It’s hard to believe it’s already time to reflect on the end of another year. As a Staff Liaison at NFPA, my role is to facilitate the development of NFPA 1 while ensuring the NFPA standards development process is followed and that we successfully revise our Code to best serve our end users. In addition, this process involves guiding the Technical Committee in addressing emerging issues and technologies related to their document and educating our stakeholders on the content contained in NFPA 1.
2018 was a busy year for the development of NFPA 1. We saw many important issues brought to the Committee; balancing building security and life safety, firefighter communications, energy storage systems, safety of portable generators, and many more. Early this year, NFPA staff and the Fire Code Technical Committee began the journey of developing the 2021 edition of the Code. This included the following activities:
- Schedule update and customization – The 2021 revision cycle has been updated to reflect the challenges and needs of our technical committees, stakeholders as well as the staff involved in the developing a document that extracts from over 50 other NFPA standards and is over 750 pages in length. Changes to the schedule include:
- Separating out the work on text owned by NFPA 1 versus the provisions extracted from NFPA 1. This will have an impact on the work by holding at least two meetings at both the First and Second Draft stages (we held two First Draft meetings in 2018.) This will allow for greater visibility of the work being done to extracted text for both our volunteers and the public.
- Allowing for some additional time internally to process the changes both from NFPA 1 unique text as well as the extract updates. This includes pushing out the ballots and posting of the First Draft and Second Draft reports to maximize production time and product a higher quality end product.
- Pre-First Draft Meeting – In May we held a Pre-First Draft meeting to address issues that arose early in the process and to plan ahead for the remainder of the revision cycle. At this meeting, five task groups were created to further review public inputs on topics such as life safety and security, standpipe provisions, portable generators, and emergency services communications. The Committee also developed draft actions on over 70 public inputs and reviewed emerging trends and technologies impacting the Code.
- First-Draft Meeting #1 – In September we held the (first) First Draft meeting where the Committee acted on over 125 public inputs, developed 93 First Revisions and created 51 Committee Inputs. These actions account for future extract updates and the many emerging issues that will need to be addressed by the Fire Code this cycle. Six new task groups were formed to work on issues that arose during the meeting. These task groups will further evaluate topics such as photovoltaics, Monitor-it-Yourself (MIY) systems, energy storage systems, and portable generators.
- First Draft Meeting #2, extract review – In November was the second, First Draft meeting. At this meeting the Committee addressed only the review and updating of Code provisions that are extracted from other documents. At this meeting the Committee reviewed over 300 pages of updated text from 14 different NFPA codes and standards. The remainder will be reviewed and updated at the Second Draft.
There is such a large volume of information contained in this Code. The more we can educate our users the more we can help with the enforcement of the Code and the safety of buildings and their occupants. I am hopeful that you have found this blog as a successful way to communicate knowledge and information related to Code revisions, FAQs, current events and other seasonal related Code topics. (You can view all past Fire Code Friday blogs here!) In addition, the 2018 edition of the Fire Code Handbook was released earlier this year. This resource provides not only the Code text but commentary that provides explanations behind many of the Code provisions.
Looking ahead, 2019 will bring another busy year. It will be the second year of the revision cycle and the committee will hold at least two Second Draft meetings. We will continue our discussions on improving the Code development process for NFPA 1 to best serve our stakeholders, our inspectors, and the many staff involved in the production of the document. I look forward to continued advances in our work and the development of an NFPA 1 that will continue to serve as the go-to resource for fire inspectors.
In closing, thank you, all, for reading Fire Code Fridays. I hope you have benefitted from the information. If you have suggestions, or feedback, or future topics you would like to see discussed please comment here. Let’s keep the discussion about the Fire Code and fire safety going in 2019.
Best wishes for a safe and happy New Year!
Kristin Bigda, P.E. NFPA 1 Staff Liaison