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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 fuel gases detection. Specifically, it is anticipated and requested that a standard be established for the selection, installation, operation, and maintenance of fuel gases warning equipment. If standards development is approved by the Standards Council, the standard may additionally address related topics as the Standard 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 fuel gases detection standards development. NFPA specifically seeks input on the following:
  • Are you, or your organization, in favor of the development of a new standard establishing standards for fuel gases detection, including criteria for the selection, installation, operation, and maintenance of fuel gases warning equipment?
  • Although the submitted request focused on residential applications, the use of fuel gases is not limited to those occupancies. Should the standard/project, if pursued, extend to other occupancies or be limited to residential properties?
  • Please state your reason(s) for supporting or opposing the proposed fuel gases detection standards development.
Please submit comments in support or opposition to standards development on fuel gases detection by February 1, 2019.
Additionally, NFPA would like to know if you or your organization is interested in applying for membership on the Technical Committee if standards development is approved by the Standards Council. If you are interested in  participating in standards development as a technical committee member,  please submit an application in addition to your comments. Applications may be submitted online at: Submit online application*.


Eight years ago, in our January/February 2011 issue of NFPA Journal, we ran a feature story titled "Unthinkable," about the 2008 wildfire evacuation of Feather River Hospital in Paradise, California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.


That’s the same Paradise, California, that was obliterated earlier this month by the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history. As of November 28, the death toll stood at 88, with more than 150 people still unaccounted for. More than 14,000 homes were destroyed, along with nearly 5,000 other buildings. Feather River Hospital was evacuated and sustained significant damage.


The Camp Fire was the nightmare scenario that Paradise and surrounding communities had managed to dodge for decades, including the fires in the summer of 2008 that prompted widespread evacuations and resulted in some property damage—though fire, for the most part, did not reach into the most densely settled residential areas. The streets may have been mostly deserted, but homes, schools, and businesses remained standing as surrounding fires turned the sky orange with smoke.


Melissa Barnard, an emergency room nurse and director of the Emergency Department at Feather River Hospital, wrote a gripping first-person account for NFPA Journal of her experiences during those days, including the evacuation of the hospital—the first time in its 58-year history that it had had to do so. “About a dozen hospital staffers—maintenance, lab workers, kitchen staff, and several of us manning the command center—remained in the building, along with scores of firefighters who were using the hospital as a base,” Barnard wrote of the hours following the evacuation. “We notified other hospitals and the county and state health departments that we were closed. My throat was sore from lack of sleep and the ever-present smoke. The guys from maintenance covered the hospital’s large sign with white plastic, and a smaller sign taped atop it read simply, ‘CLOSED.’ It was hard to comprehend that what we’d always considered unthinkable had just happened … The hallways were filled with smoke, and most of the lights were turned off. I went to the emergency department to sleep on a gurney, without much success.”


I haven’t been able to reach Barnard directly to find out whether she and her family are ok, and if their home is still standing, but another hospital staffer I spoke to this week assured me that she and her family are safe. What I know about the evacuation of the hospital is that it happened very fast as the Camp Fire bore down on them with remarkable speed. I also know that some of the earliest news reports of the fire included harrowing stories of hospital patients and staff narrowly avoiding death as they attempted to outrun or seek shelter from the flames and embers. Like the Tubbs Fire that overran Sonoma a year ago, the speed and ferocity of the Camp Fire presented residents of Butte County with a phenomenon few were prepared to face, despite all of the planning, preparation, and dress rehearsals like the fires that occurred a decade ago.


As we continue to work on updating the situation from Paradise and elsewhere in California, please give our story from 2011 a look—Barnard’s account offers a strangely prescient look at a hospital and a town on the brink, poised between life before the Camp Fire and life after.

On November 28, 1942, a fire broke out in Boston's popular Cocoanut Grove Nightclub. 492 lives were lost due to the events that night. 200 people died within feet of the jammed revolving doors.


From Volunteer Firemenv. 10, no. 1 (January 1943): 
"The radios and newspapers reported the facts apparently responsible for the loss of life: (1) inadequate and locked exits, (2) quick burning decorations...The tragedy started when fire broke out in the basement in a cocktail lounge. The blaze is said to have been first noticed in an imitation palm tree after a bus boy struck a match for a light while replacing an electric bulb near the ceiling. However, other testimony leads to the question whether defective wiring may have had something to do with the start of the fire, or whether there may have been some other unexplained factor."
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.
It has been over a year since I summarized the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) fatal electric injury statistics. You can read my blog about it here. To refresh your memory there currently is an annual average of 192 fatal electrical injuries (U.S.A.). This accounts for about 12% of the fatalities in the occupations generally covered by NFPA electrical standards. An American employee is killed by electricity every day and half of work. Luckily, many more of you make it home than do not. However, that does not mean that you returned home unscathed. You made it home but where you uninjured? Here are some non-fatal injury statistics between 2012 and 2016. You can read the summarized NFPA report online.
About 9,760 (2012-2016) of you in the U.S. were injured through direct and indirect exposure to electricity. “Direct exposure to electricity” is contact with a power source, such as touching a live electrical wire. “Indirect exposure to electricity” refers to injuries resulting from contact with material that is unintentionally conducting electricity. This is an average of 1,952 injuries per year which due to a downward trend is lower than the decade average of 2,155 per year (2007-2016). Although you escaped being a fatality, nearly eight of you are injured every work day. This does not mean you returned to work the next day. Nearly one half of your injuries resulted in 6 or more days away from work. Putting it another way, your reported electrical injuries resulted in considerable lost work time (41% of injuries required more than two weeks away from work).
Electrical injuries are experienced by all occupations including those not necessarily associated with exposure to electrical hazards While employees in installation, maintenance, repair, and construction occupations account for the largest number of injuries, a substantial number of injuries involve other occupations, including service, production, transportation and material moving, and sales and related occupations. Electrical parts and materials accounted for 59% of the injuries. Furniture or fixtures (5%), and hand tools (5%) are on the other end of the specified injury source list. 26% (2,540) of exposure injuries involved a voltage of 220 volts or less and 14% (1,400 injuries) involved a voltage of greater than 220 volts. Voltage was unspecified in the remainder of the injuries. An interesting statistic is that 16% of the injured were female whereas that group suffered 1% of the fatal electrical injuries. 
A much higher share of injuries from direct exposure to electricity resulted from contact with parts and materials (67%) than for indirect exposure (41%). This is the primary statistic that NFPA 70E strives to reduce. In the workplace, direct contact to exposed, energized parts is specifically addressed in NFPA 70E. First, it must be justified for you to cross the restricted approach boundary while the circuit is energized rather than in an electrically safe work condition. Second, if you do cross the boundary you must be properly insulated from the energized part by PPE. This requirement, if followed, would have prevented many of your direct contact injuries. Properly maintained equipment under normal operating conditions, as required for general electrical safety, may have had addressed many of your indirect exposure injuries.
Shock and electrocution have been a known electrical hazard since the beginning. Insulation as protection from electrical shock has existed since the start. It is troubling that 120 years later these injuries are still occurring. Yes, some of these injuries were completely unexpected. However, an injury should not be seen as unexpected when you are knowingly exposed to electrical hazards. It is very probable that many of you were injured because you were not provided proper training or an inexpensive, properly insulted tool when performing properly justified energized tasks.
These injuries are only those that are reported. Shocks and near-death experiences are very often not reported. Unreported injuries would be a magnitude or two higher than these reported injuries. Electrical injuries can be reduced through the use of proper safety procedures, training, personal protective equipment, and other methods. It’s important for you to receive appropriate training for the tasks assigned to you. You may have returned home today but were you injured or have a near-death experience?
For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on Xchange
Next time: Are you a host employer or a contract employer.
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.


