUs with coalitions, transportation groups and receiving facilities that you can work with in the event of an evacuation. Knowing that your residents have somewhere to go will enable you to confidently execute an evacuation if needed; you won’t be hesitant to pull the trigger.
  • Conduct trainings and exercises to practice all elements of your evacuation plan; conduct a timed evacuation self-assessment to see how long it would take to get everyone out.

 

Gabrielle and Hood also addressed issues that need to be considered if an emergency situation occurs. In deciding if evacuation is needed, you have to consider the intensity of the event, when it will actually happen, and how long it will likely last. In addition, you need to know what other facilities around you are doing. For example, if another hospital is evacuating people, this may impact your decision.

 


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!

 

Day two of NFPA’s Responder Forum dove a little deeper into the topics of LGBTQ acceptance, unintentional bias, and cultural awareness prior to scholarship recipients breaking out into work groups to discuss community and social media engagement; hiring, recruitment, and retention processes; and hazing, bullying, and inclusion challenges.

 

The day began with an organizational breakfast where leaders from the nominating organizations were able to endorse their members’ efforts to raise the bar in the emergency response community.

 

UK firefighter Katie Cornhill with Dorset & Wilshire Fire & Rescue Service then provided perspective on transitional or transgender acceptance in her session, Fire Harms and Kills – So Does Non-Inclusive Leadership. The Communities Program Manager spoke about the history of equal rights dating back to the Magna Carta in 1215 and referenced landmark events such as the establishment of the U.S. Bill of Rights, which paved the way for the United States Constitution. “People perform better when they can be themselves. They work more efficiently, effectively, cohesively and confidently,” Cornhill said.

 

Class of 2015 Responder Forum graduate Manny Fonseca, PhD returned to the Forum to share his experiences so that attendees could better understand the unintentional biases and lack of cultural awareness that can often preclude emergency responders from garnering the trust and respect they need from residents. Fonseca used his academic, leadership and minority insight to elicit feedback from the audience about preconceived notions. Current president of the Hispanic Fire Fighters Association, Fonseca underscored the importance of engaging residents and working with community leaders to facilitate better relationships between authority figures and diverse audiences.

 

 

Rounding out the morning program was Dante James, co-founder of The Gemini Group, LLC which helps others better understand and implement racial equity (including gender, disability, and sexual orientation). James stressed, “Nothing has been more impactful in this nation than race. It’s a conversation that centers around the dominant culture – straight, white, dominant, able-bodied males.” James told the crowd, “Inclusion is about who’s sitting at the table.”

 

During the second half of the day, members of the Responder Forum broke out into work groups to answer questions such as: 

 

  • As leaders (rank is irrelevant) are we addressing gender discrimination/bullying head on?
  • Does your organization take into account the demographics of the community when it comes to hiring, and if so, is that dynamic constantly monitored?
  • Does your organization use mainstream social media when it comes to being engaged with the community? What are some benefits/value of using social media and what are some challenges?

 

At night it was time to celebrate both the collective achievement of the responder community and the commissioning of the NFPA Responder Forum Class of 2016 (scholarship candidates attend the Forum for three years).

 

During a special dinner reception, NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley asked the graduating class, “Don’t let this all end tomorrow. Work at keeping in touch. Work at proactively gathering insights from your team and your Responder Forum peers when you return to your various stations. You are the future of the fire service – and we expect great things from you.”

 

His sentiments were reinforced by keynote speaker, Keith Bryant, the United States Fire Administrator. Bryant told the crowd of approximately 140, “It would be a wonderful thing for the fire service to be an example for the rest of society. As fire leaders, we are in the people business. Be people-centered, people-focused and people-committed.

 

The 2018 NFPA Responder Forum continues on Wednesday, when ideas are shared and experiences are considered in an effort to address the modern day challenges of the emergency response community.

 

Read about Day 1 of the Responder Forum

Read about Day 3 of the Responder Forum

 

#NFPAResponderForum

One of the most notable features about NFPA’s standards development process is that it is a full, open, consensus-based process that encourages public participation in the development of its standards. A great way for your voice to be heard is to submit a Public Input (a suggested revision to a new or existing NFPA standard) during a Standard’s revision cycle. It is free, easy, and done through our  submission system.

 

The following Standards are accepting public input for their next revision cycle:

 

NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems
NFPA, 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes
NFPA, 13R, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Low-Rise Residential Occupancies
NFPA 24, Standard for the Installation of Private Fire Service Mains and Their Appurtenances
NFPA 30B, Code for the Manufacture and Storage of Aerosol Products 
NFPA 40, Standard for the Storage and Handling of Cellulose Nitrate Film
NFPA 51B, Standard for Fire Prevention During Welding, Cutting, and Other Hot Work
NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®
NFPA 77, Recommended Practice on Static Electricity
NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives
NFPA 86, Standard for Ovens and Furnaces
NFPA 88A, Standard for Parking Structures
NFPA 101A, Guide on Alternative Approaches to Life Safety
NFPA 105, Standard for Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives
NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems
NFPA 150, Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities Code
NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations
NFPA 260, Standard Methods of Tests and Classification System for Cigarette Ignition Resistance of Components of Upholstered Furniture
NFPA 289, Standard Method of Fire Test for Individual Fuel Packages
NFPA 306, Standard for the Control of Gas Hazards on Vessels
NFPA 400, Hazardous Materials Code
NFPA 484, Standard for Combustible Metals
NFPA 551, Guide for the Evaluation of Fire Risk Assessments
NFPA 610, Guide for Emergency and Safety Operations at Motorsports Venues
NFPA 652, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust
NFPA 750, Standard on Water Mist Fire Protection Systems
NFPA 1001, Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications
NFPA 1221, Standard for the Installation, Maintenance, and Use of Emergency Services Communications Systems 
NFPA 1730, Standard on Organization and Deployment of Fire Prevention Inspection and Code Enforcement, Plan Review, Investigation, and Public Education Operations
NFPA 1852, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)
NFPA 1917, Standard for Automotive Ambulances
NFPA 1981, Standard on Open-Circuit Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for Emergency Services
NFPA 1989, Standard on Breathing Air Quality for Emergency Services Respiratory Protection

 

To submit a public input using the  submission system, go directly to the specific document information page by selecting the links above or by using the search feature on the List of NFPA codes & standards. Once on the document page, select the link "Submit a Public Input" to begin the process. You will be asked to sign-in or create a free  account with NFPA before using this system.


