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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.
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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.”

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