Which type of electrical training is better—classroom or online?


That’s the question that kicks of the lead article of “In Compliance” in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.


The item, written by Derek Vigstol, a technical lead for NFPA’s Electrical Tech Services, takes a broad look at the training landscape in the electrical industry and zeros in on the benefits of self-paced online training programs.


“Today’s technology is changing the game,” Vigstol writes. “Augmented reality, virtual reality, remote classrooms, YouTube, and Google have changed the way people consume information and learn. These advancements are enhancing the time-tested instructor-led method of teaching technical topics. Students [can] attempt tasks in a virtual world or allow information to be delivered at the point where they need it, while they need it. Students can practice complex tasks without being exposed to real hazards or risking damage to expensive equipment.”


Regardless of what manner of training is used, Vigstol adds, employers still bear the responsibility of verifying the knowledge of their employees. “Workers must possess the knowledge they need to safely perform the task at hand,” Vigstol writes, adding that “how they acquire this knowledge is less important than having it and being able to apply it.”


The November/December “In Compliance” section also includes articles on NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code; NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems; and NFPA 101, Life Safety Code.





November 23rd, 1938 was a Thanksgiving Day to remember in Southern California. A series of wildfires in the hills and mountains surrounding Los Angeles caused an estimated $3,250,000 worth of damage. The various fires were battled by city, county state and federal forest agencies. 

Above: A wildfire sweeping down Las Tunas Canyon and threatening valuable estates near Santa Monica. The fire shown here is typical of those which swept through Southern California that Thanksgiving.
For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives.
The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic.
Library staff are available to answer research questions from members and the general public.
NFPA 70, National Electrical Code, has been the cornerstone of the electrical industry for over 120 years. While the NEC Correlating Committee recognizes that the code has to be reactive to trends in the industry, it also recognizes that, working together with electrical professionals, it can be proactive as well. The goal of the code is safe and sound growth of emerging areas. 
During the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas last June, five NEC committee members came together to tackle this important issue during their panel presentation, The Critical Role of the NEC® Back to the Future.
They focused on the advantages of applying the current edition, pointing to some of the new areas under consideration for the 2020 edition and beyond, and discussed the significant challenges created for owners, designers, installers, and enforcement where the latest edition is not adopted in a timely manner.
I had the pleasure to continue the discussion with the panel members after the presentation. The video above presents some of the highlights from that conversation. 
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!

Americans are working hard this week at home and at restaurants to prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday. According to the National Restaurant Association, almost one in 10 (9 percent) of adults plan to eat their Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant. And, in addition, 4 percent of those planning a holiday meal at home intend to purchase it from a restaurant. On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and notoriously one of the biggest shopping days of the year, research by the National Restaurant Association indicates that 72 percent of the 43 percent of adults that head out shopping that day intend to visit either a full- or quick-service restaurant while they are out. That’s a lot of commercial cooking equipment being put to use just this week alone!


NFPA 1, Chapter 50, addresses the design, installation, operation, inspection, and maintenance of all public and private commercial cooking equipment and, new to 2018, mobile and temporary cooking operations. Compliance with Chapter 50 and NFPA 96, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations, is required for this equipment and operations. 


This week, I caught up with the Staff Liaison for NFPA 96 and Fire Protection Engineer at NFPA, Jacqueline Wilmot, to learn more about the latest requirements from the 2017 edition of NFPA 96, referenced by NFPA 1. Here are Jacqueline’s responses:


Can you tell us about the scope and purpose of NFPA 96?

Jacqueline: The requirements in NFPA 96 provide the minimum fire safety requirements, both preventative and operation, related to the design, installation, operation, inspection, and maintenance of all public and private cooking operations. Often people forget that NFPA 96 applies to residential cooking equipment if it is being used for commercial cooking operations. Although NFPA 96 doesn’t define “commercial cooking operations” some examples of residential equipment being used for commercial cooking include nursing homes or college dormitories that have cooking procedures that produce grease-laden vapors. 


The overall goal of NFPA 96 is to reduce the potential fire hazard of cooking operations, irrespective of the type of cooking equipment used and whether it is used in public or private facilities. Once users of NFPA 96 can identify the purpose of the document, it becomes more clear that the type of cooking appliance does not dictate if an exhaust system or extinguishment system is required, as both of these decisions depend on whether or not the cooking process itself will produce grease-laden vapors.


Were there any major changes in NFPA 96, 2017 edition?

Jacqueline: The 2017 edition adds Normative Annex B on mobile and temporary cooking operations. The normative annex is written in mandatory language but is not intended to be enforced unless specifically adopted by a jurisdiction or is applied on a voluntary basis. This annex includes requirements not limited to clearance, hoods, ducts, terminations, fire extinguishing systems, carbon monoxide detectors, location, training, generators, LP-gas, as well as procedures for the use, inspection, testing, and maintenance of equipment.


Another big change to the 2017 edition was to require the frequency of how often training is to be provided for new employees and existing employees on the use of portable fire extinguishers and the manual actuation of the fire extinguishing system. The 2017 edition of NFPA 96 requires the management of the commercial cooking operation to provide instruction to new employees on hiring and to all employees annually. Industry experience revealed that many commercial cooking operations employees have not been instructed or have forgotten their training, resulting in inappropriate response to a fire. Providing instructions at regular intervals after initial instruction will reduce the likelihood of inappropriate response.


Are there any major changes planned for the 2021 edition?