We are here to assist! 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.


Public input is a suggested revision to a proposed new or existing NFPA Standard submitted during the Input stage in accordance with Section 4.3 of the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards.

The Report of the Motions Committee addresses one Fall 2018 NFPA Standard with a certified amending motion that may be presented at the NFPA Technical Meeting (Tech Session) in San Antonio, TX on June 17-20, 2019:
  • NFPA 801, Standard for Fire Protection for Facilities Handling Radioactive Materials
This report also identifies a list of 29 standards that have been determined by the Motions Committee to be Consent Standards and shall be forwarded to the Standards Council for balloting.  In accordance with 1.6.2(a) of the Regulations, a fifteen day appeal period follows the publication date of this Report in which one may file an appeal related to the issuance of the Consent Standards listed below. The filing deadline for such appeal is October 27, 2018
These Consent Standards are as follows:
  • NFPA 14, Standard for the Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems
  • NFPA 45, Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals
  • NFPA 52, Vehicular Natural Gas Fuel Systems Code
  • NFPA 59A, Standard for the Production, Storage, and Handling of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
  • NFPA 67, Guide on Explosion Protection for Gaseous Mixtures in Pipe Systems
  • NFPA 69, Standard on Explosion Prevention Systems
  • NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance
  • NFPA 82, Standard on Incinerators and Waste and Linen Handling Systems and Equipment
  • NFPA 85, Boiler and Combustion Systems Hazards Code
  • NFPA 253, Standard Method of Test for Critical Radiant Flux of Floor Covering Systems Using a Radiant Heat Energy Source
  • NFPA 262, Standard Method of Test for Flame Travel and Smoke of Wires and Cables for Use in Air-Handling Spaces
  • NFPA 265, Standard Methods of Fire Tests for Evaluating Room Fire Growth Contribution of Textile or Expanded Vinyl Wall Coverings on Full Height Panels and Walls
  • NFPA 276, Standard Method of Fire Test for Determining the Heat Release Rate of Roofing Assemblies with Combustible Above-Deck Roofing Components
  • NFPA 285, Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load-Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components
  • NFPA 286, Standard Methods of Fire Tests for Evaluating Contribution of Wall and Ceiling Interior Finish to Room Fire Growth
  • NFPA 350, Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work
  • NFPA 402, Guide for Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Operations
  • NFPA 701, Standard Methods of Fire Tests for Flame Propagation of Textiles and Films
  • NFPA 900, Building Energy Code
  • NFPA 914, Code for Fire Protection of Historic Structures
  • NFPA 1003, Standard for Airport Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1005, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Marine Fire Fighting for Land-Based Fire Fighters
  • NFPA 1041, Standard for Fire Service Instructor Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1091, Standard for Traffic Control Incident Management Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1402, Guide to Building Fire Service Training Centers
  • NFPA 1600®, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity/Continuity of Operations Programs
  • NFPA 1963, Standard for Fire Hose Connections
  • NFPA 1975, Standard on Emergency Services Work Clothing Elements
  • NFPA 2400, Standard for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Used for Public Safety Operations
The anticipated issuance date for these Consent Standards is November 5, 2018 with an effective date of November 25, 2018.
In addition, the following four Standards had previously been designated as Consent Standards and issued by the Council:
  • NFPA 16, Standard for the Installation of Foam-Water Sprinkler and Foam-Water Spray Systems, issued on May 5, 2018
  • NFPA 211, Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel-Burning Appliances, issued on July 26, 2018
  • NFPA 551, Guide for the Evaluation of Fire Risk Assessments, issued on March 15, 2018
  • NFPA 1965, Standard for Fire Hose Appliances, withdrawn on September 2, 2018
What is the correct approach to balancing security and fire protection systems in a school environment during a hostile event?
That’s the question contributor Wayne Moore poses in the “In Compliance” section of the September/October issue of NFPA Journal.“School officials and authorities having jurisdiction can begin by referencing both NFPA 72â, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Codeâ, and NFPA 730, Guide for Premises Security,” Moore writes. “NFPA 72 uses a risk assessment method to determine the voice messages to be used with mass notification systems. Balancing security and fire protection systems in a school environment involves conducting a security vulnerability assessment as outline in the 2018 edition of NFPA 730.”
Moore advises readers that “an ‘easy’ button does not exist for this issue”—but his timely presentation offers a clear overview of the challenges and can help stakeholders formulate important questions to address as they devise plans for their schools and jurisdictions.
Other items in the September/October “In Compliance” section include NFPA 13 sprinkler requirements for office pods, NFPA 101 guidelines for predicting occupant loads in modern office buildings, and a look at NFPA’s electrical codes that help create a triad of electrical safety.

