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Randy Tucker, who just completed his two-year term as Chair of NFPA's Board of Directors, was honored for his service to the Association during the General Session of the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. Mr. Tucker, owner/consultant of Tucker Consulting Associates in Houston, was feted for his "great sense of business judgment, and his passion for fire protection." "He helps those of us on the Board figure out how to bring those two things together," said new chair Keith Williams of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.

During the General Session of the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, several new members were elected to the Board of Directors. Association members elected Brion Callori, Martha Connors, Reginald D. Freeman, William J. Fries, and Louis Paulson, to the Board. More details about our new Board members. Three Board members, John D. Bonney, R. David Paulison, and Michael Wallace, were each re-elected second three-year term. 


What does it take to protect the world today? In the video below, some members of NFPA's Board of Directors, including new Chair Keith Williams, Amy Acton, Immediate Past Chair Randy Tucker, and former Chair Ernest Grant talk about the safety challenges of our rapidly changing world.


Keller Rinaudo, a robotics innovator and founder of Ziplinespeaking at the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Monday. 


In a world changing at warp-speed, what opportunities exist for life safety professionals willing to think outside the box? Both keynote addresses delivered at the opening day of the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas asked this question and answered it in different and enlightening ways.


Self-described futurist, trends, and innovation expert Jim Carroll, whose talk was entitled, “The Future Belongs to Those who are Fast,” began by asking the audience to consider just how quickly the world is evolving.


“We are in a situation where 65 percent of young children today will work in careers that do not yet exist,” he told the audience inside a ballroom in Mandalay Bay conference center. His prediction for those involved in fire safety and response: “You will see more change in the next 10 years in this industry than you have seen in the last 50.”

Jim Carroll speaks at the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Monday. 


These changes provide both opportunity and challenges, he said. The rapid advance of technology such as data analytics and connected devices are already helping to make responders more efficient and reveal previously hidden opportunities. But other advancements are challenging our ability to keep up, and these uncertainties can invite risk.


“How do we deal with a world where we don’t know what risk comes next?” he said, adding that education to stay current on new systems is crucial. “The future is coming at you at a staggering speed and intensity, it’s up to you to align yourselves in a world where the future belongs those fast. You need to think big, start small, and you need to scale fast.”


The next speaker was Keller Rinaudo, a robotics and healthcare innovator who founded a company called Zipline in 2014. The company uses battery-powered autonomous aircraft to deliver critical medical supplies like blood to healthcare professionals and patients in some of the most remote parts of the world including Rwanda and Ghana.


“Blood is an incredibly crucial product, but it’s hard in terms of logistics—it doesn’t last long, and there are all different blood types, and you’re not sure what you’ll need before you need it.”


Zipline’s autonomous aircraft delivery technology allows the Rwandan government to keep blood banks centralized, then Zipline delivers it on demand to hospitals in remote areas of a country in minutes. The autonomous aircraft drops the blood via parachute at the front door, and doctors get a text message a minute before to alert them their package has arrived. The technology has cut blood waste to zero—which is unprecedented even in developed countries, he said—because remote hospitals don’t need to keep excessive amounts of perishable blood in storage. “We did that while also increasing access to blood products by 175 percent,” he said. “That shouldn’t even be possible.”


According to Rinaudo, his innovation shows the opportunity that our ever-changing world has for solving complex issues that did not before have a clear solution. Autonomous delivery technology, for instance, could help emergency responders deliver critical supplies to isolated people cut off by floods or other natural disasters quickly, without having to risk responder lives. Emergency medical technicians could also one day send life-saving medicine and supplies ahead of an ambulance to increase a victim’s chance at survival.


“This technology has the long-term potential to provide universal access to healthcare for every human on the planet,” he said. “That’s what’s possible from a technological perspective today.”

Bill Koffel

Bill Koffel (right) accepts the NFPA Standards Medal from Kerry M. Bell of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., who is Chair of the NFPA Standards Council.


Bill Koffel, founder and president of Koffel Associates, a fire protection and safety engineering design and consulting firm, was honored at NFPA's Conference & Expo in Las Vegas with the NFPA Standards Medal.


Mr. Koffel, an NFPA member since 1979, has participated on 27 different NFPA Technical Committees. He chairs three NFPA Technical Committees, and recently chaired the Correlating Committee for NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code® for nine years. Mr. Koffel has also taken on the role as an educator, producing over 60 technical presentations and publications, and taught classes on various NFPA codes including NFPA 101, NFPA 13, and NFPA 25.