Jacqueline: A majority of the discussion during the 2 day First Draft Technical Committee Meeting was on Chapter 10, Fire-Extinguishing Equipment and Normative Annex B, Mobile or Temporary Cooking Operations.  When it comes to Chapter 10, the Technical Committee would prefer to use language consistent with NFPA 17A, Standard for Wet Chemical Extinguishing Systems. Additional provisions to clarify the shutoff device requirements of manual resetting prior to fuel or power being restored were discussed and also the location of manual actuation devices were reviewed. The conversation about Normative Annex B was around the idea to move the language from the annex to the body of the standard.


What are some of the major issues that restaurant owners should be managing and AHJs enforcing to help make sure facilities stay safe through the holiday season?

Jacqueline: NFPA 96 puts a lot of weight on owners to carry through the provisions of the standard. The owner is responsible for cooking equipment, hoods, ducts, fans, fire-extinguishing equipment and special effluent or energy control equipment installed in their facility be maintained to ensure the entire system works properly and provides the appropriate level of protection. In addition, the owner is responsible for the inspection, testing, maintenance, and cleanliness of the ventilation control and fire protection of the commercial cooking operation, provided that this responsibility has not been transferred in written form to a management company, tenant, or other party.


How does an owner manage all of this? Here are some simple tips for owners and enforcers to share with facilities in their jurisdiction:


Clearance. Section 4.2 of NFPA 96 states where enclosures are not required, hoods, grease removal devices, exhaust fans, and ducts are required to have a minimum clearance of 18 inches to combustible material, 3 inches to limited-combustible material, and 0 inches to noncombustible material. These clearances apply in the ongoing operational life of the system, so move those boxes on top of a hood or directly against the side of it!


Train your employees on how to use the extinguishing equipment. All employees should know the location of these manual pull stations as well as how and when to operate them.


Inspect, Test and Maintain Your Equipment. Fire inspectors are responsible for verifying inspections, testing and maintenance procedures and frequencies have been met.  Although conducting inspections for grease buildup and fire extinguishing systems at specified intervals are typically contracted out (and always completed by person(s) acceptable to the AHJ), there are several items that can be inspected on a daily basis by restaurant employees through a training program in which you develop and have your manager enforce. Have employees routinely look out for normal wear and tear of equipment (i.e. broken seals, missing screws, exposed wires). All employees should start their routine with inspecting the equipment to ensure it was properly cleaned from the previous night (or shift), confirm that if the equipment requires a fire extinguishing system, the nozzles are clear and not clogged with grease. Many restaurants utilize heaters to keep the food hot after it’s been cooked; make sure employees know to check that are no flammable materials on top of or near the heaters. Before starting the fryer, employees should check to make sure the oil level isn’t too low because if the heating coil is exposed above or close to the oil surface, residue and oil can catch fire. These are all very simple, yet effective steps in the fire protection program of your facility that do not require hiring and outside contractor to perform the work.


Clean. Since 1 in every 5 of the fires had a failure to clean as a factor contributing to its ignition, cleaning seems like an easy and obvious solution to mitigate fire risks. Since 1 in every 5 of the fires cited in Evart’s report had a failure to clean as a factor contributing to its ignition, cleaning seems like an easy and obvious solution to mitigate fire risks.


Special thanks to Jacqueline for all of this great information that will help owners and enforcers make sure everyone working with commercial cooking equipment to prepare food for others and those enjoying a meal out can stay safe this holiday season!


Have you conducted fire inspections on facilities with commercial cooking equipment?  What issues have arose with enforcing NFPA 1 in these spaces?


Thank you for reading, stay safe, and Happy Thanksgiving!


Please visit to view the free access version of NFPA 1 2018 edition and to view other standards referenced in this post.  Follow along on Twitter for more updates and fire safety news @KristinB_NFPA. Looking for an older #FireCodefridays blog? You can view past posts here.


Efficient design and installation of fire alarm, carbon monoxide, and emergency communications systems require a clear understanding of provisions and the "why" behind compliance. Now you can navigate the changing world of fire alarm and signaling systems with help from the experts.

Now in its ninth edition, the new National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code Handbook helps you answer questions, verify interpretations, and apply the 2019 edition of NFPA 72® correctly from the start. This edition includes:

  • explanation of technical changes from the 2016 to the 2019 editions of NFPA 72, including major changes on carbon monoxide detection incorporated from NFPA 720
  • authoritative commentary written by experts that gives you an insider perspective
  • system design tips that help architects and engineers avoid common errors in application that can result in costly delays or charge backs
  • code excerpts from other standards highlighted in the commentary that provide better discussion context without the need to locate other documents


Apply NFPA 72 correctly from the start; order your copy of the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code Handbook today.

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) for the 2019 edition of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®, is being published for public review and comment:



Anyone may submit a comment on this proposed TIA by the January 2, 2019 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.

This week, shoppers will line up hours before the stores open, often in the middle of the night, to be the first in line for sales and bargains.  Crowds rush the store as the doors open.  "Black Friday", the gateway to the holiday shopping season, happens this week.  However, the fun and festivities of the holiday season don't come without risks, especially on this day. 


Back in 2008, a Wal-mart worker was killed on Black Friday after being trampled as the stampede of customers plowed through the store front doors.  Four additional people were injured from the rush of the crowd.  Since then, numerous injuries and even fatalities have been recorded as associated with activity from Black Friday.



NFPA 1, Fire Code, plays an important role in ensuring that facilities have in place the necessary measures to keep employees and shoppers safe, especially on the days with the heaviest crowds.  The hazards associated with Black Friday are plentiful.  First, egress can be obstructed by high demand merchandise and seasonal displays.  The number of occupants in the building could quickly exceed the available egress capacity.  Egress paths can become clogged with abandoned merchandise and shopping carts that shoppers leave behind.  Check-out areas may be blocked off or clogged such that they cannot be used for egress.  Exits, other than the main entrance/exit may be blocked or obstructed by merchandise, boxes and supplies.  Crowds gathered at the entrance door can block egress for those inside the building. 


The following provisions from the Code help businesses and enforcers address some of the hazards and risks associated with Black Friday and holiday shopping:

  • Means of egress shall be continuously maintained free of all obstructions or impediments to full instant use in the case of fire or other emergency.  This includes exit access, exits and exit discharge which may be outside of the building.
  • No furnishings, decorations, or other objects shall obstruct exits or their access thereto, egress therefrom, or visibility thereof.
  • Every door opening and every principal entrance that is required to serve as an exit shall be designed and  constructed so that the path of egress travel is obvious and direct.
  • Door leaves shall be arranged to be opened readily from the egress side whenever the building is occupied.
  • The total capacity of the means of egress shall be sufficient for the occupant load thereof.
  • Storage of combustible materials shall be orderly. (this includes ensuring that fire protection systems are not obstructed)
  • Means of egress shall be marked (including exits and paths to get to the exits.)