It seems inevitable at this time of the year that several news stories pop up about a haunted house business or a home or building being converted into a makeshift haunted house being shut down due to safety concerns. Haunted houses are a common form of entertainment over these next couple of weeks. They come in many forms, whether it’s a standalone seasonal building that operates as a haunted house or a building such as a church, a community center, or a school that creates a haunted house, maybe for a town event, a fundraiser, or a feature to a festival. Large or small, permanent or temporary, professional or amateur, haunted houses and the like are everywhere, especially in buildings not originally designed to accommodate such a use. Without the proper knowledge and understanding of the codes that apply, haunted houses can be a safety nightmare.

Per NFPA 1, Fire Code, a haunted house is considered a special amusement building.  By definition, a special amusement building is "a building that is temporary, permanent, or mobile and contains a device or system that conveys passengers or provides a walkway along, around, or over a course in any direction as a form of amusement arranged so that the egress path is not readily apparent due to visual or audio distractions or an intentionally confounded egress path, or is not readily available due to the mode of conveyance through the building or structure."  A special amusement building is an assembly occupancy regardless of occupant load.  Buildings designed as assembly occupancies have a head start on those that aren’t, but try to accommodate a haunted house type attraction. A big risk, and often why many of these attractions are shut down, is because they are located in a structure that was not designed with a haunted house use in mind and they do not understand the type of occupancy and hazards associated with that occupancy that have been created. The Code is not against haunted houses and there is no ill intent when they are shut down. Ultimately, it’s for the safety of those attending and those that work at these facilities and the responsibility of those inspecting the Fire Code to ensure that a horrific fire event is prevented.

Haunted houses use special effects, scenery, props, and audio and visual distractions that may cause egress paths to become not obvious.  In haunted houses in particular, the presence of combustible materials and special scenery can also contribute to the fuel load should a fire occur.  Because of this, the Code requirements are purposely strict to in hopes of avoiding a potentially disastrous fire event.

Code provisions for special amusement buildings are found in Section 20.1.4 of NFPA 1.  The Code requirements for haunted houses are summarized below:

  • Haunted houses must apply the provisions for assembly occupancies in addition to the provisions of Section 20.1.4.
  • Automatic sprinklers are required for all haunted houses.  If the haunted house is considered moveable or portable, an approved temporary means is permitted to be used for water supply.
  • Smoke detection is required throughout the haunted house where the nature it operates in reduced lighting and the actuation of any smoke detection device must sound an alarm at a constantly attended location on the premises.
  • Actuation of sprinklers or any suppression systems, smoke detection system (having a cross zoning capability) must provide an increase in illumination of the means of egress and termination of other confusing visuals or sounds.
  • Exit marking and floor proximity exit signs are required.  Where designs are such that the egress path is not apparent, additional directional exit marking is required.
  • Interior wall and ceiling finish materials must be Class A throughout.
  • Per Section 10.8.1, emergency action plans are required.

Other requirements, not specific just to haunted houses or special amusement buildings, may also apply:

  • Permits (see Section 1.12)
  • Seasonal buildings (see Section 10.12)
  • Special outdoor events, fairs and carnivals (see Section 10.14) 

As we move into the Halloween and haunted house season, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun and overlook the safety issues that may arise.  Through the provisions in NFPA 1, which can assist fire code officials and inspectors enforce safe haunted houses, and NFPA's halloween resources for consumers, everyone can stay safe this season.

Thank you for reading, stay safe!

Please visit www.nfpa.org/1 to view the free access version of NFPA 1 2018 edition. Follow along on Twitter for more updates and fire safety news @KristinB_NFPA. Looking for an older #FireCodefriday blog? You can view past posts here.

Just weeks after winning a gold award for its hot work safety training, NFPA has released the course in Spanish. The new e-learning program for Spanish-speaking trade workers debuted this week, just as a new hot work fact sheet was introduced in both English and Spanish.

 

After unpermitted welding at a Boston brownstone prompted a nine-alarm fire that killed Lieutenant Edward Walsh and firefighter Michael Kennedy in March 2014, NFPA stepped up its strategies for helping communities reduce avoidable loss by raising awareness of hot work job site safety considerations and hazards.

 

The concerted efforts began shortly after the tragic blaze, when Boston Fire officials reached out to NFPA looking for help reducing hot work risks in the city. The two organizations began their campaign for change by lobbying with Boston fire, building, safety, and trades leaders to get the city’s fire code updated so that all workers on a job are now required to earn a hot work safety certificate before pulling a permit. This summer, that safety mandate was extended throughout the Commonwealth.

 

To better inform anyone engaged in any activity involving flame or spark production in Boston, NFPA developed classroom training that has educated more than 33,000 construction workers about hot work safety. NFPA then developed an  Hot Work Safe Practices course to ensure that more hot work supervisors and laborers were being informed. That training won a Brandon Hall Group gold award for excellence in August – and as of this week is available in Spanish.

 

The hot work material is presented in an interactive and engaging 90-minute eLearning format. While the training was developed in response to specific local needs it was created in a way that is relevant to anyone wishing to improve job site safety knowledge or to any state/jurisdiction wishing to implement safety requirements like the Bay State has.

The training opens with news footage of the deadly Beacon Street fire and includes an interview with the mother of one of the deceased Boston firefighters. The story is woven throughout the course, conveys the seriousness of the content, and enables the learner to:

 

• Identify relevant standards, regulations, and ordinances that are applicable to hot work
• Describe the systems approach to hot work safety
• Define and identify hot work and hot work hazards
• Describe hot work evaluation requirements
• Describe hot work safety team roles and responsibilities
• Describe hot work permit requirements

 

A new hot work fact sheet was also created. The targeted and relevant information within the two-sided handout emphasizes the importance of hot work safety, and is available in both English and Spanish. The document provides a definition for hot work, insight on safety risks, ways to minimize harm, alternatives to hot work, and links to helpful content.