The NFPA Standards Medal recognizes outstanding contributions to fire safety, and the development of NFPA codes and standards.

Jim Dalton and Randy Tucker

Jim Dalton (right) accepts the Shannon Advocacy Medal from Immediate Past NFPA Chair Randy Tucker.

Jim Dalton, a well-known and respected advocate for fire safety, received the 2018 James M. Shannon Advocacy Medal at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas in recognition for his career-long commitment and passion.


Mr. Dalton began his journey as a volunteer firefighter in Maryland before spending more than 25 years as a career He became a pivotal public safety leader advocating for smoke alarms, fire sprinklers, and other lifesaving systems on a local, state and national level. When his county passed the most comprehensive smoke alarm law in the country, Mr. Dalton traveled the nation helping other jurisdictions to implement similar strategies.


Mr. Dalton was instrumental in pursuing the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act after The Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island killed 100. He worked for 15 years to ultimately secure passage as part of the tax reform measures signed into law. The bill provides incentives to small businesses who install sprinklers.


He has been active with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the U.S. Fire Administration, the International Society of Fire Service Instructors, and the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA). Mr. Dalton was the founding representative from NFSA to the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition from 1997 until 2009. He also served as NFSA’s representative to The Congressional Fire Services Institute National Advisory Committee and currently serves as Chair of that committee.


The Shannon Advocacy Medal was established in honor of former NFPA President Jim Shannon who was known for his tireless advocacy. Mr. Shannon led NFPA efforts to promote key changes to reduce fire loss, and was a vocal advocate for home fire sprinklers.


The latest statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show that if you have a reported fire in your home, you are more likely to die today than you were a few decades ago. This startling statistic helped shape this year’s Fire Prevention Week™ theme: "Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware - fire can happen anywhere.TM" Fire Prevention Week takes place October 7-13, 2018.


Through three simple calls-to-action, "Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware - fire can happen anywhere." identifies basic but essential ways people can reduce their risk to fire and be prepared in the event of one:


  • Look for places fire can start
  • Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm
  • Learn two ways out of each room

These Fire Prevention Week messages apply to virtually all locations, but NFPA is continuing its focus on home fire safety, as the majority of U.S. fire deaths (four out of five) occur in homes each year. In fact, the fire death rate (per 1000 home fires reported to the fire department) was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 1980.

“Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – fire can happen anywhere.” works to remind the public that fires can and do still happen – at home, as well as other locations - and that there are simple but vitally important steps people can take to remain safe.

As the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, NFPA works with local fire departments throughout North America to promote the campaign in their communities and reaches out to the public directly to encourage everyone to take action to be safe. For more information about this year’s “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – fire can happen anywhere.” campaign, visit

NFPA's annual Firefighter Fatalities in the United States report was released last week, and it shows that in 2017, 60 firefighters died in the line of duty—the lowest number reported since NFPA began collecting that data in 1977. 
Study author Rita Fahy, NFPA's applied research manager, presented the new findings at an education session this morning at the 2018 NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. "We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, [but] 2017 shaped up to be a very unusual year in a lot of ways," she told session attendees. "There was a lot of good news." 
In addition to the reported 40-year low for total on-duty firefighter fatalities, there was also a low number of deaths reported on the fire ground in 2017, at 17—the second lowest since 1977.
Not all the report's findings were good news, though. The number of firefighters who died being struck by vehicles jumped to 10 in 2017, a sharp rise from the typical average of about four. "It could be that this year was an anomaly," Fahy said, "so we'll have to wait and see if this is a pattern. ... If it continues , then it's an area we're going to have to look at." 
Although the report didn't examine firefighter fatalities from the long-term effects of the job, Fahy as well as Ed Conlin, manager of NFPA's Public Fire Protection division, discussed these issues with session attendees. Data shows that substantially more firefighters—active and retired—die from cancer and suicide than those who die from on-duty injuries. The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance reported 91 firefighter suicides and 17 EMT and paramedic suicides in 2017, and the International Association of Fire Fighters reported more than 120 cancer-related firefighter deaths last year. 
Contamination control is an important part of reducing firefighter cancer deaths, and Conlin spoke about how, slowly, fire service culture is changing to limit exposure to harmful toxins. "[Being covered in soot] is not the badge of honor it was anymore," he said.  "It's rapidly becoming a badge of horror." Conlin pointed to several efforts by NFPA to study the issue and incorporate it into its myriad of codes and standards affecting the fire service. 
An in-depth look at the findings of the NFPA firefighter fatality report will appear in the July/August issue of NFPA Journal. The full report has already been posted on and can be found here.