Large retail stores and malls are generally classified as mercantile occupancies, however, on days like Black Friday, have characteristics much like that of an assembly occupancy: large crowds entering and egressing, threats of crowd crush, crowds unfamiliar with their surroundings the building's fire protection and egress systems, etc.  Assembly occupancies require the presence of crowd managers to assist with orderly evacuation and to ensure that all occupants can leave the venue successfully in emergency and non-emergency events.  They are trained to understand safety and security hazards that can endanger the public assembly, understand crowd management techniques, understand methods of evacuation and movement, and more.  At least one trained crowd manager must be provided in all assembly occupancies.  Where the occupant load exceeds 250, additional trained crowd managers or supervisors shall be provided at a ratio of 1 crowd manger or supervisor for every 250 occupants.


While crowd managers are not formally required for mercantile occupancies, it may be prudent for businesses to employ a model such as this to help with crowd control on days like Black Friday.  This can only help to make sure that both their employees and occupants are kept safe upon entering and leaving the building.   Additionally, OSHA has published a resource, "Crowd Management Safety Guidelines for Retailers" and states that it "encourages employers to adopt effective safety and health management systems to identify and eliminate work-related hazards, including those caused by large crowds at retail sales events."  Crowd management planning is at the top of the recommendations provided by OSHA. 


If you partake in Black Friday shopping, have fun but 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

Failure to adequately maintain fire suppression systems in health care facilities is consistently ranked as a most frequently cited deficiency by accreditation organizations. In fact, the Joint Commission indicates that this was cited as “not compliant” in over 80% of surveys of hospitals and critical access hospitals during the first half of 2018.
In my recent NFPA Live I provided an overview of the code requirements and compared those with the expectations of surveyors when they are in a facility. I received this follow-up question from a member. 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!

Associated Press

Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the Farmington, West Virginia, mine explosion, which killed 78 people. It was the deadliest fire or explosion in the United States in 1968, according to NFPA. 


The incident is featured in "Looking Back" in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.


"Man, it was like somebody hit me in the face with a bucket full of dirt," one survivor recalled in a video on the incident produced by NIOSH in 2009. "You couldn’t see, couldn’t breathe. So I just pulled my shirt up over my face and sat down. You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face it was so dusty." The survivor, Gary Martin, was one of only 21 miners working that day who made it out alive. 


Although the cause of the mine explosion was never officially determined, it spurred a wave of legislation improving mine and miner safety throughout the United States. Read the full NFPA Journal article here.

Chatting with representatives from the college and university community last week reminded me of another topic I often get questions about and that is regarding the application of NFPA 1 to laboratories on college campuses.

First, laboratories must be assigned a proper occupancy classification. In NFPA 1 there is no separate occupancy classification for a lab, rather they fall under one of the occupancy classifications as defined in Chapter 6 (and Chapter 3). From NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, we are given some guidance on how to classify a laboratory as follows:


Educational facilities that do not meet the definition of an educational occupancy…shall comply with the following requirements:
(1) Instructional building — business occupancy
(2) Classrooms under 50 persons — business occupancy
(3) Classrooms, 50 persons and over — assembly occupancy
(4) Laboratories, instructional — business occupancy
(5) Laboratories, noninstructional — industrial occupancy


Colleges and universities may have multiple types of laboratories on campus, those used for instructional purposes, where classes are held for example, and those would be classified as a business occupancy. This classification is based upon the presence of more people, a more classroom-like arrangement of lab stations used for instruction and learning, and usually less quantities, if any, of hazardous materials or chemicals. Noninstructional labs are classified as industrial occupancies for their characteristics of having a relatively low occupant load, the likely presence of more laboratory equipment and/or sophisticated, industrial-type equipment and may also contain hazardous materials and chemicals. Instructional labs may go by a variety of names on college such as makerspaces, innovation space or research labs. Regardless of what they are referred to, the use of the laboratory should be carefully considered so that it can be assigned the correct occupancy and protected accordingly.

In addition to the occupancy-specific requirements, NFPA 1 also has a separate chapter for laboratories using chemicals. Chapter 26 requires the handling or storage of chemicals in laboratory buildings, laboratory units, and laboratory work areas whether located above or below grade to comply with the provisions in that chapter. The construction and protection of new laboratories shall also comply with NFPA 45, Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals. The purpose of this standard is to provide basic requirements for the protection of life and property through prevention and control of fires and explosions involving the use of chemicals in laboratory-scale operations. Its requirements are designed to control hazards and protect personnel from the toxic, corrosive, or other harmful effects of chemicals to which personnel might be exposed as a result of fire or explosion and to achieve a comprehensive laboratory fire prevention and protection program to prevent injury or death to occupants and emergency response personnel. Due to the special nature of laboratories using chemicals, NFPA 45 modifies and supplements existing codes and standards so as to apply more specifically to buildings or portions of buildings devoted to laboratory-scale operations.


New in the 2015 edition of NFPA 45, referenced by NFPA 1 2018, the scope was expanded to also apply to all educational laboratory units and instructional laboratory units where chemicals with health hazards, flammability hazards or instability hazards are being used (see NFPA 704 and NFPA 45 Section 1.1.2 for the specific application). Instructional laboratories are those under the direct supervision of an instructor that are used for the purposes of instruction for students beyond the twelfth grade, thus college instructional laboratories would require compliance with Chapter 26 (educational laboratories address those for use by below the twelfth grade and not applicable to a college/university setting.) Before Chapter 26 is applied it should be carefully reviewed for its application which is addressed in the 26.1 section of the Code.


Chapter 12 of NFPA 45 addresses those requirements specific to instructional laboratory operations. By reference to NFPA 45 through NFPA 1 Chapter 26, requirements for instructor responsibilities, chemical storage and handling, performance of experiments or demonstrations, fire rated construction and fire protection systems are applicable to instructional laboratories.


In addition to the reference to NFPA 45 for laboratories using chemicals, NFPA 1 requires fire prevention, maintenance and emergency plans to be established. Laboratory buildings, laboratory units, and laboratory work areas need to have clearly developed plans for fire prevention, maintenance, and emergency procedures. The guidance of the development of these plans and procedures can also be found in NFPA 45. Permits are required for construction, alteration or operation of laboratories per Section 26.3 and 1.12.


Do you work with colleges and universities with laboratories on campus? What issues have arose with enforcing the fire code in these spaces?