 

All of NFPA’s resources related to hot work safety can be found on nfpa.org/hotwork.

The NFPA Research Library & Archives maintains a large collection of gifts and historic fire artifacts that the organization has received over the years. For example, here's an antique wood water pipe we've acquired:

 

Wooden water pipes (similar to the one seen here) were used in the first U.S. waterworks system in our beloved city of Boston starting in 1652. Due to the many fires in typical wooden structures and chimney fires, this installation was imperative to saving lives. Firefighters drilled holes in the main pipelines, sunk smaller wood pipes into them, and used fire pumpers to extract the water. A small piece of wood known as a “fireplug” was then inserted to keep the water stored.

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

It's been just over a month since dozens of natural gas–fueled fires burned in homes in the Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts, not far from NFPA's headquarters in Quincy. Coincidentally, the incident occurred about a month after NFPA began considering a new standard addressing the installation, testing, and maintenance of gas detectors in homes.
I wrote about it in a new article that will appear in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal

"In an event like the Merrimack Valley incident, gas detectors could save lives," I write in the piece. "[NFPA's Director of Engineering Guy] Colonna explained that for the combustion of natural gas in air to occur, the air needs to contain a minimum of 5 percent methane by volume and there needs to be an ignition source, such as a pilot flame in a gas stove or a light switch being flicked on. Detectors, which would sound when gas levels are much lower than that concentration, could alert occupants to get out."

 

Read the full article here.

NFPA 1937, Standard for the Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Rescue Tools, is seeking public input on its preliminary draft. The preliminary draft allows the public to review and submit any suggested revisions prior to the publication of its First Draft Report. 
NFPA 1937 shall specify minimum requirements for the selection, care, maintenance, and record keeping of lifting bags, rescue tools, and struts that are compliant with NFPA 1936. This standard shall not specify requirements for other organizational programs such as the use of lifting bags, rescue tools, or struts for training or operations, because these programs are under the jurisdiction of other NFPA standards.
The deadline for submitting public input for this new standard is January 3, 2019
To submit a public input using the online submission system, go directly to the NFPA 1937 document information page or use the List of NFPA codes & standards. Once on the NFPA 1937 page, select the link "Submit a Public Input" 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.
Public input is a suggested revision to a proposed new or existing NFPA Standard submitted during the Input stage in accordance with Section 4.3 of the Regulations Governing the Development of NFPA Standards.

Hello – Happy Friday!  Today’s topic comes to you from Val Ziavras, a Fire Protection Engineer at NFPA.  Special thanks to Val for her contribution to this blog and discussing one of the many subjects addressed in the Fire Code.

 

This week is Fire Prevention Week (FPW) and the campaign is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with FPW, check out the FPW webpage and last week’s Fire Code Friday for some additional information.  In honor of FPW, we are going to focus on home fire safety issues in the Fire Code again this week, more specifically the provisions for smoke alarms. 

 

The “Listen,” portion of the campaign is to remind people to listen for the sound of the smoke alarm.  Today, residences are filled with furnishings and contents made mostly of plastics and synthetic materials and responding quickly to the sound of the smoke alarm is more important than ever.  A resident may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds.  Flashover can happen much faster than it used to.  For a look at how much faster, check out this side by side comparison of modern room furnishings and 1970s room furnishings. 

Smoke Alarm

 

The smoke alarm requirements in the Fire Code are primary extracted from two source documents, NFPA 101 (The Life Safety Code) and NFPA 72 (The National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code).  NFPA 101 is going to regulate where smoke alarms are required while NFPA 72 is going to regulate how they are installed.  Section 13.7.2 of the Code addresses the occupancy specific requirements for fire alarm and smoke alarms. Typically, smoke alarms are required where we expect to find occupants sleeping.  For example, Section 13.7.2.13.1 of the Code requires smoke alarms or a smoke detection system in new and existing one- and two-family dwellings.  Section 13.7.2.13.1.1 requires that smoke alarms be installed in all sleeping rooms, outside of each separate sleeping area, in the immediate vicinity of the sleeping rooms, and on each level of the dwelling unit, including basements.  Other occupancies that also require smoke alarms in some capacity per NFPA 1 are day care homes, lodging or rooming houses, hotels and dormitories, apartment buildings, board and care facilities. (See Section 13.7.2 for the specific conditions for each occupancy.)

 

Section 13.7.1.8 of the Fire Code contains general installation criteria for smoke alarms including requirements for the interconnection of smoke alarms in new construction and more specific requirements for where smoke alarms should be installed.  Interconnecting smoke alarms is important because it helps ensure that occupants can hear the alarm even if doors are closed or if the smoke alarm that operates is on a different level. 

 

While the Life Safety Code will tell you what rooms/areas need smoke alarms, NFPA 72 provides additional guidance on installation criteria and identifies an area of exclusion.  The area of exclusion includes a 10 ft. radial distance from a stationary or fixed cooking appliance, think stoves.  Any smoke alarm installed between 10 ft. and 20 ft. from a stationary or fixed cooking appliance needs to be equipped with an alarm-silencing means or use photoelectric detection.  The Code does outline some exceptions for situations where a smoke alarm that uses photoelectric detection can be installed closer than 10 ft., but not less than 6 ft.  In addition to cooking appliances, the Code also specifies a minimum distance from a door to a bathroom containing a shower or tub.  Unless the smoke alarm is specifically listed for close proximity to such an area, a distance of at least 36 inches should be provided.  The Code specifically outlines an area of exclusion to minimize the chance of nuisance alarms.  By reducing the number of nuisance alarms, building occupants are less likely to remove or disable a smoke alarm that is there to protect them.