NFPA Educator of the Year

Denise Hynes, public educator for Toronto Fire Services, was recognized at NFPA's Conference & Expo in Las Vegas for her passion and enthusiasm in teaching safety to her community.


Ms. Hynes, who has used NFPA educational materials since 2002, has developed a variety of programs including training for more than 700 home health staff and coordinating the delivery of 24 presentations on Remembering When (TM) for older adults who live in high-rise buildings. She also coordinated a partnership with COSTI Immigration Services to design fire and life safety materials translated into Arabic, for Syrians who had recently come to Canada. Ms. Hynes also worked with the "Famous People Players" theater company to develop a fire safety week theatrical presentation featuring Sparky the Fire Dog®.


Ms. Hynes was presented her "Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year" award by NFPA Board Member William Stewart of William A. Stewart Consulting Services in Toronto.

Industrial Section FPW award

Mark Fessenden, director of Industry Relations at Johnson Controls, was honored during a reception at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas for his role in driving the 2017 Fire Prevention Week campaign at his company and throughout his community of Marinette, WI.


Mr. Fessenden, who is active on several NFPA Technical Committees, was recognized by NFPA's Industrial Fire Protection Section, for leading a safety campaign that was co-sponsored by local Boy Scout Troop 1902 and supported by the local fire department. Community youth were participated in a variety of safety activities including fire extinguisher training using a simulator, testing and changing batteries in smoke alarms, and creating evacuation plans.


Mr. Fessenden was presented his award by Jeff Foisel of Dow Corning, chair of NFPA's Industrial Fire Protection Section.

Research Foundation medal

During a reception at the NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, a project that describes a novel framework for modeling wildfire urban evacuations was awarded the 2018 Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal.


The project, “e-Sanctuary: Open Multi-Physics Framework for Modelling Wildfire Urban Evaluation,” argues that an integrated approach requires consideration and integration of all three important components of Wildfire Urban Interface (WUI) evacuation: fire spread, pedestrian movement, and traffic movement. The report includes a systematic review of each model component, and the key features needed for the integration into a comprehensive toolkit.


The award recognizes a Fire Protection Research Foundation project that best exemplifies the Foundation’s fire safety mission, technical challenges overcome, and collaborative approach.


The project was made possible by funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and was led by Enrico Ronchi (Lund University, Sweden), Guillermo Rein (Imperial College of London), and Steven Gwynne (National Research Council of Canada). Mr. Gwynne accepted the award on behalf of all those involved in the project.


The award was presented by Casey Grant, executive director of the Fire Protection Research Foundation..

Bigglestone Award

The 2018 Harry C. Bigglestone Award was presented to a quartet of authors whose paper, “An Unbiased Method for Probabilistic Fire Safety Engineers, Requiring a Limited Number of Model Evaluations” was featured in Fire Technology.


The paper, authored by Ruben Van Coile (Ghent University, Belgium and University of Edinburgh, UK), Georgios P. Balamenos (Rice University, Texas), Manesh D. Pandey (Waterloo University, Canada), and Robby Caspeele (Ghent University, Belgium), provides a computationally efficient methodology for application to structural fire safety. Results of this work can be applied with existing models and calculation tools, and allows for a parallelization of model evaluations.


The Bigglestone Award is given annually to the paper appearing in Fire Technology that best represents excellence in the communication of fire protection concepts. The award is accompanied by a $5,000 prize.


Lead author Ruben Van Coile was presented the award by Casey Grant, executive director of the Fire Protection Research Foundation.

We've returned to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas for NFPA's Conference & Expo. Attendees, exhibitors, and NFPA staff are here preparing for the week ahead, as we host one of the world’s biggest and most comprehensive fire, electrical, and life safety events.


In our Expo hall, which will open for business on Monday, June 11 at 2:45 pm, the space is buzzing with forklifts, ladders, packing crates, rolls of carpet, and hundreds of exhibitors preparing their booths. Hard to believe that this all comes together in the next 24 hours!


The NFPA Expo brings to life the products and services needed to meet and maintain compliance with codes and standards in the design, construction and operation of buildings and facilities of every kind. Attendees can evaluate thousands of products over the next three days. In addition, by visiting the NFPA booth, they can meet staff and learn more about the many services, products, and programs we have to offer. 


Expo hours: 

Monday: 2:45-6:00 pm
Tuesday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Wednesday: 10:00 am - 2:30 pm







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