Thank you 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

Seventy-six years ago today, an early morning fire at the Luongo’s Tap restaurant in Boston, MA took the lives of six firefighters and injured forty-five others.
The fire started in the ceiling above the kitchen on the first floor of the building owned by the Luongo family. The incident had escalated quickly to 3 alarms when the brick wall on the Henry Street side of the building collapsed on many of the firefighters on the scene.
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.

Each year, NFPA compiles a list of the costliest fires in the United States, a list increasingly dominated by destructive wildfires; 2017 was no different.


According to the NFPA report, “Large-Loss Fires and Explosions,” published in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal, 2017’s most destructive fires were both what experts call “fire siege” wildfire incidents. These are multiple, simultaneous wildfires that burn over a long period of time and cover large land areas. The most destructive of these series of wildfires occurred last October in and around Santa Rosa, California. The fires, led by the Tubbs Fire, caused $10 billion in damage, killed 44 people, and destroyed an estimated 8,900 structures.


This event was the highest damage total in the past 10 years and the second-highest in NFPA records of U.S. fires. The only fire with greater losses, including adjustments to 2017 dollars, was the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York. To learn much more about the Tubbs Fire, its impact, and rebuilding efforts, read "Build. Burn. Repeat." the cover story of the January/February NFPA Journal.


Another fire siege in Southern California last December killed four people and caused $1.8 billion in damage, and was the second costliest fire in the U.S. last year, according to the NFPA report. All told, last year saw 13 fires classified as large-loss fires—that is, fires resulting in at least $10 million in damage, adjusted for inflation to 2008 dollars—resulting in a combined property loss of $12.4 billion, according to the NFPA report.


In the past 10 years, there have been 26 fires that have caused a loss of $100 million or more; exactly half of these destructive events have been wildfires. These figures do not account for the hugely destructive fires currently ravaging California, which appear to have now eclipsed even last year’s October fire siege in California. As of this writing, the three largest wildfires currently burning in California have resulted in 50 confirmed deaths and nearly 10,000 structures burned.


To see more statistics and learn more about 2017’s most devastating U.S. fires, read the full report in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal.

NFPA NewsThe November 2018 issue of NFPA News, our free monthly codes and standards newsletter, is now available.
In this issue:
  • New project on Fuel Gases Detection
  • Proposed Tentative Interim Amendments seeking comments on NFPA 31, NFPA 130, NFPA 1964, and NFPA 1971
  • Standards seeking public input and public comment
  • Committees seeking members
  • 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. 
NFPA has issued the following errata on NFPA 1964, Standard for Spray Nozzles:
  • NFPA 1964, Errata 1964-18-1, referencing various sections in Chapters 4, 5, and 6, of the 2018 edition  
An errata is a correction issued to an NFPA Standard, published in NFPA News, Codes Online, and included in any further distribution of the document.
If the National Electrical Code® (NEC®)covers the installation of electrical equipment and provides for the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity and NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®addresses electrical safety-related work practices for employee workplaces then how does someone span the gap between the two? That statement may surprise many of you. There’s a gap between the two standards? How can that be? From the questions I receive regarding both standards, there is a difference between what could be done and what is required to be done. 
The NEC covers the installation of electrical equipment. When electrical equipment is installed in compliance with the NEC, properly designed electrical equipment does not normally pose a risk to a person interacting with the equipment under normal operating conditions. NFPA 70E also covers a person interacting with the equipment under normal operating conditions but not from the installation aspect. NFPA 70E approaches safety from the procedural aspect of interacting with the equipment. NFPA 70E furthermore covers electrical safety when an employee is exposed to electrical hazards or the equipment is not under normal operating conditions. Neither of these conditions are addressed by the NEC. Again from NFPA 70E this is from a procedural viewpoint. So where is the gap between the two? It is in how many people approach electrical safety. Often the safe installation is completed then an electrical safety procedure is developed to address situations when an employee is exposed to electrical hazards.
Should it be that installation is installation and employee electrical safety is employee electrical safety and never the twain shall meet? Since the NEC and NFPA 70E are not always utilized by the same person and since the use of the NEC is often legislated, many consider electrical installations and electrical safety programs to be separate and distinct from one another. Something not required for a NEC compliant installation is historically not done. The NEC provides installation requirements for equipment operating at kilovolts, kiloamps and kilojoules. Correctly installed there are no exposed electrical hazards. Installation is not presumed to be energized work therefore the NEC does not address safe work practices. NFPA 70E addresses how to protect an employee when those electrical hazards are exposed. So if everyone is protected where is that gap?
I receive many questions regarding electrical safety. When descriptions of some designs and installations are given, if the question is regarding NFPA 70E, I often ask why is it being done that way. The answer usually is because the installation is permitted. I often mention that since employees will be exposed to electrical hazards when performing justified energized work, there are ways the exposure might possibly be eliminated or reduced. The reply is often that such an installation is not required. That is the gap I am talking about. There are those who install equipment in a safe manner and those who must work in a safe manner while exposed to electrical hazards. Safe work practices are not part of a de-energized installation and installation is not a work practice for exposed electrical hazards. 
For electrical safety to progress for anyone interacting with electrical equipment, electrical safety should to take a holistic approach. There are thousands of ways to install a piece of equipment while complying with the NEC requirements. One method is selected but all would result in a safe installation. The equipment will be operated safely. However, the decision to install in a particular manner can have a great effect on someone responsible for maintaining that equipment. That installation decision has a lasting impact on electrical safety for the life of that equipment. These decisions need to be made prior to installation in order to be effective. Touch safe terminals, fast-acting overcurrent devices, or some other engineering controls are installation decisions that can have a significant impact on the safety for future employees. 
Both installation and work practices impact electrical safety but they are separate and distinct electrical industries. There is no limit to the amount of energy that a safe installation can contain. However, once an employee is exposed to those hazards hindsight regarding the installation decision is too late. Electrical safety procedures are written to address the resultant electrical hazards when the safe installation is moved into a maintenance situation. In a holistic approach to electrical safety, the installation considers justified employee exposure to hazards and methods of controlling them. Under that condition, the future employee exposed to the hazards is not only protected by the installation but by the work practices. Do your electrical installations consider the future?
For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on Xchange
Next time: Non-fatal injury statistics.
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 instructions.

Justin Sullivan 



An estimated 1 billion people worldwide live in areas known as slums, shantytowns, or informal settlements, where the built environment doesn't benefit from land-use or safety regulations. Organizations like the United Nations and the World Bank Group predict the number of people living in shantytowns to hit 2 to 3 billion by 2050. In almost all of these areas, fire and fire death rates are staggeringly high.