 

Fire inspectors play a critical role in educating the public about smoke alarms and their importance.  Whether through generic home inspections, public education efforts, or design and review work, those that enforce the Code can have a big impact on home fire safety.

 

With Fire Prevention Week drawing to a close, everyone can remember to take steps to better protect themselves and the public.  Test smoke alarms and make sure they are less than 10 years old.  Working smoke alarms will provide early notification of a fire.  Also, be sure to create a home fire escape plan!  Knowing two ways out of every room in the event of an emergency is important.

 

Thanks for reading, Happy Friday!

 

Please visit www.nfpa.org/1 to view the free access version of NFPA 1 2018 edition.  Follow along on Twitter for more updates and fire safety news @KristinB_NFPA.  Looking for an older #FireCodefriday blog?  You can view past posts here.

NFPA has issued the following errata on the 2018 edition of NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code; and on the Second Draft Report (Fall 2018) to NFPA 1600, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity/Continuity of Operations Programs:
  • NFPA 99, Errata 99-18-2, referencing various sections in Chapters 5 and 15 of the 2018 edition, issued on September 13, 2018
  • NFPA 1600, Errata on Second Draft Report, referencing Figure A.1.2, issued on September 14, 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.
This week, North American schools, communities, and fire departments are observing Fire Prevention Week (FPW). Since 1922, NFPA has sponsored the public observance of FPW. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed FPW a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country. During this week, children, adults, and teachers learn how to stay safe in case of a fire. Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires.
FPW is observed each year during the week of October 9 in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871. The incident killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,000 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.

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

 

For the 11th year in a row, NFPA teamed up with Domino’s to kick off our joint Fire Prevention Week program promoting the importance of smoke alarms and home fire safety. This year, nearly 50 first graders from a local elementary school were invited to the Flint Fire Department, where they learned about smoke alarms, as well as home escape planning and practice messages in support of this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, "Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere™.”  The students were also treated to a visit from Sparky the Fire Dog® and a pizza party.


A huge thanks to the Flint Fire Department for all their help and enthusiasm in support of this year’s program – it was our second year working with them, and they did a fabulous job helping make it a true success. Also, thank you to all the local Domino's and fire departments nationwide that team up each year to bring the campaign to life in their communities. Participation continues to grow each year, which is a testament to the program's fun, engaging approach to educating residents about smoke alarm safety. We truly appreciate everyone’s support!


Here's how Domino's Fire Prevention Week program works: Customers who place an order from participating Domino's stores during Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, are randomly selected to receive their delivery from the local fire department, who will conduct a smoke alarm check in the customer's home. If the smoke alarms in the home are working, the delivery is free. If they're not working, the firefighters will replace the batteries or install fully-functioning alarms.

 

Flint Fire Department's Battalion Chief Steve Cobb talks with local news stations about the importance of teaching young children about fire safety.

The October 2018 issue of NFPA News, our free, monthly, codes-and-standards newsletter, is now available.
In this issue:
  • New project being explored on fire service personnel professional qualifications
  • Proposed Tentative Interim Amendments seeking comments on NFPA 59, NFPA 69, NFPA 221, NFPA 1971, and NFPA 5000
  • TIA issued on NFPA 72
  • Errata issued on NFPA 99 and NFPA 1600 Second Draft Report
  • Committees seeking members
  • Committees seeking public input and public comment
  • Committee meetings calendar   
Subscribe today! NFPA News is a free and 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. 

In my recent NFPA Live session I discussed the new provision for automated inspection and testing that has been added to the 2017 edition on NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems. 
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 Reports for NFPA Standards in the Fall 2019 revision cycle are available. Review the First Draft Reports for use as background in the submission of public comments.


To submit a public comment using the  submission system, go to the specific document information page by using the List of NFPA codes & standards or the links provided in the list below. Once on the document page, select the link "Submit a Public Comment" to begin the process. You will be asked to sign-in or create a free  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  system on any of these documents is November 15, 2018. Th proposed NFPA Standards with First Draft Reports in the Fall 2019 revision cycle are as follows:

 