But a project carried out in a shantytown in Cape Town, South Africa, last year offers hope. The project is the subject of a new NFPA Journal feature article and podcast available online now


In February 2017, about 2,000 off-the-shelf, battery-operated photoelectric smoke alarms were installed in a particularly at-risk neighborhood in a Cape Town shantytown known as Wallacedene. While some fire safety experts believed the alarms wouldn't work—their doubts were fueled by the thought that nuisance alarms would endlessly sound inside the neighborhood's small shacks, where cooking and heating equipment often generate smoke—the alarms proved immensely successful. 


"[They] reduced deaths to zero," said Rodney Eksteen, a former Western Cape fire official who coordinated the smoke alarm installation process. "In all the fire incidents that occurred in that community [in the time researchers monitored fires], there were no deaths. Zero."


Read the full article here.

Earlier this week I was in San Antonio, Texas to present at the Center for Campus Fire Safety’s Campus Fire Safety Forum about NFPA’s new standard, NFPA 3000, and its impact on the college and university community.

During my brief stay in the city, I couldn’t help but notice that there were electric scooters everywhere, randomly scattered throughout the city blocks and the many residents and tourists using them. This was the first time I had seen them in action. A quick google search showed that companies have brought these scooters to cities large and small throughout the United States, even in Quincy, MA, the location of NFPA Headquarters.

I had so many questions: Where are they permitted? Do they drive on the street or the sidewalk? Do they provide information to riders to not block fire lanes, fire hydrants, and building’s exit discharge routes? How do they charge?

The main business model of the companies bringing these scooters to cities is all app-based. Users create a profile with the company’s app and have access to the location of the scooters around cities. The app and a barcode will unlock the scooter and provide access, and same for drop off. There are no specific pick up or drop off locations, riders can zip around and pick up scooters and drop them off pretty much anywhere. At the end of the day, those that have been contracted by the company are paid by the scooter to pick up scooters that need charging, charge them at their residence, and return them throughout the city the next morning. From a technology and business perspective, this model is captivating to me. From a fire safety perspective, there a few considerations to make sure all those involved stay safe:

  • Charging the scooters. People who have signed up to “juice” the scooters, as one company refers to it, purchase chargers for the scooters and then get paid to charge them overnight. As people try to maximize profit, it could result in unsafe electrical practices. NFPA 1, Section 11.1 addresses electrical safety.
    • Relocatable power taps might be used to add extra capacity to the receptacle, however, they must be connected directly to a permanently installed receptacle. “Daisy-chaining” the power taps is not permitted, and should not be done to plug in multiple scooters.
    • Extension cords must also be plugged directly into an approved receptacle, power tap or multiplug adapter and can only serve one portable appliance.
  • Fire Department Access. This past fall, Baltimore, MD made the news for construction of a new bike lane network which was argued by the fire department to make some streets too narrow for fire apparatus access. The City Council voted to repeal a portion of the city’s fire code and replaced it with more flexible guidelines for street clearances. My understanding is, in San Antonio, scooters can be used on the sidewalk or the street, whatever is deemed to be safest by the scooter rider. Like bicycles use, what additional considerations are needed in cities to accommodate scooters? Could their use impede fire department access?
    • NFPA 1, Section 18.2 addresses fire department access. It requires fire department access roads be provided for every facility, building, or portion of a building constructed or relocated. The required width and clearance of the access cannot be obstructed in any way, including the parking of vehicles. It would be a good practices for scooter riders to be aware of fire department access and not drop off scooters in fire lanes and other access areas.
  • Means of Egress. An occupant’s means of egress from a building includes exit access travel, the exit and then the exit discharge. Exit discharge takes occupants from their exit to the public way (usually outside the building.) Scooters may be piling up near building’s exterior doors or in a path of exit discharge unknown to the rider.
    • NFPA 1, Section 14.4.1 requires means of egress be continuously maintained free of all obstructions or impediments to full instant use in the case of fire or other emergency.
  • Batteries. Just a couple weeks ago, one scooter manufacturer announced they had to remove 2,000 scooters from their fleet in Los Angeles due to the threat of the batteries catching fire. Lithium-ion battery fires are something that many industries continue to address and the electric scooters are no different. Lithium-ion battery fires are unique and cannot and should not be extinguished by an untrained consumer. They can cause problems for fire fighters as well. Chapter 52 of NFPA 1 is constantly evolving to address larger type energy storage systems and the storage of batteries.

Is the risk of fires and impaired fire safety with electric scooters all that high? Not terribly, but there is a risk. Are their practices that must be considered in order to operate a safe business for riders, chargers, AHJs and city officials so that fire safety does not become even greater of a risk? Absolutely.

Does your city have dockless, electric scooters? How is your jurisdiction managing them? Have you seen any issues that have impacted fire safety such as fire department access?

Thank you 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


The number of firefighters injured in the line of duty in 2017 was the lowest since NFPA began analyzing this data in 1981.


That’s one of the findings in the summary of a new NFPA report, “U.S. Firefighter Injuries in 2017,” that appears in the new November/December issue of NFPA Journal.


The report found that an estimated 58,835 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty last year, a decrease of 5 percent compared to the previous year and the lowest number observed in more than three and a half decades of studying this data.


Firefighters were more likely to be injured at fireground operations than at other types of duties, according to the report. In 2017, 24,495 injuries, or 42 percent of all reported firefighter injuries, occurred at the fireground. Another 12,240 firefighter injuries occurred at non-fire emergencies. Additionally, 9,165 firefighter injuries occurred during other on-duty activities, 8,380 injuries occurred during training activities, and 4,555 injuries occurred while responding to or returning from an incident.


The November/December issue of the magazine also includes a summary of the “Large-Loss Fires and Explosions in 2017” report.   

On the evening of November 7, 1918, at 6:30PM, a fire started in the vicinity of the wing coating building of the Burgess Aeroplane Factory in Marblehead, MA. The Fire quickly spread to all of the buildings at the facility and to a boat yard nearby. The loss was almost absolute.
The wing coating building or “Dope Shed” was where wings were coated in a nitro-cellulose compound called “dope”. The wings were then left to dry in the open room. Ventilation was provided by a motor-driven airplane propeller that sucked “air from the main room and the space under the floor through registers directly out of doors.”
While the cause of the fire is unknown, three probable causes were put forth at the time:
  •  About a month prior to the incident, a fire was found in a 100-pile of coal in a fire-resistive bin in the boiler room. This coal was then carted outside and piled against the Wing Coating Building. It is possible that this coal may have heated once more spontaneously, and raised the temperature on the inside of the building as well;
  •  Oily rags may have spontaneously caught fire inside the building… although the foreman insisted that he personally collected all rags the previous night;
  • The fire may have been caused by incendiarism or arson. When a premature rumor spread through the area, employees left work at 2PM to celebrate Allied victory and the end of World War I (Germany did not formally surrender to the Allies until November 11, 1918.) The employees straggled back to the facility around 4PM, but were discharged for the day. Someone might have chosen to have a bonfire or the fire might have been set to show displeasure…
Because of the highly flammable nature of the materials and the events of the time, the real cause of the fire is unlikely to ever be known for sure.
For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please contact the NFPA Research Library & Archives.
The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic.Library staff are available to answer research questions from members and the general public.