  • NFPA 13E, Recommended Practice for Fire Department Operations in Properties Protected by Sprinkler and Standpipe Systems
  • NFPA 31, Standard for the Installation of Oil-Burning Equipment
  • NFPA 56, Standard for Fire and Explosion Prevention During Cleaning and Purging of Flammable Gas Piping Systems
  • NFPA 61, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities
  • NFPA 75, Standard for the Fire Protection of Information Technology Equipment
  • NFPA 76, Standard for the Fire Protection of Telecommunications Facilities
  • NFPA 91, Standard for Exhaust Systems for Air Conveying of Vapors, Gases, Mists, and Particulate Solids
  • NFPA 115, Standard for Laser Fire Protection
  • NFPA 120, Standard for Fire Prevention and Control in Coal Mines
  • NFPA 122, Standard for Fire Prevention and Control in Metal/Nonmetal Mining and Metal Mineral Processing Facilities
  • NFPA 326, Standard for the Safeguarding of Tanks and Containers for Entry, Cleaning, or Repair
  • NFPA 329, Recommended Practice for Handling Releases of Flammable and Combustible Liquids and Gases
  • NFPA 410, Standard on Aircraft Maintenance
  • NFPA 600, Standard on Facility Fire Brigades
  • NFPA 601, Standard for Security Services in Fire Loss Prevention
  • NFPA 664, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities
  • NFPA 730, Guide for Premises Security
  • NFPA 731, Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems
  • NFPA 804, Standard for Fire Protection for Advanced Light Water Reactor Electric Generating Plants
  • NFPA 805, Performance-Based Standard for Fire Protection for Light Water Reactor Electric Generating Plants
  • NFPA 806, Performance-Based Standard for Fire Protection for Advanced Nuclear Reactor Electric Generating Plants Change Process
  • NFPA 853, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Fuel Cell Power Systems
  • NFPA 950, Standard for Data Development and Exchange for the Fire Service
  • NFPA 1021, Standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1051, Standard for Wildland Firefighting Personnel Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1071, Standard for Emergency Vehicle Technician Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1201, Standard for Providing Fire and Emergency Services to the Public
  • NFPA 1250, Recommended Practice in Fire and Emergency Service Organization Risk Management
  • NFPA 1405, Guide for Land-Based Fire Departments that Respond to Marine Vessel Fires
  • NFPA 1407, Standard for Training Fire Service Rapid Intervention Crews
  • NFPA 1408, Standard for Training Fire Service Personnel in the Operation, Care, Use, and Maintenance of Thermal Imagers
  • NFPA 1410, Standard on Training for Emergency Scene Operations
  • NFPA 1500, Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety, Health, and Wellness Program
  • NFPA 1521, Standard for Fire Department Safety Officer Professional Qualifications
  • NFPA 1561, Standard on Emergency Services Incident Management System and Command Safety
  • NFPA 1616, Standard on Mass Evacuation, Sheltering, and Re-entry Programs
  • NFPA 1620, Standard for Pre-Incident Planning
  • NFPA 1700, Guide for Structural Fire Fighting
  • NFPA 1931, Standard for Manufacturer's Design of Fire Department Ground Ladders
  • NFPA 1932, Standard on Use, Maintenance, and Service Testing of In-Service Fire Department Ground Ladders
  • NFPA 1951, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Technical Rescue Incidents
  • NFPA 2010, Standard for Fixed Aerosol Fire-Extinguishing Systems

 

The First Draft Report for the following Standard was delayed and thus, has a revised public comment closing date of November 29, 2018:

 

  • NFPA 850, Recommended Practice for Fire Protection for Electric Generating Plants and High Voltage Direct Current Converter Stations
New equipment is added to a facility. Knowledge gained while working through an issue drives change in safety standards. Employees with different backgrounds and from different generations have dissimilar learning styles. Electrical safety is not a static field, it is more dynamic than often believed. How do you evaluate your electrical safety program? Training, procedures and practices involving electrical safety need to be periodically reviewed to not only stay current but to be effective. NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace® contains many requirements which should be your starting point for auditing an electrical safety program (ESP).
The first place NFPA 70E requires an evaluation of an ESP is in 110.1(F). Controls are the company’s electrical safety metrics for determining if the ESP is effective and efficient. In order to evaluate a system, you need to know where you started and how far you have come. Metrics are measurable points to determine performance. They also can be used to determine if improvements to the safety program are required and, if so, what needs to be changed. There are two common metrics used to determine the effectiveness of something: lagging metrics and leading metrics. Lagging metrics provide a reactive view of a safety program. Leading metrics are used to identify and correct contributing factors before an incident occurs. A combination of these metrics can enhance a safe work program.
Next in NFPA 70E, 110.1(K) covers necessary audits. Auditing and enforcement is a critical part of any electrical safety program. It is vital that the electrical safety program — as well as the auditing and enforcement actions — be documented for the benefit of the employees and of the company. The process control points and actions (i.e., the items capable of being measured) need to be determined for there to be effective auditing. An audit of the overall ESP (110.1(K)(1)) is necessary to ensure that program principles and procedures are kept current with changing situations.
Section 110.1(K)(2) addresses field audits. This involves going into the field — wherever employees are performing their required tasks and there is the potential of exposure to electrical hazards — to gather information. It is important to watch employees perform their electrical safety related tasks and ensure that they are using PPE appropriate for the task to be performed. When it has been confirmed that the ESP principles or procedures are not being followed, corrective action must be taken. The field audit should be used to confirm that all electrical hazards are addressed, and to evaluate any program and physical conditions that have changed. 
Lockout/tagout programs and procedures require auditing in 110.1(K)(3). The objective of the audit is to make sure that all requirements of the procedure are properly detailed and that employees are familiar with their responsibilities. The audit should determine whether the requirements contained in the procedure are sufficient to ensure that the electrical energy is satisfactorily controlled. The audit must ensure that the lockout/tagout procedure is effective and is being properly implemented.
There are several other requirements for audits and supervision in NFPA 70E. Any audit should identify and correct deficiencies in the procedure, employee training, or enforcement. Corrective actions could consist of either modification of the training program or a revision to the procedures, such as increasing the frequency of training. Audits and metrics should measure program effectiveness as well as be used for developing program improvement. Audits should evaluate incidents to determine any necessary change to the ESP. An ESP should not be developed then placed on the shelf as a job well done. Electrical safety in the workplace is not the same as it was 10 years ago. How are you protecting employees with the best ESP possible?
For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on Xchange
Next time: Is there a way to increase electrical safety for workers in the future.
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 www.nfpa.org/submitpi for instructions.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) for the 2018 edition of NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, has been published for public review and comment:

 

Proposed TIA No. 1404, referencing 8.71.2.3


Anyone may submit a comment on this proposed TIA by the November 7, 2018, comment closing date. Along with your comment, please identify the number of the TIA and forward to the Secretary, Standards Council by the closing date.

Hello – Happy Friday!  Today’s topic comes to you from Val Ziavras, a Fire Protection Engineer at NFPA.  Special thanks to Val for her contribution to this blog and discussing one of the many subjects addressed in the Fire Code.