The following two proposed Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) for NFPA 31, Standard for the Installation of Oil-Burning Equipment; and NFPA 130, Standard for Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems, are being published for public review and comment:



Anyone may submit a comment on these proposed TIAs by the November 29, 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.
Image ideas?


Train accidents don't always happen but when they do they can have devastating consequences and challenge even the most astute first responders because fuels can often flow, pool, saturate, and burn for days.


A new webinar on High Hazard Flammable Train (HHFT) fire incidents, hosted by NFPA and conducted by Jensen Hughes researchers, is now available for a limited time (the next 30 days) for Xchange registered users. 


Insights shared stem from the Fire Protection Research Foundation study looking at HHFT fire event data and fire suppression information, and information gathered from available literature, technical response reports, and incident analysis. The webinar considers the initial obstacles that firefighters encounter when arriving on the scene of an HHFT event, including the need to quickly identify the number of cars and train contents while the intensity of the flames and breadth of the fire grows. The "unknowns" swiftly coincide with the harsh realities of fire - spread, radiant heat and pressure - making it next to impossible for firefighters to get close to the flames. Foam and water during these intense moments, are generally ineffective due to evaporation.

When the fire decreases, first responders can tackle the smoke and flames that have been contained in individual cars. During this extinguishment or equilibrium phase, responders can effectively apply foam and begin overhaul. This is all in a day's work for firefighters but the heat release, thermal stress, tears, pressure relief venting, and other issues that often present initially in train crashes involving ethanol, crude oil, petroleum, denatured alcohol, and/or a combination of fuels are a whole other story, worth learning about.

The full webinar recording is available for free for a limited time to all registered users of Xchange. You can find it here.

If you explore any issue deeply enough you’re bound to find some unexpected nuance and complexity, especially when it comes to questions about fire and life safety. But rarely have I reported a story for NFPA Journal that unsurfaced so many different and unexpected questions as the November/December cover story “Critter Life Safety Code.”


The article details the development of NFPA 150, Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities Code, which is the first code of its kind to tackle animal housing safety in depth. What seems simple on the surface quickly turns into a thick web of thorny moral, ethical, and technical issues.


For instance, in some industries animals are commodities and their destiny is a dinner plate. Do they demand the same protections as other animals? If not, where do you draw the line? Should a chicken on a farm be treated differently than a gorilla in a zoo, or a rat in a lab?


On top of those tricky moral questions are the vast technical challenges that animal facilities present. Different species can exhibit very different, as well as unpredictable, behavior. Survivable conditions in a fire can also vary dramatically between species; smaller animals, for example, generally succumb to smoke faster than larger ones. The number and variety of facilities is immense. A zoo is much different than a chicken house, which is much different than a dog kennel, or an animal research lab at a university. How do you provide guidance for each of these seemingly limitless possibilities? On top of that, how do you balance human safety with animal safety in these facilities during an emergency?


All of these questions, coupled with the NFPA 150 committee’s wide range of stakeholders—animal rights advocates debating alongside livestock industry groups—and it’s no wonder that NFPA engineer Tracy Vecchiarelli called the creation of NFPA 150 “probably one of the most interesting and complex exercises I’ve ever had as a staff liaison working on a document.”


To learn much more about the guidance offered in NFPA 150 as well as how the committee squared its differences, please read the cover story in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal, “Critter Life Safety Code.”

The following proposed Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) for the 2018 edition of NFPA 1964, Standard for Spray Nozzles, is being published for public review and comment:

Anyone may submit a comment on this proposed TIA by the December 6, 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.

A few weeks ago I was visiting my alma mater, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and got to check out a brand new building that had just opened on campus the week before. As I entered the front of the building I noticed a sign welcoming visitors/residents/students to the “makerspace”. I know this is not a new concept but the word as well as the concept seem to be growing in popularity. Since then I feel like I have heard about makerspaces (also referred to as “hackerspaces”) in office building, at colleges and universities, and even in K-12 schools. Perhaps its is an existing concept but used more recently to market facility designs as collaborative, modern, innovative and entrepreneurial.

So, what exactly is a makerspace?

A quick search online finds one definition of makerspace to be “a place in which people with shared interests, especially in computing or technology, can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment and knowledge”. The development of makerspaces grew from the maker culture which leans heavily on the idea that learning is done through doing (ironically the WPI motto of theory and practice is very much in line with the maker culture). Whether for employees, students, researchers or scientists, these spaces promote collaboration with a hands-on experience in an inspiring and innovative environment. And they are popping up all around us!


How does NFPA 1 apply to a makerspace?

When I saw this makerspace in person I asked myself, “how would the Code apply to such a unique space?” (I am not sure that’s the first question on everyone’s mind, but it was on mine.) From a Fire Code perspective there are a number of things to consider. First, what is the occupancy classification of the space.? Chapter 6 of NFPA 1 addresses occupancy classification. A makerspace could fall under a few options: industrial, assembly or educational occupancies are the ones that come to mind. Further understanding of how the space is used (Is it instructional or industrial? Will there be any hazardous materials present as part of laboratory type work or experiments?); if it is part of a larger overall space (Is it incidental to an industrial use to an assembly area or office building, for example?); and what occupants will be present there (K-12, more than 50, college level, for example) will help to classify the occupancy of the space appropriately.

Let’s talk more about the building at WPI that I referenced above.

There are many different types of spaces included in the building. Prototyping lab, multiple active learning classrooms (group learning, moveable furnishings), teaching laboratory (including a robotics lab and the makerspace), a gallery, a video recording suite, counter service food vendors, and a multi-story dormitory on the upper levels. Phew, that’s a lot. It most certainly was designed as a dormitory since that is the predominant occupancy in the building and then the final occupancy of the first two levels is dependent on a further analysis of how the space is used and occupied. The makerspace is part of the teaching laboratory and open to most of the floor. The Code guides users to business occupancies for instructional type laboratories. But, if part of a larger ‘gallery’ space or on a floor which may also include multiple college classrooms of 50 or more people the designer may have included the makerspace into the assembly occupancy space, and applied the Code as necessary. Occupancy classification determines how the remainder of the Code is applicable as much of the codes provisions for life safety, egress design, and fire protection systems are occupancy dependent.

Besides occupancy classification, other provisions of NFPA 1 unique to makerspaces include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Chapter 26 for laboratories using chemicals. Where the makerspace includes laboratory facilities that use chemicals the handling and storage of such chemicals would comply with Chapter 26 which mandates compliance with NFPFA 45.
• Chapter 60 for hazardous materials. Where the makerspace contains high hazard contents, it and its contents must comply with Chapter 60 of NFPA 1 and any additional requirements specific to the materials from Chapters 61 through 75.
• Chapter 20 for occupancy-specific provisions related to interior finish, furnishings and contents and operating features.
• Chapter 13 for occupancy-specific provisions related to fire protection systems.
• Section 14.8 for capacity of the means of egress. Egress design and occupant load calculations should make sure to carefully understand how the makerspace is used so that the correct number of people present in the space can be estimated.

Makerspaces are only going to become more and more popular in new building design and even as existing buildings modernize their space. Today we seem to put a lot more emphasis on collaboration, innovation, openness and sharing, all of which are supported by the makerspace model. If your jurisdiction is responsible for enforcing the Code or reviewing new makerspace designs, I hope you will find this discussion helpful in your work ahead.

Thank you 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

To those in the electrical field, NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace is “the source” when it comes to keeping workers safe on the job. In the 2018 edition, the standard takes safety one step further by introducing human error as a factor in assessing the likelihood of an incident. 
At NFPA’s 2018 Conference & Expo, Paul Zoubek of Zoubek Consulting, LLC, and an NFPA member, explains that to assess risk, qualified persons must be familiar with human performance concepts as they pertain to risk, as well as other factors that affect the likelihood variable. One of the great features to the 2018 edition of 70E, he says, is the creation of a simplified matrix that exists in one of the Annexes that guides workers through this process with the goal of establishing a safe work condition. Zoubeck explains it this way:
Mr. Zoubek went on to say that in previous editions of 70E, emphasis was placed on job briefings, but the 2018 edition puts the focus on job planning. Understanding the risk before being on the job, Zoubek says, helps determine the likelihood of an arc flash taking place and provides employers and employees an opportunity to put controls in place with the ultimate goal of eliminating employee exposure to electrical hazards. When it comes to establishing an electrically safe work condition, the standard, he says, just keeps getting better and better. Hear why Zoubek believes everyone in the electrical industry should consider the requirements in the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E: 


Ultimately, said Zoubek, there will always be risk on the job, but the key is how much we are willing and able to mitigate it. The 2018 edition of 70E provides the means to which we can ultimately help save lives. 

If you like this post, you might be interested in this related NFPA Journal article. For more information about the 2018 edition of 70E, 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? If you're not currently an NFPA member, join today!

The November/December NFPA Journal, out now, covers animal safety, smoke alarms in a South African shantytown, the journey of a transgendered British firefighter, and much more.


In our cover story, Journal’s associate editor, Jesse Roman, details the remaking of NFPA 150, Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities Code. The 2019 edition of the code has been revamped to be more comprehensive than its predecessors, with the idea of providing more detailed guidance on a broader range of animal housing facilities.


This issue’s features also include a story by staff writer Angelo Verzoni on a fascinating project to install smoke alarms in a shantytown in Cape Town, South Africa, to help stem the community’s serious fire problem. The issue also includes the 2017 large-loss and firefighter injury reports.


The departments in the November/December issue include a “Perspectives” interview with Katie Cornhill, a transgendered firefighter from Britain who recently spoke at NFPA’s 2018 Responder Forum, held in Birmingham, Alabama. Our “Dispatches” section is anchored by a story on the catastrophic fire that destroyed Brazil’s national museum and the challenges faced by those who protect historic structures around the world.


The online Journal includes a wealth of links to related material, including video, reports, and archived NFPA Journal articles.

On November 1st, 1966, twelve members of the El Cariso Hotshot Crew lost their lives while battling the Loop Fire in the Pacoima Canyon of the Angeles National Forest.


This photograph of the full crew was taken in October of 1966.
The fire was caused by a faulty electrical line at the U.S. Army’s Los Pintetos Nike Missile Site at 5:19AM on the morning of November 1st. With 40-60 mph Santa Ana winds pushing the fire downhill, suppression efforts “were focused on protecting the missile facility and establishing a control line south from that facility toward Contractors Point” (which was a key anchor point on the east flank of the fire).
By the time that the El Cariso Hot Shot crew arrived on-scene at 14:30, there were already multiple crews and several tankers working a large fire edge that had crossed the control line near Contractors Point. Line Boss Hugh Masterson briefed El Cariso Superintendent Gordon King with instructions to “leap-frog the Del Rosa crew and to cold-trail the fire edge if possible.” (For those unfamiliar with the term, cold-trailing is a method of using the extinguished edge of a fire as the fireline.) Masterson also said that “the main ridge could be used as an alternate if impossible to follow the burned edge.”
Superintendent King led his crew to a small bench below the south point of the ridge (see Point A on figure above.) They held there until they were able to determine whether it was possible to cold-trail the fire edge all the way down. King had a visual of the Los Angeles County crews that were working the lower edge and thought they could tie in with them. 
By about 15:30, the El Cariso Hotshots were fully committed and were cold-trailing their way down through the steep rocky chimney canyon (approaching Point E on the figure above.) About the same time, The Los Angeles County crews that were working west along the bottom of the slope had stopped by a deep gully. “The gully was adjacent to and just below the chimney canyon.”  Because of a lack of radios among many of the crews (including the El Cariso Hotshots), there was no communication between the two groups, but they were able to see each other.
“According to these same observers, sometime between 15:35 and 15:45 the fire started to cross the bottom of the gully. Within the next 5 to 10 minutes the fire crossed the gully, made a run upslope to the bottom of the chimney, and then flashed very quickly up the length of the chimney. The steep rocky terrain made it very difficult for firefighters to move toward the previously burned area. Terrain conditions combined with the rapid fire spread resulted in all members of the El Cariso Hotshot Crew being burned over as they worked from this stand location and up several hundred yards in the chimney above.”
The Wildland Fire Leadership Development Programhas set up a Staff Ride website where participants are put in the shoes of the men who were at The Loop Fire, as it is known. It serves as a Case Study and an opportunity for people to learn what happened and ask questions about decision-making.
For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives.
The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic.Library staff is available to answer research questions from members and the general public.

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