 

With Fire Prevention Week (FPW) right around the corner, October 7-13, what better time than now to talk about home fire escape plans and means of escape requirements for dwelling units?  For those of you who aren’t familiar with FPW, the main goal is to educate the public on how to stay safe during a fire.  While many of us in the fire protection field, immediately check for sprinklers and look for a second way out when we enter a building, that isn’t always the case for the rest of world. One goal of FPW is to get people thinking about what they should do in the event of a fire.  It has been an NFPA sponsored event since 1922.  President Calvin Coolidge made FPW a national observance in 1925, making it the longest-running public health observance in the United States. 

 

This year the campaign is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.”  The “Learn” portion of the campaign is focused on encouraging everyone to learn two ways out of every room and making sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.  A great place to start is in your own home!  The best way to do it? Create a home fire escape plan.

 

So by now, you may be wondering what this has to do with the Fire Code, well ultimately NFPA 1 (and NFPA 101 as well as the building code) are going to regulate the number of means of egress, or in this case the number of means of escape.  Means of escape usually applies to dwelling units while means of egress applies to all other buildings.  A person’s means of escape is going to happen within their own dwelling unit (example: an apartment) but their means of egress is going to happen as soon as they leave the front door and enter the common hallway.  The concept behind both means of egress and means of escape is similar: they should provide a reliable and unobstructed way out.  However, the requirements for means of escape are not as stringent as for the means of egress.  Like many topics, NFPA 1 defers to a source document and extracts requirements. In this case, provisions are extracted directly from NFPA 101. 

 

Most houses have at least two doors, but what if a person were trapped in the bedroom and a fire was blocking the only door to that room? How would they escape? These are exactly the sort of questions we want to be asking ourselves, our families, and the people we work with and educate, when developing a home’s fire escape plan.

 

NFPA 1, Section 20.11.1 requires all new and existing one- and two-family dwellings comply not only with Section 20.11 but also NFPA 101, which requires every sleeping room and every living area in dwellings or dwelling units of two rooms or more have not less than one primary means of escape and one secondary means of escape.  The primary means of escape can be a door, stairway, or ramp providing a means of unobstructed travel to the outside of the dwelling unit at street or the finished ground level. The image below is taken from the Life Safety Code Handbook and shows a floor plan with the primary means of escape and secondary means of escape identified for every room. 

 


Section 24.2.2.3 of NFPA 101 outlines what can serve as a secondary means of escape.  The secondary means of escape could be:

  • Another door, stair, passageway, or hall that provides a way to get out that is independent of the primary means of escape
  • Passage through an adjacent non-lockable space that is independent of the primary means of escape
  • An outside window or door that meets certain size and operational requirements
  • A bulkhead meeting certain size requirements
  • Ladders or steps that meet certain requirements

In addition, NFPA 1 requires that, where approved on secondary means of escape, security bars, grates, grilles, or similar devices be equipped with approved release mechanisms that are releasable from the inside without the use of a tool, a key, special knowledge, or force greater than that which it takes for normal operation of the door or window. This ensures that the common practice of installing supplemental devices for the purpose of security do not impair the operation of a door or window for escape purposes.  This Section is important to the Fire Code and for fire inspectors performing inspections on multi-family units, hotel/dormitories, apartment buildings where this practice may be more common.  

 

As enforcers of the Code, it is important to enforce the provisions of the Code that will ensure a safe means of escape be provided during a fire or other emergency.  Part of enforcing this important Code topic also means using times like Fire Prevention week to educate people about making AND practicing a home fire escape plan, maintain their means of escape, and the overall importance of fire safety.  Be sure to check out next week’s blog which will feature another Fire Prevention Week theme and discuss requirements for testing smoke alarms.

 

Thanks for reading, Happy Friday!

 

Please visit www.nfpa.org/1 to view the free access version of NFPA 1 2018 edition.  Follow along on Twitter for more updates and fire safety news @KristinB_NFPA.  Looking for an older #FireCodefriday blog?  You can view past posts here.

The NFPA Standards Council is in receipt of a New Project Initiation Request for the development of an ANSI Accredited Standard to establish requirements for professional qualifications for fire service support personnel. Specifically, it is anticipated and requested that a standard be established to provide guidance on the professional qualifications for personnel engaged in functions that are in support of personnel and organizations assigned to firefighting, fire prevention and related services. The professional qualifications sought are not defined by other NFPA Professional Qualifications Standards. If this standard development is approved by the Standards Council, the standard may additionally address related topics as the Standards Council directs.
To assist the Standards Council in evaluating the proposal for new standards, NFPA is currently soliciting comments to gauge whether support exists for fire service support personnel professional qualifications standards development. NFPA specifically seeks input on the following:
  1. Are you, or your organization, in favor of the development of a new standard establishing professional qualifications for fire service support personnel, including job performance requirements for operating on or near emergency scenes (rehabilitation, water supply, staging, communications, command post support, logistics) and non-emergency operations (community risk reduction, post fire support and victim advocate)? 
  2. Please state your reason(s), providing detail, for supporting or opposing the proposed fire service support personnel professional qualification standards development.
All comments in support or opposition to standards development on fire service support personnel professional qualifications should be submitted electronically, online by October 19, 2018 at: stds_admin@nfpa.org .
Additionally, if you are interested in participating as a technical committee member should standards development be approved by the Standards Council, please submit an application online at: Submit online application*.
*Applications being accepted for purposes of documenting applicant interest in committee participation. Acceptance of applications by NFPA does not guarantee or imply the Standards Council will ultimately approve standards development activity on this proposed subject matter.

With Fire Prevention Week 2018 kicking off next week, it’s a good time to familiarize yourself with the theme and the critical safety messages behind it. This year’s theme, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere™” stresses simple actions residents can take to be better prepared to react in the event of an emergency.

 

In her latest “Outreach” Column for the September/October NFPA Journal, NFPA Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach Lorraine Carli wrote about this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme and why being quick on your feet is more important than ever in today’s fast-moving fires.

 

Today, residents have as little as two to three minutes to escape a home fire, compared to about 10 minutes just a couple of decades ago,” she writes. “As a result, fires are even more dangerous. Statistics illustrate that if you experience a reported home fire today, you are more likely to die in it then you were in 1980.”

 

To learn more about the theme, the new NFPA mascot Simon, and the details behind “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware.” read the latest “Outreach” column in the new NFPA Journal.

 

Fire Prevention Week, an annual event that has been going strong for more than 90 years, runs October 7 through 13.

Fire Prevention Week stampNext week is Fire Prevention Week! Since 1922, the NFPA has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week.
 In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country. During Fire Prevention Week, children, adults, and teachers learn how to stay safe in case of a fire. Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires.
Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage. This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.
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.
In the following video, Russ Leavitt, executive chair of Telgian Corporation, highlights a major reorganization of the 2019 edition of NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. He discusses how the new edition is more user-friendly than previous editions and other key changes: 
Leavitt's comments were recorded during NFPA's 2018 Conference & Expo. Did you know that conference attendees and NFPA members get full access to all the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo education session audio and video files? If you're not currently an NFPA member, join today!
The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code; NFPA 59, Utility LP-Gas Plant Code; NFPA 69, Standard on Explosion Prevention Systems; NFPA 221, Standard for High Challenge Fire Walls, Fire Walls, and Fire Barrier Walls; and NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code®, are being published for public review and comment:
  • NFPA 58, proposed TIA No. 1387, referencing Equation 6.8.3.6.1b of the 2017 edition, closing date: 10/4/2018
  • NFPA 59, proposed TIA No. 1401, referencing Equations B.3b and B.3C of the 2018 edition, closing date: 10/11/2018
  • NFPA 69, proposed TIA No. 1402, referencing 3.3.X, 12.1.1.1(new), 12.2(8)(new), 12.2.8(new), A.12.1.1.1(new), A.12.2.8(new), A.12.2.8.2.2(new) of the proposed 2019 edition, closing date: 10/25/2018
  • NFPA 221, proposed TIA No. 1392, referencing 2.3.2, 3.3.14.2, 4.2.1, 4.4, 5.7.2, 5.13.1, 5.13.2, 6.8.3, A.5.13.2, and B.1.2.2 of the 2018 edition, closing date: 10/11/2018 
  • NFPA 5000, proposed TIA No. 1393, referencing 8.3.2.7.2, 8.3.2.13.1, 8.3.2.13.2, 8.3.3.9.3, A.8.3.2.13.2 of the 2018 edition, closing date: 10/11/2018 
  • NFPA 5000, proposed TIA No. 1394, referencing 2.3.7 and various sections of Chapter 5 of the 2018 edition, closing date: 10/11/2018 
  • NFPA 5000, proposed TIA No. 1395, referencing various sections in Chapters 3, 32, 35, 36, 38, 39, 41, and 44 of the 2018 edition, closing date: 10/11/2018 
  • NFPA 5000, proposed TIA No. 1396, referencing 35.3.1.3 and 35.14.4 of the 2018 edition, closing date: 10/11/2018 
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.

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When I was in college, I wrote an article titled "What is 3D printing?" for a journalism course. About five years have passed since then, and such a broad headline is outdated today. The general public more or less knows what 3D printing is and doesn't need an article explaining it to them. 
The technology keeps cropping up in more and more areas—medicine, cooking, and now the auto industry. Volkswagen, the world's largest car manufacturer, announced this month that within the next two to three years, it hopes to be mass producing car parts with 3D printers.
Not surprisingly, the technology has also emerged on college campuses nationwide, where students use them to print objects for academics as well as for fun. For all their usefulness and potential to revolutionize industry, though, studies have shown 3D printers can emit hazardous gases and create combustible dusts, among other safety concerns, and, therefore, they must be used in well-regulated spaces. This has generated concerns from campus safety officials, who worry about their unofficial use in dorm rooms and other corners of campus. I wrote about the phenomenon in an article titled "3D Printers Go Mainstream" in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal
The piece accompanies a larger feature article on the threat of active shooters on college campuses, which also includes articles on the emergence of vaping on campuses and the lasting fire threat on campuses

 

If you have a reported home fire today, you’re more likely to die than you were in 1980. This startling fact is attributed to several factors, including the way homes are built and the contents in them. Open floor plans and a prevalence of modern synthetic furnishings contribute to homes burning faster, with the fires producing deadly smoke and gases within moments. You may have as little as two to three minutes to escape a home fire today, as compared to eight to 10 minutes years ago.


These concerns prompted NFPA to create Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.™” as the theme for Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, 2018. It emphasizes three basic but critical messages:
Look for places fire can start
Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm
Learn two ways out of each room

 

Because we have reduced the overall number of fires, there is a general complacency and lack of action around home fire preparedness and planning. Our goal for Fire Prevention Week is to make sure people recognize that fire remains a very real risk, and that everyone needs to take action to protect themselves and their families.


Looking for potential fire hazards in the home, making sure your smoke alarms are working properly, and having a home escape plan that everyone has practiced – these actions can dramatically reduce the loss from home fires.


For fire departments working to promote Fire Prevention Week locally, visit www.firepreventionweek.org for a wealth of information and resources. As the campaign fast approaches, we’ll be posting content on social media to communicate the fire safety messages behind “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.” You can also help spread the word by liking, sharing and retweeting these resources!

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